You've decided you're ready to adopt a new pet, and you're on your way to your local shelter or animal welfare rescue group (the best place to get a new perfect pet, duh!). But before you scoop up a kitten or puppy, you should know there are a lot of great reasons to adopt an older pet. November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, so here are 6 benefits of adopting a senior cat or dog.
They can come pre-trained: Many older pets end up in an animal shelter because their owners passed away, or because of some other unforeseen consequence. Because of this, senior pets are often great companions who are already house trained, already know basic commands, are experts at walking on a leash, and might come preloaded with some tricks! You might even be able to teach them some new tricks. This can be a real headache reliever as a lot of the stress of a new pet comes with all of the training that goes into it. Ask anyone whose puppy has chewed their favorite shoes, or whose kitten who has peed in their backpack!
READ MORE: What To Expect At Pet Adoption Events
Less energy can be a great thing: Puppies and kittens are adorable, there's no denying that, but they can also have more energy than you know what to do with! That energy can manifest as kittens running around and meowing all night, or puppies getting into everything with their boundless curiosity. Not to mention the long walks and trips to the dog park you need to take to wear them out. Depending on their health and age, an old dog may be content with a leisurely walk, or even just some time outside. A naturally lower energy level means they're often just happy to snooze by your feet or watch TV with you, which translates into a lot less work on your part.
They're less likely to cause damage to their new home: Puppies and kittens are notorious for getting into mischief. Puppies and kittens love to chew shoes, furniture, toilet paper, and nearly anything else they can get into. Puppies and younger dogs can also destroy gates in an effort to escape, or dig holes all through your yard. Senior dogs are much more relaxed and don't have the same urges to chew, explore, and escape like their younger counterparts.
READ MORE: How to Bond With a Dog From a Rescue Group
You know what you're getting into: How many times have you known someone that thought they were getting a medium-sized dog, and then surprise! Turns out the puppy was part great Dane and it ends up being 70 pounds! Or you thought you were getting an outgoing kitten, and the cat that it grows into is the type that mostly hides under the bed? Young animals, like kids, are somewhat of a mystery as to what they'll grow up to be. But with senior animals, dog owners can bet that 10 year old poodle isn't going to grow anymore, and that cuddle bug cat is most likely to stay that way. Senior pets have already grown into their personality and size, so there's less surprises involved.
Older dogs are a shorter commitment: In terms of pets, every pet is a commitment, and should not be taken lightly, but a new kitten or puppy can be a 13-20 year long commitment. A senior pet is a great way to experience all of the joy of having a pet, with less of a worry of where you'll be or how your life could change in the next 15 years. And, because adult dogs don't need to be trained or housebroken, you can skip ahead to the part where you're instant companions.
You're really saving a life: Don't get me wrong, anytime you adopt an animal, you're saving a life. But euthanasia is a much more likely outcome for older animals, or they live out their last few days or weeks in the discomfort or confusion of a loud, crowded shelter. And personally, I'm convinced these pets know that you've given them a second chance and their gratitude is evident from the first ride to their new loving home.
So if you're ready for a new best friend, and you're interested in helping a dog or cat live out their golden years in comfort and security with a new family, adopt a senior pet. They're a great addition to the family, and you won't regret it!