What To Do When You Can't Take Care of Your Pet Anymore

By Alyssa Ball

If you are among the 85 million Americans who own a pet, you would likely do anything in your power to protect your beloved pet from harm. But when health problems or mobility issues prevent you from properly caring for your dog, cat, or other animal, it is important to map out a plan right away. Fortunately, there are many options available for seniors who are struggling to take care of their furry friends.

Below are some signs that you may need help caring for your pet and 4 tips to help ensure that your pet continues to receive the love and care they deserve.

Signs You Aren't Properly Caring for a Pet

Pet owners of all ages would agree that any dedicated pet owner would never purposely refrain from taking care of their animals. In most cases, people gradually begin to recognize that they are no longer able to give their pets the attention they need to grow, thrive, and remain healthy.

Here are some key signs that you are not properly caring for your pet.

1. You find yourself forgetting to feed your pet

Keeping your dog, cat, bird, or fish properly nourished is one of the most important responsibilities you have as a pet owner. If you are unable to remember whether you have fed your pet, and if you notice that your pet appears to be gaining or losing weight, then it is time to ask for help.

2. You are unable to take your pet for a walk 

Dogs and other pets need exercise to stay in good health. If mobility problems or a lack of energy are preventing you from ensuring that your pet receives exercise, then you may need support to care for your pet.

3. You are not able to keep your home clean

Keeping your home free of pet droppings and urine is essential to protecting your health and your pet's. If you find that you are struggling to make it to the door to let your dog out, to clean your cat's litter box, or to change the bedding in your animal's cage, then you need some assistance.

4. You are unable to take your pet to the vet for care

Regular examinations, teeth cleanings, and vaccinations are vital to preventing disease and keeping your pet in good physical health. If you are unable to remember to take care of your pet's basic healthcare needs, then seeking help is important.

5. You cannot keep your pet clean or properly groomed

Many pets do a good job of grooming themselves. But many pets — even indoor pets — need your help to stay clean and healthy. If you are not able to brush your dog or cat's coat, trim your pet's nails, or take your pet to the groomer, you could be putting your pet's health at risk.

RELATED CONTENT: How to Choose the Right Pet as You Age

What To Do If You Can't Care For a Pet

If you think that your pet's welfare might be suffering because you cannot deliver the same loving care that you used to, do not despair. There are more options than ever for seniors who need assistance caring for their pets.

Here are some tips to follow if you or your loved one is unable to provide proper care for a pet.

1. Ask family members for assistance

Family members are often happy to dive in and help you care for your animals at home. And they often do a great job because they have spent time in your home many times and are already familiar with your pet's routines and special needs. 

2. Call a pet sitting service

As the number of household pets continues to expand, a growing number of pet sitting services are cropping up across America. With a pet sitting service, you can seek help as you need it or work with an agent to schedule regular visits to your home. As you evaluate providers, make sure to choose one that is licensed and bonded.

3. Seek the services of a caregiver

Seeking the services of a professional caregiver is another solution for your pet and for you. Agencies like us offer 24/7 availability to provide the support that you need to care for yourself and your pet. We use nationwide background checks to carefully screen our staff and work with you to develop a plan to help you function well at home.

Here is a look at some of the many services that will help you and your pet stay healthy:

4. Consider putting your pet up for adoption

Sometimes you may not physically be able to keep your pet with you in your home. For instance, if you need to relocate to a condominium or apartment with pet restrictions, you need to make sure that you explore all of your options to ensure that your pet's new home is a safe and secure one.

You can start by asking friends and family members if they would be interested in adopting your pet. You also may wish to check with local pet adoption agencies or re-homing services. You may also wish to contact your local Humane Society for additional tips on securing a long-term home for your pet.

The Bottom Line 

Keeping your pet safe and healthy is very important. If you are struggling to provide adequate care for your pet, it is time to seek assistance. By following the tips above, you can make sure that all of your pet's needs are met. We invite you to contact us at a Caring Senior Service location near you to learn how our professional caregivers can help you or a loved one look after your pet. Whether you have a dog, a cat, a bird, or a goldfish, we look forward to helping you and your pet stay healthy!

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Tags: Seniors and Pets