Nothing can ever replace the love that you have for your pet, which is why it’s challenging when they experience difficulties in life. Disability also happens in the animal kingdom and it’s a hard thing to deal with.
There are varying levels of disability that your pet may be experiencing. Some of those include congenital birth defects, blindness, deafness, loss of limbs, paralysis, digestive issues, and more. As their pet parents, all we want is for our furry friends to be as comfortable and happy as physically possible.
With that in mind, here are some top tips to enrich the life of your disabled pet – and help you feel good, too.
1. Build a Routine
When you establish a daily routine with your pet, it helps them cultivate good habits and have a sense of structure. Being able to predict what their day will bring will lessen their stress levels and make them feel so comfortable.
A good routine example is walking them either early in the morning or early in the evening every day. Other activities that you can try would be exploring your neighborhood while encouraging them to do their business. Some pet parents include introducing their pets to other pets in the neighborhood.
2. Evaluate How They Look at Life
If your disabled pet is showing a lack of interest in life by not eating, no longer showing interest in activities, unresponsive, and dull, show your love by just being there for them.
As pet parents, during this time, the best thing that you can give them is a comfortable transition. Make sure that they feel loved during this time. You can always spend time with them by reading your favorite book beside them.
Other pet parents encourage their pets by constantly talking to them and telling them that they can do it and that they can heal.
3. Invest In a Pet Mobility Aid to Help Them
Pets who are experiencing limb weakness and even paralysis are facing limited mobility. This is a big change for them, especially because they want to be mobile most of the time. Other pets who undergo this can sometimes experience depression, lethargy, and lack of appetite.
A harness or a wheelchair can help your pet re-learn to navigate mobility. This type of apparatus acts like back legs that can fully support them.
It takes a little bit of time and practice, but with routine and proper care, they’re sure to easily get the hang of it.
4. Ask Your Vet Questions and Concerns
Navigating into this new territory is not easy. Naturally, you ask people around you for pieces of advice on how they conquered this new territory. Others do their research online.
If this is your first time to be in this particular situation, it’s wise to be in constant contact with your pet’s veterinarian. If you feel unsure about your pet’s medication or if they’re acting particularly weird and out of character, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Also, if you notice your pet not eating the food that you prepare, you may also reach out to the veterinarian for help.
Your vet simply wants the best for you and your pet. Remember to communicate with them at their operating hours, especially if there’s an emergency.
5. Don’t Forget to Exercise
Make exercising a part of your everyday routine. Disabled pets will gain a lot from regular exercise.
For those with limited mobility, this might mean a much shorter walk in the park or around the neighborhood. However, make sure that they’re comfortable through it all. If you see them panting, you may opt to take a short break to let them breathe. Don’t forget to keep them hydrated when you go for a walk. This can also be a fun bonding time for you two as you both navigate through this new chapter.
Other things you can try with your pet:
- Slope walking start from the bottom, and slowly make your way to the top
- Slowly introduce them to easy obstacles that would challenge them, and can help them overcome their fears, like jumping or stepping over tiny pieces of rocks and wood.
- If your pet has a newly installed wheelchair or harness, help them practice turning to build strength on their weak side. You can do this by doing figure eights.
- Enroll them in hydrotherapy or water exercise. This helps pets recover from paralysis and can be done in bathtubs, hot tubs, pools, and lakes.
6. Maintain Good Hygiene
Because of their new situation, some pets might require more help with their hygiene. They might be unable to clean themselves, so you’ll have to do it for them. Giving your pets good hygiene keeps them energized, happy, and clean.
Here are things to remember when giving your pet a bath are these:
- Bathe them regularly. The frequency will depend on your pet’s lifestyle. An active pet should be bathed more than those who just like to relax and nap.
- Use the right shampoo that’ll not cause dryness or rashes on their skin. Avoid using human shampoo. For best results, consult with your vet first on the right kind of product to use.
- Make sure that you bathe your pets under the proper water temperature so that they’ll not associate bath time with feelings of discomfort. It’s recommended to always use warm water during bath time.
- Rinse twice to remove all the shampoo from their body.
7. Be Patient
We know that this might not be easy for you, but it’s also doubly hard for your pets. Be patient with them and with yourself. Taking small steps towards change will make a world of difference. Simply staying by their side will encourage them towards healing.
Sometimes, talking to your pets will help them feel that they’re truly loved and that you value their existence. Refrain from raising your voice when you converse with them as it may subtly pressure them.
The journey might be long and hard. Invest in the right apparatus that’ll help your pet heal and improve their health. Then, evaluate their situation, slowly build a routine that includes exercising and maintaining good hygiene. Be patient with the whole process and keep in constant communication with their vet.