Pet planning …. Just in case
You never know what may happen. Here are some tips from the ASPA on planning for your pet in case of emergency or other circumstance when you may not be able to care for your pet. (aspca.org)
Step 1: Carry a Pet Alert card in your wallet.
This card will alert authorities that you have a pet at home and list two emergency contacts for them to notify if something happens to you.
Step 2: Create a pet dossier for each pet in your care.
A pet dossier is a document containing pertinent information about your pet that would be valuable to a potential guardian and/or caregiver in your absence. Even if you don’t have a plan in place for the future care of your pet, this information is vital to helping your pet find a new home faster. Some examples of information to include are: habits, food preferences, medical conditions and medications taken, veterinary information and records, behavior around other pets, people and children. Your pet dossier should be kept in a safe but accessible place with your other important papers and copies should be distributed to all parties in your pet’s circle of care.
Step 3: Decide on an informal or formal arrangement for your pet’s future care.
There are many options available when planning for the future care of your pet. Please see our analysis of informal vs. formal arrangements to decide which arrangement works best for you and your pet. Choosing an arrangement for the future care of your pet is a decision that should be made based on your own personal preferences and the specific needs of your pet. There are several options to consider.
Informal arrangements generally include all arrangements for the care of a pet that are not legally enforceable. They can be oral or written agreements made with family, friends, veterinarians, dog walkers, day-care/kennel staff, animal trainers and others. They can also be made with breed rescue groups and local humane groups. These arrangements usually do not involve the assistance of an attorney. If you do decide to use an informal arrangement, it is important that you keep the following in mind:
• You should NOT assume that the caretakers you have chosen, including rescue organizations, will accept the responsibility of care. We strongly recommend that you speak with each individual and/or organization about this commitment to ensure they are willing and able to act as a potential guardian for your pet.
• It is best to have a few successive and/or temporary guardians in place for the future care of your pet, should the need arise. This way, if the primary guardian you’ve selected is unable to accept the responsibility at the time it arises, your pet will not be left without a home. Circumstances change, so it is always best to have a back-up plan.
• Since informal arrangements are generally unenforceable agreements made with family members or friends, you are relying entirely upon the integrity of the person or organization chosen. Thus, it is important to choose wisely!
Formal arrangements may take the form of:
• Will provision: It is possible to include a provision for the care of your pet in your will; however, the ASPCA does not recommend this option for the following reasons: A direction in a will only takes effect if and when the estate is administered. This can take time, particularly if there is a conflict among beneficiaries, and the provision for the care of your pet may not be implemented until the conflict is resolved. Once your estate is closed, if for some reason your designated caregiver does not work out, the court has no responsibility to find another home for your pet. This would be an unfortunate outcome.
• Pet trust: A pet trust is a legally-sanctioned arrangement providing for the care and maintenance of your pet in the event of your disability and/or death. For more information on pet trusts, please see the ASPCA Pet Trust Primer article.
• Limited durable power of attorney: A limited durable power of attorney can be used to designate someone to make decisions regarding the care of your pet should you become unable. This person will only have the ability to make decisions about your pet during your lifetime. Consequently, you still need to consider a permanent arrangement for your pet’s future care.
• Letter of instruction: A letter of instruction can be used to designate a future caregiver for your pet and to leave specific guidelines for your pet’s care when you are gone. It is a flexible way to arrange for the care of your pet but it, too, has limitations. For example, it does not have the same effect as other legal documents and if included as a supplement to a will, its implementation only takes effect upon actual administration of the estate. Article courtesy of ASPCA. You can donate by going to aspca.org or If you prefer to give by phone by calling 800.628.0028. Visit aspca.org/pet-care/pet-planning/pet-trust-primer.
Hot tips for hot weather for your pets
There is still a lot of warm weather left! What can you do (or not do) to make your pet as comfortable as possible when temperatures rise? The ASPCA offers these tips.
Heat wave approaching! Should you shave your pet?
Summer is in full swing, and temperatures are heating up nationwide. We know that as a responsible pet parent, you want to do everything you can to keep your best four-legged friends cool. So when you look at your furry dog or long-haired cat wearing a thick, fluffy coat, you might feel tempted to break out your grooming tools and give him a serious buzz cut.
Hold those clippers!
While you or I would hate to sport multiple layers in 100-degree weather, your pets’ fur coats are actually providing them with heat relief. Acting like insulation, a dog’s coat keeps him from getting too cold in the winter, but also keeps him from overheating in the summer.
Our pets’ coats have several layers that are essential to their comfort in the heat. Robbing your dog or cat of this natural cooling system can lead to discomfort, overheating and other serious dangers like sunburn or skin cancer.
So what can you do?
Don’t feel frightened about grooming your pet. It is OK to give your long-haired dog or cat a “summer cut”—trimming their long hair may make it more manageable. However, it is best to allow a professional groomer to perform the haircutting, and never shave down to the skin or try to cut the hair yourself with scissors.
Brush and bathe
If you prefer not to cut your pet’s hair, that’s fine. Dogs with thick coats naturally shed, so they have lighter coats in the summer. Remember to regularly brush your dog’s fur and bathe them frequently, as clean, brushed fur allows for better air circulation.
Shade and water
Pet parents should also remember to provide a shady area when taking your pet outside, and to provide plenty of water during hot days—hydration is key!
For more important information on summer pet care, check out the ASPCA’s Hot-Weather Safety Tips. (aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/hot-weather-safety-tips)