Whatever the reason for the disability, most pet owners readily agree that confronting a disability in their beloved pet can be incredibly heartbreaking. However, the truth is that pet owners are usually more aware of and affected by their pet’s disability than their pet is, and with the right care, their pet can still live a very happy, active and fulfilling life. The fact that they are disabled doesn’t mean that we don’t still love them, and while we may have to adjust to different standards of care we can continue to benefit from our deep bond with our pet.
Loving and Caring for a Disabled Pet
When considering how best to love and care for your disabled pet, there are some very important things to bear in mind:
- Your pet doesn’t know he’s disabled.
- Your pet doesn’t feel sorry for himself.
- Your pet is very accepting of whatever life has to offer him.
- Your pet will be glad to accept help, but may not actually need or want as much as you think he does.
- Your pet has far more patience for their condition than we will probably ever fully understand.
- Your pet knows that you love them, and loves you just as much as they ever have.
- Your pet takes each day as it comes, and appreciates whatever they can.
- Your pet doesn’t worry about “what ifs” but manages as best as they are able.
- Your pet isn’t afraid about the future.
- Your pet will try their very best to do as much as they can whenever they can, despite their disability.
- Your pet may worry about whether their needs will be met, and what their status is in the pack, both of which are things that you can reassure them about.
- Your pet will provide you with another wonderful reason to slow down and enjoy life.
In short, you can learn a lot from your disabled pet, including patience and a willingness to exist fully in and enjoy the here and now. That said, they do need more help to do the sorts of normal, natural things that other pets without disabilities can do easily on their own. Following are some simple tips for how to love and care for your disabled pet:
- Understand your pet’s disability. When you find out that your pet is suffering from a disability, use the resources at your disposal in order to learn as much as you need to in order to understand their disability. This includes consulting with your veterinarian and reading more about the disability through reputable sources. The better you understand your pet’s disability, the better you will understand what they are experiencing and what they need now, and what they will be experiencing and what they will need in the future.
- Consult with your veterinarian about various treatment options, as well as different tools or strategies that can be used to help your pet live as comfortable and natural a life as possible. This will obviously depend largely upon your pet’s disability and how it came about. For example, a pet suffering from a degenerative disease that reduces their mobility may be aided by pain medications as well as a mobility device. However, the use of either of these possible solutions needs to bear in mind that pain medications can have their own dangerous side effects and will, therefore, need to be very carefully monitored, and your pet may not actually want to use a mobility device. Consider your pet’s needs and desires when determining what course to pursue.
- Spend time with your pet. What your pet wants most from you is your companionship and love. Since they don’t normally recognize the fact that they are disabled, a separation between the two of you as a result of his disability is likely to only cause confusion and heartbreak. Perhaps he cannot run and play with you like he once did, but he won’t mind at all as long as you spend time with him. Sit next to him, pet him and talk with him, be mindful of his needs and try to meet them, and he will not only be happy, he will bring you great joy.
When it comes to loving and caring for a disabled pet, the most important thing to remember is that what they need most is your support and acceptance. Give them that, and you’ll discover that life with a disabled pet can just as, if not more so, fulfilling as a life with a pet that has no disabilities.