Certain illnesses and incidents to a dog might cause paralysis. Auto accidents, for instance, can damage an animal’s nervous system, leading to partial or complete paralysis. If your dog has recently been through such a problem, then you should expect big changes. Most of the time, the dog will have no qualms about his paralysis, and will try to adjust. The big effort will be on your end.
Make him feel loved. First and foremost, try to make your dog feel more loved than before. Give him attention. Talk to him. Touch his fur. It will be important during these difficult times that he feels he has someone he can count on.
Consult with the veterinarian. Before trying any treatment or therapy, consult with your vet regarding options you can take. Animals that suffer complete paralysis might have difficulty functioning. In these cases, it might be more humane to put him to sleep. If the paralysis is only partial, though, then your vet might be able to suggest equipment such as dog carts.
Get a dog cart. Dog carts are like wheelchairs for canines. After an accident or illness, your dog’s front legs might still be functional and strong. If this is the case, your dog will greatly benefit from exercise both physically and psychologically. Dog cart manufacturers like k9carts.com and doggon.com would be able to provide various models, depending on the size of your dog.
Use dog diapers. Paralyzed dogs will usually have incontinence problems. Keep in mind that your dog will be unable to do its business like normal. You will need canine diapers so he won’t make a mess around your house (you can get these from carealotpets.com). In case he does soil your floor or carpet, use vinegar mixed with warm water to clean up and deodorize.
Buy an orthopedic bed. Paralyzed animals will usually be able to drag their bodies around. This exerts extra pressure on the parts being dragged around, though, such as the hips, and hind legs, causing bed sores. Get your dog an orthopedic bed, which lessens the stress on his hind parts. Some good resources online include greatcompanions.com and inthecompanyofdogs.com.
Use physical therapy. Physical movement does wonders to injured muscles. If your dog doesn’t move around, his muscles will atrophy and eventually lose function. You can consult your vet if he knows a physical therapist for dogs. Otherwise, you can do physical therapy yourself. Lightly massage your dog’s paralyzed limbs. Move these around their natural range of motion for about five to ten minutes a day. You can also walk your dog around, supporting him with a sling or harness from the rear. You might have to use an additional leash, for guiding and “steering” him around.
Keep him clean. Paralyzed dogs might need extra care when it comes to cleanliness. Firstly, incontinence leads to soiled and wet diapers. Give him more frequent baths than usual. You can also use baby wipes for spot cleaning.
Give your dog the care, love and attention he deserves. Being paralyzed means he has special needs. He will love you all the same, and will be more dependent on you for a lot of things.