The third week in September is known as the National Adopt-A-Less Adoptable Pet Week! During this week, we want to bring awareness to the growing number of older dogs and cats being surrendered to animal shelters each year. This group tends to get looked over in favor of younger pets and it’s typically due to the misconception that all senior pets have veterinary issues or are hard to train. Dogs and cats are considered “senior” starting at just 7 years old. Considering most dogs have an average life span of 13 years old and cats 15 years old, these good boys and girls still have plenty of love to give.
For this reason, we want to share our top 8 Reasons to Adopt a Senior pet:
#1 They’re house trained.
Most older dogs and cats are likely house trained so you won’t have to worry about the crazy schedule training a puppy or kitten takes. Instead of waking up at 3am for a potty break or finding little accidents all over the house, you can enjoy pure companionship right off the bat.
If your new older dog or cat isn’t house trained yet, don’t fret. It’s actually a bit easier especially since they can “hold it” much longer than a younger pet can. Just as you would train a puppy or kitten, routine, positive reinforcement, and patience are key.
#2 They’re no longer teething.
If you’ve ever come a cross a puppy or kitten that are “chewers”, you know the type of destruction they can create. Luckily, older pets are far past this stage and understand how to direct their chewing toward their own toys. Chewing is a natural activity for dogs and cats so just like you would if you were bringing a new puppy or kitten home, make sure that they have plenty of toys to play with/chew on.
#3 They’re well past the terrible twos.
We find it quite amusing that cats and dogs also go through their wild adolescent years just like humans do. This typically happens when dogs and cats are between 18 months to 3 years old and they will do a lot to test their boundaries. With older pets, they’ve already matured and well past trying to figure out how to be a dog or cat. You’ll find that older dogs are much more mellow and willing to take commands a bit easier.
#4 They’re full grown with an established personality.
While kittens and puppies are a load of fun, they still have a while until they are fully grown and have developed a personality of their own. With older pets, you get what you see, simple as that. You know right off the bat how big they are going to get and how they behave. Within a few minutes of spending time with them, you discover if they’re shy, relaxed and cool, or super alert and curious. This will help you pick out the dog or cat with a personality to match yours!
#5 They’re more patient with children.
Older dogs and cats have been around the block and are typically more patient with other animals and humans. This is great if you have energetic children in the house or another pet. You’ll find that senior pets have been socialized which means you can skip the training and have a new cuddle buddy.
#6 Old pets can learn new tricks.
What’s even better with a senior pet is they probably have a few commands and tricks up their sleeve. Usually you’ll find that they already know their name, “come”, “sit”, and “lay down”. With dogs, some already know how to jump into the back of the trunk or walk well on a leash. And cats, they may surprise you with a high-five or the ability to open a few doors!
Older pets are devoted and eager to please especially once you learn their way of communicating.
#7 Vet visits become annual.
One of the biggest misconceptions of adopting an older pet is that they have a lot of medical problems. With good preventive and routine care, most adult dogs are pretty darn healthy. Unlike a puppy or kitten that needs to see the vet every few weeks, older pets have already had their basic shots. That means you’ll probably only have to take them in for their check-ups and annual vaccines.
#8 You’re giving them love they may have never experienced.
This last reason makes us tear up. Some older pets may have never experienced the love and companionship you can provide them. They may have slept outdoors their whole life or have been seen as an extra mouth to feed instead of part of the family. With their limited time, every day becomes super special with a senior dog or cat.
Always give your pet the love they deserve, and the care they deserve. Get the right coverage, even supplemental benefits if that’s what you need. Keep your pup happy and healthy.