7 Products to Help Senior or Disabled Dogs Get Back on Their Paws

bulldog in booties and a vest
Photo by Dr. Patty Khuly
Vince wearing dog booties. 

I love to write about my Vincent. Not only does my eight-year-old French Bulldog possess the irresistible looks, comic charm and characteristic moxie of his breed, he’s aging and disabled too. Which, I'll advance at the risk of sounding a tad insensitive, makes him the perfect poster child for so many of veterinary medicine’s modern advances. Over the years Vincent has taught me a lot about being a veterinarian. Mostly, that’s because I’ve had to live through the correction of his many congenital deformities, meanwhile ministering directly to his chronic dermatologic condition, bulldoggy respiratory problems, and general state of spinal decline. What can I say? Vincent’s vet troubles are enough to challenge a whole team of veterinarians (and they often do).

A Common Canine Condition

Despite the many categories of debilitation he might well represent, for the sake of this post, Vincent will serve as an epitome for just one discrete area of his life: his inability to walk like most dogs do. Like so many who suffer from spinal disease, generalized weakness, or simple old-age decline, he’s simply unable to get his legs to listen to what his brain is desperately trying to tell them.

This communication gap is shockingly common, especially among the geriatric and arthritic, and leads to a variety of signs dog people should be on the lookout for as their pets progress through life:

  • Difficulty rising, jumping and climbing stairs
  • Loss of muscle mass on the hind limbs (“skinny” legs)
  • Slipping on floors
  • Paws “knuckling” under while walking
  • Legs crossing while walking
  • “Shaky” limbs
  • Hopping with the rear limbs when running

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