Taking Care of an Invalid Dog

Thickly padded bedding is essential on a hard floor.
i Collie Dog on Dog Bed image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com

Whether your dog is aging or he otherwise suffers from limited mobility, his condition requires special attention and sensitive care. Your invalid pooch now relies entirely on you to fulfill his basic necessities. Caring for your elderly or sick dog isn't difficult, but it does require anticipating his needs.

Soft Bedding

An invalid dog can't move to a soft sofa when he feels uncomfortable. Thin bedding leads to bedsores and painfully aching joints. An orthopedic dog bed is best. If money is tight, however, you can also purchase three old comforters or six thinner blankets from a thrift store. Fold the covers on top of each other and place your pooch on top of the stack. Wash his bedding once a week, or more if he has open sores. If he's unable to roll over on his own, turn his body over every two hours to prevent bedsores.

Easy Access

Your invalid dog needs easy access to his food and water. For some dogs this will mean placing his food and water bowls a few inches from their bed. Your invalid dog shouldn't be constantly eating, but it's important to never restrict his access to clean water, often done to reduce urination inside the house. Limiting water, especially in older invalid dogs, can cause death within a few days through kidney failure and electrolyte imbalances.

Assistive Items

Your dog always wants to please you, but expecting too much of your invalid dog can further deteriorate his health. Instead of asking him to jump into the car or dragging him up the stairs, use a ramp or small dog-stairs to help him navigate vertical distances. Invalid dogs are prone to slipping and falling on flat, seemingly harmless surfaces such as linoleum and wood. Allow him to navigate these slippery surfaces comfortably by placing foam cupboard mats in a path on the floor so that he can walk slowly without further injuring himself.


If your dog can't relive himself outdoors, bodily waste sits on at least part of his body. Without proper cleaning, urine and feces can burn skin and fur, leading to painful bacterial infections on his already wounded body. You don't have to give him a full bath every time he does his business indoors, but you should gently suds him down with some puppy shampoo and warm water. Afterward, pat his skin dry and give him clean bedding so he's not sitting in his own waste.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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