When you have a special needs dog in your home, such as a paralyzed dog, you know that they are limited in the type of activities they can participate. It may be difficult to come up with a strategy to keep them engaged in life. But do not despair, there are several activities they can do to keep them happy, healthy and loving life. Even though their bodies do not work as well as they should, their mind is still sharp and they need to be able to participate in life.
Paralyzed dogs will need physical therapy when they first become paralyzed as a part of their treatment plan. However, you should continue their physical therapy throughout their life as a way to create a strong bond and keep them engaged in their surroundings. Physical therapy should include massage because this will relax your dog. It will also help your dog’s muscles from atrophying too quickly. Learn from your veterinarian the various physical therapy techniques that you can do at home. It can be pricey when taking your dog to an animal physical therapist, so anything you can do at home will help cut some of the costs. Some exercises you can do at home with your dog include stimulating the feet, massage, and passive range of motion. However, do not perform any exercise without first consulting your veterinarian.
The great thing about hydrotherapy is that it can be done almost anywhere there is a body of water. Small dogs can have their hydrotherapy sessions in a bathtub and larger dogs can be put in a hot tub, lake or pool. Hydrotherapy is a special form of physical therapy and allows a paralyzed dog to exercise all of their body even if they are paralyzed. Never leave your dog alone in the water. If they are in a larger body of water, fit them for a life vest to help them when swimming. There are specialized facilities for dogs to participate in hydrotherapy. You can ask your veterinarian for a referral to a pet rehabilitation facility.
A dog that is paralyzed still has the mental abilities of a dog that is not paralyzed. They still need things that will keep their mind active or they will become extremely bored and can cause problems in the home. Your dog will love spending time with puzzle toys, searching for ways to get the treats hidden inside. Some puzzles are harder than others; therefore, start out with an easy puzzle so they can get the hang of the concept. A rubber Kong filled with treats is a great starter puzzle for your dog. The price for these puzzle toys will vary and some rather industrious DIYers can make their own puzzles for their dogs. Puzzle toys will help your dog feel like they have truly accomplished something great when they finally get the hidden treat.
is simply teaching your dog to touch a designated target with their nose or
foot to get a reward. This is another way to keep your paralyzed dog’s mental
abilities sharp and keep them from becoming bored or destructive. It is easy to
teach targeting to your dog and is relatively a cheap activity that can be done
Invest in wheels for your paralyzed dog and head out for a walk around the neighborhood. Trying to keep their routine as normal as possible is essential to keeping your paralyzed dog upbeat and ready to conquer the world. Wheels can be a bit pricey for your dog, but are well worth the investment to give them their independence.
Do not give up on your paralyzed dog. Their life has been dramatically changed, but if you remain upbeat and happy, they will follow your lead. Find activities that work their minds and make them feel like a normal dog. A permanently paralyzed dog should never be a hardship on their family, therefore, find ways that help them be mobile, happy and healthy including physical therapy, wheelchairs and mental stimulation.