Older person hugging a big dog

What Are the Pros and Cons of Adopting a Senior Pet?

Things to Consider Before Bringing Home a New Furry Friend

When you’re looking to grow your family, a new puppy or kitten is often the first thing that comes to mind. But adopting a senior pet can be very rewarding. Whether you’re looking to add a second companion or are opening your heart to another pet after a loss, consider inviting a senior pet to live out their golden years in your home.

Of course, adding any furry family member is a big decision. Before you commit to adopting an older dog or cat, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of the decision. You’ll also want to plan ahead for their special needs.

The Benefits of Senior Pet Adoption

Older pets make wonderful companions for many reasons:

•  They are more likely to be housebroken or litter box trained.

•  They may already know basic obedience commands.

•  They tend to be more mellow and less rambunctious.

•  They are less prone to destructive chewing and clawing.

One of the best parts of adopting an older animal is that their personality is already established, so you know what to expect. A senior pet may already be acclimated to other animals or have a proven record of getting along with children. You’re not taking a gamble on how they’ll grow up.

There’s also a special feeling that comes with knowing you’re giving an animal a second chance. Many beloved pets end up in shelters when their former parents go through tragic circumstances, like home loss or a death in the family. Being able to give a senior dog or cat another loving home is rewarding.

Animal shelters often run discounts on older pets, including a popular “seniors for seniors” program that matches pets to retirement-age adopters. Since older pets tend to be more mellow, they are often a great match for elderly pet parents who don’t have the energy to train a mischievous pup. And many pets who would be called “seniors” still have many long years of life and love to share.

Some Things to Consider Before Adopting a Senior Pet

Although there are many wonderful benefits to adopting an older pet, there are a few potential concerns to look out for. You’ll need to consider your lifestyle and plan for some accommodations for their needs.

Senior pets are still trainable, but they may be more set in their ways. It will be difficult to change behaviors they have had for years. For example, if a senior cat is not dog-friendly, you may not want to adopt her with the hope that she’ll learn to love your dogs.

Many older animals also have health and mobility issues that arise naturally from aging. Some common age-related issues you’ll want to think about include:

•  Hearing and vision loss

•  Arthritis and joint problems

•  Heart, kidney, and liver disease

•  Diabetes and other metabolic issues

•  Incontinence or more frequent accidents indoors

Not every elderly pet will develop these problems, but they are common enough that you should be prepared to manage them.

Planning for Your Pet’s End-of-Life Care

An unavoidable truth of pet parenting is that, some day, you will need to say goodbye. When you adopt a senior pet, that farewell may come sooner than you’d like. Your new companion may have many more years of life ahead of them, but it’s still wise to think about what you’ll do when their age catches up to them.

As your pet enters their twilight years, they may require medical interventions for pain control, mobility, dental care, and other needs. Older pets also require more extensive annual blood work and testing, especially before dental cleanings and surgeries. Before adopting a senior pet, you should be prepared to spend a bit more money at the vet than you would for a younger animal.

Best Friends is Here for You When the Time Comes

Best Friends Pet Passings and Cremations is here to make saying goodbye as peaceful as possible. When the time comes, we’ll be there to help. We partner with Albuquerque veterinarians and can help you find someone to perform an at-home euthanasia.

We can also help you with every aspect of your pet’s cremation, from arranging transport to planning a memorial service. Call us at 505-345-5615 for more information or to make arrangements.

Older person hugging a big dog