The Importance of a Caregiver Plan

As responsible pet owners, we ensure our pets receive quality care throughout the entirety of their lives. This includes food, water, shelter, veterinary care, and of course, love! Usually our pets tend to have shorter life spans, therefore pet owners might expect and plan for their eventual passing. Yet, what if the unexpected happens to you? What will happen to your pets?

Accidental incidents or unforeseen death can be a confusing and difficult time for friends, family, and more. At times pets are often overlooked and your pet’s future can fall upon those that might not know what to do. It’s important to ensure your pet has a designated caregiver plan with detailed information to help during this difficult time. Having a plan for your pet’s life will give you peace of mind knowing that they will still be given the same quality care that you want them to have, even if you are not present.

A few first steps you can start doing is finding at least two responsible friends or family to serve as temporary emergency caregivers in the event of you being unable to care for your pets. These designated caregivers would need all the information and tools to take on full responsibility of your pet. This would include access to your home, written feeding and care instructions, the name and contact of your veterinarian, and information about any permanent care provisions you have made for your pet. Once these caregivers have been chosen, make sure your neighbors, friends, and family know who these caregivers are and have their contact information as well. In the event of an accidental incident or death, carrying an “alert card” or notice posted in your home with these emergency contacts will notify first responders regarding the point person for your pets.

For long-term or permanent care for your pet, formal arrangements need to be made. A verbal agreement from a friend a year ago might not hold up when the time comes, therefore having a formal will, trust, or other legal document to provide care and ownership of your pet is important. When deciding on a person, keep in mind the bond your pet has with this person, as well as their lifestyle and stability that they’re able to provide for your pet. For a multi-pet household, you also have to consider whether your pets will all go to one person or whether they will go with different people. You will want to discuss expectations and detailed responsibility of caring for your pet. Understand that this new owner will have full discretion of your pet, including veterinary care and even euthanasia, so make sure you choose a person that you fully trust and will have your pet’s best interest at heart. Over time, stay in touch with these caregivers and update them on your pet’s care and situation. People’s circumstances and priorities change and you want to make sure that the arrangement you made still holds as time goes on.

Though we all hope we never have to utilize our caregiver plan, having one in place will certainly ensure the safety of your pet if you are unable to care for them. For further information regarding your pet’s future, specifically for formal or legal arrangements for your pets, you can find it here. If you don’t have a plan set yet, we hope you find this information helpful to getting started today!