Pet Owner Illness - Caring for Pets When Sick

Caring for Pets when You’re Ill

“Master, I’m ready for my daily walk! Hello? Sleeping in again? C’mon sleepy head, nature’s calling.” – your pet

Under The Weather…

It can be challenging enough when illness, injury, and other severe circumstances interrupt our daily lives, but when we have pets that depend on us for their well being, we may feel a bit helpless. Even more so when we’re off of our feet for an extended period of time.

As responsible pet parents, having a contingency plan in place for our pet companions in case we find ourselves in need of some extra assistance is very important — after all, Fido still needs to be walked and Kitty loves a clean litter box, plus someone to keep them safe and give them their daily dose of love.

Whether it be due to an unexpected injury or illness, pregnancy, or an extended leave due to any number of circumstances, having your pets taken care of will save a lot of stress and worry down the road of recovery. Here at KirinGie.Me we want to build a platform to help bring pet owners together across all neighborhoods. Like minded pet owners converge to meet the pets next door for socialization, training or to enjoy fun social pet friendly events. A support system that is more likely to help in times of need. Until we fully launch, we’ve compiled a list of tips and hints to help you put the best backup plan in place. Check it out!

10 Questions to Ask When Looking for a Temporary Solution

Asking these simple questions can help when putting a clear and concise plan in place for pet care, and might prevent heartache down the road.

  1. How long do I estimate being “off my feet?”
  2. Does my pet handle strangers and new situations with ease?
  3. Is my pet going to be stressed when off its regular routine, and if so, how can I reduce the trauma?
  4. Do I know anyone willing and able to look after my pet for an extended period of time if needed?
  5. Do I have an alternative plan if my first choice falls through or is no longer able to help?
  6. How much will it cost to have my pet looked after (if any)?
  7. If my circumstances change can I count on this person to be there?
  8. Is my pet caretaker responsible and caring?
  9. Do I feel confident and comfortable leaving my pet with this person or people?
  10. Will I get my pet back when I regain my health?

Possible People and Places to Look to For Help

If faced with a short-term illness or any number of temporary circumstances where caring for your pet may become an issue, consider the following options:

Family, Friends, or Their Children

Advantages:

  • This option may be the best and most viable in a time of crisis.
  • Oftentimes friends, family, or their responsible children already know the animal and can step in very quickly to help out.
  • Your pet may already be familiar and comfortable with these people as well.

Owners who are unable to walk their dog due to weakness from illness or surgery could consider seeking help from younger family members and/or friends. Helping to walk and care for a dog can teach kids about responsibility, and rewarding them for their hard work with some money can also provide a nice bonus.

Disadvantages:  

  • Family and friends may have allergies, housing restrictions against pets, or may only be able to keep the pet on a temporary basis due to their own personal circumstances. In this case, another plan in place is necessary.

Pet Walkers/Pet Sitters

Professional sitters/walkers are available for hire across a number of websites, including PetcareRX. Even sites like Angie’s List, WatchMyHouse, and more can offer professional pet sitting and walking services to families and individuals in a tough spot, with the additional benefit of allowing pet parents to ensure that the person they hire is a referenced, responsible caretaker. Taking the time to interview, select, and introduce the perfect candidate now can make for a much easier transition later on.

Advantages:

  • This may be the best option for younger or older pets that need more one-on-one care. National organizations train their workers in pet care and pet safety, so owners can be assured that pet walkers and pet sitters will do the job in a professional manner and pay more attention to the animal.
  • Pet walkers and sitters have the added benefit of being able to send you daily pictures of your pet to show that the animal is well and being properly cared for.
  • A pet walker or sitter may also double as a housesitter in many circumstances.

Disadvantages:

  • This option may not work for pets that are wary of strangers.
  • Pet sitting services can become costly. Depending on the individual, sitters typically charge either per visit or per day, in addition to charging extra for overnight or extended stays.
  • These services may be difficult to find in many small, rural areas.
  • May require multiple backup options in case the first choice caretaker is unavailable.

Pet Hotels, Doggy Daycares, and Kennels

Advantages:

  • These services are offered by professional organizations with trained staff always available.
  • Since many places charge by the day and seek to stay competitive, they may be cheaper than pet sitters.
  • Some pet hotels also offer luxurious facilities that may ease your pet’s stress and turn your separation into a mini vacation or pampering session.

Disadvantages:

  • These services may become costly, since they often charge extra for walking the dog, bathing, and other additional services.
  • This may not be a feasible option for pets other than  dogs and cats, and it is not recommended for special needs pets or those that are very young.
  • Due to the exposure, there is a risk of communicable diseases and parasites.
  • Hotels and daycares will likely be more expensive than kennels as they try to offer more services or a nicer boarding area.

The Humane Society of the United States has some fantastic tips and information about choosing a kennel.

Fostering

Advantages:

  • Your pet will get more one-on-one time since it will be staying  in a home, and it is more likely that your pet’s needs will be tended to.
  • If the foster parent is fostering another animal at the same time, this could help with socialization of your pet, or even distract your pet from your absence.
  • This option will likely be less stressful for your pet, and not as costly.
  • It may be an option for a wider variety of animals.

Disadvantages:

  • Foster options are a challenge to find even in larger areas as it is difficult for strangers to opt in to provide temporary pet care. Those who do so are usually associated with animal shelters that they have committed to helping.
  • While the majority of individuals and families willing to foster have the best of intentions, finding a foster family with references and a safe history can be a challenge.

Special Considerations:

Housing for Reptiles

Pet stores that deal specifically with reptiles may be an option for those needing help, especially if you have visited them on a regular basis. However, a verbal or written agreement that the store is not responsible if the pet dies may be required.

Advantages:

  • Knows reptiles and their needs.

Disadvantages:

  • Cost may vary from simple food needs to extra care.
  • It may be difficult to find someone in your area that is qualified to provide for reptiles or non-traditional pets.

Farm Animals, Small Pets, and Birds

It may be more difficult to find a place or person to look after the vast number of animal species aside from cats and dogs; however, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters may be able to help you in this search.

Advantages:  

  • This option provides a professional service trained in pet care, available at a moment’s notice.

Disadvantages:

  • The cost may be high, and this option is not recommended for special needs animals.

Hospices for the Elderly and Their Pets

While some hospitals are beginning to recognize the therapeutic impact pets have on a patient’s life, hospitals that allow pets are still rare. However, if you are older and are often sick, or notice you don’t have the strength and energy you use to, hospice care may be something to consider as the hospice model often enables people and their pets to stay in their homes, with a nurse coming in regularly to check on them. This allows the owner and their pet to stay together in a place that is familiar to both of them. Visit Hospice With Heart and Senior Pet Care Resource Network to learn more about hospice and other options for seniors.

Advantages:

  • With these options, there is less stress on pet and pet parent and it is easier for the animal to transition from old home to new living situation.

Disadvantages:

  • These options may be difficult to to find, and there may be a waiting list to get in.

KirinGie.Me

When difficult situations arise, it is our goal to have the KirinGie.Me community step in to help. From finding a loving temporary foster home to emergency rehoming on a more permanent basis. At the end of the day, it’s about keeping pets safe in homes without going through the stress and risks that can take place if your pet ends up in a shelter.

Advantages:

  • A KirinGie.Me profile tells your pet’s story, allowing fosters or new owners to know your pet’s exact personality and what makes them unique.
  • Our emergency features activate a “call-to-action” for the entire KirinGie.Me community, allowing friends and neighbors to come together in times of need — whether that means dropping by to feed your pet while you’re off your feet, or looking after them during an extended hospital stay.
  • It’s FREE to sign-up and register your pet.
  • KirinGie.Me offers valuable advice, resources, and articles to help you and your temporary care providers learn the best ways to look after your pet.

Disadvantages:  

  • KirinGie.Me is not in cities yet. Pre-register so your city is on our radar.

Plan Ahead

Becoming ill or injured should not be a time when you have to stress over your beloved pets. Before something happens, be sure to know your options and have someone you can call on when needed. Whether your unique situation is a brief moment off of your feet or something on a long-term or even permanent basis, your pet deserves to be looked after in a loving and caring manner by the best caregivers possible.

Is KirinGie.Me in your community yet?

If not, pre-register today to let us know you want our program in your neighborhood. Be the voice pets need. Together we can protect them. There is no cost or obligation to join.

Freshly baked…

Founder of KirinGie.Me. A dreamer and believer that humanity can come together for the greater good and well-being of the pets we love. You and I can make a difference to reduce pet abandonment, relinquishment and euthanasia through community support, corporate sponsorship, and city partnerships. Ask me how and get involved.

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