Monday, October 4, 2010

Caring For A Paralyzed Dog

Since my own family includes a special needs Dachshund, Greta, I know firsthand that paralyzed dogs can enjoy fantastic, fulfilling lives, so don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise! Dogs with impaired mobility do require some extra care, however. Here are some tips to help keep your paralyzed dog happy, healthy, and comfortable:


Warm baths can be wonderfully therapeutic for paralyzed dogs. If your pooch is small (like our paralyzed Dachshund, Greta), you can easily do hydrotherapy at home in the bathtub. Greta takes baths several times a week for about 30 minutes at a time. These soaking sessions help to stimulate her circulation and diminish joint strain by making her back legs buoyant. For large dogs, there are an increasing number of hydrotherapy centers around the country. Click here for a list of providers who are registered with the Association of Canine Water Therapy.

Skin Care

When a dog's back legs are immobilized and they sit/lay in the same position for long periods of time, they become susceptible to sores and skin ulcers. Therefore, it's essential to provide plenty of padding for your pooch. Our paralyzed Dachshund Greta has a number of different beds in order to keep her comfortably cushioned throughout the day and night. Click here for more information about preventing bed sores and skin ulcers.

Bladder Expression

Paralyzed dogs typically don't have bladder control, so it's necessary to manually empty their bladders by expressing them. The thought of doing this several times a day can be incredibly daunting to those with newly paralyzed pets, but I can assure you that it becomes very easy over time and it's really no big deal! Handicapped Pets has step-by-step instructions for expressing a dog's bladder and you can also click here for a previous post that details my own method for Greta.

Assisted Mobility

Many paralyzed dogs are great candidates for wheelchairs and there are a number of excellent companies that specialize in creating carts for dogs with disabilities. Since no one knows your pooch better than you do, you can also build a custom set of wheels for your best friend. Check out Handicapped Pets' DIY dog wheels page for instructions and templates.


Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog said...

What a wonderful post about care of paralyzed pets- and Greta is oh, so cute!
May I offer your readers another wonderful resource for paralyzed pets? It is a DVD (only $3.00) that covers the care of dogs with Intervertebral Disc Disease (like my dog Frankie has) and in the DVD there is excellent instruction on expressing the bladder, along with many other helpful tips. It can be found at Very well worth the $3.00

Thank you for all you do to help paralyzed pets! Hugs to Greta!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, wonderful post!

I'll point your readers to another great resource too. Our friend has written a book, "My Dog Has Fallen and Can't Get Up," which chronicles the rehab therapy her dog went through after suffering from a spinal embolism and paralysis. It's a wonderful book with lots of good tips for people who find themselves suddenly faced with this situation.

Thanks for all you do, keep it up!

P.S. We'll be having a Northern California Tripawds meet up in November, it would be so nice to meet you!

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trey lange said...

the vet is telling me that my 7 year old pug will never walk or pee on his own again. he has blown discs in his spine from an accident while playing too roughly with my others. the vet recommends euthanasia but i don't think that i can do that. he is my favorite and has so much energy and life in him usually that i can't bring myself to cut him short of any life that he has left, but at the same time my life is complicated enough and work keep me away from home for long periods. what can i do? i am so upset and this is killing me.

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