You are here: Home Emotional Well ... Pets 101 Summary
Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.



There are numerous physical and emotional reasons to live with a pet post diagnosis. For instance, pets motivate people to exercise, help fight depression, loneliness and stress, reduce blood pressure, and even help prevent heart disease. Pets can reduce pain. Some studies indicate pets increase longevity.

If you don't have a pet, consider getting one.

  • If you are thinking of getting a dog, consider getting an older one so you do not have to deal with training.
  • Many doctors prescribe having a pet as part of medical care. (For a story reported in the New York Times about the affect of getting a new dog on a newly diagnosed cancer patient, click here offsite link.)
  • If you want to test living with a pet, or only want a pet for a short term, there are a variety of alternatives to consider. 

While dogs and cats may be the first pets to come to mind, there are all kinds of pets with different characteristics to suit your physical, emotional and financial needs as well as your lifestyle.

Before living with a pet, think carefully about the responsibility and how it will be carried out on a daily basis. There are apps for a smart phone that make life with a pet morehassle free.

It is easier than ever to travel with a pet.

If your landlord prohibits pets, you may be able to get around the rules because of your health condition.

Consider how the responsibility of taking care of a pet will be carried on if you can't take care of it yourself. For instance:

  • There are veterinarians who will make house calls.
  • Make plans for the pet's care in case you become incapacitated or die or are in an emergency situation such as a flood or earthquake. We never know when we will get hit by the proverbial bus.

Once you own a pet, one of the main considerations is to protect your health. This is easy to do if you follow standard guidelines.

It is advisable to take a few minutes to think through how to save money as you live with a pet -- including whether to get pet insurance to protect against potentially catastrophic costs. Also be sure to protect your finances with appropriate liability insurance

Just as it is advisable to preplan (not prepay) our own funeral, it is best to preplan for your pet so you do not have to make a hasty decision while experiencing grief. In the event, Emotional support is available.See: Loss of A Pet

For additional information to consider, see:

A Multitude Of Reasons To Own A Pet

Whether the pet is a dog or cat, or another kind of pet such as a bird or fish in an aquarium, the effect on the people with whom they live can be extremely positive. For instance:

  • Pets have been shown to reduce:
    • Stress
    • Depression
    • Feelings of loneliness and isolation. (The presence of pets also makes it easier to express emotions).
    • Pain (yes, pain)
    • Blood pressure (by releasing the hormone oxytocin which has been shown to lower blood pressure)
    • Cholesterol levels
  • Pets can bring a renewed feeling of joy and playfulness. Studies show that the central nervous system releases several hormones that cause feelings of pleasure with a sense of warmth, nurturing and calm.
  • Heart attack patients with pets have longer survival rates.
  • Seniors who are dog owners have fewer doctor visits. Dog ownership also promotes regular exercise.
  • Pets help children cope with the serious illness or death of a parent of loved one.
  • Pet owners enjoy better physical health as a result of exercise with their pets.
  • Pets fulfill many of the same support functions of humans for both adults and children. 
  • You can help other people who are in hospital by training your pet to participate in a program that trains and certifies pets to visit hospitalized patients. For example, Delta  or Pet Partners offsite link.
  • Remind us to live in the moment - just like they do.

To learn more, see: The Healing Power Of Pets by Dr. Marty Becker, Hyperion, New York, 2002. (Inexpensive used copies are available through such web sites as Barnes and Noble: offsite link

Questions To Consider Before Adopting A Pet

Before adopting any pet, talk to all family members.

  • Discuss expectations and responsibilities.  
  • Take a realistic look at your physical abilities and at your family's lifestyle. Keep in mind your needs, and that the needs of each type of pet differ.

Questions To Think About No Matter What Type Of Pet You Are Considering

Ask the following questions and whatever additional questions fit your and your family's life:

  • Do you have the time to take care of a pet? The energy level?
  • Would the responsibility be stressful for you?
  • Do you have the financial means? 
    • Costs include purchase, feeding, ongoing medical care and possibly medical care for a major illness. 
    • Consider whether to get pet insurance.
  • Could living with the pet that appeals to you have an adverse effect on your health? If there could be risk, are there precautions to take? Ask your doctor. (For tips about how to avoid infection from your pet, click here.)
  • How much care will the pet require?
  • What role will each family member play in the pet's care? For example, who will:
    • Feed, groom and bathe the pet? 
    • Clean its living space? 
    • Walk it, if need be? 
    • Take care of the pet if you can't or if you are away?
  • What kind of medical care will the pet need? How much will that cost? 
  • Do you have enough space in your home for the pet to live and exercise?

If you are thinking of getting a dog:

  • Think about your lifesyle, physical and emotional condition. Look at the various aspects of the breeds in which you're interested. A vetermarian or public shelter can help fit a dog to your individual needs. Also consider consider using the Tripp Test For Selecting a New Dog which can be found at: offsite link
  • Shedding can be a serious problem for some people. Is that the case for any of the people with whom you live? If so, there are dogs with hair (which does not shed) instead of fur (which does.)
  • Are other members of your household or friends who visit you regulalry allergic to dogs?
  • Consider an adult dog instead of a puppy. Puppies require training, can be destructive and can be more susceptible to disease which they can pass on to you if you have a weakened immune system. Taking a rescue dog also saves a dog's life.
  • You may be liable if the dog causes injury or death. The risk can be covered by insurance. It is generally covered in homeowners insurance policies.
  • Getting assistance from a trainer to help you train a dog will make training easier. Your veterinarian may have a recommendation. If not, you can find a professional through the American Association of Pet Dog Trainers, offsite link or 800.PET-DOGS

If you are thinking of getting a cat

If you have HIV/AIDS or a lowered immune system for any other reason

If you have a lowered immune system,  consider an animal that  may be trained to poop outdoors and those that are incapable or can be trained not to bite and scratch,

The FDA advises that you avoid contact with the following animals that are more likely than others to carry diseases:

  • Reptiles (turtles, lizards, and snakes)
  • Baby chicks
  • Ducklings.
  • Exotic pets, especially those taken directly from the wild.

To Learn More

More Information

Homeowners Insurance

How To Get Around A "No Pets" Restriction In A Lease Or Under Local Law

If your landlord or local law prohibits pets, you may still be entitled to one as an emotional support animal. Service animals are not considered to be "pets."

You may be required to prove that a pet is an emotional support animal as defined in the law. 

To learn about emotional support animals, including the legal requirements, and additional rights available to owners of emotional support animals, click here.

To Learn More

Tips To Help Assure Sure That You Don't Get An Infection From A Pet

Even though according to the FDA, the risk of getting a disease from your pet is small, all pet owners should follow a few basic rules for maintaining both your health and the health of your pet. This is particularly important if you are undergoing treatment for cancer or if you have a suppressed immune system, such as people living with HIV/AIDS.

Ask your doctor if there are special precautions that you should take as a result of your pet. 

The basics to avoid infection from a pet include:

  • Practice good personal hygiene yourself. For example, always wash hands with soap and water after handling an animal or cleaning an animal’s area or toys. This is especially important before eating, preparing food, smoking, or attending to wounds
  • Wash your pet's dishes and bowls as follows:
    • Wash the dishes and bowls every day
    • Wash them separately from any dishes or utensils that you use. 
    • Wash them with hot,soapy water to kill any germs.
  • Whether you have a cat, dog or other animal, clean up after it regularly. 
    • If you have a dog: this includes picking up after Fido daily. 
    • If you have an animal that uses a litter box: 
      • The box should be cleaned every day. 
      • Cleaning the litter box could make you susceptible to illness, particularly when your immune system is low. Ask your doctor if using rubber gloves would eliminate the risk. If so, be sure that you wash the gloves regularly and that you disinfect them. If not, ask someone else to empty the litter box for you. (If you cover inside of the the litter box with a large plastic bag with the litter clay sitting on the bag, you can remove the used litter without touching it or even being near it.)
    • Don't touch pet feces with your hands. If you do, don't touch your fingers to your mouth. Wash well immediately afterward.
  • Do not kiss your pet. Even though your pet is family, keep your lips from your pet's mouth to prevent germs from being passed your way.
  • Don't let a pet lick an open wound or in or around your mouth.
  • Take bites and scratches on your pet seriously. 
    • Clean them thoroughly and apply a disinfectant. 
    • If irritation occurs, consult with your veternarian.
  • Regularly apply or give medicines to protect against ticks, fleas and mosquitoes.
  • If you garden:
    • Avoid bare-skin contact with soil where dogs may have defecated.
    • If there are raccoons in the neighborhood, wear gloves when working the soil or a habitat shared with raccoons.
  • Avoid swimming or wating in water that may be contaminated with animal urine.
  • If you have a bird, use extreme care in handling any pet bird which shows signs of respiratory illness.
  • If bitten or scratched by any animal, wash the area with soap and water and seek medical attention if a fever develops or the area begins to swell.

If you have HIV/AIDS and/or a lowered immune system, the Humane Society of the United States recommends:

  • Wash your hands after handling or touching a pet.
  • Wear rubber gloves when changing a litter box or cleaning up after a pet, and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Keep your pet's nails short to minimize scratches.
  • Keep your pet indoors and use a leash outdoors to prevent your pet from hunting, scavenging, fighting, and engaging in other activities that include exposure to other animals and disease.
  • Feed your pet commercial pet food. Do not feed your pet raw meat or allow it to eat the stool of other animals.
  • Keep your pet's living and feeding areas clean.
  • Keep your pet's vaccinations up to date.
  • HIV-positive pet owners should make sure their pets have up-to-date immunizations, attend regular veterinary check-ups, and receive suggested worm and insect medications. Maintaining the health of a pet decreases the chances of the animal passing bacteria, viruses, or other parasites that can cause opportunistic infections, or infections that do not usually develop in individuals with healthy immune systems,
  • Immediately seek veterinary care for a sick pet.

NOTE: HIV cannot be transmitted from an animal to a human. Similarly, the virus cannot be transmitted from an HIV-positive individual to his or her pet.

How To Protect Yourself Against Liability In Case A Dog Or Other Pet Hurts Someone

If your dog or other pet causes injury or death, you may be liable both for damages (civilly) and criminally. Fido may seem sweet, but at the wrong moment, with the wrong person, damages could be very large.

Many states have passed laws with harsh penalties for owners of dogs that cause serious injuries or death.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, in approximately one-third of states, owners are liable for their dog's behavior even if there has been no warning. In the rest of the states, you are only liable if you knew or should have known that the dog was inclined to bite. As a general matter, this means that you are only liable if the dog already bit someone. In those states, you get the first bite for free.

Even in the first-bite-free states, you may be liable if you are engaged in outrageous or reckless behavior, or are negiligent in controlling the dog, or are in violation of a local animal-control law.

To learn about the animal control laws in your area, search in your favorite search engine on the name of your city or town and the words "municipal code." Then repeat the process with the name of your county and the word "ordinance". Alternatively, discuss this issue with your insurance broker or attorney to learn about the law in your state.

If you have a homeowners (or renters) insurance policy:

  • Check to see if you are covered for damages caused by your pet. 
    • Read the "exclusions" information in the "Coverage" section to make sure that it does not mention dogs or other animals. 
    • Also read any "endorsements" mailed to you by the insurance company. Endorsements amend the policy and could exclude dog-bite coverage. (If you haven't kept all endorsements mailed to you, call the insurance company and ask for a copy of all endorsements.)  
    • Read the "Declarations" section of the policy to make sure that there is not a lower limit on liability for a dog-bite than for the rest of the coverage. If the limits are not sufficient, consider purchasing an "umbrella" liability policy which increases the limit.
  • If your homeowners insurance policy doesn't cover pets, ask your insurance broker if an umbrella policy is available which will cover pets. If not, it is advisable to purchase a canine-liability policy that covers this risk. 

Inexpensive Ways To Obtain A Pet

Consider the following resources to find the pet for you:

  • offsite link draws on listings from more than 11,400 shelters and rescue groups.
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals (ASPCA): offsite link. Find a local shelter under "Adoption"
  • Humane Society of The United States: offsite link.  See the menu: Select A Pet
  • Ads in your local newspaper or a website with community information such as Craigs List: offsite link

NOTE: Rescue pets may be less expensive than "free" pets because they may already have their shots and medical examination -- or the shelter may provide these services at a reduced cost.

How To Travel With A Pet

If you are thinking about traveling with your pet:

  • Consider whether the pet would enjoy the trip. If not, perhaps it would be better to leave him or her at home.
  • Think about all the food and other supplies your pet will need. Take enough for a few extra days "just in case."
  • Be sure your pet has a collar with a legible identification tag. It is preferable if your pet has a microchip in case it gets loose or lost.
  • Buses and Trains: Contact the bus or train company to find out about restrictions. Some trains, such as AMTRAK, do not allow pets.
  • Hotels: Contact hotels in which you are planning to stay. Ask about restrictions concerning pets.
    • More hotels are letting guests bring pets. 
    • Some hotels limit the size for dogs, forbid puppies, and restrict breeds. 
    • You may be asked to sign an agreement that you will be liable for damage to property or people due to your pet. 
    • Check your homeowners insurance policy to see if it will cover any damage your pet does in a hotel or otherwise outside your home.
    • If a facility prohibits pets:
      • If your pet is also a service animal, your animal cannot be prohibited in the U.S.because the refusal to accommodate you and your pet may be a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act..
      • If your pet is an emotional support animal, you do not have a right to have the pet in a hotel. Still, it cannot hurt to tell the hotel ahead of time you have an emotional support animal prescribed by your doctor and that you want to bring him/her with you. 
  • Airplanes: 
    • As a general matter, one pet that fits under the seat is permitted on each airplane. 
    • Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals are also allowed in the cabin (though not in emergency rows). Other pets have to fly with the luggage 
  • Ask your veterinarian for a canine health certificate which confirms the dog's good health in case you are asked for it. Also, take a copy of your pet's shots and immunizations -- and registration if required (such as a dog license.)
  • In case your pet wanders:
    • Carry a current photo of your pet.
    • Be sure he or she has a sturdy collar with emergency contact information and a rabies tag.
    • Consider inserting an identifying chip under the skin (from your veterinarian.)
    • Think about purchasing a global positioning collar. One source is offsite link.
  • If you are looking for a place to stay with your pet:
    • There are web sites which  provide information on pet friendly accommodations among other useful information for traveling with a pet. For example:
    • Pet-friendlylodgings and campgrounds, dog friendly parks, and emergency animal clinicsin the United States and Canada are listed in AAA's guidebook: "Traveling With Your Pet" (free to members; available at AAA branches for non-members for a fee. You can find a branch through offsite link).
    • There are travel companies which specialize in making travel arrangements for pets. For example, offsite link.
  • If you are going to use a commercial flight:
    • If you have a small pet you can carry onboard: window or center seats have more under-the-seat space than aisle seats
    • Large dogs fly as checked baggage or in the cargo hold of the plane.
    • Direct, nonstop flights without stops or layovers are preferable to help avoid delays and reduce the stress on your pet.
    • During the summer, it is preferable to book a flight for a time when the temperatures are cooler, such as early in the morning, in the evening or at night.
    • Read the Department of Transportation regulations for transporting live animals at offsite link
    • Check on the record of airlines you are considering using with respect to pet transportation at offsite link.
    • Don't give your pet food for four to six hours before the flight, except for a small drink of water before flight time.
    • A new airline flies pets in a cabin rather than in a cargo hold. For information see offsite link or call 888.PET.AIRWAYS
    • Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals are permitted on commercial flights.
  • If you are planning on taking a pet to another country, learn about quarantine or other health requirements at offsite link or contact the country's embassy or consulate. Don't be surprised if you need to have a microchip implanted in your pet and/or a blood titre test which checks your pet's immune defenses.

NOTE:  If you have a car, check your automobile insurance policy to find out if there is coverage for pets injured in your car. At least one automotible insurance company, Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, includes such coverage. Coverage for cats and dogs is free.

To Learn More

How To Answer Pet Health Questions If You Can't Make It To The Veterinarian

In addition to getting your pet regular check ups, you can research health conditions in libraries, in books or on the internet. Several reliable sources on the internet are:

There are veterinarians who will make house calls for home bound pet owners. The American Association of Housecall Veterinarians has a locator on its web site at offsite link.


  • The Center for Veterinary Medicine of the Food and Drug Administration advises that pet owners keep a list of all of a pet's medications. 
  • When a new drug is prescribed for your pet, ask questions. For a list of suggested questions, go to offsite link.  Type "10 questions to ask your vet" in the search  box.

How To Care For Your Pet In The Event You Become Incapacitated

Each of us, no matter how healthy or how young, should make plans for what happens to our pets in the event we become unable to take care of the pet even for a short period of time.  If you don't provide for your pets, they could be sent to a shelter or possibly put to sleep.  (For information about what to do now in case you die, click here.)

Think about who should care for them, and how their care will be paid for.

Make arrangements for someone to take possession of your pet immediately. Let that person know about your pet's special needs as well as contact information for your veternarian.

  • Choose a caregiver or caregivers - preferably people your pet is familiar with and who know how to take care of the animal. Give the person a key or other means of getting into your home "just in case." 
    • Once you set the caregiver, keep track in your pet's file of the names of the people who volunteer to take care of your pet in case something happens to the primary caregiver or he or she can no longer take care.
  • If you can't find a person, look for a local organization that can help. For example:
    • Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) is a non-profit that started in San Francisco to help people with HIV/AIDS when they cannot care for a pet. ( offsite link) PAWS has expanded to help people with other life-changing conditions. There may be a local chapter in your area. 
    • Your religious organization
    • A local disease specific non-profit organization
    • Your state Elder Care Agency may be able to help. You can locate your state's agency at offsite link Click on "State councils".
    • DogVacay offsite link connects pet hosts with pet owners who need some to care for their dogs . Hosts receive compenstion. DogVacay receives a percentage of the payment.
  • Write a set of instructions for the pet's daily and other care. 
    • Include your pet's feeding and walking schedule, your vet's 24/7 contact information and the location of your pet's medical records, food, and leash. 
    • Also include instructions what you want to happen to the pet if the pet has a life threatening emergency -- much like the way you should prepare an advance healthcare directive for yourself. What would be the guiding principles you would use about your pet?
  • Provide for money to be given to the person who cares for your pet if your incapacity continues beyond a few days.  Consider setting up a joint bank account with the person. The money can be accessed by the person immediately. Be sure to pick a person you trust because he or she could remove the money and it would be a while before you find out.
  • Ask your veterinarian what you need to do to give the caregiver authority to make a decision in case you cannot be reached.

NOTE:  One way to find a professional pet sitter is through the web site: offsite link.  Enter your zip code, the type of service you need and the dates during which you need the service.

To Learn More

Loss Of A Pet 101

The impending and actual loss of a pet triggers the same grief stages as the loss of friends and family members. 

Whether you are anticipating the loss of a pet, or it has already occurred, talk about it. Don't keep the emotions in. Talk with your family, friends and other pet lovers. You can find support online through at least the following sources:

  • A variety of sources listed at offsite link. Click on Pet Loss & Bereavement.
  • The Association For Pet Loss And Bereavement, offsite link. The association has pet bereavement counselors and support groups.
  • Your local ASPCA or other animal non-profit may be able to put you in touch with local people going through the same process or who can help.

If you are considering putting a pet down, the Association For Pet Loss And Bereavement has a discussion that is worth reading. See offsite link.

For a comprehensive list of pet cemeteries to find one near you, see offsite link.

NOTE: What to do with a pet's remains can be a difficult decision while grieving. It is better to think about what to do with his/her remains ahead of time. Alternatives to consider include:

What to do with the remains?  Since it can be difficult to choose upon death, best is to think about this ahead of time)

  • Compost your pet -- one company that provides this service (and will send send you back the compost with a seedlling to grow in your pet's memory) is offsite link
  • Cremation. One way to arrange cremation is through your veterinarian. 
  • Burial in nature - returns the animal to the wild, leaving your pet for nature. If you put your pet down, there must be a deep burial becauase sodium pentobarbital can hurt living animals.
  • Taxidermy - although many taxidermists won't do pets because of emotinal responses such as "the face doesn't look like him/her."
  • Artistic preservation - For example Bone Lust Studio offsite link offers several items made from pet remains

How To Prepare In Case Of An Emergency

A bit of forethought can literally save your pet's life in the event of an emergency, as well as decrease anxiety levels.

For instance: think about:

  • Where you will be able to stay with your pet if you are forced to leave your home. Not all emergency facilities are pet friendly. The same with hotels.
  • Just as with your medical needs, think about your pet's medical needs - including a copy of your pet's medical records.
  • It may be wise to keep a few photographs of your pet with your emergency supplies in case you get separated.

The City of New York has created an excellent guide known as "Ready New York For Pets." To access a copy, see: offsite link

NOTE: If you have a home aquarium, homeowners insurance policies do not usually cover damage to personal possessions from an aquarium. If you own an aquarium, do not position it near anything valuable that could be damaged if the tank breaks.

How To Save Money On Your Pet

Before You Buy A Pet

Think about the costs of maintaining a particular type of pet.

  • Generally, veterinary bills for dogs are larger over their lifetimes than the cost for cats. 
  • Purebreds generally have more weaknesses than mixed breeds which can also lead to higher veterinary bills.

Once A Pet Is Yours

Keep up-to-date on preventive care such as heartworm, flea and tick prevention. Keep a dog's ears and teeth clean.  Watch what your pet eats.

Tell your veterinarian you want approval of all expenses BEFORE they are incurred. Once a pet is in their custody, some veterinarians proceed to treat what they find, or order additional tests, without consulting the owner. Also ask for alternatives.  If the cost is expensive, shop around.  Veternarians charge a wide range of prices.

Save money when purchasing medications. For example; 

  • Ask your veterinarian for samples. Just like your regular doctor, you can save money on drugs if you get free samples.
  • Instead of purchasing prescription drugs from your vet, ask for a prescription and buy medications for less or ask your vet to match the lowest price you find. Some veternarians markup drugs by more than 100 percent. A tip: to be sure your pet is covered while saving money, get a few day supply from your veterinarian and purchase the remainder elsewhere.
    • Check with the pharmacy where you purchase your drugs to find out if it fill prescriptions for a pet. If so, what is your cost?
    • Check chain drug stores. 
    • Big box stores generally allow customers to enroll pets as family members in the prescription savings club.
    • Check the prices from reputable online sellers such as offsite link or offsite link Reputable online pharmacies ask for a prescription, have a pharmacist available to answer questions, have a physical business address and phone number, and are licensed by the state board of pharmacy where the business is located. You can find licensed pet pharmacies at offsite link 
  • If you need a prescription, your veterinarian can fax or email it to the online pharmacy. Even if the veterinarian charges for the prescription, you may still save money. 
  • An easy place to compare drug prices is offsite link

When purchasing pet food: 

  • Don't pay a premium for "premium" food. Look for food that is labeled "complete and balanced", "total nutrition" or "100 percent nutritious". They should all meet the minimum standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officiails. If you have a question, ask your veterinarian. (To check scientific ratings of various pet foods, see: offsite link. Click on Pet Food.)
  • The big-box stores may be less expensive. A Consumer Reports study in 2011 found that prices at Target and Walmart were about 20 percent less than pet stores.
  • Compare prices before buying on line. Prices online are often more expensive for pet food than local stores. For instance, check out: 

Comparison shop for veterinary care at a time when there is no emergency. Consumer Reports suggests calling at least two or three nearby vets and asking what their physical-exam fee is. The exam fees are generally the cornerstone of every vet bill. Veterinarians often set their other fees as a percentage or multiple of that charge. 

Consider getting a second opinion about the need for expensive procedures or tests. You can also do your own research about expensive procedures or tests in such resources as The Merck Veterinary Manual which is available online at offsite link.

If there is an emergency, generally the emergency vet stablisizes the animal, then schedules a later treatment.  

  • When possible, ask the emergency vet whether your pet can be treated the next day by your pet's regular (probably less expensive) vet. 
  • If you get a written diagnosis and cost estimate of the treatment plan from the emergency vet, you can use it to comparison shop.

Think twice before getting pet insurance. See: Pet Insurance

To find find free or discounted programs for vaccines, spaying and neutering, ID micro-chip implants, food and other supplies.Type the word "afford" in the search box at offsite link 

If you cannot afford medical treatment for your pet: 

  • The American Animal Hospital has a fund that works with selected veterinarians to provide financial help for emergency and other treatments. See: offsite link
  • Contact local pet organizations or a club for your pet''s breed.

If You Have Children

Keep your children safe and help both your family and new pet adjust by doing the following:

  • Teach kids how to handle and pick up the pet. For example, never to squeeze a pet too tight, drop it, fall on them, or pick it up too fast.
  • Teach children never to tease animals or pull their tails or ears.
  • Teach children never to bother animals while they are eating, sleeping, or tending to their young.
  • Teach children never to take a toy or bone away from a dog.
  • Teach children never to pet or try to play with an animal they don't know, or a wild animal.
  • Closely supervise pets and children.
  • Teach children to wash their hands with soap and water after handling pets. 


How To Find A Short Term Or Part Time Pet

Alternatives for finding a pet on a short term or part time basis include the following:

    • To check about availability in your area of foster care pets, check with your local animal shelter. If the shelter is a 501(c)(3) organization, you can deduct pet food and veterinary bills as a charitable contribution. 
    • To locate a local shelter, see  offsite linkor type "animal shelter" and your local area into your favorite search engine.
    • Bark' N'Borrow offsite link
      • an Uber type matching making service
      • Connects dog owners with dog playdates or potential dog sitters.
      • Free. Payment only for dog-sitting services.
      • The company vets all users and links to their Facebook profile or other public information. Every account is reviewed before being allowed to be part of the community.
    • Dog Vacay offsite link
      • Pairs dog lovers with dogs that could use more people time.
      • Creates a community of dog lovers with and without dogs
      • Offers boarding options for pets in people's homes
    • Rover offsite link
      • Creates a community of dog lovers with and without dogs
      • Offers boarding options for pets in people's homes
    • Walkzee offsite link
      • Pairs people with animal shelter dogs to take for walks.

Apps That Make Life With A Dog Or Cat Easier

Apps in the new field of "pet tech" include the following:


  • How to find a dog walker
    • Wag: on demand dog walkers or sitters in your home. 
      • Includes free lock box so dog walkers can get to your key with a combination code. 
      • You can book ahead of time or summon a walker as soon as possible.
      • App allows you to follow a walk on a map in real time - ncluding where the dog relieves him or herself. 
      • Fees vary.
    • Rover
  • How to find a place to board your dog on a daily basis
    • DogVacay - 
      • Similar to an Airbnb for dog boarding
      • Hosts name their price and are searchable bylocation and dates of availability.
  • How to trackyour pet's location
    • Whistle: 
      • A tracker for monitoring your pet's location.Displays the pet's location on a map.
      • An initial fee to purchase plus a monthly charge


  • A variety of automatic feeders are available - revealing food at a preset day and time or times.


Webcams are available to you can see your pets during the time you are away. Some have laser pointers that a pet may respond to playfully.  Apparently, not all pets react to the laser.  Alternatively, a security camera can also act as a pet monitor.