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Charles, an owner of a German Shepherd named Brandy, was extremely excited to welcome the dog as a member of the family. The dog filled the first few years of their lives with immense joy and happiness. His family, comprising his wife and two sons, doted on Brandy like a friend. But after a few days, things changed. They made several attempts to make the dog walk, but they failed. Nothing seems to make the dog move, not even his favorite plastic bone. After several failed attempts, they finally consulted a vet who identified the issue as dog paralysis.
This is one of the many cases where pet owners are faced by an intimidating and helpless situation with their beloved pet. Disability is painful, both for the animal and the owner, because nothing much can be done about it. Most of such disabilities are age-related, but they strike when they have to.
Signs of disability in pets
As a dog owner, you can look for the following signs of disability:
- Inability to stand up without helpless
- Difficulty in climbing stairs, running and walking
- Accidental or uncontrolled urination
- Unusual growths on your pet’s body
- Mood and appetite changes
Living with a disabled pet
Living with a disabled pet is challenging but rewarding. Even if your pet is born disabled, or suffered an injury that made him so, you can still give your pet the best life. You don’t have to make your pet realize that he is different. You only have to motivate him to live life normally.
Here are a few coping strategies that you can adopt for giving your disabled pet the best life:
When your pet is blind
Dogs rely more on their sense of smell than sight, while cats rely more on their vision to acquaint themselves to their surroundings. You can take the following steps to deal with your pet’s blindness:
- Talk to your pet in a comforting tone
- Keep them distracted with toys that have distinctive smells
- Help your pet orient themselves to the new setup in case you have moved your furniture
- Keep passageways and floors clear for preventing accidents with your pet
- Keep your pet indoors and do not leave it alone.
When your pet is deaf
- Make eye contact or touch them gently to get their attention
- Always keep it leashed
- Use a flashlight to alert them
- Consider a tag that informs others about your dog’s deafness
When your pet is immobile
Harnesses, carts and slings help immobile or paralyzed pets to navigate with assistance. Some dogs respond well to acupuncture, chiropractic and massages. Such therapies in conjunction with veterinarian help can help you achieve specific goals.