Pet Care Giver Burden

I’m wondering if Charlie has a bit of dementia. Or is it senility?

Pets & Daily Medication:

Mornings seem to be the worst. I give him his meds and it occurs soon after that. So I’m thinking that maybe the Theophylline, his bronchodilator, is causing some of it. I read that it causes restlessness.

Also he takes Salix, a diuretic, every other day. So of course he needs to go out very frequently. I give it to him in the morning so we’re up and down and going in and out for hours.

I often don’t get much sleep because he wants out frequently during the night. Even though the vet has me giving him half a milligram of Melatonin and a small amount of Trazadone before bedtime, he’s still restless.

Pet Caregiver Burden:

I was googling something about pets and came across “pet caregiver burden.” Like those caring for sick humans, the related stress also applies to dealing with sick pets. Though I don’t think of it as a burden because I love him dearly.

For instance, it makes me anxious when he coughs and coughs and can’t seem to stop. I feel myself clinching up because I can’t help him. And I have to decide when it’s time for the Hydrocodone syrup he’s prescribed. Because I don’t want to give him too much.

Charlie often doesn’t seem to know what he wants. He’ll need me to get him down off the couch, as he can’t handle the steps well any more. He’ll groan and I know he wants down.

Then he often will just stand and look at me. I will get up and see if he wants out. But often he does not. So I’ll help him back up to the couch. And this repeats itself over and over again.

Stress When Caring For Sick Pets:

I try not to get irritated, because it isn’t his fault. It’s just hard to deal with. And when I feel irritated what quickly follows is guilt. Because of course he can’t help it.

I read in these articles what I often feel. Sadness, anxiety, apprehension. The need to just break down and cry.

If you want to read more about caregiver burden for pets, you can go to petcaregiverburden.com. And you can read another article on this topic here.

Formula 303 Natural Muscle Relaxant:

I’m glad one of you mentioned a natural muscle relaxant, Formula 303, which I ordered from Amazon. It is calming me a bit. Maybe a better term is that it’s relaxing my muscles and nerves.

Easing my stress and worry with Charlie is an added bonus.

I hate to take the muscle relaxants my doctor prescribed because of the side effects of feeling medicated. I’ve found that a back brace helps quite a bit.

Charlie is my focus because he needs me. And I’m his mom. So I do whatever I need to do because I love him. I follow Dr. Poteet’s advice as closely as I can.

Ivy & A Wrist Cuff:

Ivy is playing with a wrist cuff. I think that’s what it’s called. It’s a fabric band like someone might use during exercise. I assume it’s related to fitness because it has the words “fit game” on it. It must have come in one of the back related packages I ordered recently.

She throws it up in the air and has endless fun with it.

Yesterday she brought it to me to throw. I found that curious. It doesn’t roll around like her swirly toys. But I threw it for awhile and she would run to get it and bring it back to me to throw again. So I guess she found some fun in it.

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24 Comments

  1. I feel for you, Brenda, caregiving is not easy…especially when your loved one can’t tell you exactly what’s wrong or what they need. You’re caught it a constant state where you feel like you need to be aware and reading the signs. I also feel for Charlie. I’ve taken Theophylline and it’s literally the devil. Awful drug…but it does work.

  2. Glad you tried the Formula 303 and that it’s helping a bit. I have lots of back pain and when I take it regularly it does give some relief without the side effects of pain killers.

    Blessings for you and Charlie as you take such good care of him.

  3. Anticipatory grief is what you are experiencing. Keep Charlie warm and happy. It may be helpful to take some time for yourself each day. Even going into your room without him will give you experience. 💕

  4. Brenda, you are a great parent. The love & concern you have for your animals is amazing. You give so much love to them and I know they give you back so much also. I think they are gifts from God. They brighten our days and sometimes even give us purpose in our lives. You’re a great Mom to your fur babies as well as to your own children and grands. I admire how much you give to all around you even your neighbors and the workmen at your apartment complex. You are an amazing lady. Stay well & be safe.

  5. Caring for our sick pets is a very hard duty. I am glad you can rest during the day, though we all know intermittent sleep and rest are not the same as a complete long 7 or 8 hours of sleep. We have raised many puppies and adopted doggies..and being there at the end is so hard and sad..and draining. One of our Chihuahas had a heart attack in my arms most recently, and never came back. :0( . As sad as it was..it was a relief as she had cancer and was on meds…but thank God she went naturally at our home and no other decisions had to be made. Her ashes have been returned now and she is at rest now with no suffering. Blessing for comfort for you and your little Family. I have never heard tell of a Kitty Kat Retriever..so cute.

  6. Pets, babies and small children can’t tell us when somethings wrong. At that point, I believe a mom’s intuition jumps in. Trust in your intuition…. it won’t fail you.

  7. Sending prayers for you both . I wonder if the up and down is because he’s just uncomfortable. Like he just can’t quite find that comfortable spot .

  8. I think Maci, my dog that I put down more than 3 years ago, may have had dementia too. She was almost blind with cataracts, hard of hearing, had seizures, and it seemed she also had her days and nights turned around, just like a baby. The last year of her life was stressful for all of us. She’d sleep a good part of the day, but then be up and down all night, very disoriented. I know now that I should have done the right thing sooner than I did. I finally accepted how much she was struggling, plus we were headed into winter, which was always hard on her. We still have one dog left, but she turned 10 in August, so I figure she’ll also start going downhill soon. It makes me sad because she will be our last pet. Fostering will not be an option.

  9. I know a lot of what you are talking about. I have a handicapped daughter who will yell for a change of diaper. She is much older than a baby but on the level of a one year old. She also coughs like crazy when she drinks. She just can’t learn that you don’t inhale while you drink. She doesn’t sleep through the night very often. So we are up and down most nights. Pets, children, parents they all need care. I wish we could find someone to take care of her when we are gone. That is the really hard part.

  10. It can indeed be very stressful taking care of a sick pet. I went through that with Zippo (who passed away two years ago) and now I’m going through it with Clementine. My morning routine takes a loong time with her between getting her to eat all her food and giving her her meds. She’s now on two new ones, including a steroid spray which I have to spray on a cotton ball, then wipe onto certain areas on her body where she chews. Then I have to entertain her for 1/2 hour so she doesn’t lick the spray off. I tried a soft e-collar and she totally freaked out. She’s never had anything around her neck before, not even a collar, so I wasn’t surprised. The vet said not to force her to wear it if it causes her that much distress.

    1. I’ve never made my pets wear collars. Charlie only goes outside on the patio. I hate anything around my neck, so that’s I guess what I’ve based it on.

  11. I’m sure you have had conversations with Charlie’s vet about your baby’s future…..always a tough discussion. Always keep in mind the best thing for Charlie, not you. I’ve gone through this with a few pets, most recently my 15 year old Yorkie, Dixie. Gut wrenching is what I think of it. In her case, it was the best thing for my little darling. Quality of life is the most important thing to keep in mind. You are in my thoughts. Sorry if I’m outspoken but I feel very strongly about it.

  12. It can be very stressful to care for a sick pet! I mentioned before when my husband was in the hospital I wasn’t able to stay with him ( this was before Covid) because I had to be home to care for my Miky! I could be at the hospital during the day but at night I had to be home! I always felt guilty , but did the best I could!

  13. Hi Brenda,
    It is hard when our pets need us to take care of them and they are getting up in age and need more care. It can be just as stressful as taking care of an elderly parent. I am glad little Charlie has you to be patient with him and to continue to love him and give him the care he needs. Glad you recognize how stressful this can be for you too. Take care. Happy New Week.

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