Why You Should Adopt a Senior Pet
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a HUGE animal advocate. In particular, I support rescue animals and have worked with them for over 15 years. Through all of my experience, one thing has become irrevocably true, I LOVE SENIOR PETS! More specifically, I have a huge soft spot for senior dogs. A dog is considered a senior once they are 7+ years old. I could tell you so many stories about the senior dogs I have helped throughout the years, but instead I am going to tell you a few reasons why adopting (or fostering) a senior pet may be the perfect plan for your family! That way you can start creating stories of your own!
- Senior pets are NOT damaged goods! There is a huge misconception that if a senior pet is up for adoption that there is something wrong with the animal. Frankly, that just isn’t true most of the time. Here are some of the most common reasons a senior pet is relinquished:
Their owner passed away (keep reading to find out more about this topic)
Their family moved
A new baby
Loss of a job
A change in work schedule
The novelty of owning a pet has worn off (insert audible eye roll here)
- Senior dogs already have basic commands mastered! Sit, stay, come, and down are already a normal part of an old pups life. This will take some of the pressure off of you. Training can be time consuming, expensive, and frustrating. It’s nice to have a furry companion who already knows the ropes.
- They have their adult teeth! This means no teething on your couch… or shoes… or toys… or table…
- Senior pets already know where to do their business! You can save your carpet from piddle marks and stinky messes when you adopt a senior pet because they already know to go outside to relieve themselves.
- Senior dogs are much more calm! They don’t require hours of playtime or lots of exercise. A senior dog is the perfect solution for someone who doesn’t have a huge yard or the time or desire to take lots of long walks. A senior pet is content just cuddling up next to you while you watch your favorite show.
- You can teach an old dog new tricks! Senior pets are just as smart as a young pup. Plus, with their calm demeanor, you may find it easier to teach them something new!
- Senior pets are wonderful companions! They were someones pet. They know how to be a part of a family. They know how to walk on a leash. Senior dogs are just looking for a person to love and a comfy spot to sleep.
How You Can Help Lower Relinquishment Rates:
The dog I featured in the YouTube video that accompanies this blog article, is a perfect example of a senior dog who was relinquished for no fault of their own. Serra, a 8 year old Australian Shepherd mix, was relinquished when her owner passed away. This happens all too often and is completely avoidable. If all pet owners took these few steps while they still are around to speak for their beloved pets, then we could help many dogs avoid the shelter system all together.
Come up with a plan.
Talk to friends and family members to see if anyone would like to take ownership of your pet in the event that you pass away. If no one is able to take on your pet long term, talk to them about fostering for you. This will give your pet a temporary home with someone who knows them while they search for a permanent solution.
Shelters are very hard on senior pets.
If your pet has any kind of food allergy or needs medication and ends up in the shelter without any instructions or medical history, then it is likely that they will not get what they need and serious medical issues can occur. When a skin allergy or ear infection is given a chance to flare up, it makes a pet much harder to adopt. This tragic spiral can easily be avoided, if you take the initiative and set up a plan.
Write down your pet’s medical history.
Let friends and family members know the details about your pet; like what kind of food they eat, allergies they have, or medication they require. Consider keeping a stock of your pet’s medications.
Your goal should be to help your pet avoid the shelter system at all cost.
Your pet is going to miss you when you are gone. They love you. It is up to you to create the least stressful transition as possible for your beloved pet.
Unfortunately, senior pets are often overlooked at the shelter. In the United States almost 25% of shelter animals are euthanized. In highly over-populated shelters, the euthanasia rate can be as high as 90%.
With that in mind, consider fostering a senior pet today.
Reach out to your local shelters and rescues to see how you can help a senior pet. Even if you can’t take on a pet long term, giving them a temporary home is an incredible gift! You will not only give them a comfy place to cuddle up, but you are also making a space available at the shelter for another pet in need. We can all do our part to reduce the euthanasia rates at shelters by fostering, donating, adopting, and volunteering.
LCAL’s two main criteria when considering the animals to bring into our care are as follows:
1. Animals needing medical attention. Aside from the normal spay/neuter/vaccines/etc., we consider animals with more serious needs, such as traumas, skin diseases, orthopedic injuries, autoimmune disorders, cancer, respiratory conditions, ophthalmic disease/injury, cardiology issues, and the like.
2. Animals within San Diego County shelters that are in need of medical attention or are facing humane euthanasia due to space or minor behavioral/training issues.
Our focus is MEDICAL, LOCAL, and we take animals of all ages, including seniors. We do not scout or transport puppies from outside the county or the state in order to boost our “inventory.” If there are puppies in our rescue, they were either BORN in our care due to us saving a pregnant animal, or they were abandoned/orphaned, facing euthanasia at a shelter, and/or needing medical attention.
We help the animals that are overlooked — the older, the broken, the not-so-popular — we fix them medically, we nurture for behaviors, and we seek out the most special forever homes for them.
There are MANY rescues who help the cute puppies — who doesn’t love a cute puppy? But we believe that all animals matter, and we pick up the ones left behind after the cute puppies have all left the shelter. That is why we truly are their LAST CHANCE AT LIFE.
“Saving one animal won’t change the world, but it will change the world for that ONE animal.”
Much Love from Health, Puppies & World Peace!