Many people do not really understand what a “Special Needs” dog is. Don’t worry; it’s not a big deal as long as you are able to understand and accommodate what it is that they need, to continue to live a healthy and happy life.


A “special needs” dog is simply a dog that has special needs, over and above the basics of food, shelter & love.  When you think about it all dogs to some degree have special needs, even if it is just linked to their breeds needs.

Some common special needs –

Heat sensitivity


Daily Medication

Fear reactive/Dog aggression

High Energy dogs

For example if you own a Bulldog you would be well aware that they are not built to deal with heat. So a Special need” for a bulldogs would be for him/her to have climate controlled accommodation, or to have access to a pool, particularly on a blistering hot summer day.

Bulldog in Pool


Other areas of “special needs” are dietary. Some dogs (like people) are allergic to certain foods. So a Labrador allergic to Beef would need to be on a diet that excludes anything beef. Not so hard to manage but still a special need.

Many dogs are now on daily medication for things such as epilepsy, separation anxiety, arthritis & skin problems which are a really important special need, as without these medications their health & happiness would quickly decline.

Lab with Medication

On a more challenging front you may own a dog that if fear reactive towards new people or dog reactive to other dogs. Not surprisingly aggression problems can present real problems,  but are generally fixable with the help of a good behaviourist vet and a dog trainer skilled in this area.

Another special needs area is high energy dogs that if not given a chance to burn of their physical & mental energy will instead turn it to destructive chewing. So a morning and afternoon off leash run means your dog is happier and more relaxed and you get to keep all your shoes/furniture/clothes or anything else your dog would have frustratingly destroyed.

Kelpie in Field

So many special needs!!!! And these are just a few. But it is interesting how many special need’s every dog has, including your own, and more importantly how to accommodate these special needs.


What kind of special needs dog do you have?


Thank you for reading!