“Degenerative myelopathy, (DM) makes it hard for him to walk…” “He’s an older dog with arthritis…” “He’s over 16 years old and can’t control his bladder…”
These are common stories that, at one time, often had very sad endings — but not anymore. Advances in health care for pets, products for handicapped pets, and a general acceptance of a pet’s role as a ‘member of the family’ has turned what was once a potential tragedy to a mere inconvenience.
Johanna, a dachshund from Tennessee had a broken spine and, incontinent, was tied outside day and night. A group of 4th graders from Oklahoma raised money to buy her a cart and send her to her new home in Maine where she enjoys life with the help of a wheelchair and disposable dog diapers.
Innovative products like the the Warrior Rear Harness, the Buddy Up Harness, and dog carts (or wheelchairs for dogs) offer the opportunity for a handicapped pet to enjoy many years of quality life and happiness.
The warning signs that you pet may be developing a handicap include:
- Your pet has been in an accident
- Inability to stand up without assistance
- Difficulty going up stairs, or getting into a car
- Difficulty walking or running, limping or whining
- Uncontrolled or accidental urination, urinating in bed
- Hesitancy to walk across a slippery wooden floor
- Unusual growths on any part of the pet’s body
- Change in weight, eating habits, or temperament
- Weakness due to recovery from a medical procedure
Here’s what to do if you observe any of these signs:
- See your veterinarian. As an animal health care professional, he or she may recognize the problem immediately and offer advice.
- Research the condition. To give the best support possible, become an expert yourself in the affliction. It is possible that in your research, you may find information that will be invaluable to you, your veterinarian, and of course, your pet.
- Get support. The Internet provides unlimited forums, mailing lists, and support groups about dealing with caring for handicapped pets. As a member of these groups you can get support, speak with people who have experienced your situation, and be of help to others.
- Some of the most popular Handicapped Pets support products are readily available in stores and through the internet. Many can be shipped overnight at reasonable cost.
- An important category of handicapped pet products provide support for the back end of the pet. This allows the dog to walk, get exercise, and play.
The Rear Harness is more like an article of clothing that the animal wears. This garment has leg-holes and wraps completely around the back end while allowing freedom for urinating and defecating. It stays in place with the help of touch-fastener closures and clips. Fit is important and the animal needs to be measured to determine the correct size.
Most dog cart owners attract a lot of attention when they walk down the street. It’s quickly becoming commonplace, though, to see a happy dog in wheels running through the park, chasing a ball or playing with other dogs. A dog wheelchair uses wheels to support the back end of a handicapped dog while the healthy front legs provide the propulsion. Dog carts are custom built based on careful measurements. Different models provide support in several ways and some research is required to choose the right cart for your animal. Carts come in rear, front, and quad support and can be used for any animal from a dog to an Alpaca.
Other handicapped pets products solve the problems faced by caretakers on a daily basis. Most of these devices were invented by handicapped pet owners to help their own pets.
HandicappedPets.Net (Pet Care Discussion Board)
Mark C. Robinson is the creator of HandicappedPets.com, a website for the caretakers of elderly, disabled, and injured pets. The website includes all the products, services, and support that a family needs. Mark is a noted speaker and an adviser to the board of directors of the National Cancer Society for Animals.