It’s Adopt a Senior Pet Month! It may seem like we’re always talking about young, healthy pets - but this month is about senior pets.
Senior pets are extraordinary pets. Their love is unconditional, they don’t ask for much, and sometimes their health issues make them extra needy or less able to enjoy life as they once did. But this is also what makes senior pets so fantastic - because of the bond that you have already formed with your pet, making sure that they’re happy during these later years becomes all the more important. So if you’ve been thinking about adopting a new furry best friend but weren’t sure whether it was age-appropriate for your family, read on!
Why Adopt a Senior Pet?
Did you know that senior pets make great companions? They’re mellower and calmer than their younger counterparts, but they still have love to give! Consider adopting a senior pet if you’re thinking about adding a new furry family member. You’ll be helping them enjoy their golden years while also saving the life of an animal in need.
Tips for Adopting a Senior Pet
Love comes in all shapes and sizes, young and old. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when looking for your senior pet when you go to the shelter or rescue to bring your new furry friend home.
Seniors adjust at their own pace.
You can’t rush them or be too pushy. They have already lived most of their life and have established their personality. No matter your new dog’s age, a new home is a huge transition for any dog or cat.
It’s essential to give your senior dog plenty of love and support, but you should also make sure that there’s a space where your dog can hide away for a bit. It’s common for older dogs to sleep a lot during a new transition, so get them a dog bed, a crate, or a quiet space to retreat to and allow them to adjust to their new home and family at their own pace. Over time, your furry friend will be able to monitor her surroundings and integrate herself.
Visit Your Vet
The rescue or shelter probably dealt with anything significant or urgent your new senior pet needs, but it’s a good idea to ensure no underlying problems that you can’t see or aren’t aware of.
Your veterinarian will do a thorough exam, check their ears and teeth, and even get a stool sample to ensure your senior is feeling good and determine if there are medications or supplements your senior needs to live out their golden years with your family.
Dogs are creatures of habit. It is best to make sure they are set up on a daily routine to help them feel safe and comfortable in their new home. Remember, it doesn’t have to be set in stone, but keep it as consistent as possible. Around the same time every day for walks, playtime, and even mealtime!
This can be a little tricky since you don’t know what they were eating before the shelter. The shelter knows what they have been feeding your senior pet, but is it the best there is? Probably not. Shelters and rescues rely on donations. Find out what the shelter was feeding them, ask your vet what they suggest for food during your visit, and start weaning them off the shelter food and get them on a better diet so they can have some more golden time in their new home with you!
Patience is a virtue
Try to put yourself in your dog’s shoes and imagine what he’s feeling. He’s been through a lot, so it’s not surprising if he seems anxious, loses his appetite, cries or whines, yawns a lot, seems to be unusually thirsty, has loose stools, or won’t settle down at first.
These are signs of stress. Remember to stay calm, be loving and gentle, and be patient. The chances are that you and your new dog are going to enjoy a long, loving relationship. He will be your best friend, confidante, walking buddy, bodyguard, and much more.
These relationships take time and effort. Even if you two are joined at the hip from day one, the longer you’re together, the better you will understand each other and the deeper the bond will be. Take your time and enjoy every moment! Within a week or two, your newfound friend will be feeling right at home, and life is excellent.
Keeping them Healthy and Happy in Their Golden Years
“A body in motion stays in motion.” This is true for humans and our fur babies. After you visit the vet and get the “clean bill of health '' it's time to set up your routine. Walking in the morning and the evening will help keep your senior pet’s muscles and joints feeling good. Be sure to stick to your routine as much as possible and give them good quality food and any supplements that will help them live a longer, happier life with you and your family.
Vital Pet Life has some fantastic supplements to help keep your senior pet mobile and healthy!
- Mobility - Daily Joint Mobility. This Mobility daily joint supplement powder offers clean support for dogs and cats. Mobility’s proprietary blend is mindfully formulated and contains four powerful ingredients with no fillers. It helps their bodies defend against stiff & sore joints, encourages growth and repair of tendons, cartilage, tissue, and supports collagen formation all while promoting flexibility, movement, and mobility for a happier pet.
- Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil - Helps with skin, coats, allergies, along with inflammation, joint issues, and arthritis.
- Glucosamine - Helps with hips, joints, mobility, inflammation, and pain and can even help their body’s natural ability to protect and repair their joints, giving them a better quality of life during their golden years.
When is the Right Time to Say Goodbye?
Although this is a tough decision to make, there is a time when you need to let them go. When the bad days start to outweigh the good days, it may be time to say goodbye. Take your fur baby to the vet. Let them know what you have been noticing. Symptoms like: not eating or drinking, having a hard time getting up to go potty, not wanting to do anything, and just lying in one spot. These are all signs that there may be something going on, and your vet will help determine if now is the time to say goodbye.
Now that you know the benefits of adopting a senior pet, are you ready to take on this new responsibility? Consider adopting an older animal if you’re looking for a new pet to take on adventures with. Senior pets have so much love and personality left to give - it’s just waiting there patiently for the right person or family to come along!
The benefits of adopting a senior pet are endless, but here are some highlights that should convince any skeptic out there. Did you know? Senior animals are better companions because:
- They are past the destructive puppy phase
- Old enough not to need as many human interactions.
- Senior pets don’t tend to get sick as younger dogs do.
- Their personalities are often more stable, perfect if your home environment changes frequently (e.g., kids grow up or move away).
Visit your local shelter or rescue today and find yourself a senior pet that wants to live out its golden years with you and your family!
Be sure to share your stories and pictures with us on social media! Tag us @vitalpetlife and use the hashtags #seniorpetmonth #lovemyseniorpet.