Practical Tips for Managing the To-Dos of Caring for a Sick or Elderly Dog

Many people start feeling overwhelmed as their dog reaches their golden years. Supplements to add to the daily routine, researching new dog foods, and more vet appointments to schedule are some of the things people find themselves doing during this time. It can feel like a lot and hard to know where to start!

But we are here to BREAK things down for you. That’s what managing stress is all about anyway, right?! We all have piles of to-do’s sitting right in front of us that can’t possibly get done all in the same 10 minutes.. they have to be spaced out anyway! So first off, don’t put that expectation on yourself. There’s no need to strap that heaping pile of worries right on your back. 

Unload. Take a blank piece of paper and write down everything you’re thinking of. Maybe these ideas will jog your memory:

  • Questions for your vet
  • Topics or products to research on your phone in your free time
  • Activities and things your dog enjoys
  • Items to buy
  • Anything else that comes to mind!

Get your thoughts out of your mind and onto that piece of paper.

Timeline. View in terms of time. Next to each task, write the amount of time it will take to complete. For example if it’s “research new dog food for joint support” - put 10 minutes down for that and it can be done in a school carpool line or while the pasta’s boiling. This is one of the best ways to quickly check off items on your list and run with momentum. It will help you to get your mind off the emotional side of the task and focus more on the truly brief time you actually need to be thinking about it.

Plug it in. Pull your planner out. It’s time to put all your tasks into the same planner, app, or whatever you use to keep track of your calendar.

First, find your next vet appointment (it's recommended to go more frequently as they age or if dealing with specific health problems). Put a reminder to bring your list of questions. We often use the “Notes” app on the iPhone to remember questions and not forget them on a piece of paper at home!

Next, write in the list of supplements or medication they need and plug them in to the appropriate time or day.

Designate a time every day to get out side with your pet too - early morning before anyone’s awake, to the bus stop after the kids get home from school, after dinner as the day is winding down - whenever is best for your and your pet!

What are some activities that help you keep your stress level down?