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Who Will Take Care of My Pet While I’m in the Hospital

Pets help alleviate loneliness and reduce inactivity, so it’s no surprise that at least 50% of seniors own a pet. Yet, during a medical emergency and or short rehab stay, it’s easy for man’s best friend to be forgotten.  With focus being on the crisis at hand it’s easy to understand why.   Even so, it’s important to create an action plan if a situation does arise.

Planning ahead of a potential crisis can decrease added stressors in the moment for the caregiver and senior. Friends and family are the obvious solutions for most seniors who require pet care. If a friend or family member is not able to take care of the pet, there are other pet care options available.

Who Can Take Care of a Pet During a Hospital Stay?

1.   Friendly neighbors

Seniors or their family can also get to know neighbors who might look in on the pets when needed. Facebook groups, neighborhood meetings, and the app called Nextdoor all provide seniors with plenty of opportunities to get to know their neighbors. Then, a senior or their family can find out who might be comfortable watching the pet or just looking in on them when needed.

2.    Pet sitters

Pet sitters are an excellent option for long-term pet care, such as on Rover or DogVacay. Their services might include in-house visits, dog walking, and other care. Some sitters might also offer boarding at their homes or another facility. While prices vary, sitters often provide more attentive care than kennels.

3.    Local shelters and vets

Some shelters and veterinarians coordinate foster care for animals or offer short-term boarding. Pet owners can ask their veterinarian if they provide such care or know of a local agency that does.

4.    Meals on Wheels Senior Pet Support

The Meals on Wheels Senior Pet Support program works to ensure proper care of a senior’s pet. Their goal is to avoid a senior having to give up their pet because they can’t afford their food and care. The program’s volunteers can also help coordinate a pet’s care during a hospital stay.

5.    PACT

PACT coordinates pet foster care for military families, hospitalized seniors, and others. The company’s goal is to keep these pets out of shelters and ensure they’re placed in a home that fits their personality and needs.

6.    Borrow My Doggy

Borrow My Doggy pairs pet owners with someone who wants to “borrow” their pet for a short time. “Borrowers” are often people who love pets but can’t have one full-time for various reasons. Seniors might find someone willing to offer their care for a pet during a hospital stay.

Tips for Ensuring Proper Pet Care

Some additional steps ahead of a hospital stay can ensure a healthy, happy pet! First, seniors might consider making up a “go bag” for a pet that’s ready in case of an emergency. This bag might include a pet’s favorite food, a toy, a blanket they love, a leash if needed, and other essentials.

Pet owners should also include a note regarding the pet’s care and personality. It’s also vital to include instructions about their medications and their vet’s contact information.

These resources may also be useful for families if taking care of a pet becomes too much of a burden on a loved one or if they no longer have the ability to take care of the pet due to health concerns. These options may provide temporary relief until a long-term solution is figured out.

For more information on how to address a senior’s care plan, contact our team at Oasis Senior Advisors in Fairfield and Westchester counties. Please give us a call (914.356.1901  |  475.619.4123) or fill out an inquiry form on our website.

Oasis Senior Advisors


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Paul and Susan Doyle

Certified Senior Advisor®

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