When you hear the words “special needs”, you usually think of an adult or child with a disability. The truth is, dogs can have special needs too. They can suffer physical injuries, genetic disabilities, such as blindness or deafness, illness such as diabetes, heart problems or thyroid problems. Dogs can also suffer from emotional problems that are just as debilitating as a physical ailment. A physical illness or injury usually requires a specific treatment or cure, while emotional problems are often harder to understand.
Emotional problems can actually be more difficult to deal with than physical problems. These problems are caused by abuse or neglect. Lack of socialization causes dogs to become fearful of people and new situations. Some dogs respond to fear by aggression and some cower and hide. Physical abuse is easier to see, and the broken bones or cuts and bruises can be fixed, but the emotional scars take longer to heal.
Today it is possible to find help for any kind of special needs a dog may have. There are products available to make life better for your four-legged friend. For physical disabilities you can find wheelchairs, lifts, ramps, boots, orthotics, and the list goes on. You can buy a helmet for your pooch and take him for massage or acupuncture. If your dog suffers from a long term illness like diabetes or heart problems, there are many medications that can prolong the quality of life for your best friend.
The most important thing to know is that there are many special needs dogs of all kinds in shelters and rescues everywhere. They need a home and family and love even more than the cute puppies. There is plenty of support for people with special needs dogs. Before you make a decision to adopt or buy a dog, please consider if you are the special family to give a special needs dog a loving home.