November is here in just a couple of days, and it's Petfinder.com's Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month. This is a time to educate the world about how wonderful older animals are, and to encourage the adoption of senior pets. Older dogs are among the hardest pets to adopt out. Sadly, many of them live out their golden years behind cage bars. During the month of November, I plan to focus on topics related to senior dogs. I will be discussing the care of older dogs and covering some diseases that affect aging dogs.
So often, those who visit rescues and shelters in search of a new dog are immediately drawn to puppies. Sure, they are adorable, but you don't really know what you will end up with. Unfortunately, after puppies grow up, some owners decide they are bigger than desired or not the right kind of personality. Other owners no longer wish to care for a senior pet, and these dogs can end up homeless.
Senior Pets are Often Overlooked
People are often hesitant to adopt a senior for fear of ending up with a sickly pet, but most senior animals in shelters and rescue groups are quite healthy. Another reason is that they do not want to think of bonding with a pet that might not live long. Dogs are technically considered "seniors" around age seven, but most live until 12-15 years of age (or longer). So, adopting a senior dog does not necessarily mean that your days together are numbered. Potential adopters also worry that their new pet will be set in his ways and might not behave appropriately. However, this is not usually the case. So many homeless senior pets once lived in a home and are often housebroken and somewhat trained. They are also likely to be less hyperactive and better socialized than young dogs.
Living With Senior Pets
Adopting a senior pet is a kind action and a rewarding experience, but it is still important to understand that senior dogs do have special needs. Fortunately, the extra care is usually minimal - it is often just about prevention and awareness. Older dogs may become a little less active in time and some develop health issues like arthritis, but these are things that are often simple to handle. So, next time you decide to adopt a dog, consider making it a senior dog. It will change your life forever.
- Dog Adoption Guide
- Caring for a Senior Dog
- Choosing the Right Dog
- Reasons to Adopt an Older Cat
- Aging Pet Care Awareness
Photo © Debbie Madison