Caregiving for a pet during their end-of-life stage can be exhausting- physically, emotionally, and financially. We’ve put together a few of our favorite inexpensive “hacks” that will save you time and energy when caring for a geriatric or terminally ill pet.

1) Baby Monitors
Inexpensive baby monitors that you check from your phone are fabulous tools to utilize when caretakers have to be out of the home. It can be so reassuring to see that your pet is doing well during the day while at work or running errands.

2) Plastic swimming pool
Most pet families with geriatric pets have to deal with some sort of additional cleaning. Whether it’s urinary accidents or pets that have a bowel movement when attempting to stand, cleaning up floors and carpets can be very stressful. Cutting out a large opening in the front of a large plastic baby pool can protect your floors, while still giving you pet a comfy place to sleep.

3) Yoga mats
For pets that are slipping and sliding on hard floors when they try to walk, yoga mats are a great alternative to having to cover your home in rugs. They are easy to hose off and clean and provide excellent traction throughout the house. They can be found for around $5 at many of the big box discount stores.

4) Food puzzles/snuffle mat
Pets that have decreased mobility can get bored and/or anxious. Food puzzles and snuffle mats can keep them entertained and busy while not requiring a lot of movement.

5) Lick mat
Lick mats can help with any pet that doesn’t like to sit still for grooming, bathing, or nail trims. Smooth some peanut butter or yogurt on them (and then freeze to make it last longer) for a great distraction! We use this during our acupuncture appointments to keep pets focused on something other than our doctor!

6) Bed sheet sling
There are many types of slings available for purchase and if your pet will need one long term, they can be so worth the investment. In a pinch, we recommend using a flat bedsheet folded in half (the long way). This allows the caretakers to stand up straight while assisting the dog, which is much more comfortable than hunching over! It also allows the family to spread the sheet so that there is uniform pressure for the whole chest and abdomen for the dog, which can be more comfortable than a thin towel, etc.

7) Waterless shampoo wipes
Older pets and those that are sick can find traditional baths to be stressful. That, combined with the increased chance of bathroom accidents can make caregiving especially frustrating. Waterless pet shampoo wipes have the soap built right in and can help keep pets clean in the event they do have a bathroom accident.

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If you have a pet you think would benefit from a palliative care consultation, please contact Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice, In-Home Euthanasia, and Integrative Medicine at 757-474-5968.