Nala’s High Chair

Life With Dogs is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.

When she was just six months old, Nala’s family noticed that she was struggling to hold down food. Shortly thereafter, the young German shepherd became weak and started running a fever. And she was shrinking. Concerned for the dog they had grown to love, the McDonald family rushed Nala to their vet for an examination.

A series of x-rays eventually led to a diagnosis: Nala was afflicted with canine megaesophagus, a condition that causes muscles in the esophagus to fail, allowing food and water to escape the stomach and come back up. Considering her age, in many cases that diagnosis could have proved fatal. When faced with lifelong afflictions, owners of pets diagnosed at a young age commonly choose euthanasia. Christine McDonald say that was the last thing on her mind.

“I think anyone who has an animal, if you choose to have an animal we fall in love with them and they’re part of your family,” McDonald said. “I mean, you’d do anything to keep a family member alive and it is the same thing with her.”

After researching the condition, the McDonalds built a modified version of the Bailey Chair, a sort of high chair for dogs that allows gravity to do the work that Nala’s esophageal muscles cannot.

Nala has been using her chair for three years now with terrific results: she is healthy at 80 pounds, is happy and energetic. She spends 25 minutes in her chair after each meal, allowing food and water to fully settle in her stomach before resuming normal activity. Her chair is comfortable enough that she often falls asleep in it.

Does Nala’s condition make for more work than the average dog owner will face? Only a little, according to the McDonalds, and they say it pales in comparison to they joy that Nala’s companionship brings them.

6 thoughts on “Nala’s High Chair”

  1. Great job McDonald family! Nala is so cute sleeping her chair. What a good story. I know that your story has helped others out there.

  2. I’d do this in a heartbeat too, Love the and processs & practise of innovation for love. Well done McDonald family. (( HUGS ))

  3. Well……..when you love your dog, you find a way.

    I am humbled by the many people who have taken this disorder in stride, found others who have developed a solution (the Bailey chair) and formed a support group.

    When faced with devastating obstacles….I will follow their lead and never give up!

  4. I recently found out my dog has that n I would like to know we’re u got the chair from I would like to get one for my dog sasha


Leave a Comment