As pet owners ourselves we are all too familiar with the challenges of dealing with pets with chronic and terminal illness.
There are positive elements and even privileges to being part of this journey – some people tell us that that they appreciate life more and benefit from the feeling of being needed and useful. However there are also negative elements with approximately 50% of pet owners in a recent survey reporting elements of caregiver burden such as limitations to work, social life and finances; and also emotional strain including sadness and frustration caused by changes in their pet’s health, appetite and activity.
How can vets help?
Treat people as individuals – we acknowledge that for some owners making a choice to care for a loved pet can be a positive experience.
Empathise – acknowledging the burden of caring doesn’t mean that your pet is a burden. We understand that experiencing stress whilst caring for your pet does not make you weaker, uncaring or uncommitted.
Share knowledge – we can try to explain your pet’s illness as clearly as possible and also answer any questions you have. We can also direct you to resources about your pet’s condition and more information about caregiver burden.
Provide a practical and collaborative care plan. A clear plan that considers your routine is really important to maximise the chances of success. We are happy to discuss your preferences, fears and limits in a non-judgemental way.
Problem solve. We have daily conversations about how to get around fussy appetites and getting medication under the radar!
Encouragement. We’ve all been there with our own pets so we know it’s not easy and sometimes on the tough days a bit of kindness is required.