Being a Great Dog Parent, Even with Parkinson’s

dog parent even with parkinson's

We all know how Parkinson’s fighters struggle at finishing daily tasks and require help at some point. What’s important to know is how dogs can be of a great help here.

Today, service dogs are commonly trained to help Parkinson’s fighters. Pooping on command, picking things up and handing them over, pulling a wheelchair, opening a door, and operating light switches make any Parkinson’s fighter’s life easier and more independent. They are trained to perform a variety of tasks, be it mitigating freezing by nudging a leg or assisting in dressing and undressing by fetching clothes. Besides, running around with a dog qualifies as an exercise that can help reduce loneliness, depression and stress instilled by the disease.

That being said, having a pet is a responsibility. Despite being a trained companion, he still needs your attention and care to thrive and be energetic all day long. This blog can help you be a good ‘dog pawrent’ and fight Parkinson’s together with your furry friend. Here is a step-by-step guide:

1. Keep his plates full of nutrition

Different dogs have different dietary needs. For this, observe your pet carefully and have regular sessions with the vet to understand what is it exactly that he needs. Keep a good mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian, dry and wet food in the diet as everything has its own benefits. Also, remember that excess of anything is bad.

2. Ensure a comfortable bed

Just like you love to relax on your super comfortable mattress at the end of a tiring day, your dog wishes the same. A dog bed should be soft and cozy so that he can fall asleep easily. Always buy a bed keeping in mind the size of your dog. Smaller beds tend to annoy dogs and they might try to bite them off or climb onto your bed if they are not satisfied with their own.

3. Get him useful toys

Toys can help decrease stress and create a fun environment for the pet. They are also a good way to distract the pet and help him focus on something positive. Get him a lot of toys, especially calcium bones and other chew toys. Toys which can be chewed help reduce biting in young dogs, clean up their teeth and are also a good source of calcium.

4. Be careful about allergies

Is your dog licking his foot too much? Or is he whining too much out of the blue? An allergy could be a reason for such behavior! Though it is difficult to identify the allergens, there are certain symptoms (such as chewing feet, hair loss, swollen paws, sneezing and running nose) you can always look out for. Luckily, special chew toys are available that help prevent the tartar buildup and eliminate bad breath.

5. Manage anxiety efficiently

As owners, we need to be aware of any changes in the mood and behavior of pets because any alteration could be an indication of something being wrong.

If you see that the pet has chewed on or broken something out of his anxiety, do not react impulsively. Hold on to aggression and punishment. Scolding intensifies anxiety in dogs. If anxiety is triggered by the presence of unfamiliar people, ask them to give the pet treats. This can help connect the stimulus with reward rather than anxiety.

6. Plan an outing

One of the best ways to pamper your pets is to take them out once in a while. Take your dog for a bath, nails’ clean-up and body massages at a dog spa near you. Heading to a spa is clearly one of the best ways to give your pooch the much needed relaxation. After all, helping you with daily activities can be tiring.

7. Regular check-ups  

As pet parents, you just need to be mindful of certain things to give your pet a happy and healthy life. Proper vaccination (and anti-tick treatment) followed up with boosters every year ensure that your pet is protected from diseases like Rabies, Distemper and other canine and feline infections.

This Blog is contributed by Dr. Deepak Kr. Nain. He is a certified therapist who specializes in the field of rehabilitation. Deepak possesses a clinical expertise in prescribing the best solutions to help people with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS).

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