Dogs tend to show their age because their muzzles go gray. It's harder to tell with cats. A cat may never go gray (unless that's its original color, like Sasha here) but its fur may thin out and it may move a little slower as it ages. But older pets make the best companions!
November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month. Some folks may wonder why anyone would want an older pet rather than a cute, lively puppy or kitten. The truth is that puppies and kittens are “cute” for only so long, then they become adult animals. And it will be up to you to make sure they learn what to do and where to do it. Some of us like the idea that we can take a senior pet home and know there is a good chance it already knows some important things.
Often older dogs or cats come from homes where the owner just could not keep them any longer, perhaps because of illness or even the death of the owner. Suddenly a great pet is homeless and in a cage at the shelter, not understanding what went wrong. It may need a refresher course on things like house-breaking, but overall many senior pets are already pretty good at responding to basic commands.
A pet is considered senior around seven years of age. An older pet is trainable – yes, you can teach an old dog (or cat) new tricks. With a senior pet, you know exactly what you’re getting. There’s no guessing how big it will be in a year or two, or what kind of personality it has. Older animals are usually calmer than youngsters and, because of their low-key attitude, can be a good choice for a household with children. They also make great pets for older people who want an animal that will be content to just relax rather than getting into trouble because it is bored.
A senior pet will need regular veterinary care to make sure it stays healthy. As the American Veterinary Medical Association says, “Age is not a disease.” But pets, like people, can develop issues related to getting older, so good preventative health care can help to insure that senior animals stay happy and active.
Unfortunately, many people still want to adopt those cute puppies and kittens, and often overlook the treasures hidden in older pets. Because of that, senior dogs and cats have higher euthanasia rates than younger animals. Visit your local shelter today and adopt a senior pet. You’ll be a real life-saver, and get a thankful new best friend when you’re speaking of pets.