Pets with special needs are often neglected and the last to get adopted from shelters and rescue centers. But more often than not, these pets have abundant love to return and become the perfect companion for your kid with just a little help.
So, if you are looking to adopt a new pet, try thinking of getting a handicapped dog. However, this might seem a little concerning at first, especially if you have hyperactive kids; it leads you to wonder, “are my kids prepared for a handicapped dog?”
And that’s what we’re gonna talk about today. Here, we’ll find out if your kids are prepared for a handicapped dog. So, let’s dive in.
Signs Your Kids Are Prepared for a Handicapped Dog
A physically challenged dog may need a little more care and attention, but they are not very different from an abled dog. Here are a few ways you can tell if your child is prepared for a handicapped dog.
They Show Genuine Interest
Almost every child asks for pets as presents, especially toddlers. However, some of these interests might be fleeting, and they would ask for something different the next Christmas or birthday. So, you should wait and see if their desire for pets sticks with time.
This is because handicapped dogs already feel quite neglected. They need extra emotional support, which they can get from a loving child.
However, if a child abandons them only after a few days, this can increase their emotional insecurity and hamper their mental health. You can even try pet-sitting for a friend or family member’s dog for a few days to track your child’s interests.
Your Kids Can Meet (Some of) the Pet Care Expectations
All pets require daily and routine care. This includes multiple feedings per day, taking them out for exercise, changing their water and litters, taking them to the vet, etc.
A special needs dog needs even more as they cannot perform some of the functions by themselves and require help from humans. You can check to see if your children do their assigned chores without any fussing. If they constantly fight their responsibilities, there are high chances they will do the same when taking care of the dog.
A toddler can take care of some of their basic needs, whereas an older child or teenager can be responsible for their grooming, exercise, stimulation, and physical therapy if needed.
You might have to pick up the slack sometimes, but your child should have the ability to understand what their roles are and what is expected of them.
Will Your Child Understand the Dog’s Needs?
Kids seem to have a secret stash of endless energy fuel. They are either hopping around, entering places they should not be, or climbing walls like Spiderman.
Dogs are very interactive, and more than often, they can keep up with the kids and become their best partner-in-crime.
On the other hand, special needs dog might not meet this expectation of a child. Children under the age of five also have limited self-control and can exert unintentional emotional trauma to the dog.
By meeting the potential pet beforehand, you can prepare the child and help them understand the situation and safety regulations better. But it cannot be denied that taking care of a special needs dog can help children develop from a very young age. Happiestdog claims that as the dogs and children live nearby and help each with their struggles, it can help nurture a child’s emotional intelligence and teach them to empathize.
Kids Must Have Patience and Be Mature
Not all handicapped dogs require hawk-eye care. With aid like a wheelchair or stump, they can interact just as well as an abled dog.
Unfortunately, some special needs dogs are slow to take up verbal and visual communication cues and are slow to react. By this, we also mean that the children know how to respect their pets’ space. They should know not to intrude or disturb them when the pets need to recuperate.
A dog that has been through physical or emotional trauma may not react positively to a child getting too up close and personal with them. During this moment, a child needs to be extremely patient, particularly when training them. They should be able to restrain any frustration and anger as dogs can easily sense your mood.
When a dog begins to feel safe and trust the child, they would be willing to learn faster, bringing out a whole new set of advantages.
Blind and deaf dogs and cats are easily trainable and rely on their other sense, so hopefully, even a little patience can help you go a long way. The kid(s) must be mature and understand that their pets have feelings too.
How Do Handicapped Dogs Help Children?
Taking care of a handicapped dog from an early age can help children develop a sense of responsibility. They can also empathize by seeing them through their struggles and helping them out.
This can teach children to be more emotionally accepting of physically challenged dogs and human beings. A child can also have better patience and self-restraint after spending some time near a dog with special needs.
Since children are unable to control their anxiety or stress, a dog will become their best friend during emotional outbursts and help them calm down.
Caring for a dog can also instill nurturing feelings, which can be a great practical lesson! This feeling would boost their self-esteem, and they will feel more confident about their nurturing skills.
As a parent, if you can assert that your child is ready to get a pet dog, you might try getting them a handicapped dog. This will help a dog with special needs finally get a loving home and instill the necessary skills you want in a child from a young age.
You might have to pick up the slack every now and then and have more responsibilities as well. It is almost like having another baby, so it is also important to prepare yourself. After all, this dog will forever be a part of your family.