July 8, 2015

How to Support Someone with a Sick Pet

Photo credit: Leo Grübler

Having a pet with a serious illness can be incredibly draining.
From endless veterinarian appointments and the stress of caregiving for a sick animal to having to watch your beloved pet in pain, this can be a truly difficult and emotional time.
Do you have a friend or family member struggling with caregiving for a sick pet, but not sure how to help?
We’re providing 5 ways of how you can support them during this tough time.

Don’t offer unsolicited advice

When people decide to confide in you about their pet’s health, don’t assume they’re asking for your advice. In fact, they’re probably combatting information overload from their veterinarian and from doing their own research. If you’d like to offer advice, wait until they ask for your opinion on the situation.

Don’t say, just do

For many of us, it’s a habit to say, “let me know if you need anything.” However, when caregivers are truly going through a difficult situation, they often feel uncomfortable asking for favors. Instead, think about what you would need help with in a similar scenario, and then simply let them know how you’re going to help.
Looking for some ideas? Offer to pick up some groceries, mow their lawn, pick up their laundry, etc. With a lot of their time occupied with caregiving for their pet, these daily tasks will be a huge help.

Offer to be chauffeur

Especially if caregivers might receive some upsetting news, offer to drive them to their veterinarian’s appointment. They might not be in a position to drive home safely or may need some immediate emotional support.

Be a good listener

Sometimes pet caregivers just need someone to talk to about their pet’s struggle. Be a silent supporter and allow them to explain what they’re going through. If someone is constantly interrupting–or worse, talking about himself or herself— when a pet owner is trying to convey the struggle, it can be truly frustrating.

Help financially

If the pet has a costly health issue, consider creating a GoFundMe campaign with your friend’s permission. Your friend may need the financial support, but doesn’t want to be the one asking for money. You can even create a Facebook page with updates on how the pet is doing and include information on how others can help.
While on the topic of finances, we’d like to add a reminder to buy pet health insurance. We recommend either Trupanion or EmbracePetInsurance. We like to frequently offer this reminder, because it’s heartbreaking to be in a situation where you can’t give your pet the care he or she deserves.

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Cheers to a Lifetime of Great Health!
Medical information or statements made on this site are not intended for use in or as a substitute for the diagnosis or treatment of any health or physical condition or as a substitute for a veterinarian-client relationship which has been established by an in-person evaluation of a patient. This information and advice published or made available through this website is not intended to replace the services of a veterinarian, nor does it constitute a veterinarian-client relationship. Each individual’s treatment and/or results may vary based upon the circumstances, the patients’ specific situation, as well as the health care provider’s medical judgment and only after further discussion of the patient’s specific situation, goals, risks, and benefits and other relevant medical discussions.

 These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
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