CareGiving Joys and Challenges: Your Pets

Caregiving for your petsSome People Are Pet People.

Cat people. Dog people. Horse people. I know people who love their pet chickens, too! Our daughter would like to have goats. If you love pets, you can’t imagine life without them! Dr.Jessica Vogelsang (aka Dr. V) has a blog post I particularly like, where she talks about the kid-gene vs. the pet-gene. She completely loses it when a pet shows up, but can essentially take it or leave it when she sees a newborn human. (Read her blog).

However, with the exception of some long-living birds, most pets have a shorter lifespan than humans, and so caregiving for your pets as they age is one challenge among many joys pets bring to our lives.

#CareGiving for your pets as they age is one challenge among many joys Click To Tweet

The Joys of CareGiving for Your Pets

Maybe Dr. V has a point! Pets, perhaps even more than children, make it easy to find reward in caring for them. The summer of 2015 in St. Paul, MN, over 11,000 people gathered in the new CHS field to watch cat videos. Seriously! The Internet Cat Video Festival was a huge hit, with people dressing up as cats, and videos playing on the large screens of the St. Paul Saints baseball team.

Why not! Our pets make us laugh. They do CRAZY things! This video from The Conscious Cat might make you wonder, “What goes on in those amazing little heads!”

Pets pretty much seem to love us unconditionally and most of the time act like it. One of my favorite jokes is the comparison between how cats and dogs see their relationship with people:

  • Dogs: They walk me, they feed me, they pick up after me–I worship my human!
  • Cats: They pet me, they feed me, they clean my litter box–my human worships me!

People with pets also have distinct health benefits. This WebMD article 5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health includes the ones I expected–lower blood pressure, lower anxiety especially for Alzheimer’s patients, and better heart health. It also lists a few surprising benefits; a decrease in allergies for children in a home with pets, and (drum roll!) better dating! 

People travel with their pets, and even write entire blogs about traveling with their pets! People hurry home because they have pets. I joke with dog people who will end an evening early because they need to get home to walk the dog. At least a babysitter could usually stay as late I needed them!

Pets are intuitive. They provide comfort when we are sad, and can even alert us to things going on around us that we are not yet aware of.

Did you know #pets can help you get a date? Or build your #ImmuneSystem? Click To Tweet

The Challenges of CareGiving for Your Pets

three cats eatingThere are joys, and then there are those times when your pets are not so easy.

  • Dogs that chew up your favorite shoes
  • Cat who pees where it shouldn’t
  • Pets become ill
  • Pets get old

As mentioned in this blog by Wendy Van de Poll, our pets can suffer many of the same medical conditions as we do including gingivitis and arthritis.

We have a cat that weighs 23 pounds. I’m not kidding. When we took him to the vet recently, we were asked to consider a test for diabetes. We know people who have put their cats on insulin, but the better solution (as with people!) is to try to help him have a healthier weight.

Since our other two cats are normal weight, the veterinarian suggested we consider a special cat feeder which regulates how many minutes per day each of our cats can access it. (click here to see it.) A tag on their collar interacts with the cat feeder and when they’ve had their time for the day, it will shut them out. Now we just have to hope they don’t get all… ah hem… pissy about it. If you have cats, you know what I mean. But no worries. When we decided to take this chance, we found Cat Attract Litter. It’s supposed to be irresistible. Let’s hope so.

There is no end to what people spend on their pets!

Like most #relationships, even our #pets can challenge us. Click To Tweet

Help with CareGiving for Your Pets

sadpetBeyond your favorite veterinarian, there are countless blogs about pet care options, and lots and lots of advice online! You can find special diets, special toys, even exercise equipment for your pet!

These days you can find pet chiropractors, and other holistic health caregivers. Though most of what we do is aimed at helping people with their health and managing pain, we have a small line of magnetic therapy products for pets as well, just because people ask for them!

This note is what started it: “I noticed right away when I put the magnetic mattress pad on my bed that is suddenly became the favorite place for my pets to hang out as well. Do you have something just for pets?” So we created the magnetic therapy pet pad, with a waterproof liner and removable, washable cover. Just as people benefit from magnetic therapy for their wrists, knees, back and more, we developed a magnetic therapy pet collar to do the same for your pet. When we switched to using bamboo toothbrushes (compostable and naturally antibacterial) we were thrilled to discover they made small and large breed dog toothbrushes too!

When the end of time with your pet comes, the grief can be intense, and non-pet-people often just don’t understand. Wendy Van de Poll is the Founder of the Center for Pet Loss Grief. She provides a safe place for dedicated pet parents and pet professionals who want support and guidance with pet loss grief, hospice for pets and when coping with the loss of their pet. We recommend her blog as a comforting resource in a difficult time.

Surprisingly, the loss of a pet, according to Dr. V, may actually be yet another hidden benefit of having pets. They teach us about “Love and loss, one of the great lessons we learn as humans, one of the great moments for which pets prepare us” she says, in her blog titled Thankful. “This is the lesson our pets give us every day, and we carry it with us out of our homes and into our interactions with everyone around us.”

Love and Loss, one of the great lessons we learn as humans...pets prepare us. @pawcurious Click To Tweet

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Please comment below with other great resources you can share with other readers of this blog.

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