Overcome the Overwhelm: How to Cope with your Pet’s Illness.

overcome the overwhelm how to cope with your pets illness boulder holistic vet angie krause

Caring for a sick pet can be complicated. It’s stressful when a family member is sick even our four legged family members. Whether you are deciding what diagnostic tests to run, what type of treatments to use or how to fit long term expenses in your budget, it’s easy to become overwhelmed quickly.

I get it! Not only do I get it, but I live it! I am a wife, mother, business owner and guardian to two horses, two cats and a dog. I am regularly overwhelmed by the health needs of my herd. My oldest cat has hyperthyroidism, arthritis, and overgrooms his hair. My youngest cat has IBD and has high maintenance litter box needs. My oldest horse has Cushings Disease and my youngest horse has severe arthritis and asthma. And finally my dog has hypothyroidism and allergies.

Not only do I get overwhelmed but I witness my clients experiencing those feelings, too.

I have put together a few tips that help me cope and stay focused when caring for sick pets.

1. Let go of the guilt. As tempting as it is to feel guilty when we can’t give our animals everything, it is counter productive and won’t help you or your pet. Do the best you can, that is enough. Some days, my dog misses a dose of his thyroid medication. Currently I am a month behind checking my cat’s T4 levels. The box of medication for my horse has been sitting on my kitchen counter for a solid two weeks. Remember everyday is a new day.

2. Let go of perfection. This goes hand in hand with releasing the guilt. As a veterinarian that uses both alternative and traditional therapies, my clients have more therapeutic options to choose from. Many people want to utilize every therapy available but don’t have the time or financial resources available. It’s ok to do what you can. Would pretty much every animal benefit from weekly acupuncture and massage? Yes, but wouldn’t you too?

3. Get organized. If you have several animals on several different medications or if you have one animal on a complicated regimen, staying organized can give you a sense of peace and control. Many of my clients use spreadsheets or dry erase calendars to help remind them of medications or other treatments.

4. Ask for help. If you live with friends or family, ask them to help. Maybe you need to hire a technician to give your kitty fluids or a dog walker to walk your arthritic dog. Also, ask your veterinarian for help. Talk to them when you feel overwhelmed and ask them if they can help you prioritize.

5. Take care of yourself. Make sure that you are making your health, both mental and physical, a priority. You can’t be much help to your animal if you don’t keep yourself well. So often I see guardians sacrificing their own well being to care for their animal. Unfortunately this leads to a sick guardian and an animal not receiving care.

6. Enjoy your pet. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your animal’s illness and forget to enjoy the simple things like snuggles on the couch or playing fetch. When you can relax with your pet, they can relax and heal.

You love your animal and they love you too! Some of your circumstances may not be ideal and maybe you wish they were different. Forgive yourself, let go of perfection and enjoy the precious time you have with your pet.

Newsletter logo

By signing up to our website, you agree to our Privacy & Cookie Policy.

25 thoughts on “Overcome the Overwhelm: How to Cope with your Pet’s Illness.”

  1. I don’t know what to do , how things go well ?? as I’m experiencing very stressful period for my pet he may have bone related cancer in some future time and his leg swelled up , and i got to be here to relax my mind this is so stressful and restless for me I have dropped all my things which i used to do like gymming and listening to music . I’m already alone in my life don’t know how to cope with it

    1. Hi Sam,

      First – big, giant hugs. I am so sorry that you are now dealing with this. It is absolutely so hard and heartbreaking when our pets aren’t well – or worse.

      How is your boy doing now? Have you been able to get any diagnostic tests done to confirm whether this is cancer or something else?

      I know it’s difficult, but please remember you are not alone. So many pet parents understand exactly how you feel. Your being well (mentally and physically) is also a huge asset to your sweet boy.

      Big hugs,

    2. I know exactly how you feel. I’m am recovering from an illness myself. I’m doing everything I can to help my animal because he was there for me when. I was sick. I pray alot. I also pray to him and with him. I think what’s worse is that they can’t “talk” to us to where we hear words.
      If he had no quality of life it would be different but he shows signs of a happy life half of the time. It’s just so hard. I feel your pain

      1. Hi Mia! How are you and how is your pet?? I feel you completely especially the part about being confused as to whether your pet is suffering or not because even my cat seems happy and walks around and purrs half the time! She has a chronic condition though and it’s so hard to manage and it’s also very depressing cleaning poop almost all day long. It’s a very difficult time and I’m engulfed in constant anxiety, pain and fear of having to say goodbye to her.

    3. I fully feel your pain Sam. I am extremely alone too. I’ve been crying and worrying so much. My whole life is revolving around my pet’s health and it’s a constant worry. She seems happy half the time and the other half she seems tired and done with life. Idk what to do. I spend hours every day cleaning after her, helping her urinate and defecate, feed her, keep her hydrated, give regular enemas and also try to keep her happy. I spend so much time crying and feel so alone and helpless. How is your ot doing? And how are you?

  2. Thank you I really needed to read this I love my dogs and when they get sick I feel helpless but it was good for me to see that others struggle with the same thing. Thank you

  3. Thank you for this article glad there is a place to share the pain when your “baby” gets sick all of a sudden. My Lynx(ie) has been diagnosed all of a sudden (Aug 9) with Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and I am in so much pain over my little guy. It is hard to watch him deteriorate and there is nothing that I can do to make him better. I am a crying wreck, but know I must carry on and concentrate on giving him lots more love. Thank you for the helpful article and the comments, it helps to know that we are not alone.

    1. Hi Milagros.. I am an absolute crying wreck too. I also recently went through an extremely painful breakup and it feels like one traumatic incident after another and idk how to cope. My pet has a chronic condition and I’m trying so hard to make her comfortable and keep her alive and happy but the care for a sick AND handicapped pet is harder than I ever imagined. It’s also extremely depressing. Idk what to do

  4. Thank you for this article. My cat suddenly became ill and was diagnosed with anemia. There are still so many unanswered questions though. I’m struggling with worry because he went from being very active to very lethargic and I don’t know if he will make a full recovery. I’m doing everything I can for him and this article helped me find comfort in that.

  5. Hello, Thank you so much for this article, my cat currently can’t use his hind legs, he used to hide, run and jump all over the house and now it breaks my heart to see him struggle, the depression and anxiety is real but your words are like sunshine in a dark day.

  6. Hello,

    Thank you very much for this article. I didn’t think I would find anything with my quick Google search but I did — this. I care for 3 dogs, 2 cats, and 9 roosters. With the roosters, it is one health issue after another, and I feel like I never get a break. I am so overwhelmed almost all of the time now. Thank you for this.

  7. Thanks for posting this. I had a special need cat for year’s. Who sadly passed away Feb. 2020. Now my 15 year cat is blind, arthritis in her back. And is stage one kidney disease. And my kitten is also worry me because his breath has been rapid. Hope you pets are doing well.

  8. How does it affect dogs the longer They have Cushing’s. I feel bad because my dog was just diagnosed and she had the symptoms for two years is it harder to treat? I’m gonna go holistic all the way

    1. Hi Deborah,

      I am so sorry to hear about your pup’s diagnosis. I know you probably feel so overwhelmed!

      I think that every dog is different. How is your girl responding to a holistic approach? Do you, or are you able, to get a holistic veterinarian on her team to help provide guidance?

      BIG hug,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

dr angie pet homepage square boulderholisticvet

Hey there, I’m Dr. Angie

I help empower pet owners to become medical advocates for their pets.

Let's get started!

What would you like to read?

FREE Cannabis for Pets Quick Start Guide

Learn how cannabis can help your dog or cat live a better life.
This site requires anonymous cookies and various 3-rd party services to function properly. To continue using Boulder Holistic Vet, you must consent to our Cookie & Privacy policies.


20% off flash sale... today only!



20% off flash sale... today only!


"FREE" Cannabis for Pets Guide >>>

Are you curious about how to get started with using Cannabis for your Dog or Cat? Grab my free guide below!

Enter your information below and choose what type of pet guardian you are to sign up.