Help pet’s with disabilities

Do you have a special needs pet?  I’m not an expert but I have helped many and seen others deal with pets who need aids. Your snail might need a crutch and that is okay.

This little fellow can get around again! Duck with wheelchair

Over my life I have owned many different varieties of pets. Currently I have a dog that is a Jack Russell likely Spaniel cross. His special needs are due to muscle deterioration on his back legs, this makes his legs drag. This brings risk of injuries. Remember not all pets look like they have a problem please ask if it is ok to come close to any kind of pet. 

Our dog has taken to getting up so early, I’m often getting up at 5:00 am to get him out for a walk after he has his food and medications. The vet wants us to feed him more, so he has transformed into a Hobbit. (Second Breakfast!). Due to his other health problems he can only eat small amounts at one meal without having a digestive upset. Owning a pet with special needs often means sacrificing things that others may not need to worry about. Like sleep! Who needs a full 8 hours? Sometimes your pet needs more time put away to aid them, plan for the unexpected.

Ways you can support a pet that can’t use all their legs. Be gentle with limbs and joints, use smooth motions when moving them. Our dog knows how each one of us moves him and will aid us in his movement by lifting a paw as we support his chest and ribs.

Support to stable him to get the boots on.

If they are like our guy and can walk with the front paws you can use an old scarf or a folded towel under their body to help lift the back end. 

We bought rubber coated booties from the pet store so his paws don’t get scraped and bleed. Because of the weakness when standing I always try to keep a hand under him when taking off the booties. I would recommend having 2 sets in case they get wet. You don’t want to keep them in wet gear, they can develop infections on their feet. The brand that worked Best for getting on and off with an unstable pet was rcpets, we did try others but they were harder to put on when his feet were bad.

The top ones are the new pair, the lower ones were a learning curve.

To help our boots last we put them on upside down to have the bigger rubber part covering what drags. We tried the other way and they did not last as long or protect the top of the foot. We have thought about baby socks for the house do to noise of the clicky nails on the floor wears on my mind.

You can use baby gates or other barricades at danger points like stairs.

If they have become weird and scroungy, put garbage and anything food like behind closed doors or with objects on top of the lids. If they chew your bluetooth be mindful of glue fiascos. You can read about that ordeal in my blog post. “Strange reasons you’re not on time”

We use a rubber mat in the tub to help with traction and a handheld shower head. I used to put towels on the bottom of the tub for him to shake. Now I just dry him with the towel and blow dry the rest.

Not sure where to get this heavy rubber. a family member gave it to me that worked in construction.

Buy a good bed for them to lay in or make one from old pillows. Sometimes joints get stiff and sore. If he wants on the couch we lift him on and off. You can buy or make pet ramps. We also lift him in and out of the vehicle. I read about a bearded dragon that needs ramps due to limbs that did not work well. The internet is full of good solutions. So read up on the aids out there for your pet.

If your pet has bowel or bladder problems you can try to pad/paper train them on the floor if you are unable to train them or their condition does not allow them to move  to a designated area. There is washable underwear. You can also buy washable hospital pads or use old towels with plastic under them so you can toss it in the You can buy the pads online on Amazon or medical supplies place, Walmart and other such places often have the smaller ones.

You can get wheelchair aides for your pet.  I thought about making one out of PvC piping. The commensal made of metal can range in price $200.00 and up.

DIY pvc dog wheelchair I think you could modify this for other pets.

DIY Metal dog wheel walker This one could work for a larger dog too.

If they have neck or back problems you might want to raise their food and water dishes.

Our neighbor had a deaf puppy. It needed more than that family could do with three kids. When you have a pet with specials needs, you become their air human. They can live mostly normally lives.

  • If you have a blind or deaf pet, they have to be watched in and out of the home.
  • Don’t move things in the home.
  • Don’t startle them
  • If they are deaf learning hand signals 
  • Take extra care not to let strangers approach your pet without guidance
  • Have ID for pets with special needs. So someone can reach their vet or family if they get lost. Not the special needs. So a dog medical alert kind of deal! 

Learning to live with a deaf Dog

Many years ago I had a special needs chicken, Hopeful was her name. She grew too fast for her body to hold her weight. I had to make her little leg splints. She lived in the house and I had a small outside enclosure for the grass, she was at risk of predators because of her limited abilities to move on her own. She was a good cuddler. 

This little one splayed leg. Not what mine had but the leg aids what what I liked.
How to Fix Splayed Leg or Spraddle Leg

All animals with special needs need love, understanding and routine.  Being angry at them makes it harder on all of you. They need more supervision. I have had times when I’m so mad at our dog. I want to tell him to pack his things and move out. I told my family to treat him like you would an aging well loved family member. 

My ideas are ideas/guidelines to talk with your vet about, work out a plan that works for your pets’ condition. If you have had a pet with special needs I would love to read your creative ways of supporting your pet.

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