What You Should Know About Adopting A Special Needs Dog

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Since there are many dogs available for adoption, it’s often the youngest, cutest and most low-maintenance pups who get taken home, while the others are left to a life in a shelter. Of course, adopting a special needs dog isn’t always easy, but if you have the time and experience to deal with a pup who needs a bit more TLC then it can be a very rewarding thing. There are all kinds of special needs that a dog might have, from a minor medical condition to a missing leg to a complex behavioral issue. If you’ve decided to adopt a dog, do consider adopting one with special needs, who might not otherwise find a loving, forever home.

What Defines a Special Need?

There’s no strict definition of a special need when it comes to dogs. In a loose sense, it’s any pup who requires just that little bit of extra care or attention. A special needs dog might be missing a leg or an eye, he could be deaf or blind, he might have a minor chronic condition that requires medication, he may have some behavioral problems, such as aggression toward other dogs or separation anxiety. These aren’t bad or even necessarily difficult dogs, just ones who need a little bit of extra love and attention.

Why Adopt a Special Needs Dog?

People’s reasons for choosing to adopt a special needs dog can vary greatly. One common denominator seems to be that it’s a worthwhile thing to do. Many dogs with special needs never find a permanent home and will end up staying in a shelter for the remainder of their days. Depending on what kind of shelter they’re in, they may even end up being euthanized. If you are able to take on a dog with special needs, you’ll be greatly improving his life and providing him with a well-deserved home. However, you shouldn’t feel obliged to take home a special needs pup. Not everyone has the time or inclination to look after these sorts of dogs, so you shouldn’t force it if it doesn’t feel right for you.

Do I Have to be an Expert to Adopt a Special Needs Dog?

No, you don’t have to be an expert, but you may have to be willing to learn a thing or two. Depending on the specific dog’s needs, some pups may be suited to a more experience home or an owner who has dealt with a dog with medical or behavioral issues in the past, but for the most part anyone can adopt a special needs dog. Certain dogs might also be unsuitable for homes where they would be left for more than a couple of hours at a time, so this may depend on your circumstances.

What About Extra Veterinary Bills?

Depending on the dog you want to adopt and his specific needs, he may need to have additional veterinary treatment for the rest of his life or take expensive medication. In cases such as these, the shelter may agree to pay for this treatment on an ongoing basis. They may also agree to pay for training classes or doggy psychologists for animals with behavioral issues. Of course, if you do have the spare cash to pay for the treatment yourself, then this would take the financial burden off the shelter. If you’re worried about the cost of adopting a dog with extra veterinary needs, then it’s best to talk to the shelter and work out the specifics.

loznnolaLauren Corona is a freelance writer from merry old England. She specializes in writing about dogs and other critters. Lauren lives near Oxford, with her gorgeous Doberman, Nola. When she’s not tapping away at the keyboard, you’ll find her walking in the woods with Nola-dog, raising money for the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, cooking vegan food, making zines and writing about herself in the third person.