Dogs and Cats with Disabilities

Dogs and Cats with Disabilities/Senior Dogs and Cats

 Dogs

Spice, a senior dog

Spice, a senior dog

Bear

Bear is 12 years old

Senior Dogs

Dogs and Cats with Disabilities

Pete at age 17 (front)
Eloise (behind Pete)

As dogs age, what they need and are able to do physically changes over time.  Being the sole dog walker for many years has great benefits with respect to the relationship between the dog and the walker.  In becoming so familiar with a dog I walk for five days a week, year after year, I see the physical limitations and capabilities for each dog I care for.  I have years of experience offering supportive care, whether that is a dog who needs to be carried up and down stairs, using a sling to support a dog going up and down the stairs, or a slow walk that is based upon what the dog is able to do.  Older dogs need a dog walker who is paying close attention on the walk, as they are fragile, often in pain from arthritis, and falling down can lead to injuries which an older dog cannot withstand.

Dogs with Disabilities

Dogs with Disabilities

Luke-lives with epilepsy

Dogs of any age with a physical or medical disability present unique challenges to both the guardian and the dog walker.  A good working relationship and effective communication between the guardian and the dog walker is important to ensure careful monitoring of the dog’s status and also if medication is to be  given.  A good understanding of the disability and the limitations the dog struggles with is needed in order to tailor the walk to the dog’s abilities.  I have worked with dogs who are blind, deaf, partially paralyzed, dogs with epilepsy, and dogs who developed peripheral vestibular syndrome (who both recovered).

Bear Hug has asthma and hypothyroidism

Bear Hug has asthma and hypothyroidism

 

dog senior dog

Solly is 17 years old. He needs to be carried down the stairs & is very fragile.

Cats

cats medication

Daisy is 16 years old. She struggles with Hyperthroidism & a hernia; she needs liquid & transdermal medication.

cats medication

Pedro needs oral medication twice daily for his heart condition

Cats

Little Boy lived to be 18 years old

Senior Cats

Dogs and Cats with Disabilities

Willie at age 17

The same is true for cats as they age; what they are able to do changes over time, although they are not being taken out on walks.  Greater care and sensitivity is required as they become more fragile and struggle with various medical conditions, even arthritis.  Cats need to be monitored more closely as they age, and having a long term relationship with one pet sitter is once again, an important part in being able to tell what is normal and what is not.  I have worked with many cats over the years who are older; one cat I cared for many years lived to be 17, and I cared for two cats who reached the incredible age of 22.

Cats with Disabilities

Dogs and Cats with Disabilites

Bunny (spinal defect/joint fusion in hind feet)

Cats with disabilities can present various challenges for both the guardian and the pet sitter.  The cats I have cared for who have had physical disabilities needed support with eating and using the litter box.  Sometimes it was physically helping them to eat, supporting them as they ate, or assisting them as they got out of the litter box.  Often these were cats with neurological issues, or who had physical disabilities from a birth defect or being hit by a car prior to being taken in by the guardian.

Fees for work with animals with disabilities varies with the amount of time and work involved.