National Adopt A Senior Pet Month is dedicated to bringing awareness about homeless senior pets and improving the adoption rate for these sweet older dogs and cats. 

It’s a sad reality that senior animals are often the last to be adopted from shelters – and even more heartbreaking, many never get homes.  This is due to most people wanting puppies and kittens when looking for a new pet, and completely overlooking the perfectly adoptable older dogs and cats quietly sitting in kennels and cages, and not realizing the benefits to adopting an older pet over a younger one.

One big benefit with an older pet is what you see is what you get.  This takes the guess work out of what the dog or cat will be like when they grow up.  With a senior pet, you will know if a dog is a snuggler, or if a cat is more of an independent spirit.   Not so with puppies and kittens.  And young animals can require a lot of energy, patience, and consistency with training to help them become well-adjusted pets, whereas seniors are typically more calm and less energetic so it is easier to teach them.  In fact, many seniors already know basic commands and tricks.   In addition, older pets most often have lived years in a home prior to ending up in a shelter, so they are usually already house trained. Training a puppy to go potty outside or a kitten to remember where a litter box is can take weeks, months, or in some cases years  And, because of their low-key natures, senior pets can be perfect for homes with children.

But with owning a senior pet, potential health issues need to be considered.  As with any pet, seniors need regular vet care to insure that they stay in good health, but they may need additional care like dental work, blood work and medicines.   But none of this should deter you from adopting a senior pet.   Depending on breed, lifestyle, and existing health issues, a senior dog or cat can still have plenty of healthy and happy years to give as your companion.

It is a fact that senior pets tend to spend the longest amount of time at a shelter or rescue, and often live the rest of their lives out in a kennel. Older dogs and cats of advanced age have higher euthanasia rates than younger pets.   Most of these seniors were turned out from their homes at a time when they should be cared for, loved and allowed to live out their remaining years safe and comfortable, but instead they are confused, homeless and living in a kennel.  

When adopting a senior pet, you are opening your heart a new companion that has so much love and affection to share, and you are saving a life that, in their senior years, someone else turned away.  You will not only change and save their life, but you will be a hero to them for every day of the rest of their lives and you will be rewarded greatly with their sweet love and loyalty. 

While November is Adopt a Senior Pet month, all year long, senior dogs and cats wait in shelters and rescues for someone to see and give them a chance.  You can help by spreading awareness about these special pets and help give them what they want and deserve — a warm, safe and loving home to live their remaining years.  

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