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Adopt – don’t shop campaign has made many abandoned animals happy by giving them a new home. Adopting a pet can change the life of both the animal and the owner, which is why it’s something you should seriously consider. However, you can do an even better deed and adopt a dog that needs a bit more care and support. Disabled dogs are often the most loving, so you won’t regret any extra effort you need to put into making their life easier and happier. But there are a couple of things to think about prior to making this commitment. Here are things to consider before adopting a dog with special needs. 

Reasons why you’re adopting a dog with special needs

It can be challenging to support a disabled animal, which is why you need to have a strong reason for doing it. Giving a new home to an abandoned, disabled animal should be forever, so it’s important to understand the implications, challenges, and also all benefits of such a deed. Be sure you know why you’re adopting a dog with special needs and remember both advantages and disadvantages of owning a pet like that. Disclaimer: the biggest advantage is a ton of love you’ll receive every day from your new furry friend. Such animals can be particularly thankful and love their owners a lot. 

Your environment 

Apart from your personal reasons, you should also consider your environment. This means you should check with other family members and consider other pets you might have. Check if the dog you want to adopt is comfortable with kids or other pets. Also, if you already have another cat or dog, consider if they will accept a new animal in the house, especially the one that is a bit different. Finally, it’s important that all family members are on board with this decision. They should be willing to help you and take care of the dog when you’re at work or simply need help supporting it. A harmonious atmosphere in your home will provide better support to the animal, making sure it feels protected and loved. 

You should also consider your environment when adopting a dog with special needs

Your home

Your home is also one of the factors to consider when adopting a pet. Is your building pet friendly? Do you have enough space for the pet and its medical equipment? It’s important that you live in a building and neighborhood, that is. Make sure to prepare your home and create a safe space for your newly adopted dog so it can feel secure and peaceful as soon as it arrives. 

Your daily schedule and lifestyle 

Taking care of any kind of pet requires time and dedication. Dogs need their owners to take care of their basic needs but also play and socialization. Adopting a dog with special needs would require a bit more time and energy, which is why your lifestyle is one of the things to consider before going for it. Don’t adopt a disabled pet if you don’t have time to take care of it. If you have a busy schedule at work or travel a lot, you are probably not a suitable person to adopt a disabled pet.

Your finances 

Another important factor to consider is your finances. Owning a pet is not free, certainly if you opt for a dog with special needs. Disabled pets need extra care, medications, equipment, etc. and let’s not forget the food, toys, and other pet necessities. Also, certain animals will require a special diet, which can get costly, along with frequent vet visits. Even though you can get pet insurance, some costs will probably not be covered. It’s wise to do some research and see what insurance companies offer the best policies for the pet you decide to adopt. But the bottom line is, to provide a good life to this animal, you should have the financial means to do it. Good will is simply not enough. 

Your health 

It can be physically demanding to take care of a dog with special needs. That’s why your health is another factor to consider before you decide to adopt. Being willing to help is sometimes not enough if you’re physically unable to support the animal in need. So, if you have chronic back pain or any serious health issue, it might be difficult to be a pet owner of an animal that needs extra care and support. 

All the emotions

Taking care of a dog with special needs can get quite emotional. You need to be emotionally ready and have the right approach to adopting a dog with special needs. Considering their health, their time with you might be limited, and you need to be aware of that. Certain pet owners feel crushed long after their pet is gone, which is a huge risk of taking care of an animal. However, if you’re emotionally ready for this journey, it can be a truly wonderful experience. 

Take advice from other pet parents

If you’re unsure whether you should go and adopt a dog with special needs, take advice from the people who have experience with such animals. You can get valuable information on daily challenges but also get tips on dealing with problems easily. Consulting someone who already takes care of a disabled animal will give you more insight into what it’s like to do it. It can help you decide if you’re ready for this role and get help with some common issues of owning a disabled pet. 

Tips for keeping a dog with special needs 

If you’re just about to adopt a dog that needs extra care, we’ve got some tips that will help you provide the animal with the happiest and healthiest life possible. 

Have patience 

Dogs with special needs require a lot of love and care, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed at times. Patience is the key when adopting a pet that needs extra care. Take your time to grasp your dog’s needs so you can better enjoy your time together and truly love every step of the way. 

Get the right equipment 

There’s no need for you and your dog to struggle with everyday activities. Luckily, you can find all sorts of medical equipment and simple tools that can make playtime, walks, and other activities much easier. Do the research and see if there are things that can help you out on a daily basis. Taking care of your pet will be a lot easier, and both of you will enjoy spending time together. 

Help your dog with the hygiene 

Depending on its condition, your dog might need help with the hygiene part. Some dogs with special needs can’t clean themselves properly, so their owners need to ensure their teeth, paws, and other body parts are nice and fresh. 


Ensure their teeth, paws, and other body parts are nice and fresh.

Find activities that you can both enjoy

A usual run in the park may not be that easy for your furry friend. However, this doesn’t mean they need no exercise. Disabled dogs also need physical activity. It’s just that owners need to find things they can do, depending on the dog’s health condition. This is where consulting with other dog owners can come in handy. They can recommend and give ideas of alternative ways to keep your dog active and happy. This way, you can adapt the training to your dog’s needs and abilities and be sure your furry friends get the most out of it. 

Disabled dogs also need physical activity, and at a minimum fresh air and a change of scenery from time to time.

Maintain a routine 

Every pet enjoys a solid routine, not only the ones with special needs. Make sure you know what’s best for your dog and create a routine that you and your family members can keep up with. Creating a routine will ensure you do all it takes to cover your new pet’s needs and never forget something important. Also, in case you’re not there to do the tasks, someone else can easily pet-sit your dog if they have a written schedule with all the important notes. 

Contact a specialist

This is something you should do even before your furry friend arrives. Talk to your vet and see if they can recommend a specialist that can tell you more about the needs and abilities of that particular dog. Speaking with a professional can make the situation a lot easier, as you’ll get trusted information and tips on diet, medication, equipment, and everything else that will ensure the happy and healthy life of your special-need dog.

Finally – it’s all worth it 

It’s true that adopting a dog with special needs will be accompanied by different challenges. These can be financial, emotional, and even physical, but we’re sure they are all worth it. Owning a pet surely pays off in such a wonderful way. Animals that recognize love and support in their environment will try to give back the love as much as possible. You can gain a furry friend that will put a smile on your face every time you come back home from work. However, it’s a huge responsibility, so be sure that you’re right for the role and that you’re able to give that animal the life they deserve. 

Meta: Are you ready for a new family member? Here are things to consider before adopting a dog with special needs.

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