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New Meal On Wheels Program for Pets Benefits Seniors and Dogs

Without this Meal on Wheels program some seniors citizens choose between feeding themselves or feeding their dogs
By Karen B. London PhD, September 2019, Updated June 2021

There’s no reason to go into the benefits of having a dog here—to anyone reading this, that would be an extreme case of preaching to the choir. The importance of canine companionship for seniors cannot be overemphasized, nor can the joy dogs bring if those seniors do not have all the social outlets that they once did.

That is why it’s particularly distressing to know that many elderly people are foregoing some of their own food to feed their dogs because of a lack of options. It shouldn’t be that way, and thanks to a new local program from Meals on Wheels, it no longer will be that way for many people living in Columbus, Ohio.

Lifecare Alliance Senior Petcare program provides free pet food and free veterinary care from the Ohio State School of Veterinary Medicine. The program is for seniors in need, and was developed because people delivering meals noticed that many elderly people were sharing the food that had been delivered to them with their pets. For so many seniors on a fixed income, the expense of pet food made buying enough of it impossible.

For seniors enrolled in the program, the days of deciding whether to eat their full meal or to feed their dogs are behind them. The security that comes with knowing that both of their needs are being met leads to a huge increase in quality of life. There are people in many communities who could be helped by programs like this.

Meals on Wheels for pet programs have been around in other parts of the country for the past couple years. If you are in need of assistance or know someone who is find out what local programs exist in your area. Remember, these Meals on Wheels programs rely on donations and volunteers, to learn how you can donate to a pet program near you visit the Meals on Wheels Pet Pals resource page.

Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression. Karen writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about canine training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life