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Caring for your Disabled Dog

Sweet Pea and Daisy, paralyzed dogs

Sweet Pea, a paralyzed pitbull and Daisy, a paralyzed dachshund, the mascots of Eddie's Wheels for Pets

As caregivers for eight different disabled dogs over the past twenty years, we have come up with strategies and alterations to our lifestyle to accommodate the needs of our special needs pups.   We’ve learned alot from experience, and we’ve learned alot from our thousands of wonderful customers who have shared their experiences with us.  I’ll be blogging about different topics from time to time about what it’s like to live with a disabled paralyzed dog.

Everyone worries about toileting.  Even the dog worries – she doesn’t want a nasty bed any more than you do.  And she’s worried about trying to squat and landing in her own waste.  Some semi-mobile dogs, who are ataxic but managing to wobble around, just give up even trying to assume the squatting posture to defecate.  In a wheelchair, dogs can urinate and defecate without having to squat, and in our carts, waste generally does not land on the saddle.  If it does, the saddle is easily washed with household cleaner like Dawn or Fantastik.

Maintaining a healthy bladder is important for dogs with neurological deficits.  It’s hard for some dogs to maintain a constant urine stream.  Some dogs dribble, others retain their urine.  Your vet can show you how to manually express your dog’s bladder, by gently applying pressure on the bladder when the dog starts to urinate.  I used to express Daisy directly into the toilet bowl.  As long as I did this as a normal routine, 3-4 times a day, she rarely had UTI’s.   With Sweet Pea, the simple act of lifting her in front of her rear legs to put her in her cart will often cause her to urinate.  So we do this over a linoleum floor or outside, or over a pee pad.   Taking control over urination has the added benefit of acquainting you with the smell and color of healthy urine – if it stinks or is dark, call your vet right away and get your pet on antibiotics.

Poop happens.  And wherever it happens,  polite and responsible pet owners are obliged to pick it up.Watch this video – Poop Happens   Which brings me to the subject of diapers.  Doggie diapers are great when you’re out in public, at a friends house or traveling.    We like the pretty diapers made by Sam’s Dog Hut and we also like the washable ones made by Pooch Pads.

In the photo above, Sweet Pea and Daisy are on their Kuranda bed.  Lots of animals shelters and rescues use Kuranda beds because they are a cot, with a washable cover.  It stands a couple of inches off the floor, so it’s hard for a paralzyed dog to crawl on to, but the advantage is that all urine will seep through and your dog won’t be in a urine scalding nasty bed.  Put a shower curtain, plastic tray or pee pads beneath the bed.    We also like the bed that Pooch Pads makes – it’s cushy and the absorbent cover is washable and wicks urine away from your pet’s skin, while completely protecting the body of the bed.

To banish odors and sanitize your living space, we found Natural Touch All Purpose Cleaner to work the best.  It’s highly concentrated and can be for surfaces and laundry.

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