November is Adopt-A-Senior Pet month! Many of these special older pets are overlooked in shelters due to their age or fear of current or impending medical issues that typically come with age. However, these pets need homes, too!
Pets are considered seniors when they are about 7 years old, although many live will past that age. Healthy cats are living well into their mid-teens, and healthy small dogs can live into their early teens.
There are advantages and disadvantages of adopting a senior pet. As with any adoption, you may not know the complete history of the pet, medical or behavioral. Each pet is evaluated before going to the adoption floor, but this does not rule out behavioral issues due to their past. You also won't know about any medical issues in the bloodline. While a pet may leave the shelter apparently healthy, long-term medical issues may show themselves sometime after adoption. Or you may choose to adopt a senior pet with a known medical problem requiring extra veterinary visits, bloodwork or medications.
There are advantages to adopting senior pets. These pets are hopefully settled down some, less excitable or less energetic than a young puppy or kitten. These pets are also hopefully house broken already, although they may need a couple gentle reminders in a new place. With older pets, you may have the advantage of them already being trained or at least more used to certain situations or commands than with a younger pet. Older pets in most shelters have already been spayed or neutered and are up to date on vaccinations prior to leaving, versus younger pets may need to return for surgery or see the vet for more shots-at your expense.
No matter what their age, all pets deserve a caring, loving home. If you are considering adopting a pet, either from a rescue group or a shelter, consider a senior pet and allow them the opportunity to live out their lives in a loving home.