Bravo! You've decided to adopt a dog or cat from a reputable shelter. We know you're eager to start your search and expand your family as soon as possible, but it's important to research all your options first, including bringing home a senior dog or cat.
Thanks to the cute factor, older pets are often passed by for kittens and puppies. But depending upon your lifestyle, energy level and home environment, senior pets can make the best companions.
So before you become smitten over pups and kittens, consider the benefits of more mature furry friends.
Manners over adorability
A well-behaved puppy or kitten takes training and a lot of patience. Skip ahead to an older dog or cat and it’s likely they already know how to behave. This can save you time, energy and money now that you don’t have to incorporate lessons from Ms. Manners.
Older shelter pets usually come house-trained. What a break for you and your home, now that you can come and go without feeling anxious that your carpet, shoes and upholstery will bear witness to potty training gone awry.
The old dog, new tricks myth
Are you worried senior dogs are set in their ways and can’t be taught? Mature pets have usually passed basic training, which means they’re capable of learning new commands. Sometimes it’s easier to teach older cats and dogs because they're less frisky and can focus on the training.
Less energy, more cuddling
If your idea of a perfect night involves cuddling with your furry family member, you might prefer a senior pet’s personality. Like humans, dogs and cats lose energy as they age, making them more relaxed and willing to just lay around with you.
What you see is what you get
When you adopt kittens or puppies, you're never sure what their personality will be as they age or even how big they’ll grow. When you bring home a senior cat or dog, you’ll know what you’re getting. You can choose the size, personality and fur type you want on sight.
The behavioral problem myth
Some people hesitate to adopt a senior dog or cat because they’re worried the pet was given up due to behavioral problems. However, many older cats and dogs become shelter pets because their pet parents encountered lifestyle changes. New jobs, divorces and moving are a few reasons why adult animals are often brought to shelters, not bad behavior.
Experience equals appreciation
With age comes wisdom, and pets are no different. Senior dogs and cats will welcome a loving new home to live out their remaining years peacefully — especially if they’ve endured abuse or neglect previously.
Adopting a senior shelter pet is truly an act of kindness that greatly benefits everyone — the older dog or cat, and your entire family. Plus, for every dog and cat you rescue, another animal can take their place at the shelter.
All cats and dogs deserve to live in good homes, so consider adding an older “new” member to your family.