Many of us don’t think we’ll have to worry about our pet’s care, but accidents and illnesses happen, and when they do it’s important to have provisions in place for taking care of your pet when you can’t.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) offers these suggestions to cover pet care in the event pet guardians are not available:
- Have at least two friends or relatives named as temporary pet guardians. Provide them with keys to your residence, feeding instructions for pets, medication directions if applicable, name of veterinarian and any other care requirements.
- Stay in touch with these caregivers on a regular basis to be sure they are still willing and able to care for your pets if needed.
- Be sure your neighbors, friends and relatives are aware of how many pets you have. Ensure they have contact information for pet guardians and that pet guardians have each other’s contact information.
- Carry an “alert card” in your wallet with pet guardian contact information.
- Post “in case of emergency” information notices on doors and windows that indicate the number and type of pets you have so first responders can account for the pets. Be sure the information remains current so first responders aren’t spending unnecessary time searching for pets that aren’t there.
- Contact an attorney to make formal legal provisions for your pet’s care. According to the ASPCA, 46 states allow pet guardians to make legal provisions for long-term care for pets.
A 2012 study conducted by the American Pet Products Association stated that 9% of cat and dog owners said their pets were provided for in their wills, a slight increase from 2010 results showing 6% of cats owners and 5% of dog owners made legal provisions for pet care.
Taking care of your pet when you can’t isn’t easy to think about, but making formal arrangements now can help ensure your pet has a good life, even if you’re gone.