Part 3

A senior pet owners concerns help rescue dog “Pandora” overcome her fears and have fun
Abused rescue dog “Pandora” is thriving and her senior pet owners concerns are decreasing

Let’s move along now to part three in this series. Here I share some more senior pet owners concerns which, naturally, are my concerns, too. This time the topics are specifically related to grooming services, as well as transporting dogs and cats from A to B. In addition, we discuss what pet owners do when they go away and how they transfer their animal’s care to somebody else.

A number of the retirees and folks approaching retirement age that I interviewed had just one pet while others had more. But the fundamental issues were apparent across the board.

Owners Or Guardians?

As you probably already know, safety is a huge advocacy push of mine. So I was interested to find out what precautions were put in place by pet parents taking their dog or cat on a car trip. Of course, that ride in the car may be for any number of reasons. As a result, I had the opportunity to offer advice on what not to do, and what could happen. And, hopefully, help make that trip a much safer one.

By the way, those readers who have been following me for a while know that I prefer to use the term pet parent, or pet guardian, or pet caregiver, and avoid the word “owner.” Why? Because animals are sentient beings, not possessions. That said, I made an exception by giving this article the title Senior Pet Owners Concerns. The reason is that a large segment of the population still relates to those words and they frequently appear in search results. 

Making Arrangements

The survey also dealt with vacation time and arrangements for care when pets stay behind. In addition, I brought up the question of what provisions they might have made if they were ever no longer able to provide for their furry family members. Declining health and new accommodation arrangements that do not allow pets on the premises, are the most obvious reasons.



The Findings

A trip to the groomer is something dogs, and the occasional cat, either likes a lot, or not at all. So, I sounded out what my interviewees thought about this. Well, guess what? Not one takes their pet to the beauty salon. I’m guessing they consider it an unnecessary expense. Bathing is done at home and some simple hair trimming, as well. 

Before Pandora found her forever family, she had been badly abused and has serious trust issues. “There’s no way I’ll subject her to a traumatic experience, so I undertake all grooming needs myself,” commented her Mom.

An Interesting Fact

Although it is not mandatory, pet groomers in the USA can obtain certification through one of three organizations…National Dog Groomers Association of America, International Professional Groomers, Inc and International Society of Canine Cosmetologists

Tips Times Three

1. Brush and comb your pet daily to maintain a smooth, glossy coat.

2. Check for skin issues, swelling and lumps that may require veterinary attention.

3. Avoid leaving your pet at the groomer and picking it up hours later. Watch the groomer working.


The Findings

It was encouraging to learn that these senior pet owners were quite concerned about safely transporting their pets from A to B.

Small pets are put in carriers and some are then placed on the floor or secured with a seat belt. Larger dogs may lie on the floor inside a four-door truck. Patti always sits in the back seat with her pooch while someone else drives. Knowing that she shouldn’t, one interviewee actually admitted driving with her dog on her lap. I appreciate her honesty but do wish she would reconsider!

An Interesting Fact

Beware. A few years back, Carol’s niece was driving a panel truck with her dog in the back. She braked so hard it was thrown and killed. Sadly, this is not uncommon.

Tips Times Three

1. Don’t leave any pet unattended in a car with the engine running. 

2. Never leave your pet alone in the front or back yard even if it is fenced. 

3. Don’t allow your dog to stick its head out of the window while you’re driving.


The Findings

The “owners” go away but the pets stay! Most said they travel less frequently now that they are older. Interestingly, none mentioned boarding facilities. 

Bob commented that if they aren’t able to take their dog with them, one will stay home with the pet. A widow said that her sister flies in from another state to stay with her dog. Some mentioned that either a friend will make visits to the home or they hire a pet sitter referred to them as being thoroughly reliable. 

However, since paying for a professional is an additional expense, a number of people have formed a network of close neighbors who share the responsibilities. That way, everyone’s pets – dogs and cats – are visited multiple times daily by the neighborhood network. Reciprocal caregiving. Great idea!

An Interesting Fact

Boarding facilities located in cities typically handle a large number of pets, often as many as 200 at any one time. Those in rural areas are more selective and offer greater opportunities for exercising outdoors.

Tips Times Three

1. Never leave pets alone for extended periods.

2. Pets are less stressed when they stay at home instead of being boarded.

3. Say “no” to any caregiver who drinks or smokes.


The Findings

Almost in their entirety, people said that they have already made provisions to transfer care, temporarily or permanently, to someone else. They want to be covered if and when a situation arises where they can no longer take care of their pet(s) themselves. Relatives or friends were the choices mentioned. 

Anna S is fortunate to have her pet-loving son and his immediate family live close by who are available at a moment’s notice to help out. One couple did state that they realized the importance of being prepared and were looking into it.

An Interesting Fact

When military personnel have service commitments at home or overseas, the chances are they’ll be unable to take their pets with them. Fortunately, several wonderful non-profit organizations have stepped in to fill this need. They provide a nation-wide network of volunteers who temporarily board/foster these animal companions, mostly dogs and cats, in their home, for as long as is necessary.

Tips Times Three

1. Make plans now to avoid improvising.

2. Notify family and friends of your wishes.

3. Develop a network of trusted neighbors to help in times of need.


Topics to be presented in Part 4 include food and drink.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!

 More must-read articles in this mini series.

An introduction to my interviews with retiree pet parents in this 4-part series:

Retirees talk about IDs, walks and vet visits:

What do retirees feed their pets and why?

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