Pets make great companions for seniors. They provide company, boost mood, and may even improve a senior’s health. If your senior loved one owns a pet, however, you need to factor pet care into both your senior’s routine and that of your own. If you’re not sure how best to care for a pet while caring for your senior, these tips can help.
Buy an Automated Litter Box
For seniors with cats, litter boxes can be nuisances. If they’re not cleaned regularly, they can even cause health issues. But bending over to scoop litter or pick up the heavy box can be difficult. A self-cleaning litter box may be the perfect solution.
Most self-cleaning littler boxes use clumping litter, and they rake out clumps as soon as a cat steps out, storing them in a separate compartment until it’s time to empty the chamber. A lid on the box will help keep litter dust to a minimum and provide cats with privacy, which they tend to prefer.
Find a Dog-Walking Service
A trip to the local dog park to play fetch is a great way to get your senior active and social. If, however, your loved one has limited mobility, it may be time to look into a local dog-walking service. All dogs need to exercise, not to mention to relieve themselves. If getting the dog out of the house is becoming too difficult, you can even consider asking a trustworthy neighborhood child to walk him.
Try Automatic Food and Water Dispensers
Like the litter box, food and water bowls require bending and lifting. Water fountains and automatic food dispensers will keep your loved one’s pet supplied with food and water. A fountain will keep water fresh for a longer period of time, while a food dispenser will release food at designated times. Even if an elderly pet owner tends to forget feeding times, the dispenser won’t. These products only go so far, however, so check to make sure food and water bowls are filled daily.
Get a Good Grooming Service
Surprisingly, there’s a lot that goes into grooming an animal. Pets need brushing — particularly long-haired ones. Plus, there are claws to clip and teeth to brush. And some breeds may need other kinds of special care. Ask your senior’s veterinarian for recommendations on grooming services in your area. Some pet supply stores even provide grooming.
Find a Veterinarian Who Make House Calls
You’re already taking your senior to all kinds of appointments, from the doctor to the dentist. Adding vet appointments to the mix might just be too much. Why not try a vet who makes house calls? Services such as VetLocator can help you find one in your area.
Consider Your Senior’s Best Interests
While pets are great companions for seniors, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure both your senior and her pet are safe and healthy. For instance, if your loved one has limited vision, a pet lying across the floor may pose a fall risk. Ensure that the pet’s toys and sleeping areas are far away from walkways.
Pet care doesn’t have to be a burden on you and your senior. With a little preparation, your senior and your senior’s pet can live healthy happy lives together.