A little boy pets a puppy.

How to Care for Pets When You Can’t

Pets are a special kind of family member. They depend on us even more than other “dependents.” That’s why it’s so important to ensure they receive the care and affection they need, even when we can’t provide it.

Planning for Short-Term Pet Care

Illnesses and injuries don’t take your schedule into account. They can leave you unable to provide pet care for days, weeks, or even months at a time. Take proactive measures to identify friends or family members who can provide pet care on short notice.

Even a temporary absence can make your pet feel stressed and overwhelmed. They’re used to having you around and their routine depends on your presence. When choosing a pet care provider, take care to select someone who’ll put your pet at ease. Ideally, they should also have some familiarity with your pet’s daily routine.

While incapacitating injuries are uncommon, it’s vital to plan for that possibility. Prepare detailed instructions for short-term pet care, including everything from meal schedules to medications. Take care to include as many details as possible to make your caretaker’s job as low-stress as possible.

Planning for Long-Term Pet Care

Treating pets like family can obscure a key fact. That is, in the eyes of the law, your dog or cat is actually property. That means you can’t leave them money in your will — even if they’d know how to spend it. You do, however, have a number of options for providing care if the unthinkable should happen.

These include:

Plan Ahead

It’s not a pleasant subject to reflect on, but planning for sickness (or even death) will ensure care for your beloved pet. Having a few morbid conversations is certainly preferable to leaving your cat or dog in an uncertain situation.