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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Exercise Part VIII - Special Needs

Several years ago, I fostered a little Poodle mix named Tiffany. She had some type of back injury and vet's orders were no exercise at all (no walks).  I didn't want her sitting in a cage 24/7, so I bought her a doggie stroller.

She LOVED cruising in that thing. She would sit up, lean slightly forward, and gaze ahead with a determined look on her face - as if she were steering the stroller with her mind. Whenever we'd stop, she rock and bark - as if to say, "let's get going!"

Well, technically  she wasn't exercising. But she was getting mentally stimulated. She got to experience all sorts of sites, sounds, and smells..  And her buddy, Louie (my other foster dog) walked along beside her stroller.

Tiffany used a doggie carriage because she was injured.  Some dog's bodies just give out long before their minds do. This is a heart-warming picture of a man pushing his senior dog in a wheel chair. Some people might use wagons or doggie slings or simply carry their dogs in their arms.

Carriers are just one way to help special needs dogs get out and about. Some dogs get special wheel chairs.. some even get prosthetics.

Also see, How To Treat An Old Dog

Water is a great way to keep muscles toned and keep pressure off the joints at the same time. This picture of Shep and his Dad went viral a few months ago.  Shep got to spend time in a warm lake, but there are veterinary facilities that have under water treadmills for dogs.  Ask your vet for a referral if you think it's something that might help your companion.

Get assistance from a specialist before using strollers, wheel chairs, prothetics, under water exercise equipment, etc..

Make sure strollers are fully enclosed and do not leave a dog in a stroller unattended. The strollers that sit closer to the ground are probably safer.
Clipping the dog's harness to the inside of the stroller (as a backup) might also be a good idea. Just keep an eye on the dog to make sure he/she doesn't get tangled.
Keep at least one hand on the stroller at all times - don't let it roll away or topple over.
Some dogs might need to be acclimated to a stroller.  Use the same techniques one might use for crate acclimation.

An enclosed stroller might be a bit safer than other wheeled apparatuses.  But if you do use wagons, wheeled chairs, and such, strap your dog in with a harness.

See other posts on exercise.

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  1. What if we're both in a wheelchair at the same time? Maybe I can get an electric one and pull him beside me (although he always insists on being in front). Or maybe the other one can pull us both. Thanks for the post and the video and pic!

    1. Good question. Your pup could probably ride in your lap. If he is small, perhaps in a sling or other doggie holder while in your lap.
      Or maybe a side car for the wheel chair. Or use a larger chair and let the pup have a spot next to you in the chair.