If you’re thinking about bringing a fur baby into your life, you probably have your eyes set on a puppy or kitten. But have you considered adopting an older and wiser pet to complete your family?
There are lots of benefits to giving an elderly dog or cat a new home and we all deserve a second chance at love. Animal shelters usually have no shortage of adult pets who have ended up in care through no fault of their own. So rather than rushing out to bring a boisterous puppy or kitten into your life, consider what a senior animal could bring to it.
But before you take the plunge, make sure that pets are permitted on your property and that there is enough space for them to feel comfortable. At Rentola, you’ll find a wide choice of pet-friendly rental properties Sydney where you and your beloved animal can make a new home together.
With older pets, you usually know what you’re getting
While puppies and kittens are always adorable, no matter what the breed, their temperament and behaviour change considerably as they age. It’s for this reason that many cats and dogs end up in animal shelters as their owners weren’t ready to take on the responsibility of pet ownership past the “cute phase”.
When you adopt a senior pet, they have already become “who” they are, making them a more predictable choice. Most animal welfare organisations carefully assess their characters before making them available to the public and can give you a good indication of what they will be like as a pet.
Older animals can be less challenging
Pets in their youth can be a handful, not only in terms of the time and attention they need but also their appetite for destroying furniture and power cords. Senior animals have already got all of this silliness out of their system and tend to be calmer and more adjusted to family life. You also don’t have to worry about toilet training or cleaning up “accidents” and (hopefully) they will already have been well-socialised and trained.
Senior pets tend to have lower exercise needs
If you’re starting to slow down and are worried about keeping up with the energy levels of a puppy, then adopting a senior dog could be the answer. Older animals still need regular exercise to keep them in good physical and mental health but an easy walk around the neighbourhood might be enough. Young animals (like children) need a lot of exercise to wear them out, meaning they will be calmer when confined to the home.
Older animals may still be young at heart
Smaller dogs tend to live longer (sometimes into their early 20s) while larger dogs usually have a lifespan of around 10 to 15 years. So while the age of 7 is considered “senior”, it really depends on the breed and the individual animal.
Taking that into consideration, it’s not always the age of the dog that best indicates how it will behave. Many older animals are still very young at heart and will get excited when you come home from work and demand to play, even if they are starting to grey around their whiskers.
Things to keep in mind when adopting a senior pet
While there are lots of great reasons to adopt an older pet, there are also a few challenges and things to keep in mind. Unlike puppies and kittens that are yet to have an established routine, older pets usually do and it can take them time to adjust to a new situation or circumstances. In response, they may suffer from separation anxiety when you go to work, particularly if they aren’t used to being left alone all day. In cases like this, they may just need time and emotional support to settle into their new routine.
Senior pets are also more susceptible to health problems, just like humans are as they age. As the owner of an older animal, you should be prepared to have regular checkups at the vet to manage any of their issues and ensure they have a good quality of life. Some older pets may also become affected by dementia, which results in confusion or anxiety that will need to be managed.
If you’re adopting a pet from an animal rescue organisation, they might be suffering from post-traumatic stress and may be wary around humans in general or perhaps just children or other dogs. In most cases, the staff will have diagnosed these issues and will inform you of anything you need to be aware of, such as reactive behaviour or biting. If there are issues, that doesn’t mean they will be around forever as animals can adjust to new environments and situations, just like humans can.