Why older pets make great companions for older adults

Adopting a pet can be a rewarding experience: You bring home a loyal companion, and they are welcomed into a place where they will be well-taken-care-of and loved. For seniors, there are also many other health benefits of owning a pet.

Often, older animals in shelters and adoption centers wait longer to find their forever home. Most people tend to go for the tiny, purring kitten or little, dewy-eyed puppy, but senior animals have just as much to give and could be in even greater need of a home.

They usually come with added perks that may be of interest to seniors, such as:

1. They’re probably house-trained.

Older cats and dogs, or other pets, are often calmer, more restrained and have probably been house-trained at some point. Even if they entered the shelter as a stray animal, they most likely would have been seen by a veterinarian and fostered, while routine checks and state of health had been cleared. Also, if they have spent a significant amount of time waiting at the shelter already, this time should have given them a decent chance to get used to living indoors, around people and perhaps other animals.

This means not having to worry about bathroom-training, destructive behaviours, or having to handle an overly-energetic pet, things that could be overwhelming depending on age, fitness and overall health of the owner. Older pets could be a good option for new pet owners, too, or if it’s been some time since your last pet.

2. You know what to expect.

Many people enjoy adopting young pets to watch them grow; however, this can come with its own set of challenges. Changes in size, grooming requirements, personality, and temperament, can all be factors that come along with an aging pet. Maybe, changes you once thought you could handle, are becoming a deal-breaker. With a more mature pet, you already know what you’re in for. They’re full-grown, their personality has developed, and at that point, you can get a full and clear understanding of what life your new pet can hold.

Now, senior pets can come with their own health concerns. Yet, if they have already been examined and treated, or are in the process of getting treated, this won’t come as a shock. Have a discussion with your veterinarian, or the adoption worker, to fully understand the commitment ahead, making the right choice for you and the animal in consideration.

3. It’s not a long-term commitment.

Good-health isn’t always a guarantee as we age. Things happen; care needs change, people get sick, some move to be closer to family. This might mean that you aren’t able to commit to taking care of a pet any longer. Oftentimes, cats and dogs are surrendered to shelters for this reason. Adopting an older pet may relieve some pressure in this aspect, they won’t be as much of a long-term commitment.

Additionally, there won’t be stress or anxiety about putting your companion up back up for adoption or expecting a friend or family member to take care of an animal that they didn’t necessarily expect to bring into their home.

In all, no matter which pet you choose, there’s no doubt that they’ll hold a special place in your heart. At Seasons, we welcome all pets and strongly believe that pet ownership can be highly rewarding. If you’re ready to get started: Contact your local animal shelter or rescue center and book a visit with an adoption worker, or use an online resource like PetFinder.com.

Sources: Clear the Shelters & DogTime.com.