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Caring for a Disabled Dog

Whether your dog is approaching his senior years, facing health complications, was in an accident or was born with a disability, caring for a disabled dog requires special considerations, additional patience and lots of love. With a few adaptations and quality care, a special needs dog can lead a healthy and happy life. Here are a few basic considerations to help you get started.

Attend regular vet checkups with your dog to evaluate his disability and check on general health

Follow vet recommendations and administer medications daily as directed. If your dog requires specific adaptive equipment, your vet will be able to assist in finding the necessary items.

Go through your home to make sure it's safe for your dog

or example, blind dogs are unable to see possible dangers in their path. If you have a stairway in your home, use dog or baby gates to block the stairs and avoid possible accidents. If your dog has paralysis or leg weakness, getting up or walking on tile or hardwood floors may be difficult. Place random throw rugs or fit your dog with non-slip socks to provide traction. If your dog requires adaptive equipment, such as a wheelchair, look through your house to ensure your dog can move with his chair.

Check your dog's body for injuries on a daily basis

This is especially true in dogs with paralysis. Loss of feeling means they might not know when they're injured. Immobility or incontinence can lead to sores. Seek veterinary care if you see sores or injuries. To help prevent injuries, keep your dog's living area free of objects that can cause accidents. For dogs who drag their hind legs, consider covering the area with bandages or dog clothes to reduce skin damage.

Stay alert and ready to provide assistance to your dog when needed

Blind dogs may need help finding their food at mealtime. Dogs with leg weakness may need assistance getting up and walking. Use a sling or other adaptive device to assist them.

Keep your dog's surroundings as familiar as possible

Try to avoid moving furniture or food and water bowls to avoid confusion or complications for your pup.

If your dog requires diapers, change them frequently

Clean any urine or feces off your dog immediately to reduce risk of infection. If accidents occur, clean and disinfect surfaces.

Help your dog live as normal a life as possible

Regardless of the disability, regular exercise is necessary for optimal health and weight management. Talk to your veterinarian about the best possible forms of exercise for your dog. Adapt playtime to his disability.