5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Fostering A Special Needs Dog

  • 26/10/2018
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Adopting and caring for a special needs dog can be a hugely rewarding experience. You’re providing an animal with a safe and comfortable home, the extra care they need, and all the love they deserve.

Rewarding as it is, caring for a special needs dog isn’t for everyone. Here are five questions you should ask yourself if you’re considering taking a special needs dog into your home.

Are you ready for the commitment of a special needs dog? 

Caring for any animal is a major commitment that lasts the lifetime of your pet. When caring for a special needs dog, you need to be prepared to put even more time and labour into being a responsible and loving pet owner.

If you adopt a dog with physical impairments, you’ll spend more time taking them to the vet, cleaning up after incontinence, administering medicine, and staying at their pace if they have mobility issues. Dogs with emotional special needs will likely need extra patience for their behavioural issues.

Special needs dogs require a high level of commitment and attention from their owners, but in return, they’ll give you as much affection and gratitude that they can.

Do you have the experience needed for a special needs dog? 

Properly caring for a special needs dog is vitally important to keep you and your animal safe. You should know the basics of dog handling and should be good at reading an animal’s behaviour. You may also need to know how to administer shots and medicine, quickly identify health issues, calm a dog with psychological special needs, and more.

Many pet adoption agencies will only release special needs animals to people who have experience caring for them. If you don’t have the needed experience, consider volunteering at your local animal shelter to become more familiar with special needs dogs and determine if owning one would be a good fit for you.

Can you afford a special needs dog?

Food, treats, toys, healthcare; owning a dog is a spendy endeavour! Special needs dogs often come with an even longer, more expensive list of needs. Medication, unexpected vet visits, and special equipment like wheelchairs or harnesses can all put a strain on your wallet.

If you are worried about the cost of owning and caring for a special needs dog, don’t lose hope. Pet insurance is one way to help cover medical costs. Additionally, in exchange for giving a special needs or senior dog a forever home, some adoption organizations will cover all the related medical costs when you adopt from them.

Does your living situation allow you to properly care for a special needs dog?

One of the most important questions to ask yourself before committing to owning a special needs animal is if your lifestyle will allow you to give it the proper care and attention it will need.

Will your work and social life keep you away from your home for long periods of time during the day? If so, how do you plan on caring for your dog? Do you travel often? Would you be able to take your dog with you, or would that be too stressful on them?

Make sure your home will be a sanctuary your special needs dog can relax and thrive in for the rest of their life. Adopting a large dog with mobility issues when you live on a top floor walk-up apartment likely won’t be a good fit. A dog with emotional special needs will likely need a quiet, peaceful home and may not cohabitate well with children or other pets.

Are you ready for the rewards of a special needs dog?

If you’re truly prepared to adopt a special needs dog, you should also be prepared for one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. A disabled pup can be just as affectionate, playful, and loyal as their healthy counterparts.

You’ll spend more time, money, and emotion caring for your special needs dog, and in return, you’ll have the pride of knowing you’re giving your dog the opportunity for a happy, healthy, safe and (relatively) normal life.

Author Bio:

Alyssa is a contributing writer for K9 Carts, a USA-made, fully-adjustable dog wheelchair company that leads the pack when it comes to pet mobility. Alyssa is based in Seattle and lives with her long-haired chihuahua, Oliver.

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