Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dogs In Strollers - Part 2

I love the response I received from my dogs in strollers post yesterday! Great responses! I love it. Keep it coming. I won't retract my statement because it is what I believe, however, I will clarify a little. I will agree that some people buy these strollers for their dogs who have physical disabilities. Most people who buy them, however, do not have dogs with disabilities and most are not old.

On Sunday of this weekend I was at PIJAC which is a Pet Trade Show in Mississauga, ON. While there, I saw four people with dogs in strollers ...

The first was a dog who was barking and lunging at people as they walked by. When asked, the lady replied that her dog was 3 y/o.

The second was a lady with three Chi's in the stroller and one on a leash outside the stroller. All of these dogs were dressed up in clothing. I did not stop to speak with her. They were crawling all over each other trying to get out but they were strapped in so they couldn't.

The third had two Shih Tzus (or Shih-mixes). These dogs were nice and quiet until a dog on a leash walked by ... then all hell broke loose!! The stroller dogs were leaping at the dog on the leash without regard for the plastic cover, which was the only barrier between the dogs. I shudder to think what would have happened to that poor, goofy St. Bernard if those Shih Tzus had broken through the plastic.

This comment stuck out for me from yesterday's post ... the only people that think using a dog stroller is silly, are those that have not had an older dog or a disabled dog in their lives

Well, I think a stroller is silly and I have had older dogs who have age related disabilities (unable to walk/move around, etc). I stated in my reply that there are many other ways to assist an older dog with arthritis that does not affect the ability of the dog to interact with the rest of the world, nor do they affect the ability of the dog to be a dog.

Do you realize that all of my dogs get old too?? My last dog lived until she was 15; the one before that was 18 when she died. Neither of them spent any time in a stroller but each of them had medical problems. One couldn't walk well (would lose her balance and fall over - often required our assistance to get up and move around) and was on heart medications for years. One had tumors that affected her walking (though we weren't able to remove them) so walking and running was difficult and painful for her - that didn't stop her.

Instead, I changed the way I cared for my older dogs - I did not expect them to take super-long walks with me; instead they were taken for multiple short walks. They spent time with the family but we brought dog beds wherever we took our older gals just in case they needed a rest. When our dogs get old, we need to change the way we care for them. They need special food and special treatment. They soak up the extra love. Sometimes they get scared when their hearing goes or when their vision is impaired by cataracts.

Perhaps I will write a post about care of older dogs in the near future. I think people don't realize that caring for an older dog is different than caring for a younger one. Just buy them the senior dog food, right? Well ... that's a good place to start but definitely not where it ends.

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*Amber* aka Suzy SINsation said...

I have seen strollers used appropriately (blind & deaf doxie with previous back problems) who was a super sweet dog that loved meeting new people.

I have also seen strollers used so that the owners don't have to train their dogs - especially prevalent are the lunging dogs.

I have a 12 year old english bulldog who doesn't get around so well any more (and is mostly deaf and blind in one eye), and have thought about training her to ride in a wagon as she still enjoys outings when it's cool enough. :)

Granite State Pet Sitting said...

We have a lady in the neigborhood who walks her two dogs in a stroller. It Cracks me up! They are both young dogs, 4 years of age, she saids that they don't like to walk. I think some people are afraid that their dog might get attacked or get out of their collar. I think a stroller for a dog is a little on the crazy side. All dogs need Exercise no matter the age,Even if it is a super short walk.

kMiga said...

I believe in some practical use of mechanical aids for dogs with mobility problems, but young dogs should interact with the world outside, with other pets and with people, and above all they should get plenty of exercise.

I often see some overly-energetic dogs being walked on a lead, when we have nearby places where they can run in freedom, if previously taught to play on the pavement and not to dart onto the streets. These owners tell me they do not dare to free their dogs for fear of them running away. Truth is if these people called their dogs they would not know what was expected of them, because they were never taught to come...

I have an older dog and would love to read your articles and views on this subject. My dog has back (and back leg) problems, and the walks are often shorter and less playful than they were years ago when she ran a 2km beach extensively with a leg over her shoulder.

She forgets, when she finds a playful dog, and runs loony. I often have to remind her to be more moderate or she will be limping home afterward.

GoLightly said...

I think that's key, dogs do not have a "be sensible!" switch.
Often we forget that as they age, they need to slow down a tad.

My old 120lb GSD would have been horrified by the thought of mechanical devices. His pride would have been shattered.
When he was PTS, he was grateful.
Not being able to run his miles, and herd his coyotes, and be a general PITA, was so hard on him.
He had degenerative spinal myelopathy.

RIP, Sam.

OldMorgans said...

If I had a dog that became incapacitated and needed help to get around, I would not use a stroller just because it looks so silly. I'd come up with something else. Anything else... who knows what.
I don't think highly of cutie dog clothes either.
Dogs should be dogs.