When many people start looking to adopt a pet, it seems like we tend to automatically veer towards the puppies and kittens in adoption shelters or animal foster programs. And why not? After all, they’re absolutely adorable! But before you scoop up the first newborn fuzzball that you get the warm fuzzies for, consider an alternative: senior dogs and cats. Now, what do older pets have that might give them an advantage over puppies and kittens?
For starters, older animals are often already trained, saving you the hassle of house training, dealing with gnawed-on furniture or shredded curtains, and all those other essentials you have to spend hours teaching a new pet. Of course, the animal may already be trained to respond to a specific name, and could be confused if you start calling them something else–but letting them keep their old name might be one small sacrifice in exchange for a responsive pet. And don’t forget that senior pets are often less high-maintenance in the care they need, saving you more time than round-the-clock care a puppy or kitten might require for a while.
Some people worry that senior dogs and cats might come with health issues already in play. This might be true, depending on the breed or past injuries and treatment, but older pets remain just as capable of showing you plenty of love and affection, even if they scamper quite as quick as a younger animal. Plus, they need love too! Many adopters overlook older animals, meaning shelters get crowded and the animal’s quality of life may be diminished. By providing a senior pet a loving home, both your lives will be better for it.
Another thing to consider is if you have kids at home. An older animal tends to have mellowed with age and can be more socialized and gentle with young ones than a puppy that might not quite know how to respond to children yet. And don’t be afraid that an older pet can’t be further trained. In fact, they can be even more teachable than a distracted puppy.
So next time you start thinking of adoption, don’t forget that even with a little gray on their muzzles, senior pets can be a bright spot in your life for years to come.
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