Dogs with disabilities

If caring for your dog has become difficult because of weakness, here are some suggestions for strengthening your physical resources:

1. When it comes time for your dog to visit the veterinarian, investigate mobile veterinarians who will come to your house to see your pet. Mobile veterinarians are especially helpful if you have large dogs or several pets.

The mobile veterinarian can check on all of the pets at one time and give each one his annual vaccinations in one visit. Check the Yellow Pages of your telephone directory under Veterinarians for listings.

2. If you must have your dog groomed, contact a groomer who operates a mobile facility and, like mobile veterinarians, will come to your home to conduct the necessary grooming.

3. If you need help giving your dog medicine, fluids, or shots, ask your veterinarian if he or she knows of anyone who will make home visits. If not, contact local pet-sitters to find ones who will assist you. Many pet-sitters are trained to perform these functions for the sick pet for owners who cannot perform them for themselves or for owners when they are away.

4. When feeding and watering your dog, use large bowls so that you don’t have to refill them as often.

5. Ask a friend or neighbor to divide your dog’s food into smaller containers so that you can lift what you need more easily.

6. To play with your dog, use flashlights or laser pointers. Dogs love chasing the light, and you won’t have to make a move.

7. If you have difficulty performing basic functions for yourself, investigate the use of a service or assistance dog. Assistance dogs are trained to help people with physical limitations perform their everyday functions. Assistance dogs are accepted in public places just as guide dogs and hearing dogs are.

8. If you are planning to get a dog, find one with an activity level that is less than yours. Dogs do a great job forcing their owners to get exercise and fresh air each day, but an overly active dog can be a handful when your energy hits bottom. Before adopting or purchasing a dog, investigate the breed characteristics and think twice about bringing home one of the more active breeds.

9. A dog, even a small one, may be able to pull the leash out of your hand or even pull you to the ground if you suffer from weakness. Walking your dog in ice or snow may be completely out of the question. As an alternative, use a radio collar as a virtual leash when your dog needs to go outside to potty In time and with practice, you may not have to activate the radio collar because your dog will know the spatial boundaries you have set.