Could You Offer a Home to a Disabled Dog?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Image Credit: Pexels

When you choose a dog, you should look for someone who will fit in with your family, offer you plenty of love and fun and improve your lifestyle. But all too often, disabled pets are overlooked because they may require a little more care and attention. This is a real shame because disabled dogs are just as loving and fun and truly deserve a happy home life too.

For many people, the idea of looking after a disabled pet is quite daunting. However, the reality is that as long as you have enough time and you are willing to adjust to suit their needs - something you would do for a new pup in any case - there is no reason that you can’t have a fulfilling relationship.
Understanding Different Disabilities
Just like us, dogs can have a wide variety of disabilities that can affect them in a range of different ways. Some dogs might have lost a limb or limbs due to an accident or illness but others may have a hidden illness or genetic disorders such as deafness or epilepsy. Naturally, each disability will require a different type of care.

Lots of dog breeds are particularly susceptible to epilepsy and your vet will be able to advise you of the best care for your particular pooch. In general, this means giving them medication to reduce the likelihood of a seizure and then making sure that you recognize the symptoms so that you can act fast. Some owners also use CBD oil to help manage their dog’s symptoms and you can shop now - just check in with your vet before you do!

Dogs are very adaptable so even when they have lost limbs, they can often still run around and have fun - even with a doggy wheelchair! The important thing for you is to understand that your dog still needs all the same things as an able dog including space to play and plenty of attention. There is still no excuse for bad behavior so make sure that you still teach them the basic commands and treat them the same as any other pets. 

Welcoming a Disabled Dog to Your Home
When you welcome a disabled dog to your home, you must be willing to make a few changes so that they can live a fulfilled and happy life. Above all else, you need to make sure that your home is safe for your dog. For example, you might need to cover any sharp edges or corners as you might for a toddler and a ramp to help dogs navigate the house with their wheels. Similarly, baby gates are useful to prevent any accidents. You should also avoid changing your house around too much so that your dog can navigate a familiar space no matter what their disability is.

You will also have to learn how to communicate with a dog who has lost their sight or hearing. Dogs rely on scent more than you might think and blind dogs even more so. A good method is to use essential oils to help them identify particular things. For example, you might use peppermint to help your dog identify toys, lemon oils on things they should avoid (like coffee tables) and lavender on their bed. For a deaf dog, using a flashlight is a good way to communicate and guide them to your location.

Bringing a dog home for the first time can be stressful for everyone so preparation is key. Make sure you know what your dog likes to eat and get the basics covered straight off. Help your dog to navigate their new surroundings, showing them their toilet area first and then introducing them to their safe space - usually their bed. Settling a disabled dog into your home might take a bit longer but once they are in, you will both reap the rewards of being patient.

You should always make sure that your dog is kept happy and occupied throughout the day and disabled dogs need many of the same things: plenty of toys, things to chew and a nice comfy bed. You may find that you need to adapt a few things to your dog’s needs but in general, if they have these things, you are onto a winner.

Lifestyle and Financial Implications
One of the main reasons that people give up disabled pets is that they feel they cannot provide for them well enough. Indeed, there are a few things worth thinking about before you adopt because it would be a real shame for the dog to have to move home again.

It is true that a disabled pet will often require a lot more of your time and patience and this isn’t for everyone. However, though you might draw the line at fitting your dog for diapers and cleaning them regularly, this doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t be suited to a dog with another disability. Knowing your own capabilities is really important here and do be aware that your dog’s disability may progress in the future.

Another thing to consider is the financial implication of adopting a pet with a lot of needs. Many disabled pets will require more visits to the vets and may be more expensive to insure. Similarly, you may have to invest more in suitable foods and toys so that they can live a happy and fulfilled lifestyle.

Fitting any new pet into your family takes time but with a disabled pet you must be extra sure that you are a good fit. Before you adopt, you should check whether your new dog will be happy to live with others or not and ask whether they can cope with young children. Many dogs are absolutely thrilled to become part of a young family as long as everyone knows that they need extra special care and attention.

If you are willing to make some changes and welcome a needy pup to your home, adopting a dog with a disability is the perfect route for you. Not only will you give this dog another chance at a happy life, you will also enjoy the fulfillment of knowing that you have brought another wonderful character into your family.

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