How to Adopt a Senior Dog or Cat

Written by: Richard Rowlands

The senior years of a pet's life are not always easy. Because of their age, they're more prone to health and mobility difficulties and can have trouble adjusting to new environments. But if you're up for the challenge, there are many benefits to adopting a senior animal!

In this blog post, we'll discuss why you should consider adopting a senior pet from an animal shelter or rescue group. We'll also explore some common health issues that can affect older animals in their golden years. Finally, we'll go through how to find a senior pet, help them adapt to your home, and how to support their health for as long as possible.

Why Adopt a Senior Dog or Cat?

Older pets are often calmer than younger animals, making them great candidates for adoption. Many are also house-trained, which can make them easier to welcome into your family. In addition, senior pets have often slowed down a bit, which means they're ready to relax and enjoy life from the couch rather than running around at full speed all day long! They may even be more inclined to snuggle up with you while you watch TV, read, or relax.

Aside from these benefits, adopting a senior pet can be a great way to save an animal's life. Many shelters and rescue groups have special adoption events for older pets because they're often overlooked by potential adopters who are looking for a younger animal. But with so many animals in need of homes, older pets can be an ideal choice for people who are looking to add a furry friend to their family.

Common Health Problems in Older Pets

Unfortunately, one downside to adopting an older animal is that they may be dealing with some health issues – but this doesn't mean you should let these problems discourage you. If your new pet has any underlying health issues, the shelter or rescue group will be able to tell you about them so that you can prepare yourself and get their care started right away.

Senior pets are especially prone to age-related health issues such as joint problems, cognitive issues (like night pacing), kidney issues, hearing and vision issues, and some cellular health issues. Most age-related health issues can often be supported with dietary changes and treatments. When adopting a senior pet with underlying health issues, you'll need to be extra vigilant about their wellbeing and take them to your veterinarian for regular checkups.

How to Find a Senior Pet to Adopt

Ready to take on the challenges and rewards of adopting a senior animal? It's a good idea to start your search by contacting local animal shelters or rescue groups. These organizations are full of dogs and cats in need of loving homes, so there's a good chance you'll find a furry friend that's perfect for you.

If an organization doesn't have any pets available at their location, they may be able to refer you to other shelters or rescue groups that do. In addition, many of these organizations offer special adoption events for older animals so you can meet a large number of potential companions in person and find the right one to adopt.

You can also check out Petfinder, Adopt-a-Pet, or other online listings to find senior pets in need of a home. Simply filter your search by the pet's age and you'll find plenty of adorable animals that will make excellent additions to your family. You can also search by location, type of animal, or other factors to narrow down your choices.

Additionally, we recommend following local shelters and rescue groups on social media. Many of these organizations post profiles of older pets that need homes to help find them loving families, so you may be able to find an animal in your area. If you don't find a suitable pet right away, don't give up! Pets of all ages are constantly available for adoption, so check back often for new listings.

How to Help a Senior Pet Settle Into Your Home

After you've found the right animal to adopt, you'll want to make sure that their transition into your home is as easy and enjoyable as possible. Remember that older pets may be used to a certain routine, especially if they've been living in a shelter. And they may be nervous when everything is new.

The first few days in a new place can be very stressful for animals because they're unfamiliar with their surroundings and the people who live there. But having a quiet space where they can feel safe will make it much easier for them to adjust.

If you have a spare room, you can use it to create a safe space where your new pet can get comfortable. Set up their crate or bed, put in some of their favorite toys and treats, and leave the door open so they have free access to come and go as they please.

If you don't have a spare room that can be used for this purpose, set up a small sectioned-off area in a larger room using baby gates or other barriers. This will help your pet feel safe while they adjust to their new surroundings.

Be prepared for feeding or house-training issues in the first few days. These are usually a response to stress and will pass as your pet becomes more comfortable. If you've already had your new pet for a few days and they're still struggling with these problems, take them to the veterinarian right away as it could be a sign of an underlying health issue that needs treatment.

Need more information about helping an adopted pet adapt to your home? Check out PetMD's useful tips for the first 30 days after adopting a dog or cat.

How to Keep a Senior Pet Healthy

It's important to be aware that senior pets have different dietary needs than younger animals. Always feed an age-appropriate diet that's specially formulated to support older pets.

You can also help maintain your senior pet's health and address age-related issues like joint issues by adding vitamins and supplements to their diet. Check out our senior pet product collection for all-natural products that are specially formulated for older pets.

When it comes to exercise, senior pets may not be up for as much activity as they used to. But this doesn't mean that you should let them eat and sleep all day! Daily exercise is still very important for senior animals because it keeps their muscles and bones strong and healthy and helps with weight management. Make sure to take senior dogs for short walks daily and give older cats a few minutes of playtime to help them stay active.

As we mentioned earlier, if your senior pet has any underlying health issues, it's important to work with your veterinarian to develop a treatment plan. Health can be maintained with regular supplements or changes to your pet's diet, but it may take some time for them to adjust. Always follow maintenance plans exactly as your vet instructs you and be patient with the process.

Final Words

Adopting a senior pet can be incredibly rewarding, but it's important to be prepared for the challenges that come with it. Many older animals still have a lot of love to give, but they may need extra care and attention because of their age or medical conditions. We hope that this blog post has given you some useful information to help you make an informed decision about adopting a senior animal.

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