National Specially-Abled Pets Day

Disabled dog

May 3rd is National Specially-Abled Pets Day, a day to celebrate and help animals with disabilities. Animals who have disabilities often need extra care and love, and it's essential to do what we can to make their lives easier. There are many ways you can celebrate National Specially-Abled Pets Day, from adopting a disabled pet to spreading awareness on social media. Every little bit helps these animals, so please take some time today to show your support!

What is National Specially-Abled Pets Day

Every year on May 3rd, pet advocates and adoption groups around the US celebrate National Specially Abled Pets Day, promoting the adoption of pets that need a little extra TLC.

Even if they are highly adoptable, millions of specially-abled animals are killed in shelters every year due to their particular needs. They are considered too expensive or impossible to keep, which is not always true. The annual National Specially Abled day is dedicated to these pets, who are as deserving of love and care as other homeless cats and dogs. It may be a helpful tripod (a pup with three legs) or a cat who requires medication every day; regardless of their condition, these specially-abled animals make excellent friends. National Specially-abled Pets Day celebrates these furry heroes and helps educate the public about caring for them.

How can you help disabled pets?

Disabled pet in shelter

If you are willing to open your home and heart to a specially-abled pet, you will have to enforce some rules to the humans of the house. Keep hearing-impaired pups leashed when in public, and avoid a seasonal rearranging of your home’s furniture if you adopt a blind pet. But the good parts outweigh any special rules! You’re giving love to a pet who needs it. If you have children, adopting a specially-abled animal can be an excellent lesson for them in developing empathy, and they'll gain a friend.

PetFinder's poll revealed that special needs pets are the third most difficult animals to find homes for, behind senior pets and bully breeds. Many of these "less adoptable" animals spend up to two years waiting for a lifetime home, more than four times the norm.

What is a Specially-Abled Pet?

There are so many advantages and critical points of adopting a specially-abled pet. Many cats and dogs suffer from special needs, including physical impairments, chronic medical problems, and behavioral difficulties. Missing one or more limbs, hind limb paralysis, deafness or blindness, diabetes, allergies, urinary tract infections, and lack of socialization are common issues among cats and dogs. Some pets may require diapers, ramps, support slings, regular medication, dog training, and pet socialization classes.

Advantages of Adopting Specially-Abled Pets

blind cat

To varying degrees, a handicapped or disabled pet has a physical or mental illness. Because people aren't yet aware of their abilities, they could be overlooked:

  • Dogs with no or reduced vision see the world differently, giving them an edge over other dogs. They compensate for their inability to see by focusing on sounds, smells, and touches that they use as cues to guide them.
  • Hearing-impaired dogs can still be trained. They just need to learn sign language (just like teaching words like "sit, stay, down, and heel"). Hearing-impaired dogs may use sign language commands. They also bark less as a result of it!
  • Animals with only three legs are just as energetic and enthusiastic as those with all four feet, if not more so! They don't let their disability hold them from being "just like the other dogs."

Resources for Caring for a Disabled Pet

Caring for pets can come with certain expected costs, but caring for disabled pets can add additional (and at times unanticipated) expenses that can push your budget boundaries. If you find that funds are tight, below is a list of financial resources for your elderly or disabled pets:

  • Handicapped Pets Foundation: The Handicapped Pets Foundation is a charity that benefits both elderly and disabled pets. They are especially recognized for providing wheelchairs to animals in need.
  • Gunnar’s Wheels: Gunnar's Wheels is a charity that works to give disabled animals mobility devices. The best way to reach them is through their Facebook page.
  • Hailey’s Wheels For Life: Hailey's Wheels for Life is a registered non-profit organization based in Australia that gives financial aid to pets in need. You can also reach this organization through its Facebook page.
  • Waggle: Waggle is a pet-focused crowdfunding site created to assist and fund pets' necessities.
  • The Pet Fund: The Pet Fund is a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to pet owners who need emergency treatment for their pets.
  • CareCredit: CareCredit offers healthcare financing options and pet insurance through Pets Best.
  • RedRover Relief: RedRover Relief provides financial assistance in grants and other resources to pet owners or rescuers whose pets need urgent medical attention.

Be sure to check out They have some helpful tips and tricks to help support you and your disabled pet. It's important to remember that you're not alone in this! Find support groups to help guide you! You can find some online, on Facebook, and even in your local area.

National Specially-Abled Pets Day is May 3rd, and we wanted to take this opportunity to share some information about these fantastic animals with you. Disabled pets can make excellent companions, and there are many ways that you can help them live happy and full lives. If you’re thinking of adopting a disabled pet or already have one in your home, be sure to check out our resources section for tips on caring for your furry friend. And don’t forget to share your pictures and stories with us using the hashtag #sapetsday on social media! We love seeing all our community members do fantastic things to support their special friends! @vitalpetlife

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