Enjoying the Woods

PET CARE STRATEGIES

Pet care is different for every pet and every owner. We have put together information and videos to help you learn tips and tricks for taking care of your animals in ways that are best for you both!

 

GENERAL STRATEGIES

  • Make a schedule and checklist for pet care tasks. 

    • Like people, animals do better when they have a routine. Having a daily routine will also help you stay on top of pet care tasks and help you remember everything you are supposed to do for your pet.​

    • Making a daily checklist can be very helpful if it is hard for you to remember what you need to do for your pet and when you need to do it. Putting the checklist somewhere it is easy to see (i.e. on your fridge) will help remind you to use it. Checklists can be used multiple times if you make them on a whiteboard, chalkboard, or put the checklist in a plastic sleeve so you can white on it with a whiteboard marker and then clean it off at the end of the day. 

    • Cell phone alarms and alarm clocks can be great reminders for performing pet care tasks that you easily forget. 

  • Provide long lasting entertainment treats or toys to your pets to save energy:

    • Dogs: freeze yogurt, peanut butter, or cream cheese with kibble in a Kong toy, bone, or ice cube tray to make a long-lasting treat. Provide chew toys, puzzle toys, or bones are other forms of long-lasting entertainment.

    • Cats: laser pointers, automated toys (rolling/spinning mice, automated laser lights, toys that chirp), and assorted toys will help entertain cats and keep them active. Catnip and cat grass entertains many cats as well and encourages activity.

    • Small animals (hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc): providing long lasting chews and fresh veggies/fruits will entertain them and promote dental hygiene.

    • Birds: providing a mirror and playing music entertains many birds. Long lasting bird feeder treats and assorted hanging toys will also aid in entertainment.

    • Reptiles: if your reptile requires daily care and feeding, keep necessary items nearby at counter height to save energy. Save bigger tasks, like cleaning, for days you have more time and energy to complete them.

    • Fish: Use an automatic feeder or slow release food tablets to decrease daily care. The addition of aquarium cleaner animals (ghost shrimp, Plecos, snails) is a cost-effective way to decrease aquarium cleaning needs.

  • Delivery services (Amazon, Chewy.com, and online shopping at pet and department stores) can aid in recovery by bringing pet supplies to you. However, shipping boxes can often be heavy and may require assist.

  • Bells and metal tags on pets can help you keep track of pets while using a walker or wheelchair without a commitment of purchasing further walks

  • Carefully consider the type of leash you use to walk your pet. Retractable leashes can be dangerous. Many dogs will pull on these leashes because they will be testing it's length. The thin cord on the leash can also lead to burns and cuts if your dog wraps it around you and pulls. Find a leash that is a comfortable length for you and your dog, is easy for you to clip onto your dog, and has a comfortable handle or waist strap. See the video below for more leash and pulling strategies. 

 

Feeding your pets- Chair Level and no bending

This video is of tips, strategies, and equipment for feeding pets from a chair level or without bending. There are three parts of the video: Part 1- general strategies to use less effort and set up supplies (0-7:05) Part 2- Chair level strategies and equipment- (7:05- 13:00) Part 3- No bending strategies while standing (11:23- 18:11)- There is overlap in a strategy between part 2&3

 

Pet Feeding Strategies for your Hands and Wrist

Some strategies on how to manage feeding your pets dry or wet food without putting strain on your wrists and hands!

 

Pet Leash and Pulling Strategies

Strategies for attaching leashes to your pet's collar/harness and how to choose the right leashes and pulling aids for you and your dog! Strategies on how to protect your hands, wrists, and arm and how to keep your balance.

 

Adaptive Strategies for Playing with Pets

Strategies, equipment, and tips for playing with your pets! Covers everything from how to make toys easier to hold, toys that allow you to play with pets without bending, and how to save your energy while keeping your pet entertained.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS TO LIMIT BENDING:

  • Move your pet care supplies and food to counter height.

  • If your cat is accommodating, move food/water dishes and litterboxes to counter height.

  • If a litterbox needs to be on the floor:

    • Adjustable long handled litter scoops are available at many retailers (Amazon, PetSmart, Chewy.com)

    • Many dog pooper-scoopers may substitute a litter scoop as well

    • If you do not want to purchase a new scoop- duct tape your litter scoop to the end of a broom handle or pole/stick.

    • Recommend having litterbox against the wall to provide leverage when using long handled litter scoops​

  • Automatic litterboxes are also available at many retailers (Amazon, Chewy, Walmart, PetSmart/Petco) but would require assist to empty the collection tray.

  • Elevated food dishes are available for large dogs at various heights and styles. If you sit next to the dishes they can be filled without bending.

  • If elevated food dishes or cat dishes on the counter are not an option:

    • PVC pipe can help you fill food and water bowls

      • Adding a funnel will decrease chance of spilling

      • You can also roll poster board or tape paper towel/toilet paper rolls together to make a long tube for filling food dishes

    • Fill a pitcher with water and poor it into water dish from above while sitting next to the bowl

    • While sitting, use a long cooking spoon/ladle to dish wet/dry food into bowl without bending.

    • Make your own long handle food scoop by taping a free wooden paint stirrer from a hardware store to a measuring cup.

  • To attach a leash to your pet, have pet jump up onto the couch, chair, your lap, or bed. You can also sit next to your pet if you have a large dog.

  • Use a reacher to pick up toys

  • Use a tennis ball catcher to pick up balls when playing fetch ($5-30 at Amazon, PetSmart/Petco, Target, Walmart, Chewy.com)

  • Use a pooper-scooper to pick up after dog instead of bending over with poop bags

 

RECOMMENDATIONS TO LIMIT TWISTING

  • Place pet items and food at counter height and in front of you to limit unintentional twisting

  • Walk your dog on a short leash to limit weaving and pulling

  • Walk only one dog at a time

  • Discourage pulling from your dog during walks with a gentle leader, martingale training collar, or harness. Various styles and sizes available for $10+

  • Place trash container in front of litterbox during cleaning to discourage twisting when discarding litterbox waist.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS TO LIMIT LIFTING

  • Place pet items and food at counter height and in front of you to limit unintentional twisting

  • Walk your dog on a short leash to limit weaving and pulling

  • Walk only one dog at a time

  • Discourage pulling from your dog during walks with a gentle leader, martingale training collar, or harness. Various styles and sizes available for $10+

  • Place trash container in front of litterbox during cleaning to discourage twisting when discarding litterbox waist.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ARM, WRIST, HAND LIMITATIONS

  • Ring pulls can allow you to limit stress on hand and wrist when opening pet food cans

  • Some ring pulls are combined with other features. The “Purrfect” opener has a variety of tools and uses (i.e. medication catchers, pill cutters, ring pull, and grip assistance) 

  • Looping dog’s leash around your waist can limit stress on your hands, wrist, and shoulder. Special waist/”hands free” leashes available for $10+

  • Leashes can be easier to attach to a collar if you use a carabiner at the end of the leash

  • Cats are often attracted to casting and splinting material. Keep a squirt bottle of water nearby to gently deter your cat from biting and scratching at your cast or splint.