Pets for Senior Citizens – Pros and Cons – Part 2

101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog

Absolutely! The bond and love between a dear pet and a senior is true joy! But as we think through the realistic approach to making the big decision, we must consider two more facets. In Part 1, we discussed the benefits and financial responsibilities of pet ownership, and now we will now think about the time commitment and the risks involved.

Time Commitment: Nature rules! So, of course, the first thing to be addressed is “Mother Nature’s calls” for your pet. If you are getting a puppy, you may choose to crate train him for the night. Some older, rescued or purchased, dogs may already be crate trained. They may also be pad trained! (Such was the case with my 12 year old rescued dog, much to my surprise!) Pad training versus crating will be your decision, unless you are willing to make positive responses to your pet’s demand to “Take Me Outside” in the middle of the night! Some dogs adjust their needs to your schedule night and day. But even in the day, a realistic schedule and walks are essential. Their good health and the avoidance of accidents inside your home require your time commitment to their care. Cats, however, independently handle this through your provision of a clean, appropriately placed box. Other pets have different needs if you are thinking of birds, fish, or small caged creatures. Training, loving, providing medical care as needed, feeding, grooming,and trips to the veterinarian also are important time factors. Sounds easy, but it in not always so. Responsible pet owners often must adjust their daily schedules to include proper care, attention, and time for the animal(s). Are you ready and willing to make this commitment?

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Risks Involved: What risks could possibly be involved when we are so excited about choosing a pet? First, sometimes it just is not a good match! While a “fluffy little puppy” may appeal to you, the personality factors of the particular breed may not be what you had in mind. He may not be the sweet, loving, little companion you thought! Further, we must be so very careful not to step on or trip over a tiny animal who thinks being next to their master all the time is the perfect place! In total contrast, a very large dog is usually a very strong animal, and when being walked, could pull us down. Even when “jumping on us for joy,” Hercules could throw us off balance and oops, an accident has happened! And what about allergies—yours, family, friends? Could they visit comfortably in your home? The animal’s health issues are another thing to consider, especially if you are rescuing. Whether you are purchasing the perfect pet, or rescuing the darling abused mutt or cat, insist on a medical report about the animal. Although not a major risk, shedding is something else to think about! Even daily brushings do not assure that you, your furniture, floor and even clothing will not have evidence of an animal in the house! Investigate the breed’s shedding possibilities – more a maintenance issue than a risk factor. However, some people are so allergic to dogs or cats that even if the remnants of shedding are around, they have reactions.

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I promise, Part 3 will end on a happy note! Although we will think about Death of Our Pet, I will joyfully also share the story of my pet! Zeus is a fabulous, beautiful, fluffy, rescued, 12 year old, white American Eskimo! Don’t miss the opportunity to meet Zeus!

Betty DeLorme

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About jta

South Carolina grandmother who loves to write, dance, and visit with friends and family.
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3 Responses to Pets for Senior Citizens – Pros and Cons – Part 2

  1. Dianne says:

    We’re trying to figure out what my mom is going to do about her two cats after breaking her hip. When she feeds them they twine around and between her legs. So easy to trip over them!

    • Betty DeLorme says:

      It is really scary, Dianne! My leashed dog, tho not quite 25 pounds, can pull me down if he spots something of great interest! You might consider trying one of the self-feeding canisters for the cats if they eat dry food. If they eat only canned, could several be opened at once, put in plastic containers and covered to bring out of refrigerator at feeding time? At least that might reduce the number of greatest risk times when they respond to the “can opening” process. Good luck!

      • Dianne says:

        These are good ideas. I’ll pass them along to my mom.

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