Care service near Tokyo offers support for owners of aging dogs

As dogs live longer thanks to better living environments and improved medical treatments, owners increasingly face the challenges of caring for their aging pets, but the founder of a dog daycare service near Tokyo hopes to change that.

Sachiko Shimizu, who has about 15 years of experience in a veterinary hospital and has qualifications in pet care and rehabilitation, opened a business called “Dogcare Smile” last November in Hanyu City, China. Saitama Prefecture, about 60 kilometers north of Tokyo.

“I want people to learn how to take care of themselves, so that both the owner and the dog can live a long and healthy life,” the 42-year-old said.

As part of its service, Shimizu conducts house calls in Saitama, Tokyo and surrounding areas, with the first 90-minute visit including counseling priced at 6,480 yen ($60).

(Sachiko Shimizu (left) and Hiromi Harada)

During a home visit in Kitamoto, Saitama Prefecture, in late June, Shimizu cooed at a toy poodle while petting it. “Should I give you a paw massage today?” » she asked tenderly.

At 15 years old, which is equivalent to about 75 years in human years, the poodle’s appetite and physical strength weaken.

Owner Hiromi Harada, 53, said having to take the dog out every two hours to go to the toilet at night was taking a toll on her mental and physical state.

But after receiving advice on liquid diets and other ways to care for the dog, she said: “Now that I have someone to talk to and trust, the weight has increased. “

According to a 2018 estimate from the Japan Pet Food Association, there are approximately 8.9 million pet dogs in Japan, and approximately 56% of them are considered people aged 7 or older.

“There has been an increase in cases where an elderly owner has to care for a dog suffering from dementia, weak legs or other illnesses,” Shimizu said.

The problem is compounded by a shortage of veterinary care experts, leaving many owners exhausted because they have no one to turn to, she said.

In addition to home visits, Shimizu also shares her knowledge with struggling owners by holding regular care seminars, during which she gives advice on how to provide dementia prevention training and how to make diapers. for dogs from baby diapers, among other topics.

Mariko Ikeda, 44, who attended one of Shimizu’s seminars in Saitama City, said, “I feel more positive after learning how to prevent illnesses in daily care and receiving ideas about way to facilitate the delivery of care. »

And Shimizu is more than happy to help. “I want to do everything I can to help owners have as much fun with their beloved dogs as possible,” she said.


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