Your pets are an important part of your life. They keep you company, help you stay active and are always happy to see you. For most pet owners, their furry friend becomes an important part of the family and a close personal companion. Naturally, you take your responsibilities as an owner very seriously, providing food, walks, and baths while doing your part to give your pet all the extra love they deserve. This bond is especially powerful for people who live on their own because the two of you take care of each other. But who will care for your pet if an illness or accident suddenly puts you in the hospital?
The Importance of Planning Ahead
This kind of question is incredibly important to consider because not everyone has a quirky sitcom neighbor ready to step in as a pet sitter at a moment’s notice. Whether your health is already a concern or you feel perfectly fine today, you’ll want to have a plan for those one-in-a-million chances that something terrible will happen and you won’t have time to make arrangements. Not sure where to start? There are several ways to prepare for pet care in emergency situations ranging from making plans with family to ensuring there will be money for boarding and care while you are in the hospital.
Steer Clear of Shelters
Shelters are often the go-to answer for pet owners who need emergency last-minute pet care and are the last place you want to send your pet. Public shelters are almost always overcrowded and despite their best efforts, conditions usually aren’t great. Pets are kept in kennels with minimal to no time spent playing outside and every shelter’s primary goal is adoption and turnover. While the shelters themselves are trying to provide a humane solution to untended cats and dogs, there is a very low chance that a pet left at a shelter will ever be seen again and adoption is only the best case scenario.
Relying On Friends and Family
If you are lucky enough to have loving family nearby or friends that would be willing to take on your pet for a while, this should always be your go-to option, but don’t just assume. Without checking beforehand, you can’t know for certain that any of the people you know have room in their lives for a temporary pet, or that it would occur to them to go get your pet should something happen to you. In order to prepare for this, make sure to ask around and make a plan with at least one person who is willing to either house/pet -sit for you or fully take your pet into their home while you recover. That said, it’s always best to have a backup just in case your designated pet caregiver is somehow unavailable.
Professional Pet Care
Even if you don’t have any close friends or family who might be able to take in your pet, there are hundreds of people and services that love animals and can provide a loving boarding home while you’re in the hospital. These range from professional pet hotels to Care.com local pet-sitting freelancers and from this selection you can arrange for any kind of pet care you could hope for. If you want your pet to stay in your home, for instance, you can hire someone to visit twice a day for food and walks or you can pay a foster family to board them as a temporary member of their own family so your pet won’t get lonely. By hiring people to care for your pet, you stay in control unlike a shelter and may even be able to arrange visits so your furry friend knows you haven’t forgotten them.
Budgeting for Your Plans
Normally, you and your pet ‘split the rent’ and their addition to your lifestyle costs are minimal, mostly represented by food and the occasional toy or bottle of shampoo. However, when you’re in the hospital you may need to secure an enjoyable temporary home for your pet, a cost not many owners are truly prepared for, but that’s why you’re planning. You could, for instance, have a special savings account just for emergency pet care but there’s an even better solution. It may surprise you, but there is a kind of insurance that can cover you in exactly this kind of situation.
Critical Illness Insurance
Normal health insurance may pay out for your care and procedures, but it has no coverage for the peripheral costs of illness like taking care of rent when you’re out of work or caring for your pets while you’re in the hospital or in recovery at home. Critical illness insurance is a kind of insurance that allows you to take care of your own finances in the event that your health takes an extreme downturn. With this type of insurance, you can guarantee yourself a large tax-free lump sum that can be used to handle your affairs and ensure that you will have the funds to board your pet, hire a sitter, and even have a little in-home help as you recover.
As a responsible pet owner, you love your pet and want to be prepared to care for them even under extreme or unexpected circumstances. Rather than leaving their fate up to chance, you can take the reigns and make a real plan for how to care for your pet. Whether you choose to make arrangements with your relatives, put together a savings account, or get emergency insurance you can be sure that your pet will be happy and waiting for you no matter what happens.