Planning for Your Pet’s Care After You’re Gone – Equines/Exotics

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It’s never too early to start planning long-term care for equines and exotic pets. While many of the same suggestions involved in choosing caregivers or formal versus informal arrangements apply, exotics and equines require special planning. Because of their increased care needs (both in expense and living arrangements) and their tendency to live long, healthy lives, it’s imperative that owners have plans in place far before their own health falters.

Here are a few tips on how to best plan for long-term care for exotic pets — including large reptiles, avians, big cats, and primates — and equines.

Habitat
Besides moving and feeding costs, there’s likely no bigger expense than building or renting a habitat for your exotic or equine. You must consider how to pay for it, how long it will take to construct, and any restrictions on animal breeds in the neighborhood or on the property. Pet trusts and limited durable power of attorney, both part of a will, can help financially structure your pets’ habitat needs.

Pet Trusts
As part of a will, pet trusts are designed to lessen the burden on potential caregivers, but aren’t a legal option in every state. Be sure to check your state laws, as some require that pet trusts dissolve in 21 years or the life of your pet, whichever is first.

Exotic Future Care Planning
Remember that many potential caregivers may be less than familiar with any pet that’s not considered a companion animal — think dogs, cats, and rabbits — making it even more important that you start a caregiver search early. Sometimes a little education is all that’s needed, but don’t forget that while you may be comfortable with your snake, most people won’t be. Look into local animal sanctuaries or rescue groups as fall-back options.

Equines Are Social Animals
Take care to assess potential caregivers’ time and other pets under account when discussing re-homing options. Each individual horse’s personality may require a level of care not possible from someone busy with other animals, even if everything else checks out.

Equines And Other Animals
Be sure to ask what kind and how many other animals your horse may be around, whether it’s re-homed to a private property, farm or stable. Knowing the answers can help you ascertain if that caregiver and situation are right for your horse.

Do The Research
It’s never not a good idea to bring in the experts for help. Equestrian properties, other equine owners, reputable stables, and veterinarians can all provide insight into long-term care options, as well as provide emergency or last-resort options if caregivers fall through or circumstances change.

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