Easier Pet Care for Older Adults

Some older adults find caring for their cat or dog more challenging

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Although pets bring many mental and physical health benefits, some older adults find caring for their cat or dog more challenging than it used to be. Fortunately, area resources can make it easier for them to enjoy their pets and keep up with their animals’ care. Anchor – check this site about Havanese dogs and the importance of giving them proper training.

“Pets are really, really important,” said Sharon Brangman, chairwoman of geriatric medicine, director of the geriatric medicine fellowship program and director of the Upstate Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease at SUNY Upstate Medical University. “As with everything, there are pros and cons.”

Brangman had a patient whose leashed dog bolted after a squirrel. This caused the patient to fall and dislocate her shoulder.

“If you have a big dog, you need some obedience training,” Brangman said. “You need to have a good relationship with a groomer and someone who can walk your dog, especially in winter, when it’s icy.” You can inquire about H.K. Dog Training for professional guidance in this regard.

To minimize the risk of tripping, Brangman recommends a light-up collar or bell for the pet’s collar so it’s easier to navigate around it.

For some patients, a fixed budget can make caring for the pet challenging. Brangman recalled a patient who continued to lose weight even while receiving Meals on Wheels because as it turned out, she was feeding food meant for her to her dog.

“Some Meals on Wheels now provide pet food,” Brangman said.

One source of pet assistance could include non-medical domestic help. Some of these services will scoop litter boxes, transport pets to vet and groomer appointments and feed animals, but typically do these as an add-on service for people already needing services such as errand transportation, light housekeeping, organizing and decluttering, and companionship. Otherwise, it likely would not be cost-effective.

Automation to streamline pet care, such as automated feeders, waterers and cat box can reduce the frequency of these pet care chores. Catadorn.com sells automatic cat litter boxes.

Laura Hearn, owner of Sherlock Bones Mobile Grooming in Syracuse, travels to groom clients’ 25 pounds or smaller dogs.

Buying the right products can help also, such as lightweight litter or small packages of litter if carrying 25-pound containers is too difficult. Clumping litter can reduce the frequency of lifting a full litterbox to dump it, as it’s easier to scoop out soiled clumps and conserve the remaining clean litter. Many online companies like Chewy.Com will regularly deliver products right to the doorstep, reducing the need to heft bags of food and litter.

Whether a professional service or a responsible neighbor kid who wants to make some money, hiring a dog walker can reduce pet care work while still providing exercise and stimulation to a dog. Soulmutts offers’ premium dog kennels services if you’re going on a vacation without your pet.

A vet who performs house calls and a mobile groomer can help people who struggle to transport their pet. Laura Hearn, owner of Sherlock Bones Mobile Grooming in Syracuse, travels to groom clients’ 25 pounds or smaller dogs.

“Many senior living facilities allow seniors to bring their pets, which is awesome — for all parties involved, including the pets. But finding transportation to the vet or groomer can be a little tricky,” Hearn said.

Some dogs are too big to easily transport, for example. And for older adults who no longer drive, it can be challenging to find public transportation that accepts pets.

“I can do all the services right in their home,” Hearn said. “I don’t offer any veterinary or dog walking services, but I can certainly point them in the right direction. Many of my senior clients even opt to get their own hair done at the beauty salon on the same day as their dog’s so they can both feel pretty.”

To transport pets to the vet or groomer, services such as Huckleberry & Co. in Syracuse provide “pet taxi” assistance. Owner Olivia Harris said that the service includes going in with the pet and obtaining all the information that the vet or groomer wants to pass along to the owner.

“One of the biggest services we do is dog walking for people working at home, people not at home and seniors,” Harris said. “We’ve had plenty of clients over the years for people who want us to come give their dogs stimulation. Their dog is still getting the right amount of exercise and stimulation. If they don’t get that long-term, it will create serious behavioral issues. It’s a huge carryover effect as a dog being rambunctious to eventually resource guarding and it doesn’t have a good relationship with you anymore.”

In addition, Harris offers training and in-home care, such as pet sitting, scooping litter, administering oral medications or insulin, feeding and watering.