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Elder Care Tips: Helping Your Seniors Keep Their Pets Healthy this Summer

Elder Care in Framingham, MA

Elderly woman with dogPets can be a fantastic ally in your elder care plan, offering an emotional boost, stress relief, companionship, and the opportunity for regular physical activity for your aging loved ones. These fur babies are special members of the family, which means keeping them healthy during the often uncomfortable and potentially dangerous heat and humidity of the summer is vital.

Use these tips to making protecting your senior loved ones’ pets part of your summer elder care routine:

  • Leave them home. Your parents may love to bring their pets around with them when running errands or going on visits, but unless they are able to crank the air conditioning in the vehicle and bring their pets inside everywhere they stop, this is not a good idea. Even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside the car on an 80 degree day can soar over 100 degrees in just 10 minutes. On days when the outside temperature is in the 90s, the temperature can become deadly in even less time. Leave pets at home to protect them from severe organ damage or death.
  • Keep them out of humidity. Even if the number on the thermometer does not seem particularly high, if there is a high degree of humidity, your parents’ pets could be at risk. Panting is a dog’s method of cooling himself, but if there is too much humidity, there is too much moisture to allow for this method to be effective, causing their body heat to rise dangerously. If the weather is humid, limit their time outside and give them plenty of time to rest in a dry, air conditioned environment.
  • Reduce outdoor exercise. The summer months are not the time to tie your elderly loved ones’ dog on his run and let him spend all afternoon outside chasing squirrels and barking at neighbors. Outdoor exercise in the heat can quickly lead to heat exhaustion and dehydration, and hot surfaces such as concrete can cause serious burns on their paws. Limit outdoor activity to the early morning and late evening hours when it is cooler. If your parents’ dog is particularly active, consider enrolling him in a doggie daycare that offers plenty of indoor exercise and playtime for a happy, exercised, tired dog without the risk of heat.
  • Provide plenty of water. Even if your parents’ dog is on a feeding schedule and receives food once or twice a day, he should always have plenty of cool, clean water available whether he is indoors or out. If you are concerned about water splashing out of the bowl and creating a slipping hazard, put the bowls on puppy training pads. These will absorb any splashes and make cleanup fast and easy. Be sure to only use unscented pads as the scented ones uses pheromones that attract animals to eliminate in that spot, which may confuse housebroken animals.
  • Offer cool treats. Your aging parents love a frosty ice cream treat during the summer months, and so do their pets. Mash together one cup of peanut butter, half a ripe banana, and a little bit of water to create a smooth mixture, put it in a popsicle mold, and freeze. Use a pretzel rod as the stick to make the treat entirely edible for the lucky puppy.

If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Metrowest Boston, MA, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (781) 559-0073