Adopting Adult and Senior Pets

old dog

There is a natural tendency for people to prefer adopting puppies. Newly weaned dogs are thought to be easier to train. They can grow accustomed to their new homes quickly before they develop any bad habits or attachments to other people or animals. They are also incredibly sweet at that age.

Adult Dogs Might Be More Suitable for Homes Than Younger Pets

old dogUnlike puppies, adult and senior pets have a more difficult time finding forever homes. These dogs may languish in shelters or in foster care for months or longer before finding a new owner. This is unfortunate for many reasons. Adult dogs are in many ways more suitable as pets than their younger counterparts. They have often already been house trained, rarely chew or dig in the same way as puppies and, despite the old expression, it is actually quite easy to teach an old dog new tricks.

Adopting senior pets does take some preparation. Adult pets should be helped to feel comfortable in their new environment. If possible, remove any items that from the home that may pose a risk. This might include objects that are safety hazards, chemicals that are not properly stored or foods that are harmful to dogs. Something as simple as putting these items in difficult to find locations or behind locked doors should be sufficient.

You will also need to safeguard any prized possessions or breakables until the pets are familiar with their surroundings. A dog of any age will naturally be inquisitive, especially when faced with a new place. Rather than reprimanding your dog for inherent curiosity, allow adult pets to sniff and explore. Having your valuables safely stashed for the time being allows dogs to investigate your home while removing any fear of damage.

Senior Cat Adoption adopting an older cat

The adoption of a senior cat requires just as much preparation as a senior dog. Cats are often fearful, which can cause them to lash out in defense. Conversely, they may find a hiding place that is dangerous. In order to make the transition as easy as possible, provide a number of different safe alternatives. Cat caves are great choices. They offer warmth, comfort and solitude when a cat needs it the most. Place a cat cave near window or a place of warmth. Provide ample toys as well.

If possible, start this process before you adopt. Bring an item of yours to the shelter or kennel so the pet can become accustomed to your scent. He or she will then have a sense of familiarity despite being in a new spot. Likewise, after you adopt, try to bring an item from the pet’s previous location with you. The strong sense of smell in dogs and cats allows them to recognize your home as their home.

Preparing Your Existing Pets for New Company

The transition may be a bit more challenging if you already have pets in the home. It is important to introduce the new animals to each other in an appropriate manner. Start small. Give each of the animals their space, keeping both securely held or leashed when they are introduced. Do not leave the animals alone together at first either. Place them in separate rooms or have one outside and one inside. Allow them to spend more time with each other, little by little. It shouldn’t take long until they are best friends.

Adopting a senior pet is a wonderful choice. Providing a forever home to a dog or cat who has few remaining years will be an invaluable experience for you and them. Just a bit of advanced preparation is all it takes for your new, older pet to become a part of the family.