November is Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month. Here, Hillary Noyes, DVM, shares her thoughts on the joys of adopting adult animals.
“The first pet I rescued was a young, extremely energetic dog who had been mostly ignored in her previous home,” said Dr. Noyes. “She required a lot of attention and exercise, and while I loved her to pieces, I was a veterinary intern at the time and had trouble providing her the time she needed. As a veterinarian now, I see families doing the same thing – adopting young dogs, sometimes of energetic breeds, without doing much research as to how it’s going to fit into their lifestyle. This results in a diminished quality of life for everyone involved.”
Benefits of Adopting Adult Pets
“The next time I was looking to adopt a dog, I knew that my work schedule would not allow for that same amount of intensive training,” Dr. Noyes shares. “I kept my mind and expectations open during my search and came across a middle-aged Pomeranian. He was extremely calm, already housetrained and seemed to love everyone. He was the exact opposite aesthetic of what I thought I wanted in a dog, and he has turned out to be the greatest thing that ever happened to me.
“An older pet is a fantastic choice for many adopters – especially first-time pet owners, those with busier schedules, and those who cannot exercise much with their pet,” she continues. “Older dogs tend to be housetrained already, need less rigorous exercise and often already know their basic manners. This isn’t to say they are boring at all! My dog, Wallace, is now 10 years old, and he still has the perfect activity level to match my lifestyle. When we’re home, he contentedly sleeps nearby, but when it’s time for a short walk or trip to the park, he is absolutely ready to go!”
Adopting an adult pet can also save money and minimize property damage. “Adopting an older pet can save on a lot of the initial costs that a young animal incurs as well – spaying/neutering, puppy/kitten vaccines, and the accidents that young pets are prone to can add up,” Dr. Noyes explains. “Your shoes and baseboards tend to be safer as well, as older animals are out of the chewing stage and more content just to rest when home alone.”
There are special considerations when adopting an older pet.
“Senior” animals may be more prone to certain health issues that come with age. “The good news is that many pet insurance companies are open to insuring older pets after an initial health check,” Dr. Noyes explains (visit petinsurancereview.com). Even a young pet will eventually become a senior!
“The last dog I adopted was a 12-year-old pit bull who had been relinquished by his homeless owner,” she shares. Snoopy had obvious health issues, but Dr. Noyes says she doesn’t regret for a moment taking him in.
While Dr. Noyes took in Snoopy knowing he was approaching the end of his life, many “older” pets like her dog Wallace still have years of love to give. She adds, “We routinely see cats living into their early 20s, so adopting a 10-year-old ‘senior’ cat could still potentially provide a decade of loving companionship!”
Adopting Senior Pets – PetFinder.com
Loving an Older Pet – AARP.org