In our line of work we often see pets that are quite sick and possibly are having palliative care provided to them. With this type of care comes stress. We see it everyday, someone comes in because fluffy has stopped eating yet again and the owner looks drained with the whole experience sitting heavily on their shoulders. Do you do more tests, do you change foods, do you need to come in and see us or not these are all questions I’ve had to answer and its hard to do and hard to watch knowing the level of stress it can cause.
So how do you cope?
Here are some simple strategies to help you truly enjoy your pet instead of spending your time worrying.
1. Let go of guilt
If it is guilt over not being able to give a medication at an exact time because of work or maybe you can’t make it to the clinic because of a already hectic schedule. Know that you are not alone. Everyone misses a dose of medication here and there, and everyone has had to prioritize life sometimes. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
2. Let go of perfection
Many of us when we hear our pet has a fatal disease want nothing more than to go to the ends of the earth for them and get every therapy possible. Sometimes that is not realistic though. Ether it is financial constraints, limited resources in your area or even your capability of your pet to endure the therapy, all of the above can make us feel like a failure, don’t give up, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
3. Get organized
Sometimes having a few systems in place can bring you back to feeling more in control of what is happening to your pet. A few things we recommend is spreadsheets of what medications your pet is on and when, what treatments, are you having to monitor for things like bowel movements or urine production? Daytimers are also great for the reason you can write down a blurb each day about how your pet was doing as well as list things like medications given and much more, bringing something like this to an appointment is so valuable. An even more visible way is a white board with all your medications and treatments given marked down to ensure they are getting done, this is great when you have help with such things to prevent double dosing ect.
4. Ask for Help
Let people you live with help, being organized makes it easier to share the duties around taking care of your sick pet. If you don’t have help consider hiring a dog sitter to let out your pet if they need more frequent potty breaks or medications than you can manage because of other obligations. Sometimes you can even hire a technician or assistant from your vet clinic to help with things around the house with your pet like giving subcutaneous fluids for our kidney patients to avoid unnecessary trips to the clinic for simple procedures. Worried about how to do something like pill your pet? Ask your veterinary team to teach you, they can teach you to do everything from administering injectable medications to pilling an uncooperative cat.
5. Take care of You!
We see it every day, pet parents are sacrificing their own health and well-being because they are so focused on their pet. We understand the need for additional care but remember if you end up ill or unwell in any way no one will be there to help your pet. Self-sacrifice often leads to mistakes being made on their own health care or their pet’s health care.
6. ENJOY YOUR PET
Don’t get wrapped up in the illness, remember the little things they like to do and participate in and share special moments with them every day. Don’t forget that playtime and snuggle time is an important part of daily care. Relaxing with your pet leads back to taking care of you too, it has been proven that petting and enjoying your pet lowers heart rate and blood pressure and gives you an overall good feeling.
We hope this blog helps even one person cope with their pets disease process and remember forgive yourself, let perfection go and most importantly ENJOY YOUR PET.