Adopting Geriatric Dogs & Cats By Dr. Steph, Posted on January 3, 2018,
When considering a pet adoption, why not consider an older dog or cat, rather than a younger puppy or kitten? There are several advantages to adopting geriatric dogs and cats, and you could literally be a life saver by taking home an older animal from a shelter or pound. Animal shelters across the country are filled to overflowing with healthy, active senior dogs and cats in need of loving homes.
Although most dogs are considered “seniors” around age seven, smaller dogs mature slower than larger ones, and therefore become seniors a little later in life than their larger counterparts. Older dogs make great pets for lots of reasons. Often, these older dogs know what it is like to be part of a loving family, and greatly appreciate the care and attention they receive from you. As a result, an older dog or cat can become an instant companion, ready to stay by your side on a walk through the park or a cuddle session on the couch, and can be much better behaved than a younger, more inexperienced puppy or kitten. In other words, they’ve likely been taught manners by a previous owner and acclimate quickly to your household and lifestyle, saving you time and effort.
Older animals often do well with senior owners as well as young children, as their temperaments are usually more settled, they can be more patient and tolerant, have lower energy levels and are less destructive than puppies and kittens. Also, they may have been exposed to little children with a previous owner.
Most senior dogs and cats over the age of five are housebroken, and dogs of this age are usually already trained in basic commands like sit, stay, come, heel, and down. Many know how to fetch or play catch, and enjoy cuddle time with their owners. Since many shelters are overcrowded, older dogs and cats tend to be the first to be euthanized, and you could be the one person who saves a potentially perfect pet from being put down. Why not be a hero for a special dog or cat?
Older animals can be much more peaceful and less rambunctious than younger ones, and can integrate with your family quicker. Many times, the reason these geriatric cats and dogs end up in animal shelters is not due to behavioral issues, but rather owner allergies, the death of a guardian, a new baby, loss of a job, a move, change in work schedule, and various other factors which influence the decision to put an animal up for adoption. Don’t assume an animal is a “problem child” just because they are a little older.
Many older dogs and cats are confused by their presence in a shelter, waiting anxiously for their owners to return and take them home. Why not open your heart and consider rescuing an older animal from a shelter, providing them with the comfort of a loving home and your companionship to enjoy for the remainder of their days? Extending kindness to another is always rewarding, and many new owners bond quickly with their older pets, who seem to understand the generosity and compassion shown by their new forever friends.