The relationship between seniors and pet ownership has been linked to a number of health benefits such as lower blood pressure, increased physical activity and social interaction, and reduced stress and depression.
With this in mind, it is no wonder that 41 percent of seniors over 65 years of age lived with pets in 2014. This number is expected to rise, as there is a growing demand for pets by retirees as well as an increased willingness of senior living communities to allow them. While pets can act as your companion long after the nest has been left empty, it is important to remember that they too have needs. Consider these tips to ensure you and your four-legged companion stay happy and healthy:
Ask your veterinarian to make a house call
Taking your pet to the vet may have been easy when you and your pet were younger. It was easy to scoop up your small puppy or kitten and place them in their kennel. Old age, however, brings with it a whole set of problems such as arthritis, heart problems, and even dementia. You may no longer have the energy to herd your pets into the car and drive them to the clinic. Your pet can still get the care they need with a house call. If your regular vet doesn’t make house visits, ask them for recommendations for one who does.
Secure your yard
Letting your pet run around in your yard is a great way for them to get exercise while you keep a watchful eye, but don’t forget to ensure that your yard is secure so you don’t end up with an escape artist on your hands. The psychological effects of pets on humans is profound, and losing your pet is not only a distressing experience, but an added stressor you don’t need. What’s more, anxiety and chronic stress have been linked to the development of heart disease. To avoid this traumatic situation, secure your yard by checking for holes or gaps in the fence, and filling in any holes where your pet may have tried to dig out.
Order pet food online
The bags of dog and cat food in the department store are usually large and heavy, and any heavy lifting poses a risk for injury or falls. Driving and mobility may have also become an issue as you’ve aged. With technology abounding, having pet food delivered to your door can be achieved with a click. If you prefer to buy pet food from your local grocery store, don’t hesitate to ask one of the attendants for help. If possible, ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to accompany you on the trip.
Hire a dog walker
If you own a dog, you know how important it is to take them for daily walks. Taking long walks can be quite challenging and tiring, and you may not be able to keep pace with your pet. In such situations, it becomes imperative that you hire a dog walker to give your pet the exercise they need. Hiring a dog walker doesn’t mean that you love your pet any less — you are just trying your best to ensure that their routine is not affected and their needs are met to keep that tail wagging.
Employ someone to clean after your pets
When you have pets, unfortunately there is a lot of cleaning to be done. You have to keep their dishes clean, ensure that their bedding is free from fleas and dirt, and also regularly empty litter boxes. Dogs also need to be given regular baths. Cleaning after your pets requires a lot of physical activity, so you might consider hiring someone to do it for you. You could ask the neighbor next door if they are willing to do it for a couple of dollars per week, or ask a trusted friend or family member.
Although some of these tips may not apply to your current situation, keep them in mind for use now and in the future to ensure you and your pet stay happy and healthy.