While all dogs progress to becoming seniors, some tend to just get some greys, and other dogs seem to get every single aging ailment possible. Suddenly, your happy-go-lucky pouncing pup is now a poster dog for veterinary clinics “ageing and special needs animals” campaigns. Failing eyesight, sore joints and even some accidents are all common ailments in senior pets. Younger pets, because of certain conditions, are ‘special needs’ too. Whether they were born that way, had an accident or just getting old, there are some special considerations you’ll need to make in caring for your special needs animals.
Keeping your vet up-dated. You spend all day with your pet, and your vet gets a 30-minute visit every 2 months (if he’s lucky). In order to help your pet best, regular Vet visits should take place, with any new symptoms and conditions at the top of the discussion list.
Your own wellness exam. You know your pet best, so taking a couple minutes out of your day to do a Snout to Tail Wellness Exam is a great idea. Your dog might not communicate you to you that he’s in (more) pain, and immobility and incontinence can lead to sores. If your dog is immobile and drags his hind end, a drag bag might be a great solution.
Safety First. Making sure your blind dog isn’t going to fall down your stairs, that he’s not going to slip on the hardwood and that he can get into your vehicle are all important things. Safety proofing your house with baby gates, dog boots and ramps is one of the most important things you can do for your dog.
Routine! Chances are, your dog will be unaware that he is classified as special needs. Helping him by allowing him to lead a normal life is key. Regular exercise, proper food and lots of love will help him be the best he can be.
Assistance from you. Whether it be a help-up with a harness, changing of the doggy diapers, or something as simple as not moving around the furniture for your blind dog, you special needs pet will now need a lot of your assistance.
Remember to take some time for yourself too, nothing is ever gained from someone whose worked themselves into the dirt. You’re doing a great job and your pet loves you.