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Daycare Options for Pets with Special Needs

Dog in Respite Care

Doggy Daycare

One of the biggest challenges for owners of pets with special needs is the constant care required. They often need round the clock attention, and while rewarding, it can be exhausting. A break can do you and your pet a world of good, so you should find a way to have some relief.

Respite care or daycare can give you that, so that you reunite with your pet fully recharged and ready for bear. Here are some daycare options for pets with special needs.

What is respite care?

You can think of respite care as daycare, and the term applies for both people and pets. The purpose of respite care is to give caregivers some time away from their daily duties. It might even be extended for several days, giving caregivers a chance to take a vacation and recharge without anxiety.

It is easy enough to find short-term help for people, but not for pets. Providing care for pets with special needs for a limited time is quite a new concept, so you need to look a little harder to find the proper person with the requisite skills to care for a disabled or senior pet.

Of course, your first thought might be a friend or a member of the family willing to take on the responsibility. However, few people are actually qualified to care for a disabled pet, and most might find the prospect a bit daunting, especially if they are inexperienced. You might need to know how to express a disabled pet’s bladder, or carry a pet with limited mobility without causing injury.

What are the options?

There are several options available when it comes to respite care for disabled pets, especially if the pet is mobile. These include:

  • Veterinary technicians willing to take temporary care of disabled pets on the side, either at home or in the clinic
  • Veterinary boarding
  • Veterinary hospice care
  • Pet sitters with the appropriate license (you may be able to find one from websites such as
  • Other owners of disabled pets who might be willing to do an exchange with you
  • Foster families, preferably vouched for by rescue organizations or groomers
  • Dog breeders
  • Family members

When arranging for respite care of more than a day, make sure you make a trial run to see if your choice is a good one for your pet. You can usually tell from the first few minutes if the caregiver has the skills and experience to do the job. It is also important to check the reactions of your pet to see if they will be able to get along. You want someone flexible and resourceful, and who can handle unexpected events and emergencies without panicking.

You should also prepare the necessary medications and other supplies that your disabled pet might need while n respite care. Be sure to pack extras, just in case.

Make sure you give clear, written instructions about the schedule of medications and physical activities your pet will need during its stay with another caregiver, as a continuity of routines can go a long way towards keeping your pet from getting anxious.


Finding respite care that works for your disabled pet the first time might take a lot of effort. However, if you do succeed, it means you will be able to take a break more often in the future, and perhaps for longer periods. This will benefit both you and your disabled pet in the long term.



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