Senior Pet Month: 8 reasons to adopt a dog or cat that’s a little bit older
Elderly and middle-aged pets are often forgotten about when it comes to introducing a new pet to the home. There are few people in the world that can resist the charm of a puppy or kitten. With their infectious enthusiasm and sweet good looks, puppies and kittens are very much in demand, but the reality of owning one is not always quite as appealing.
It can also be hard to tell what a dog or cat’s adult personality will be like when they are small; that’s why adopting an older pet can sometimes be a much safer bet. We have highlighted below some of the benefits of choosing an older animal if you are looking to adopt a dog or cat.
1. Some older pets may have less destructive behaviours than puppies and kittens
Some older dogs and cats will generally be beyond the stage where they will tear apart your soft furnishings and attempt to scratch their way through doors. Puppies and kittens are naturally curious and will look to test almost every fabric in your home, whereas older pets tend not to have this streak.
Although training can be variable, an older dog or cat who once had a previous owner may have been house-trained.
2. Older pets may be used to children
If you are bringing a dog in to a home with young children, then an older pet might be a smart choice. When rehoming a dog or cat, you can find out their background and see if they already have experience being around children in a previous home.
Although you can train a kitten or puppy to enjoy being with young children, your child may prefer being around a calmer, older dog or cat rather than a fussy puppy or kitten who may accidentally hurt them or annoy them.
3. Older pets might already be house trained
Depending on their background, older dogs and cats will most likely be house trained. It is handy to adopt an animal who already knows the basics of living in a home, such as cats who know how to use a litter tray, and dogs who know how to let their owners know they need to go outside.
If you’re not experienced with puppies and kittens and what comes with training them, it can be a little frustrating. So, an older pet who is already house trained could be the perfect companion for you.
4. An older dog or cat will be fully grown
Adopting a pet that is already fully-grown means there won’t be any surprises in future. You’ll know that he or she won’t eventually grow into a beast that dominates your house.
What you see is what you get with an older animal. With a fully formed personality, you can get to know the dog and figure out if the two of you (and family) are a good match. The element of doubt is removed.
There are other benefits such as knowing about the long-term health of the dog. Some puppies, for example, could grow to have hip or joint problems, which are difficult to predict. If you adopt an older dog or cat, you know their health history and know what they are currently suffering with.
5. Old dogs, new tricks
Just because you are choosing an older animal, doesn’t mean there won’t be any fun involved. In fact, older dogs are often better at concentrating, making them receptive to learning new tricks and tasks. As older dogs are calmer and more focused than puppies it can actually be easier to train them.
6. Older dogs and cats can be your perfect match
When searching for an older pet, you can be very specific with what you’re looking for. When you adopt a puppy or kitten, you may be told by the breeder that he or she has certain qualities, but they may not always be true.
If, for example, you’re looking for a long-haired cat with no history of dental problems, you can search using those criteria until you find an animal that exactly matches your brief. Sometimes puppies and kittens are bred to be either short or long haired or hypoallergenic, but once they have grown up their fur may change. That’s why older pets could be the perfect match for you if you have very specific requirements.
7. Older pets are great company
Senior pets for senior citizens. Sounds simple but it’s true – they do make great companions. Older pets are generally lower-maintenance and don’t mind taking things a little slower throughout the day. Young dogs need a lot of exercise which means you have to walk them multiple times a day and even then, they will still have plenty of energy leftover for fun and games.
If you’re getting older, a senior or middle-aged dog will make a much more suitable companion as their exercise needs will be closer to your own. If you’re a little lonely or looking for some companionship, why not find an older dog or cat that is looking for the same? It might be the best decision you ever make.
For young adults or families, middle-aged and elderly pets can be great company. If you have a busy work-home life, then an older dog could be the perfect companion, as they may enjoy going for shorter walks and sometimes like to sleep, relax and be in their own company more than younger, needier dogs do.
Puppies and kittens don’t leave much time for anything else. As nice as it would be to spend all day playing with your puppy or kitten, an older pet is less demanding and leaves you free to do some of the other things that life demands whilst still having a great companion to come home to.
8. Older pets are grateful to you
Giving a home to a lovely, older pet is one of the kindest things you can do for an animal. In some cases, they won’t have had the easiest lives, so doing the right thing by rehoming them is even more important. Older pets may seem to appreciate the fact you have given them a home and many owners find they quickly form a close bond with their new dog or cat.
While the animal is happy to be rehomed, owners also tend to benefit, feeling a sense of pride that they have done a good deed by adopting an older dog or adopting an older cat.
Older pets give you more control and a greater degree of flexibility than puppies. If you’re a first-time owner, or an older person looking for a friend, older pets make a much more sensible choice. Not only will you be getting a great friend who will never let you down, you’ll also be doing a really great thing for an animal that has found itself down on its luck. Make sure to read up more information about older cats and dogs to understand how keep them fit, healthy and happy.