Pet adoption is one of the most rewarding decisions a pet lover can make. Adoption frees up room in the shelter, reduces the number of homeless pets, and opens up your home (and heart) to a deserving fur friend. These are some of the many rewards of adoption. But did you know you can make the gift of adoption even more special by adopting a senior pet?
Pet lovers too often overlook senior pets in favor of puppies and kittens, yet they are an excellent choice for pets. The team at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital is here to spotlight the benefits of our senior companions and suggest things to consider before you adopt.
Why Seniors End Up in Shelters
Since pets are true family members, it’s puzzling why there are so many seniors in shelters. Sadly, this situation is due to a few reasons. One, as a pet ages, they start to slow down a bit and their family seems them as simple “too old” to keep up with their busy lifestyle. Senior pets may have additional health needs (although many seniors stay quite healthy and active) and their family is not willing or able to care for them adequately.
Another reason that seniors end up in shelters is that their human companion has passed and no one in the family could take them. Senior pets who end up in shelters are often scared, lonely, and missing their humans. It’s a tough situation for an older pet who once had a happy home to adapt to a shelter. This is why there is a great need for pet owners to step in and help these deserving pets.
The Benefits of Adopting a Senior Pet
Aside from the fact that the “golden oldies” are adorable, sweet, and amazing in every way, there are some solid benefits of adopting a senior pet.
- No personality surprises – What you see is what you get when adopting an older pet. Unlike younger pets, most seniors have fully established personalities, habits, and preferences. The adoption counselor will give you insight into all of this as well as their background. Chances are when you meet them you will know right away how well they fit into your life.
- Less demanding – While an older pet can still keep up with walks and play, they are much less demanding than a younger pet. They’re more than happy to just hang out with you as you work, make dinner, or garden. Many senior pets are patient and gentle, and their only hope is to just hang out with their people.
- Well mannered – Older pets have been trained and socialized, to some degree, and know some household rules. Of course, you will need to instruct them on the rules of your home, but they will adapt quickly since many already know basic commands and training. Older pets tend to be more laid back and eager to accommodate your lead.
- Instant companionship – Senior pets are much more affectionate and enjoy quality time spent with you. They’re quick to warm up, whereas young dogs or cats will be easily distracted and harder to bond with (because they are too busy getting into stuff!). It’s almost like seniors know how special time spent with their human is, and will appreciate the love, affection, and attention you give.
- You can be a hero – Since so many older pets get looked over at rescues and shelters, you get the chance to step up and be a true hero. If you give a senior another chance at a wonderful life of love, fun, and companionship, you are a star in our book. They will forever be so grateful to you for being their new forever pet parent.
Adopting a Senior Pet is an Act of Love
Senior pets have so much love to share with a committed pet owner. If you have been reluctant to adopt an older pet because you think their time is limited, it’s important to remember that there are no lifespan guarantees with any pet. Many who adopt older pets report how much time they get to spend with their new friends. They comment on how energetic and open to learning their older pets are.
Yes, some senior pets have health issues but not all require aggressive treatment or expense. For example, providing pain medication and comfort to a dog with arthritis or cancer will make their golden years or months more comfortable.
Adopting a new pet is always an amazing experience that comes with consideration and understanding. Get to know your potential adoptee and ask lots of questions of the adoption counselor. Be an informed animal hero!
If we can answer any questions about senior pet health, adopting a senior pet, or training, please give the ULVH team a call. Thanks for being a friend to senior pets!