A Complete Guide to Owning a Senior Pet

November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month – a month dedicated to helping older furry friends find their forever homes. Seniors pets are the least likely to find homes in shelters as they are often overlooked. Give one a shot and you’ll find that they are the sweetest, most obedient pets who still have a lot of love left to give!

The benefits of adopting a senior pet

  • Older pets have manners
    • Senior pets have experience with social situations and are accustomed to house rules.
  • Most senior pets have had basic training
    • Most of the time they already know commands such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘down’. Some may have received more obedience training!
  • What you see is what you get
    • Their appearance, behavior, and health are already established. There are no surprises to how big they may get, the color of their coat, or health issues they might inherit. Senior pets come with a history and make the future more predictable than that of a younger animal.
  • Forget the phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”
    • Senior pets have an easier time focusing than younger animals, making them easy to teach new commands to.
  • Don’t worry about house training
    • Many animals at this age are already house trained and can learn the new house rules quickly.
  • Senior pets are great for first time adopters or senior citizens
    • Having a pet is an investment of time and money. For first-time pet owners, an older pet is more reliable and independent. They have all the basics down and have a more mellow energy. Instead of chasing them around and cleaning up after them, you can focus more on your relationship with them and planning fun things to do.
    • Senior Citizens find the calm presence of an older pet comforting. They take less energy to train and also appreciate the importance of life at a slower speed.
  • Senior pets are grateful
    • Many new owners form a close bond very quickly with their senior animal because the pet shows them a level of attention and devotion that is unique to older adopted animals.
    • Older adopted pets seem to understand what you have done for them, and they return your kindness with uncommon love and devotion.
  • You’re saving a life
    • Animals over the age of five are often overlooked. Shelters are overpopulated and many times senior pets are the first to be euthanized if not adopted in a timely manner.
  • They aren’t used goods
    • There’s nothing wrong with a senior pet- most of the time they’re surrendered because the owner’s situation has changed, not because of behavior or temperament issues.

How to care for your senior pet

  1. Make the veterinarian your first stop: Regular check ups are an important set in keeping your pet happy and healthy.
  2. Choose the right diet: Adult food is recommended for older pets since they are less active and consume less calories than younger pets.
  3. Get moving: Exercise is key in keeping your pet’s weight and joints healthy.
  4. Practice proper dental hygiene: Brush your pet’s teeth to avoid dental diseases that can make eating difficult for them.
  5. Safety first: If your pet has bad sight or hearing, make sure they have clear paths to walk to the spaces they may need to go.
  6. Remember accessibility: If your older pet develops arthritis, ensure that they have access to their bed, food, and water without difficult obstacles such as stairs.
  7. Engage them in mental stimulation: Keep your pet young at heart by teaching them new tricks and playing with them.
  8. Physical contact is a must: Petting your pet can be therapeutic for both you and your older furry companion.

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