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November 30, 2021 4 min read

Helping disabled animals is a noble thing to do and is a kind act that, ultimately, involves changing lives.

However, offering help to a disabled pet requires more than love; just like with any other animal, it takes patience, effort, and hard work as well to care for a disabled one.

In this post, we’ll guide you through a few things that you need to consider when caring for animals with disabilities.

Let’s get started.

What does it mean to adopt animals with disabilities?

man and woman adopting a dog with disabilities

Disabled animals are the most challenging to adopt for shelters and groups.

Because they are special animals with disabilities that require another set of needs, they often don’t find the loving homes they require.

Many disabled animals have a range of chronic medical conditions, behavioral issues, or physical disabilities. Physical disabilities can refer to either physical distinctions or functional limitations.

dog with physical disabilities using wheels to stand on the grass and walk

What’s surprising, however, is that animals with disabilities can adapt fast to their environment as long as you play your cards right.

7 things to consider when planning to adopt an animal with disability

1) Get lots of advice.

It is always best to ask for advice or tips from other pet parents who have experience with animals with special needs.

One way you can do this is by asking professionals, such as trainers, behaviorists, rescue personnel, and even veterinarians, about which animal with a particular disability is perfect for your home.

woman getting advice from a vet before adopting a dog with disabilities

The advice you’ll receive from them will not only help you; it will especially be beneficial to the disabled animal.

After all, at the end of the day, special-needs animals are the ones that will be most affected by your decisions and environment.

You can also ask the personnel from your local shelter about the disabled animal you’re about to adopt and tips on how to take care of them.

2) Research the pet’s specific issues.

research on pet's specific disabilities

Without doing some research, it would be harmful to the special animal you are about to adopt if you remain ignorant about or unconcerned with their needs.

To avoid harming yourself and the disabled animal, it is, therefore, vital that you do some research on their specific issues and requirements beforehand. 

Doing careful research on and understanding the disability of the animal you’re planning to adopt will help you feel more confident when you’re finally in charge of their care.

pet parent in charge of taking care of her adopted disabled dog

This will also make it easier for you as a dog parent and makes you more efficient in handling them.

3) Examine your finances.

Taking care of pets is not easy on the pockets. However, animals with disabilities have special needs that may ask for more financial resources. 

Some of these needs may require you to buy important equipment and additional medicines for their condition.

financial resources are important to buy equipment needed by your disabled pet

You may even need to buy specific, vet-approved foods for their diet. Meanwhile, others may also need special training, especially those who have physical health problems.

Most often, insurance policies do not cover these disabilities. Hence, you will likely be on your own.

Still, pet health insurance may be able to help you with your financial hurdles in the future regarding your disabled pet.

In this sense, it is, therefore, crucial that you examine your financial health first to find out if you are and will truly be capable of the responsibility of caring for a disabled animal.

4) Figure out how much time and energy you’ll need to dedicate.

pet parent paying attention to disabled dog she adopted

It’s no exaggeration to say that the majority of animals like attention. This is especially applicable for animals with special needs since they require your extra attention and time.

You can’t just leave an animal with disabilities alone during their first days with you since they are still not used to their environment.

Aside from that, you may also need to have your pet undergo all the types of training that other animal companions receive, such as potty training and house training.

pet parent potty training a dog with disability

As a result, if you feel that you don’t have the time and attention to spare for an animal with disability, you should reconsider your thoughts on adopting special pets.

5) Determine whether or not you’re physically up to the task.

Taking care of disabled animal companions is not always easy. In addition to their special requirements, they will need your energy to care for and play with them, too.

playing with an adopted disabled animal

For example, a pet with spinal problems will need you to assist them while their materials are still on the way. On the other hand, if your adopted fur baby encounters problems with their wheels, you will serve as their feet.

You need to make sure that you are totally up to the task of providing care for these special animals. Otherwise, it’s best not to adopt if you’re unsure and half-hearted about it.

6) Are you emotionally and mentally ready?

emotionally and mentally ready to adopt a dog with special needs

Apart from your material and financial resources, you also need to think about yourself. After all, nothing lasts forever, and there is always a time for goodbyes.

Adopting and taking care of animals with disabilities is not only a physical act; it’s also an emotional investment and a mental activity.

Indeed, it won’t be easy, which is why you have to check your emotions and mental health time and time again to see whether you’re truly ready to have a special companion.

girl with a large breed dog

Moreover, you must be ready for future losses, especially considering that disabled animals may have limited time.

Losing a loved one, even when they have four legs, can have psychological and physical consequences, so this is something you need to expect already when you welcome special animals to your home.

7) Be honest and realistic with yourself.

an adopted dog with special needs sitting

With all the things you need to consider before adopting disabled animals, you have to be upfront with yourself about whether you can really commit to all the responsibilities there are in adopting a pet with disabilities.

You should keep in mind not just your motivations but also your reasons for giving them a forever and loving home.

After all, whatever may happen in the future will also surely affect the future of the fur babies you will adopt.