How to Care for a Paralyzed Dachshund

Let your dachshund enjoy the fresh air for brief, supervised periods.

Let your dachshund enjoy the fresh air for brief, supervised periods.

Your dachshund loves you, regardless of your health. Now, it's time to return the favor. The unusually long back of a dachshund is susceptible to develop intervertebral disc disease, a potentially paralyzing condition. Fortunately, caring for a paralyzed dog is only a modified version of how you previously cared for your dog.

Fit your dachshund for his own dog wheelchair or a dog-cart. This wheeled device offers a supportive harness for his rear legs that lets him to walk freely around flat surfaces without dragging his back legs. The wheelchair allows your dog to take walks, play fetch and continue enjoying the activities he did before being paralyzed. Several dog-cart companies offer grant or financial assistance programs for qualifying pet owners.

Put your dachshund in dog diapers. Incontinence doesn't just make a mess, it can exacerbate bedsores, mat hair and burn skin. Female dachshunds will only require diapers, but traditional dog diapers don't extend far enough past the penis to catch the urine of a male dog. For male dachshunds, you must wrap a belly band around your dog's waist and genitals in addition to a diaper. The interior side of a belly band has absorbent material to soak up his urine.

Replace your dachshund's old bed with an orthopedic dog bed. Although slightly more expensive, an orthopedic bed is designed to relieve the key pressure points at your dog's elbows, hips and knees. At the very least, make sure your dachshund has easy access to clean, soft bedding at all times. The softer and thicker his bedding, the less likely he is to develop pressure sores.

Bathe your dachshund at least once a week. Diapers and belly bands limit the mess, but they don't prevent your dog's waste from touching his skin and matting his hair. In addition to changing his diapers regularly, you should give him a good scrubbing each week with mild shampoo. If his skin appears dry, limit the bathing process to his rear quarters.

Items you will need

  • Dog wheelchair
  • Dog diapers
  • Orthopedic bed

Tips

  • Try to keep your dachshund's post-paralysis life as similar as possible to his pre-paralysis life as possible. Take him for walks in the park in his wheelchair, carry him along the beach or through a nature trail. He'll enjoy the visual stimulation and activity of being outside the house.
  • Arrange your dog's lower half in a different position every few hours to avoid pressure sores.

Warnings

  • Don't allow your dachshund to drag his rear legs along the carpet. This can lead to rug-burn and infected sores.
  • Don't leave your dachshund unattended outside. Being paralyzed and close to the ground makes him a living buffet for flies, fleas and ticks. It also means he's unable to defend himself against any larger animals, such as woodchucks or foxes.
 

About the Author

Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.

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