Aging and Disabled Family Pets

If you have ever cared for a disabled, injured or sick dog, you know the heartbreak of seeing them struggle in pain while they continue to try to please you. In the case of an aging dog, their condition seems to go in cycles. They struggle and then they snap back for a while. Our family had a beautiful and gentle collie mix named Sadie. As she got older, she began to have noticeable difficulty due to joint problems. At first it was difficult getting up and down from a lying position. Then getting up stairs was a challenge. Ultimately the long walks got shifter.

Initially we accepted it and claimed it was part of the aging process and simply tried to accommodate her with a softer bed, fewer stairs and shorewalks. When we went to our vet for advice and he recommended that we supplement her diet with a high-quality antioxidant supplement. This worked great and she was back to her old self. Finally about three years later we began to see the same problems reappear. This time our vet added a prescription medication that we used in conjuction with the antioxidant.

Once again she got better but her condition got the best of her. She still got around but with great difficulty. We wanted to help her so we got creative and fashioned assistive devices out of household items and building materials. These included a make shift sling to help get her into the car and a ramp to help her get in and out the back door. She suffered into her old age with grace and dignity and always seemed grateful for our attempts to make her life happy, fun and less painful. For many other dogs with even more severe disabilities there are commercially made products to help you with the challenge of assisting them with issues of comfort and mobility as long as possible.

Ways to help your pet may include a sling to help them get up. Be sure to never try to lift (suspend) a dog using a sling around their middle. They need to be cradled when you lift them. However you can use the sling to help them use their own strength to make things easier. You can also fashion a smaller sling or harness to be used to assist them in walking. This sling is placed around them in front of the rear legs. If you are not feeling creative there are many websites that offer quality products that can do the job such as .

For some owners and their dogs, there are even greater challenges. Some family pets have suffered an injury or illness that has left them unable to walk. For these situations there are doggie wheelchairs. Most of the time when dogs use these devices, they drag their paws and need to wear protection on their feet. Again, these can be homemade or they can be purchased. There are many choices and you will need to closely evaluate your dog's specific need and "wear pattern" that is created when they drag their paws. Dogs actually adjust remarkably well to these assistive measures once they discover their new found mobility.

Whatever your dog's needs are, they appreciate your gentle concern and encouragement. If your pet is beginning to have signs of limited mobility, please seek the help of your veterinarian. There are wonderful, healthy, holistic products on the market that can help. Many products can be found on [] that can even help in preventing discomfort and disease progress. Do not simply assume that their symptoms are a part of the aging process. They probably have many pain-free years ahead of them with the right intervention and nutritional supplements.

Enjoy your time together!