4/18/2023 | By Kari Smith

With all of the comfort and companionship that your pet provides for you, you want to return the love. As you age, however, it becomes more likely that health issues can hamper your ability to provide constant care for your pet.

We look at steps you can take to ensure they will be well cared for, no matter what happens to you.

Options for constant care for your pet

Short term boarding and pet sitters

Do your research ahead of time in case a temporary situation arises.

Check out boarding facilities in your area. Have that information handy in case a need arises, so that you or your loved ones are prepared. Be sure to share that information with those closest to you so that they know the plans you have set in place. Have alternative facilities, in case your chosen facility is booked.

If you prefer to keep your furry loved one at home in their own familiar environment, check pet-sitting websites such as or PetSitters International. These sites are convenient for short-term care and will show you available pet sitters in your area.

Related: Best Pets for Seniors

In addition to national websites, check out neighborhood-based social media groups, such as NextDoor and Facebook, or ask friends for recommendations. These groups may yield caregivers closer to your home – possibly even in your own neighborhood. Be sure to fully research any pet sitters found in this way and ask for references, as they will not have gone through the vetting process that larger websites may require.

Long-term solutions

man with dog and cat Photo by Jevtic Dreamstime. For article, lessons on caregiving from aging pets, excerpt from from 'Squint: Re-visioning the Second Half of Life,' by Margit Novack

No one likes to think about what will happen to our pets after we pass, but easy actions can ensure constant care for your pet when you’re no longer around.

Just as you prepare a will for yourself, you can make provisions for your pet in an end-of-life situation. As the pet industry constantly progresses, offering new resources like LifePet.Care, an organization which assists with creating a trust, naming a caregiver, and setting aside funds for and making provisions for caring for your pets after your passing. With this organization, and as a best practice, confirm that the person you designate to care for your pet agrees to such a plan.

Before creating this type of trust, prepare details of how you would like your wishes carried out.

  1. Think about a close family member, friend, or neighbor who loves your pet. Have a detailed conversation with them to share your thoughts and ask if they are willing to care for your pet if necessary. Talk through the particulars of timing, finances, veterinary care, medical decisions, etc. Ideally, choose someone who can spend time with you and your pet enough so that they can become accustomed to your pet and its habits, and your pet can become familiar with them.
  2. Regardless of what you are preparing for, collect information about your pet for any potential caretaking situation. This information could also come in handy if you were to ever lose a pet. Keep a written record including:
  • Your pet’s name
  • Pictures of your pet
  • A physical description of your pet, including eye and coat color, including any specific markings
  • Your pet’s daily care routine including eating and exercise schedule
  • Allergies, aversions, or preferred or required brands of food or treats
  • Veterinary records, including contact information, vaccinations, and any previous health concerns
  • Interactions or behavior history (good or bad) with other adult females, males, children, other dogs, other cats, etc.

In general, planning helps to reduce stress when preparing for the unknown. It should offer a great sense of peace for a responsible pet owner to lay out a solid strategy for caring for their beloved pet if a difficult situation ever arises. Having a plan in place allows pet owners to focus solely on their own care in their time of need.

Kari Smith

Kari Smith is a frequent contributor to Seniors Guide, helping to keep those in the senior industry informed and up-to-date. She's a Virginia native whose love of writing began as a songwriter recording her own music. In addition to teaching music and performing in the Richmond area, Kari also enjoys riding horses and farming.

Kari Smith