Each year in November, Adopt a Senior Pet Month reminds us that many older pets are currently languishing in shelters as they await a forever home. Because of their age and potential for health problems, senior dogs and cats are often passed over for adoption. Often these are pets whose owners have passed away or have moved to care facilities that do not permit animals. Offering a forever home to a senior pet can be an intensely rewarding and fulfilling experience, both for you and the pet you adopt.
Let’s take a look at senior pets, their care requirements, and why adopting a senior pet may be the ideal choice for you.
Generally, when we talk about older cats or dogs, we’re referring to animals over 7 years of age. For large-breed dogs (Great Danes, Akitas, Mastiffs, etc.), whose lifespans tend to be shorter than those of their medium- and small-breed cousins, however, the senior years begin at age 6.
There are some compelling reasons to adopt an older pet. Here are just a few:
Elder pets, much like elderly people, may need a little extra help and care. Here are some key areas to watch:
One reason senior pets are often the last to be adopted from shelters is their potential for developing health problems. Older pets are vulnerable to many of the same conditions that affect humans, such as:
This does not mean that all senior pets acquire one or more of these conditions—but their risk for illness does increase with advancing age. That’s why it’s important to know and recognize the warning signs of a potentially life threatening health problem in your pet.
When healthy, most pets tend to be creatures of habit. As you bond with your new adoptee, you’ll get to know its food preferences, toileting habits, sleep patterns, and exercise needs. Any changes in these basic activities should be viewed with caution. Potential signs of illness may include:
If you notice these or any other significant changes in your pet’s habits or behavior, it’s time to call the vet.
At Richmond Road Veterinary Clinic, we support the adoption of senior pets. Our skilled vets and technicians are here to help you care for your older animal, and are ready to offer helpful care and advice to maintain your pet’s wellness. Recently adopted a pet? Give us a call at 859-263-5037 today!