Author: Victoria Smith
There’s a growing number of homeless dogs that are disabled, so it’s good that many families express an interest in adopting a disabled pet. While disabled dogs do need loving homes, it’s important to understand what this entails before you make the commitment to adopt a special needs dog. This guide can help ensure you’re really prepared to take this step.
Talk to a Vet
Before you adopt a disabled dog, you should talk to a vet before you make that commitment. A veterinarian will have the knowledge and expertise to give you a realistic insight into what you can expect from the experience. In addition to talking about the pet’s medical needs, the vet can help you understand what it will be like to have a disabled dog in the home. This type of insight can help you determine if a dog with a disability is right for you.
Research the Disability
A dog with blindness will have vastly different needs than a dog who is missing a leg, so it’s important to learn as much as you can about the specific disability of your special needs pet. You can research your dog’s condition online as a start. While you’re online, you can also look for support groups on social media websites to connect with other families in similar situations. This research and support can help you prepare for the specific needs of your disabled dog.
Consider Your Financial Situation
In most cases, a healthy dog will only need to see a vet once a year for a checkup and vaccinations. However, that may not be the case with a disabled dog. While dog insurance can help, you should make sure you’ll have the money to cover your disabled dog’s medical care needs. In addition to more frequent office visits, your dog may need special equipment, medication, and special dietary needs that will affect your finances. If you’re not prepared for the financial commitment involved in caring for a special needs pet, this may not be the best choice for your family.
Think About the Time Commitment
Many people don’t realize that a disabled dog will need far more attention and care than a healthy dog. For example, you may find it especially challenging or impossible to housebreak a disabled dog. In that case, it will be up to you to identify when the dog needs to relieve himself and rush him outside. If you don’t catch him in time, you’ll be left with a mess to clean up. A special needs dog may also need help eating or drinking water from a bowl. A disabled dog is ideal for a household in which someone will always be available to look after him.
Evaluate Your Own Abilities
Finally, you should make sure you’re physically up to the task. If you suffer from a medical condition yourself, you may not be able to realistically care for a disabled pet. Some dogs are considered disabled if they are morbidly obese. That type of special needs dog may require you to pick him up to help get him outside or into the car. If you don’t have the physical strength to pick the dog up, you may run into problems. It’s better to be honest with yourself rather than to put you and a disabled dog in a difficult situation.
If you have reviewed these tips and still feel as though adopting a disabled dog is something that interests you, get started by contacting your nearest animal shelter. There are many special needs dogs that end up in shelters either because they were abused or born with birth defects. When you choose to bring one of these disabled pets home, you’ll find that the love they have to give far outweighs their physical limitations.