Senior Pets: A Case for Adoption

Adoption, Cats, Dogs

During this almost year-long pandemic, the veterinary industry has seen a dramatic increase in the demand for medical care of domestic animals. Many have hypothesized that this is partially due to the increase in pet ownership in the last several months. There are several reasons why people are choosing to adopt dogs and cats during this time including extra time at home for appropriate care and the desire for companionship. While the average new pet parent is likely looking to adopt a puppy or kitten, senior pets can make wonderful additions to the family.

Benefits of adopting a senior pet

Senior pets are generally accepted as dogs and cats older than 7 years old. They have reached physical and behavioral maturity but still have many years of life left and affection to give. These animals deserve a loving home and can be wonderful additions if given the chance. To start, many seniors do not have the same behavioral issues you might encounter with a young puppy or kitten. Typically most senior animals are already potty trained and as such will not have as many accidents in the house. This can save you months of time and stress attempting to train these behaviors. Not to mention, destructive behaviors such as chewing, biting, scratching, and digging tend to decline later in life. Once your new (old) pet becomes acclimated to your new household, you are less likely to come home to fecal/urinary accidents, destroyed furniture, or chewed up trash.

Most older animals already know basic commands, require less training, and may be quicker to pick up new tricks. Many new adopters find themselves unprepared to deal with the youthful energy of a young puppy or kitten. Seniors are typically lower energy, easier to manage, and can thrive in a variety of settings including smaller households or apartments. Lastly, picking an animal that fits in with your personality is important in forming a successful bond. Most animals in shelters have personality traits listed on their adoption profiles to aid in placement. With senior animals, you can rest assured that their personality, energy, and size won’t be constantly changing.

Understanding the challenges of senior pet adoption

Although the purpose here is to promote senior adoption, it is worth noting that seniors come with their own set of challenges. They require more regular veterinary visits, can have pre- existing medical conditions, and may need daily medication. This is a small price to pay knowing the companionship and love you will receive from a sweet senior.

Feel good about adopting a senior pet

Senior pets deserve just as much love as puppies and kittens. Whatever the reason be they landed in a shelter; they did not choose to be there. It is up to us humans to make sure they receive the attention and care they long for. They are often overlooked in shelter settings and sometimes become long-term residents. Many are euthanized due to inadequate shelter space or lack of adoption interest. When you adopt a senior pet, you can feel good about saving a life. Senior pets often make the most grateful adoptees and can show love in all the same ways young dogs and cats can.

If you have any questions regarding adopting an older animal or would like to get your newly adopted senior in for his/her first checkup, give us a call!

-Dr. Wesley Leggett

Essex Middle River Veterinary Center provides medical and surgical care for cats and dogs at our animal hospital and veterinary clinic in Essex, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. Our services include preventive wellness care exams, vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care. Our state-of-the-art veterinary offices are conveniently located near I-695 where we see pets from Towson, Honeygo, White Marsh, and other neighboring Baltimore areas.

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