Senior Owners and their Pets

Senior Owners and their pets

Happy senior pet month, CHS supporters!

As November comes to a close, we wanted to bring you one more entry on senior pet month that isn’t talked about often, but is still very important: How to plan for pets when the owner is a senior.

We have been talking about senior pets all month on the blog, and we hope you’ve gotten a lot of good information. Today; however, we thought it would be important to talk about how we can plan for pets when the owners are seniors/older adults.

Pets can be a WONDERFUL addition to an older adult’s life. Pets provide companionship, exercise, routine and, in some cases, social connections. Older adults with pets often report a greater quality of life due to these benefits and at Calgary Humane Society we LOVE hearing about amazing relationships between senior pets and senior owners.

Unfortunately, medical events and other issues can sometimes create challenges for both pets and people, but with some extra planning for Fido and Fluffy these relationships can stay strong for years! We made this list of tips for older adults… but they are also good for pet owners of any age!

  1. Make sure your pet is in your will – Everyone who has a pet should have a will that makes provisions for their pet. Talk to family members or friends about who would be willing and able to take the pet and check in regularly to ensure circumstances haven’t changed. If you are thinking of leaving your pet in the care of a rescue, contact that rescue and ensure they are able to accept your pet if needed. In some cases you may also want to consider leaving a financial gift towards your pet’s care.
  2. Make plans in case of emergency – Planning before a medical event or emergency is vital for all pet owners to consider. A sudden hospitalization may require someone to take your pet for a few weeks while you recover. Speak with friends and family about who could take your pet if necessary. No friends or family available? Think about reaching out to churches or community groups you are involved with to see if a fellow member will help.
  3. Check in regularly with others – Make sure others know that you will be checking in with them on a regular schedule and that you have a pet at home. If you miss check in, that person can check on you to ensure you and your pet are safe. If you have been taken to hospital, this missed check in will ensure that your pet is attended to, even if you are unable to tell hospital staff about them.
  4. Put information about your pet in your wallet – Put a card in your wallet or purse that can let emergency responders know that you have a pet. In the event of an emergency, they will ensure you get the care you need first, but then they can contact family about your pet.
  5. Know your available resources – There are resources available to help out in emergency situations. Calgary Humane Society’s emergency boarding program can help in the event of an emergency hospitalization while our pet food program can assist pet owners with a bag of food during a short-term financial crisis.

Do you have more tips on how to ensure your pet will be cared for in the event of an emergency? We would love to hear them! Share them with us on our Facebook page or email them to community@calgaryhumane.ca.