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Seniors and Pets: What to Do When Pets Become Too Much

Loving and caring for pets is one of life's special joys. For those who love animals, a faithful pet can relieve loneliness, prevent boredom, and help their owners stay fit and active. When it comes to seniors and pets, we know that there are many benefits.

For elderly pet owners, who often live alone or in group facilities, pets can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity and help them learn. (Pets for the Elderly)

Unfortunately, the time may come when it's no longer wise for a senior to continue keeping a pet around.

  • It's become too challenging to care for the pet's daily needs (food, water, walks)
  • The pet has begun routinely relieving itself indoors
  • The owner is tripping over the pet
  • The pet frequently escapes

If that time has come, there will always be a measure of grief.

Fortunately, there are also some solutions.

4 Situational Solutions for Seniors and Pets

If a pet owner no longer has the physical or mental stamina to keep up with their pet, they have several options to consider.

In-Family Move

Giving up a pet can feel heartbreaking. Sometimes it helps to know that finding a new home doesn't mean saying goodbye forever.

If a local family member (or close family friend) is able to adopt the pet, that could mean frequent visits, occasional meetups for walks in the park, text and photo updates, and maybe even the occasional overnight stay. 

While in-family pet adoptions aren't always possible, they can benefit both the senior in question and the family member who adopts the pet. 

Seek Potential Adopters

Following the Humane Society's guidelines for best practices, seek potential adopters who may want to take the pet into their homes.

Rather than simply putting up signs or posts on social media that offer a pet "free to a good home," take time to ensure you're pursuing avenues that will be safe, both for you and the animal. 

  1. Take care of shots, grooming, and any other steps that may make your pet more attractive to adoptive families
  2. Reach out to friends, neighbors, and local veterinarians
  3. Consult with nearby shelters and rescue groups

While this may be a challenging and potentially time-consuming process, it will be worth the effort to make sure the pet is able to match with a good home. 

Investigate Online 

By searching online, you can connect with both local and national service groups that can be of great help with helping seniors re-home a pet.

You also can search for a breed-specific rescue organization or a no-kill shelter, which means that no healthy or treatable pets are killed if there is no longer room to house them. Petfinder.com is a searchable online database with a directory of close to 11,000 animal shelters and adoption organizations across the U.S. and in Canada and Mexico. (AARP)

By bringing your questions and concerns to expert service providers dedicated to solving these exact problems, you have a good chance of finding what you're looking for. 

Consider Creative Alternatives

Just because a senior is struggling to take care of pets, that doesn't mean the only option is to give them up.

Sometimes, all seniors need is a little help along the way.

  • Family members stopping by to take the dog for a long walk
  • Grandchildren cleaning out the birdcages on the weekends
  • The senior owner and their pet changing their living situation in order to stay together

Creative alternatives are boundless.

Taking time to consider the situation from all angles can not only keep you from making an impulsive decision, but it may also allow solutions to open up that you would not have otherwise considered. 

Elite Home Health Care Can Help

At Elite Home Health Care, we know how challenging it can be to care for our loved ones as they age, especially when it comes to the matter of seniors and pets together.

Our compassionate caregivers are well-versed in these dynamics. To learn more about what we do and how we might be able to help, contact Elite Home Health Care today.