Thinking about getting a pet?
November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month. There is no denying the benefits of pet ownership for seniors, but there are also benefits to adopting older pets even as an older adult.
There is no denying how cute puppies and kittens are, but often the appeal of younger pets means senior animals get overlooked at the shelter. When an animal is past their prime, it could mean they wait longer (or sometimes indefinitely) to find a loving home, and this can put them at risk for euthanasia. There are many benefits to adopting an older animal, but one of the most important ones is potentially saving a life.
Adopting a senior pet
Unlike puppies and kittens, older animals do not need constant supervision. Often, older pets are also trained and do not have destructive tendencies like chewing up slippers or phone chargers. The ability to be trusted alone is a good trait for seniors who may have doctor appointments or social groups and cannot be home with a new animal 24/7.
Older animals are also a lot more likely to be housetrained, which means fewer accidents and less cleaning up after them. While older dogs may need more potty breaks, this is a perfect opportunity to get up and get a bit of fresh air and should not be a drawback.
As cats age, they may become more talkative, and both dogs and cats may require medications, but the shelter should be aware of any potential problems an animal may have. Seniors are a perfect match for animals with minor health issues because they often have the time to devote to an animal with special needs.
Match your lifestyle
An older animal will also be more set in their ways. Their age means that their personality traits, grooming requirements, and general temperament should be pretty apparent. Adopting a senior pet can mean a better chance of finding an animal that matches your lifestyle.
Just like people, as pets age, they start to slow down. They might take more naps and need fewer walks. Animals with less energy can be a good match for a senior who may not have the strength and stamina to keep up with a younger pet.
Teaching an “old dog new tricks”
The saying that old dogs can’t learn new tricks is entirely untrue, and in fact, older pets are usually quicker to understand the word no. Older animals also have a lot of love to give. To learn about adopting an older pet in your area, go to the ASPCA's pet finder to find a shelter near you.