Disability is a part of life that you would think human beings would have gotten used to but no, not so much. You would still find people who find it hard to cope with it. Living with a disabled person can be quite challenging, truth be told, especially when the disability is still fresh as a result of an accident or a debilitating disease. The same goes for pets and it is more challenging for them because you cannot tell what they need since they cannot talk or accurately express how they feel. So, it is up to you, the pet owner, to figure out ways to communicate and make things easier for you two. It doesn’t have to be such a chore; it may take a while to get used to it but when you do, you wouldn’t even notice the difference anymore.
There are a lot of people whose pets need special care due to one reason or another, all over the world. Even though it is a little extra work, the results have been shown to trump the efforts. Below are some tips that have been offered for caring for handicapped pets:
You Don’t Have to Do It Alone
A lot of pet owners become absolutely terrified when their pets become disabled for some reason. They begin to think of the special care that would consume time, the extra costs and how they would have to bear these burdens on their own. It doesn’t always have to be that way. First of all, there are already established communities or groups which focus on this, be it formal or informal, and it is not difficult to locate one.
Second, you could get your friends acquainted with the new situation, especially those who love animals naturally. You’d find that many of them would chip in what they can to help. Speak out. Talk to your neighborhood veterinary doctor and see if they can make regular home visits or teach you how to adequately care for them. It may cost you extra but then, you are a parent so it comes with the territory.
Have a Standard Routine
Most healthy pets have a set time when they go out in the mornings, when they get food and when they go out to play or take a nap. The same should be set for disabled pets. After all, they are not much different from the healthy ones. Try as much as you can not to deviate from the set routine so that over time, your pets would learn to adhere strictly to them, sometimes even without your help.
For example, if your family has a mixture of healthy and disabled ones, you may want to get the healthy ones out first in the morning to relieve them because they wouldn’t take as much time as the special ones. Then, take your time with the next set. Another example is meal times. If it would be easier for you, let every one of them eat at a particular time, not before or after. And make sure each one knows what they are supposed to eat.
If you have a pet who requires a special diet, like a diabetic one, regulate meal times and insulin times, too. Also, learn to groom them where they can no longer do that for themselves. Cats regularly groom themselves, for example, and some dogs, too. So make it a habit to do that, and at a set time.
Be Sure to Speak Regularly with a Vet
And don’t become too familiar with what is required to care for your handicapped pets. If your schedule allows it, make weekly appointments with your vet, especially in cases where the disability is still fresh or you are a new parent, foster or not.
Ask for their professional opinions on everything, no exception. Don’t believe anything is beneath their attention; they know more about animals than you do. They can provide you with treatments and therapies which you could use regularly at home and they can advise you on which types of disabilities you should use which therapy on because not all therapies apply to all disabilities. Let your pets get familiar with the particular vet you are comfortable with; there’s no point causing more emotional upheaval for them than they have to pass through.
Buy the Right Gear for Them
And don’t fall for the line that anything goes. You need them to be comfortable because when they are, you are. Special needs pets like those with poorly functioning or amputated limbs would need right-fitting wheelchairs, harnesses, and leashes that leave them feeling like they lost nothing.
Remember that some of these amputees would require rear leashes and harnesses so try to fit them before buying. And make selections with the consideration that some of these mobility aids may unintentionally cause undue abrasions for these pets. Therefore, extra special paddings may be needed. There are really affordable kits out there; they are not all expensive. So you don’t have to break the bank before you can give your beloved special needs pets the comfort and stability they need.
In all your preparations to make sure your special needs pets don’t feel left out or unloved, you need to also put yourself into consideration. If you don’t prepare yourself emotionally, psychologically, physically, financially, socially and so on to go down this not-very-frequented road, you may break down along the line and your pets don’t need that.
So, always speak to those who have been there longer than you and to professionals whenever you start to feel overwhelmed. Don’t take your preparedness for granted; you need to be ready for anything.
Don’t Treat Them Any Differently
There is little that is different, anyway, once you get used to the routines. But animals can be really sensitive and they do know when your attitude toward them changes. Love them like you used to or more if you can. If you are a new foster parent, then you have to be a genuine animal lover to do this. Let your love for them grow and bond with them. You may get exasperated or frustrated sometimes but who doesn’t? Just don’t take it out on them. They want love, just like every other person or pet. That they need some little extra attention doesn’t make them different. They are your pets so just love them.
Let them love you back! They need it. Don’t do all the loving; pets need to give, too. That’s part of the reason you got them in the first place, anyway. So give them a chance to do all they used to, as much as they can without further hurting themselves. Keep an eye on them but give them some room to be as free as pets usually are. Don’t smother them. Just let them be their usual loving selves.