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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Dr. Michael Dym
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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
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Category

Caring for Disabled and Handicapped Pets

May 3rd marks National Disabled Pets Day, where many shelters with disabled pets encourage the adoption of disabled pets that may be waiting for a caring owner to adopt. Whether you have just adopted a disabled pet, or your pet has just become disabled, you will need to know just what it takes to care for him or her.

Adopting a disabled pet

There are many disabled pets in pet shelters today, and unfortunately many of them are left in shelters due to their disability. In addition, many pets are orphaned because of their disability. When considering adoption, you must get all the information concerning your pet's disability from the veterinarian, staff members, or even volunteers so you can be prepared later. Remember, even though a pet is disabled, he or she can still provide the companionship and love you and your family may be looking for. After all, you may be surprised at how well pets are able to adjust to life and their disabilities.

Caring for your disabled pet's needs

Whether you have adopted a disabled pet, or the pet you have is disabled, you will need to know just want it takes to care for him or her. Physical pet disabilities may include paralyzed legs, loss of an eye/blindness, or loss of hearing. For a leg disability, and if your pet has trouble walking, you may need the help of a lifting harness which helps your dog gain independence and support while walking. For dogs having trouble with all four legs, you may want to use a Full-Body Dog Lifting Harness, as opposed to those having trouble with the back legs, which can gain support from the Rear Dog Lifting Harness.

Pets with a disability like blindness can greatly benefit from a routine, or a place where he or she can always find and be comfortable like a pet bed. You can also help your dog by teaching him or her familiar words that will help in dangerous situations like, stop, danger, or careful. If you have just adopted a blind pet, he or she will need to be taught the layout of your house maybe several times. Placing treats in places where he or she can walk and get to objects like the toy box or water bowl can help. In addition, using a pet drinking fountain allows your pet to hear the sound of running water to help steer him or her right towards the water bowl.

If your pet has a loss of hearing, he or she will have to rely on vision and smell. Learning hand gestures to teach your pet commands like stay, sit, or lay down, usually works the best for deaf dogs. As with most dogs, treats go a long way during training sessions. Since deaf dogs won't hear their owners, it's important to make your dog comfortable with touching. If your dog has his or her back to you, you must be comfortable tapping the hind legs or back to grab attention. Most importantly, if your dog is deaf, you must always keep him or her on a leash because your pet won't be able to hear you say "come" when going out for a walk.

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