Caring for a sick canine can be incredibly emotionally painful, particularly when that sickness seems to impact the dog’s quality of life. How can you tell whether or not a dog is really happy?
At K9 Carts, we’ve made it our mission to help pets struggling with mobility issues. Paralysis is one such issue that can drastically affect a pet’s daily activities. Some pet parents view paralysis as a tipping of the scales, a point at which their dog can no longer enjoy life. But that isn’t necessarily true. So, what is the truth? Can a paralyzed dog live a happy life?
The short answer—it depends on the dog’s individual condition and unique health needs. Overall, it’s very possible for a paralyzed or partially paralyzed dog to continue to live a full, happy life. Mobility aids like wheelchairs for paralyzed dogs and handheld slings can allow canines to regain mobility, improving their mood, returning their independence, and ultimately giving them a new lease on life! Let’s dive deeper into the potential quality of life of paralyzed dogs.
Causes and Severity of Paralysis in Dogs
Certain diseases and health conditions can lead to different levels and severity of paralysis in canines. Sometimes, a dog may slowly lose the use of her back legs, eventually resorting to dragging herself around using her front limbs. That dog just wants to move, but this can cause further damage to the spine and back legs. Other illnesses may result in total limb weakness, leaving your dog completely incapable of moving around on her own.
Here are a few causes of paralysis in dogs:
- Degenerative myelopathy (DM)
- Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
- Cancerous tumors affecting the spine or brain
- Tick paralysis
- Spinal trauma
- Canine distemper
Is My Paralyzed Dog Happy?
Loss of mobility can lead to depression and further health issues for your pup, such as obesity. Before making any difficult decisions, you should consult your vet to fully understand your dog’s condition, as well as to agree on a treatment plan. Depending on the cause of paralysis, your canine may respond to rehabilitation, remain stable, or continue to lose the use of his limbs.
To understand your dog’s current lifestyle and level of happiness, it can be helpful to monitor his behavior and compare it to how he acted when he was fully mobile. Ask yourself questions like:
- Does my dog eat an appropriate amount?
- Is he energized or lethargic?
- Does he still show interest in playing or going for walks?
- Is he experiencing discomfort or pain?
- Does he appear alert?
- Is he acting like his “usual self,” or does he seem “off?”
Often, paralyzed or partially paralyzed dogs are still perfectly capable of living a comfortable, happy life. They continue to show interest in playing, they’re alert and excited when they see you, and they maintain a healthy appetite.
If your vet verifies that your dog isn’t in pain and he’s just having trouble getting around, it’s time to look into mobility aids that can expand your dog’s range of motion and allow him to continue to enjoy life by your side.
Wheelchairs for Paralyzed Dogs
With a few lifestyle changes, most paralyzed dog can regain some or full mobility. This can drastically improve their happiness—and yours, too! At K9 Carts, we create customized carts for paralyzed dogs and other pets experiencing partial and full limb weakness. If your dog is a good candidate for a cart, we’ll get him or her moving again!
Dogs experiencing rear limb weakness or who need rehabilitation after surgery are best suited to our rear support wheelchair, which is designed to hold the back in alignment, reducing stress, aiding in recovery, and helping to prevent further injury. And for dogs with strong front limbs that will eventually weaken, we offer a front support kit that can transform any of our rear support carts into a fully supportive wheelchair.
Dogs with limb weakness in the front and hind legs may require a full support wheelchair from the beginning. These carts are fully adjustable and can be set with moderate or full support, depending on your dog’s needs. All of our carts are carefully designed to relieve stress and promote decompression of the spine, making your pup more comfortable and able to move around once more.
Improve Quality of Life with K9 Carts
Your dog could very clearly have plenty of energy and excitement left in him, and the only thing holding him back is his paralysis. We’re passionate about equipping dogs and other pets with the mobility aids necessary to regain their happiness and quality of life, allowing them to live out their remaining years comfortably by your side. Reach out today for more information on how our customized carts for paralyzed dogs can get your furry friend up and active again.