When a prospective pet owner is on the lookout for a new pet, a deaf cat or three-legged dog probably isn’t what they’re searching for. The truth is, life with a disabled pet can be just as rewarding, if not more so, than with that “perfect” puppy or kitten.

Unfortunately, disabled pets aren’t adopted very often, if at all. By bringing home a disabled pet, you will not only be saving a life, you’ll be reaping all of the wonderful health, social, and psychological benefits associated with living with a pet!


A disabled pet is defined as one who has a physical or mental disability, to varying degrees. Missing a limb or eye, hearing and vision impairment, inability to use one or more limbs, deformities, and unseen disabilities such as behavioral issues related to past trauma are all reasons these special pets are overlooked in shelters across the country.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that disabled pets actually have their own special abilities!

  • In vision impaired pets, the senses of smell, hearing, and touch are often markedly enhanced, allowing them to easily navigate familiar environments, play with toys, and generally do everything an average pet can do.
  • Pets with hearing loss respond well to sign language commands, and as an added bonus they usually bark less (no chaos when the doorbell rings, or during a thunderstorm!).
  • Pets missing one or more legs are just as fun, playful, and energetic as those with all four limbs intact.
  • There’s nothing more magical than seeing a formerly abused or abandoned pet blossom in a stable, loving environment.

Before You Adopt A Disabled Pet

The preparations involved in adopting a disabled pet aren’t that much different from adopting any other pet. You’ll need to make sure your finances, lifestyle, and commitment level are on-point before taking on the responsibility. Consider the following:

  • Financial obligations – Depending on the type/severity of your pet’s disability, there may be additional costs associated with medications, treatments, or special diets.
  • Lifestyle adjustments – Make sure you are fully informed of any special considerations your pet may need, such as medications at certain times of the day or help with elimination. Consider seeking outside assistance if your family is regularly gone all day or has a hectic schedule.
  • Special considerations – Making sure any new pet’s personality and needs are suited for your particular family culture is important, regardless of whether or not the pet is disabled. Ask the shelter or rescue workers about your pet’s temperament ahead of time.

Your team at Dupont Veterinary Clinic is here for you every step of the way along your journey to adopt and care for a special needs pet! Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.