Coping with DM. How to help your dog and yourself
When you first get that potential DM diagnosis, it can be quite a shock and so many things can run through your mind. How will we cope? How long will I have my dog and how soon until my baby loses the use of his legs (goes 'down in the back')? what will we do to deal with urinary and fecal incontinence? What kind of equipment will we need? Most people do not know where to start, but you are not alone, the good news is that there is support out there and quite a lot of places now deal with equipment for handicapped pets.
Carts: Carts or wheelchairs, for dogs are a great way to help your dog cope with DM once the hind legs can no longer bear weight. A word of advice is to not wait for your dog to go down (lose the use completely of the rear legs) before measuring for a cart. Many cart companies custom build carts and accurate measurements are needed. It is much easier to measure and get accurate measurements if your dog can still stand as you take measurements. Each cart company is different so be sure to check with them on how you should measure your dog. There are many cart companies that exist and to help make a decision on which company to choose, look at return policies, costs, what you want in a cart, options to equip it as a quad cart, customer service and ease of use. every dog is different and a brand that works for one dog may not be what your dog is comfortable with.
Harnesses: As with carts, there are many harness options that you can choose from. Do not towel walk your dog, meaning using a towel or sling to lift from the belly. this can put pressure on internal organs and cause them to urinate if pressure is put on the bladder. Choose a harness that supports the entire pelvis and try to choose a harness that will see your dog through the progressive stages of DM. There are companies that make harness for both the front and back end and will see your dog through the entire course of DM.