If you're reading this no one needs to tell you about the benefits of owning a pet. You know a companion is good medicine and adds to your quality of life. You play, laugh, exercise, relax and touch your friend and even meet new people because you are owned by a pet. Physical and mental health benefits make you feel and act younger and stay fitter.
But you still worry about your pet's health and your own. What if you need help caring for your best friend? That concern can come at any age, but bothers owners more often when mobility, financial, and lifestyle changes affect day to day activities. Older owners are more apt to fear the growing cost of pet care, health issues, and pets prohibited where they need to live.
If you are choosing a new pet, take advice from experts and shelters to wisely select a pet that fits your present and future living arrangements. Size, grooming needs, age, and energy level requirements, even allergies need to be considered.
Assuming you already have a pet, more and more services are available to help you both. Mobile vets, groomers, dog walkers or local teens (usually girls who adore pets), even pooper scooper services can come to you. You may order food and supplies by phone, online, and request home delivery. In some areas pet taxis help you get your pet to caregivers’ services. Travelers find it easier to find pet friendly transportation, hotels, and B & Bs than in the past. Some boarding kennels offer senior discounts.
When finances are tight, ask pet supply stores and veterinarians about senior discounts. Veterinary insurance may help with unanticipated costs or payment plans for needed treatments. Food banks provide pet food for owners with limited funds. No-cost or low-cost spay and neuter is available in some areas.
Some hospitals offers programs for inpatients who have no alternatives for pet care. You may be eligible for assistance from volunteers or local facilities. Volunteer caregivers groups provide assistance to older adults living without family or friends, providing emergency pet walking/grooming, transportation to vet appointments, feeding, and more, including pet food and supplies and pet boarding due to hospitalizations. Regional councils on aging may be able to help with housing issues.
Some pet lovers who can't afford the cost of ownership volunteer at shelters, foster pets waiting for forever homes, or pet sit.
More and more services are available to both older pets and their owners. Ask your veterinarian, local shelter, rescue group, or supplier what help is available in your area. Be creative to find the services that keep you and your pet happy and healthy.
Amber Polo is the author of the award-winning The Shapeshifters’ Library series (Released, Retrieved, Recovered, and Reprinted), an canine cozy fantasy filled with books, librarians, dogs and a library everyone will love.
In addition to her award-winning fantasy and Arizona romance novels, she wrote Relaxing the Writer to offer tips to help writers and readers relax.
After living in seven states, she happily calls a small town in Arizona home. To learn more about her books and read excerpts, visit her website and find her on Facebook and The Shapeshifters’ Library Facebook page filled with lots of dogs. E-mail her at