Having a Pet with Migraine
We have looked at how pets help us through migraine loneliness, but we have not looked at what it takes to have a pet while living with migraine. While our pets are utterly devoted to us, we must be just as devoted to them as well. Due to this, there are certain considerations that someone with migraine should analyze prior to obtaining a pet.
Can you care for a pet with migraine?
One of the most important things to consider when you are debating getting a pet, is whether or not you can care for them despite what you may be dealing with daily. While this may sound harsh, it really is not. Our pets rely completely on us for their care and comfort.
What is your living situation?
Some of the pet needs depend on your living situation. For example, if you live in an apartment you will likely not have a choice but to walk your dog. They need the ability to have restroom breaks and to socialize with other dogs. On the other hand, a kitty litter area in your home may be all that you need if you have a cat.
For individuals with a home who choose a dog, I cannot stress how much easier a dog door makes your life. Some dogs love to sunbathe during the day or to chase a random rabbit that enters their domain. A dog door allows everyone these added benefits.
Do you have a plan for feeding?
Regardless of the type of pet you choose, being able to provide their food and water is extremely important. Some people choose to leave their pets' bowls full all of the time, while other people prefer to schedule feed their pets. Either way, you must feed them even if you feel bad.
Does your pet require medications?
Some pets need medication, whether it is age-related issues or something else, it is important that we care for our pets to the best of our ability. This means finding a system that works for the owner and the pet and following the necessary schedule.
Can you clean up after them?
It is very important to clean up after our pets. This can range from general shedding to accidents. This is an important element to consider prior to bringing home a pet. No matter how big or small, dogs can shed.
Young dogs as well as very old dogs may have accidents. A kitty litter area regularly needs to be cleaned. So regardless of choosing a cat or a dog, at some point, you will likely have to clean up pee, poop, or throw up. Not cleaning up these things can make you sick in the long run.
What has my experience been?
I have had dogs since my childhood. We always had large breed dogs that were able to wander my grandfather’s farm with us. We learned the concept that it is better to have loved than lost than never to have loved at all through the bonds we had with the dogs growing up.
At the time my migraines decided to become chronic, I was single and did not have a dog. It was super strange to me to come home to an empty house, granted it was much easier to keep it clean! Eventually, I had an ex-coworker reach out to me about his boxer needing to be rehomed. He reached out to me because he knew I always treated my dogs extremely well. I changed my world when I brought this dog home with me - ranging from having my yard fenced to making sure the people around me were dog people.
How do I manage my dog's care?
I love my current dog and I want him to live his best life. Even if his best life means I have to do things that I may not want to in order to care for him.
How do I feed my dog?
Everyone has different opinions on the best way to manage meals. If it works for the owner and the pet, nobody else’s opinion matters. Personally, I keep my dog's bowls full. I clean the water bowl once a day. I obviously do not schedule feed my dog.
When my dog stays with my sister, she schedules feeding times for her dog. This means that my baby eats when her dog eats. He does not seem to mind, it is just different than how we do it at home. It is what works best for her household.
How does my dog get outside?
When my boyfriend and I started dating, he lived in an apartment building. This meant that regardless of how much pain I was in or how tired I was, my dog needed to be walked. He deserved the opportunity to relieve his bladder and to play some.
Now that we have moved, we have a dog door. Our combination of dogs are all able to go out to the fenced yard as they wish. Granted, I still take my dog for car rides to give him some extra adventures.
How do I manage his medications?
My dog is now 13 years old. This means he is on a pill for joint pain and one for itchiness. Every night before bed, I give him a slice of cheese with his two pills in it. At this point, this is not a major inconvenience because it is part of our habit. I take pills every night and so does my dog.
Do I feel it's worth it?
I will not lie and say that there are times when I do not feel like checking food and water bowls or cleaning up after an accident. Put I do love my dog more than to risk him running out of water or food. The gift of love and cuddles that I get from my dog are more than worth doing what I do to care for him.
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