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5 Reasons to Adopt a Senior Pet

5 Reasons to Adopt a Senior Pet
Published on: November 1, 2017

There’s no friend like an old friend

As the holidays approach, many people consider a pet the perfect gift for their loved ones. A dog can teach the kids responsibility, a cat can help a couple bond and any pet can provide someone with companionship. TV and movies have even given us the visual for it: an adorable new puppy or kitten with a big red bow, eager to be cuddled. It’s enough to make your heart melt! However, if you want to get a new pet this holiday season, consider adopting an older cat or dog. November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and we’ve come up with five reasons why a senior pet could be the perfect choice for your family!

1. No surprises here

A photo of a senior terrier mix.When you get a puppy or kitten, it can be hard to predict what they’ll be like. Will they be high energy, pretty lazy, on the small side or bigger than expected? When it comes to adoption, we usually don’t know what a dog or cat’s parents were like. Sometimes we can make generalized assumptions based on breed, but every pet is different and mixed breeds can be difficult to guess. With a senior pet, you know exactly what you’ll get! You can see what size they’ll always be, or what they’re personality is like.

2. Less work, more fun

A photo of an older woman walking three dogs.Everybody is busy these days, and pets can be a lot of work. Without a doubt their companionship is worth it, though. When you get home from a long day and your cat or dog greets you at the door, the stress just melts away! However, puppies and kittens often require constant attention for regular meals and training. Older pets don’t require that same level of attention. They make great companions for elderly people who sometimes can’t keep up with a young animal. They’re easy for kids to take care of because they already know a lot of the household rules and routines. And people with jobs don’t have to worry that the puppy has chewed up all their shoes while they work. Senior cats and dogs are also known to settle in more quickly than puppies and kittens, which makes them an easy addition to homes with multiple pets.

3. Old pet, new tricks

A photo on a senior terrier mix.There’s a common misconception that senior pets in a shelter must be there because they’re ill-behaved. That’s not the case at all! There’s any number of reasons a senior pet could have found themselves at the shelter, even if they’re the best cat or dog in the world. In fact, senior pets are often already house trained. They’re usually familiar with basic commands as well as words like “no.” This makes it a lot easier for them to learn the routine with a new family. Senior pets are also past the destructive or chewing phase a lot of pets go through. And despite what they say, you can teach an old pet new tricks.

4. Senior is hardly senior

A photo of a senior Siamese cat curled up and sleeping.Cats are considered senior as early as seven years. However, the average lifespan of an indoor cat is 14-16 years with many living well into their twenties! That’s like us being called a senior at forty-years-old. There are still plenty of active years left. Dogs are a little harder to gauge since lifespan is heavily based on breed and size. However, for any pet, the term “senior” doesn’t necessarily mean old and frail. Senior pets still love to play, go on walks and cuddle. They just take things a little slower than they used to.

5. All they want is their forever home

A photo of a senior beagle looking endearing.Senior pets are often the last to be adopted which puts them at an increased risk to be euthanized. People naturally gravitate to the young, playful pets at the shelter. But just like any companion animal, a senior pet just wants a place to call their forever home. They have a lot of love to give and want nothing more than to be loved in return!

While we hope you consider adopting a senior pet from the shelter or a reputable rescue this holiday season, make sure you weigh all the pros and cons of any pet. There are a lot of great reasons to have a senior animal, but you should also take into account future health problems and costs. Go over age, breed, size, dietary needs and even grooming needs carefully before making a decision. If you have any questions about foods, toys, beds or supplements for an older pet, stop by your locally owned and operated Wag N’ Wash and talk to a team member!