We’ve put together an essential guide to help you if you are considering adopting an older pet.
Why would you want an older pet when you can have a puppy? Wouldn’t you have to put up with loads of health issues? Surely if an old pet is up for adoption they must have a behaviour problem? These are just some of the questions you may ask yourself before even considering to adopt an older pet. Here’s where we want to clear some of these up for you.
What Age is Considered Senior?
It’s a sad and well-known fact that most adoption and rescue centres are full of senior animals. The older they get, the longer they spend in the shelter waiting for their forever home. An even sadder fact is that the older pets in these centres are the first to be euthanised after sick pets. Adopting an older dog could potentially save their life.
Dogs aged from 7 or 8 years are classed as senior depending on the breed. For cats it is a little later, maybe around 10 years. Some pets can live for decades, with pets like parrots and tortoises even outliving their original owners!
Are Older Pets Difficult to Train?
As the well-known saying goes “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” Well, that’s absolute rubbish! In fact, it can be argued that older pets are more likely to learn from you. While they may not have the mobility of younger pets, they do have a much longer attention span. Which means they will be more likely to listen to you and respond to training.
One major thing that most people forget to consider when adopting an older pet is house training. If you decided to have a puppy, you go through weeks and sometimes months of toilet training! With older dogs, you completely bypass the toilet training and teething stages, which means your furniture stays nice and your floors stay dry!
How Can I Introduce an Older Pet to My Home & Lifestyle?
Introducing an older pet into your home shouldn’t be any more difficult than if you were to introduce a puppy or kitten. In fact, it’s likely to be much easier! Older pets are past that hyper, crazy and active stage and usually just want to relax and be petted. Take things slowly and remember, positive training works better than negative training.
Are Older Dogs Badly Behaved?
There are so many reasons that older pets can end up in adoption and rescue centres. Bad behaviour is the least likely of them all. Any rescue centre will advise you of any behavioural issues before you adopt your older pet. It’s usually the fault of people that animals end up in shelters. Perhaps their owner has passed away, or personal circumstances have changed and they can no longer care for their pet either financially or physically, but sadly it can also be due to abuse. Abuse is a huge reason that many animals end up in adoption centres, waiting for their forever home with someone who will love them.
Benefits of Owning an Older Pet:
The benefits of adopting an older pet are the same benefits as adopting any pet. You have a chance to care for a little furry companion that will give you unconditional love in return for you looking after them. It’s hard to comprehend what pets bring into our lives until they’re not there anymore. They do, however, bring us the best (and the saddest) memories, and that is a gift that they give to you.