Pets are such an important part of our family, but looking after them can sometimes become a worry if you are going through cancer treatment. The good news is that there is plenty of support available to give you peace of mind.
Help with pet care at home
You might be able to get help from friends, family or neighbours with daily care such as walking and feeding your pet. Building a support network is a great way to plan for any help with pet care you may need.
There are organisations such as Petpals that can arrange for someone to care for your pet. They can help with pet sitting and dog walking. You can also find registered pet sitters on the National Association of Registered Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers (NARP) website.
Animal charities and organisations
Animal charities and organisations might be able to help. Mayhew in London runs a Pet Refuge programme which provides shelter and care for the pets of people in crisis for short periods.
The Cinnamon Trust or Petpals might be able to help you with pet care. They may be able to find someone to look after your pet, including feeding them, keeping them clean and providing companionship. DogBuddy and Borrow My Doggy offer similar services but just for dogs.
Temporary animal foster care
Fostering involves someone else temporarily taking care of your pet. This can be between a few weeks and months and can be at your home or in a care centre. If you are able to pay for pet care, you could consider a boarding service, kennel or cattery.
Charities such as The Cinnamon Trust and Pet Fostering Service Scotland may be able to help. Many fostering services are provided free of charge to pet owners. You may be asked to pay for or supply your pet's food, and to be prepared to pay for any vet bills.
What if I need urgent pet care?
You may be worried about pet care if you need to go into hospital. Think about who could look after your pet at short notice. Write their contact details, together with those of your vet, on a card that you keep in your wallet.
Your vet may also be able to point you towards a local volunteer pet care scheme who could care for your pet temporarily. Your local social worker might also be able to help although you may be charged for this service. Most Macmillan cancer centres will have a social worker you can speak to.
Protecting your pets well-being
Give detailed information about your pet’s food, daily routine and health to anyone looking after them. It can be reassuring for your pet to have familiar objects with them. These might include their favourite toys or bedding and something that smells of you, such as a jumper.
What if I can no longer look after my pet?
If you do not have any relatives or friends who could look after your pet, many national charities run re-homing services. Examples include Cats Protection and Dogs Trust. You can register your pet with these services to give yourself peace of mind.
Further help and support groups
We can help you find support in your local area, so you can speak to people who understand what you or your loved are going through.
The Animals are family, too forum on our Online Community is a place to chat to fellow animal lovers who know what you or your loved one are going through.