Unable to feel their rear legs, paralyzed dogs are at risk of abrasions and ulcers where their legs rub on the ground. Ulcers are difficult to treat, especially when they are in areas where there is constant contact with a hard surface. It is much easier to prevent skin damage than have to treat it.
There are a variety of ways to protect the legs of a paraplegic dog including boots, leggings, drag bags and protective covers. Dog boots are widely available and come in a variety of sizes, construction and types. Costs vary, with the toughest (and longest lasting) being upwards of $50 a set. Being in constant contact with the ground, boots may last only a few weeks for an active dog.
For dogs needing greater protection for their legs a company called Sylmar Dogwear make protective rear body suits and leggings for hunting dogs that also work well for paraplegics.
A cheaper option is to make your own protectors. Some people, including myself, knit or crochet protective leggings and tail covers (send a message through the contact form if you would like crocheted leggings for your paralyzed pet) or ask a volunteer with Leggings for Life to help. Other options include children’s socks, onesies, or sweatpants.
One owner uses large gardening gloves to make boots for her small dog – you can find instructions here: