November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and we’d like to take this time to highlight some of the unique benefits of a good old pal. 

There are a lot of misconceptions around senior animals in shelters, in that they have been ejected for bad behaviour, or some other “valid” reason. This is simply not the case. Most seniors have been loyal companions their whole lives, only to suffer their previous owner’s personal/financial/housing situation change. Senior pet adoption gives you the opportunity to grant an animal a second chance at a happy family, often even saving their life.

Cool, Calm, and Collected 

Busy schedules are not exactly conducive to the needs of a puppy or kitten. Young pets may require litter-training/house-breaking, long walks and swims and hikes, and wake you up at all hours with barking or zoomies. A senior animal is much more suited for napping  and snuggling! Many senior dogs, for example, are content with a quick walk in the morning and a loop around the block in the evening, freeing up your day from interruption. 

While it’s important to “grease the wheels”, as they say, and provide outlets for movement and activity to promote good physical health, some seniors will have mobility issues which will limit their exercise abilities. Stay attentive to your animal’s needs and know when it’s time to take a break.

senior pet resting on couch


…Hopefully! Most senior pets will have already been litter-trained/house-broken, as well as have received at least basic obedience training. Unlike taking on a young pet, you won’t be starting from scratch. Seniors will have often already grown out of undesirable behaviours like scratching or chewing, so you can enjoy the more peaceful phase of their life.

They Have A Paper Trail

With a senior pet, you may have a ton of info already available to you! With a young animal, it might be too late by the time you figure out they have a penchant for biting, destruction, or genetic disease. Senior animals have already lived half their lives! Shelters will often know of flagged medical issues in senior pets, so you’re fully knowledgeable on costs and difficulties ahead of time. They should be able to tell you about the animal’s general personality, behaviours, habits, specific needs, and food requirements. Basically, you are able to take a look at your soon-to-be pet’s resumé, and decide on an informed basis whether your lives are compatible. 

dog resting under a blanket

Age Is Just A Number

Breed plays a massive role in the effects of age. Break it down even further to an individual level, and you will see discrepancies between pets of the same breed in the same areas. There are countless factors like upbringing, stress levels, and nutrition that contribute to the health and vitality of a senior (or any) pet. Point being, don’t write anyone off! Some seniors will have the attitude and stamina of a puppy or kitten, and vice versa. Ask the shelter and/or speak to a vet for breed-specific information on expectations on health. Check out Pep & Pup’s extensive list on the Life Expectancy of 200 Dog Breeds

Be A Hero

OK, we know this might sound a little conceited, but the reality is you’re potentially saving a life. Puppies and kittens, as we all know, are exponentially more likely to be adopted out of shelters, leaving senior sweeties in the dust. It is not uncommon for seniors to pass away in shelters, either naturally or by running out the clock on adoption. Adopting a senior pet can literally be an act of salvation. Older animals are not lost causes, and can provide all the loving benefits of a younger pet without some of the hassle. 

Front view of senior woman lying on grass in spring, petting pet dog.

Seniors 4 Seniors

There will be lots to consider before taking in a senior pet. But if you’re already considering adoption, don’t let your head get turned solely in the direction of puppies and kittens. The relationship with your pet should be mutually beneficial, so let’s switch the script and take a look at Pep & Pup’s 7 Wonderful Benefits of Pets for Seniors.