Most people will lose a cherished pet at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, the majority of the animals that we keep and love as pets live shorter lives than we do.
Therefore, it makes sense that you’re probably more ready to lose your pets at some point than they are to lose you. But what if you fall ill or pass away before your pet? How can you ensure that they continue to receive the love and care that they deserve?
This guide will be helpful if you’re a pet parent or wish to assist one in safeguarding their pet’s welfare if they pass away.
Choose a Caregiver for Emergencies
To begin with, choosing a friend or family member who can look after your pets for a few days to a week or two is a smart idea. In the event that something happens to you, this person will look after your pets temporarily rather than on a long-term basis.
Ideally, this would be someone who lives nearby and can take responsibility for your pets’ care on short notice.
Especially if you have more than one pet, it’s a good idea to name more than one person as an emergency caregiver. Make sure these people are prepared for the responsibility before putting their names down on paper.
Consider Permanent Homes
Next, consider who you would like to care for your pet(s) in the long run. To assess whether it’s an appropriate fit, consider the answers to these questions:
- How much daily activity does your pet need?
- What kind of medical attention or care is needed?
- Can your pet spend time alone at home during the day?
- Would your pet feel more comfortable in a home with or without other pets?
- Do you think your pet would cope better in a family with or without kids?
Think about friends or relatives who would be able and willing to care for your pet or pets. Your pets should stay together, if possible, and you should try to keep their surroundings as familiar as possible.
Again, it’s critical to speak with the individual you choose beforehand to ensure they’re completely comfortable with the task. Ideally, they will not have to take in your pets. But if that does happen, you want to be sure that they’ll fulfill their obligation.
Partner Up with Loved Ones
Any challenging undertaking can be made simpler by working as a team. You may gather your friends or relatives who own pets and offer the suggestion of a “pet care contract” to them.
Determine who would care for or take in each other’s pets in the event of an emergency or if one of you passes away. In this way, you can all rest easy knowing that all of your pets are well-cared for.
Write Out Rehoming Instructions
It’s okay if you can’t find the right home for your pets. You can always make a list of the qualities you want in a pet home and identify a reliable individual to rehome your pet in the event that something were to happen to you.
Think about the issues raised above when determining the best kind of home for your pet. It all depends on what qualities are most significant to you and your furry friends. There are many loving possible homes out there for your pet.
Set Aside Money for Your Animals
Especially if your pets have special needs or require special food, it’s a good idea to put away savings for their care. So, if something were to happen to you, the person who takes them in wouldn’t have to worry about the additional costs. They can simply concentrate on giving a pet in need the best, most devoted home they can.
You can accomplish this by simply keeping some cash at home in an envelope marked “emergency pet care fund.” Put it someplace where it will be safe, secure, and simple to find if and when needed.
You can set up a trust for your pets if you want to make it more formal. A trust is a sum of money set aside for a particular use, like taking care of your animals.
If you become incapacitated or pass away, you’ll name a power of attorney—someone who has the legal right to use the trust funds in the manner for which they were intended.
Make Provisions in Your Will for Your Pets
Including your pets in your will is another way to set aside money for them. Your will only takes effect upon your death, unlike a trust, which takes effect upon your incapacitation.
If you die, the executor of your estate (someone you designate to carry out your will) ensures your wishes are honored. This might entail finding a new home for your pet or making sure that you have money set aside specifically for the care of your animals.
Make an Alert Card for Emergencies
Plans for emergencies are only useful if people are aware of them. Because of this, it’s crucial to express your plans verbally and in writing to your loved ones.
Your plans for your pets can be written down on an index card and posted somewhere obvious, like your refrigerator or a corkboard. Your emergency notice card can include directions on where to find any additional instructions you may have.
Update Your Plans Regularly
End-of-life plans, including plans for your pets, are not one-and-done. Your pets’ final arrangements, as well as your own, are not set in stone. To make sure they still make sense for your pets, they must be kept up to date. As a general rule, you should review your plans for your pets once a year. That includes checking in with your emergency and permanent caregivers to make sure they’re still onboard.
The Best Care for Your Pets, Now and Always
Most pet owners share your aversion to the idea of leaving their animals alone. Nevertheless, we can never predict what the future holds. One of the best and most selfless things you can do as a pet owner and loving parent for your pets is to make specific plans for them, just in case.
Sarah is a writer at JoinCake.com, an end-of-life planning website with free resources and information on how to estate plan and honor loved ones’ final wishes.