Our pets are our most treasured companions. The bonds we form with them are beyond words and have a different meaning to our human relationships – somehow, we feel, they just ‘get’ us. The silent, non-judgemental from friendship they give us is like no other and runs deep. So coping when your pet falls ill can be very difficult to come to terms with – made all the more so as we feel it’s somehow silly to feel emotional about it. When a much loved pet falls seriously ill, it’s completely natural to feel a whole range of emotions – anger, fear, frustration, anxiety, even despair. The emotional toll can be just as great as when a human we love gets ill – and in the case of our pet, we can’t explain what is happening. Illness can strike in even the best cared-for animals, and coping can be difficult. Here are a few steps you can take to help you process the news and support your furry companion.
Make Them Comfortable
With pet illnesses, often you won’t be sure how it will affect them, or how long they may have. The condition of our pets can deteriorate pretty rapidly, so how you care for then may need to change on a day by day basis. They may have more energy to exercise one day, less another. You may need to look at ketogenic dog food or simply just provide cuddles and find the warmest pet bed going.
Make Beautiful Memories
The bond that you and your pet share is irreplaceable. If you know they aren’t likely to make it, it’s a lovely idea to create some memories together to give you comfort. You may even decide to make a pet bucket list of activities you’d like to do together or places to visit. Make sure you keep it simple and not too elaborate, as your pets energy levels may be compromised. You want to ensure they are enjoying their time and that you are both creating some treasured moments together.
Take Some Breaks
Caring for a seriously ill pet can be very emotionally draining and time consuming, and it’s perfectly okay to need a break at times. Hard as it may seem to spend time away from your pet, you do need to recharge in order to provide them with the best care. Make some time to do things that lift your spirits – reading a good book, drawing, seeing good friends or even a therapeutic colouring book – gentle activities that will calm you.
Find Some Support
You may need to talk about your situation, so make sure you turn to friends and family and especially fellow pet owners who are more likely to relate to the emotions that you are experiencing. You could also join a forum for pet owners to meet others who can relate to your situation. You will not only gain emotional support but also insight and information from others who have been through similar situations. Don’t be ashamed of feeling upset – it’s a difficult time and you’re entitled to get upset.