Adopt A Senior Pet
November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month and is set aside to help older pets find loving forever homes. Many people look to a shelter or a rescue hoping to adopt a puppy or kitten, looking past the perfectly adoptable older dogs and cats.
Puppies and kittens have that awe factor. Who doesn’t love to snuggle with a tiny furry friend. Just like human babies are a lot of work kittens and more so dogs are almost are a lot of work. The adorable puppy/kitten stage is long gone but if you adopt a senior pet there are benefits and love you get back in spades.
Benefits of a Senior Pet
- They are an adult so no surprise on the size. Many new pet parents are excited about the puppy they
just adopted. And were told it was a this crossed with this or that. No one ever says the that is a Mastiff or Irish Wolfhound. If you aren’t ready for a giant breed it could be overwhelming.
- Frequently these pets will be house trained or almost house trained. With a stable home, set routine, knowing where and when to go means very few accidents when compared to that of a 10 week old.
- Personalities are generally established once a pet is of certain age. After a pet is comfortable in their new home they tend to come out of any shyness they may have developed in foster care or at the shelter. This will help you to know they are a good fit for your home.
- Energy level is generally lower with senior cats and dogs. If you are looking for a pet with a slower pace, in general an older pet allows you to know what you are going to get. Snails pace pup or energetic senior citizen.
- They know when they’ve got a good thing.
It’s a sad fact that older pets are often overlooked. We were lucky to find the most amazing senior dog earlier this year. Her age was cited as a reason they didn’t choose her. I can’t even imagine.
Pets at Risk
Senior pets in shelters are at the greatest risk for euthanasia. Age is the reason they are most frequently overlooked.
I adopted a senior pet this year and couldn’t be happier with her. An 11 year old Black Labrador Retriever. She’s actually our second senior adoption. I can’t recommend a senior pet enough.
StellaLuna is the most wonderful dog. There are negatives, she is a counter surfer and pantry thief. She has eaten bread, corn meal, sore throat lozenges, marshmallows, Pillsbury icing, a new bag of Greenies, hand warmers, and Halloween candy, wrapper and all. This could be the reason she was surrendered. Even with this bad habit we love her.
Age is Just a Number
Our cat was 7 when we adopted her. Puck was our clinic cat who had been surrendered by her previous owners because she was urinating in their plants (insert eye roll here). She was the perfect cat and even with diabetes she lived another 6 years. Our third Pug, Nellie was about 10 when we adopted her. Unfortunately she was only with us just over a year and a half. That is the downside.
Your new family member may only be with you for a short period of time. One, two, or three years is not nearly enough time to spend with a pet you’ve brought into your home. Sometimes that’s just the way it plays out. No matter how terrible a situation a pet has come from, they left that, have come into your home and know the greatest joy and unconditional love of their life. If its long or short you made the end of their life the best it could be.
Caring for Your New Senior Pet
Here is a quick list of a few things you should keep in mind to help keep your new senior family member healthy:
- Good nutrition – is always important, as your pets navigate seniorhood, it can help them keep a good weight and make exercise easier
- Continued exercise – keeping up an age appropriate exercise routine allows your pet to stay mentally stimulated and
- Regular dental care – extra bacteria from an unhealthy mouth (as in humans) can make it’s with into the blood system and cause other heath issues.
- Maintain healthy weight – The proper weight helps increase longevity, promote good joint health and won’t overwork organs like heart and lungs.
- Wellness exams – A senior pet should see their veterinarian at least twice a year to keep on top of changes that may need to be addressed.
Are you thinking about welcoming a senior pet into your home? Check out your local rescue or shelter, most can be found on Petfinder.
Happy Pet Parenting,
Cover Photo Credit: Marcus Wallis