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Caring for Pets in Your Senior Years

caring for pets in your senior yearsMaybe you’re considering getting a new pet, or worrying about how you’ll care for your cherished friend as you age. Despite the wonderful companionship that pets can bring to seniors, many elderly people find themselves struggling to keep up with their pet’s care. However, with preparation and support, seniors can enjoy the many possible benefits of pet ownership throughout their later years.

Caring For Pets on a Fixed Income

Affording veterinary care can be a challenge for any pet owner, but especially so for seniors, who tend to live on a fixed income. However, with some budgeting, seniors of all incomes can make sure their companions are well cared for.

 

The cost of a vet visit can vary widely, especially when comparing urban and rural veterinarians. Even if you’ve been using the same veterinarian for years, don’t be afraid to shop around to find a practitioner that’s easier on your wallet. Some vet offices even offer senior discounts. However, there could also be a financial benefit to staying with your current vet. If you have an established relationship with your veterinarian, they may be more willing to work out payment plans than a new vet would.

 

Instead of purchasing your pet’s prescriptions directly from your veterinarian, get a written prescription and search for cheaper prices. Online pet pharmacies often have cheaper rates, and you can even get some pet medications for a lower cost at your regular pharmacy.

 

If you’re worried about being unable to pay for your pet’s care in the event of an emergency, pet insurance may be a good choice. Pet insurance works much like human insurance in that you pay a set amount each month in exchange for health coverage. But unlike health insurance, you can use pet insurance with any veterinary provider. Not all pet insurance plans cover preventive care like vaccinations and dental cleanings, so compare plans to find the one that best fits your needs.

 

If you find yourself in a position where you’re unable to afford food for your pet, reach out to animal rescues and food pantries in your area. Many cities have pet food pantries that provide free dog or cat food to owners struggling to afford their pets’ care.

Caring For Pets With Limited Mobility

As your mobility changes with age, you may find it more challenging to give your pet the care it needs. Thankfully, there are modifications you can make to eliminate some physical challenges of pet care.

 

If you’re a cat owner, purchase an elevated litter box stand so that you don’t have to bend over to scoop waste. If you’re a dog owner, installing a pet door can enable your dog to let itself out into a fenced yard to go to the bathroom, so you don’t have to worry about navigating across the house. For a cat that still has its youthful vigor, an automatic laser pointer or videos of birds and fish can provide hours of entertainment. However, dog owners should consider hiring a dog walking service if they’re unable to walk their dog on their own.

 

Additionally, it’s important to have all of the necessities that will keep your critters comfortable, especially if mobility is an issue. Purchasing automatic pet feeders and waterers can reduce how often you have to refill bowls. Purchasing a plush dog bed will give your dog comfort and security when he’s at his most vulnerable (during times of rest, according to Wayfair), especially if you’re unable to pick him up for cuddles; cats can make themselves comfortable just about anywhere and may not need a bed, but have a few comfy pillows for them to curl up with on your couch or bed. Don’t forget to have toys and comfort items they can access at all times without your help.

 

To eliminate the need to pack up your pets and drive to the vet, consider using a veterinarian that makes house calls. Many reputable veterinarians operate out of mobile clinics so they can provide a full range of veterinary services at your home. While mobile vets may charge a premium, the convenience can be worth it.

 

No senior wants to find themselves having to part with a beloved pet because of financial limitations or mobility issues. By planning for the physical and financial aspects of owning a pet in your senior years before it becomes a challenge, you can ensure that you’ll be there to care for your pet until the end.