So, you’ve finally decided to adopt a pet. You’ve been looking for months and months, made the Pinterest board, and chosen what color collar they’ll wear (baby blue, of course!). Finally, you’ve gone with the ethical pathway of adoption and have come to a stop at a significant crossroads.
Do you adopt a senior pet or a younger one?
When making this decision, it’s essential to evaluate a series of factors, starting with your expectations of behavior, maturity level, and skill set that you want the pet to hold. Not only that, but your current environment at home, as well as work-life, can come into play, as senior pets are more likely to be more financially and time-demanding.
Why Should You Consider Adopting A Senior Pet?
Why Should Families With Young Children Consider A Senior Pet?
Although the urge to adopt a fluffy and energetic puppy or a pouncing kitten seems the way to go when starting a new family, a senior pet may be the best idea for you and your tiny humans, and here’s why:
Time is not-of-the-essence: Children in their younger years demand much time in the early stages of their lives. Between waking up and feeding during the night, changing their diapers, and soothing them, your schedule may also be stretched on time to train a puppy. A senior pet allows you and your new family to have the happiness that a pet brings into a home, with half of the work and time required to train a young pet. Also, senior pets tend to be more mellow.
Exhaustion factor: Do you have the energy for both young children and a new pet? There’s no shame in admitting that having a baby or a toddler can be exhausting at times. Time and energy requirements to look after young children are heavy but similar to adopting a puppy or a kitten. With the need for emotional and physical connection in both baby and pet, your energy may end up burning the wick at both ends. In comparison, senior pets are better set for new families, with many enjoying a snuggle under the sun over a sprint down the street.
Although young families are a fitting match for senior pets, any person, young or old, should consider adopting an older pet. Despite having fewer years to spend with you, older pets are still equally capable of love and companionship as their younger counterparts and offer large hearts with much love to give.
What’s the Difference Between a Senior Pet and a Puppy?
Like people, pets mature throughout different stages of their lifecycle. Physical differences aren’t the only change between a kitten/puppy and a cat/dog; there are also significant differences in emotional maturing, pet activity levels, and skillsets. It’s essential to consider these when choosing your new furry friend because your ability to mentally and financially prepare for both types of pets can come into play.
So, what’s the difference between a senior pet and a younger pet?
Tricks and training: unlike puppies, senior dogs are often more in tune to common commands from humans due to their previous experience in the world. Unlike young pets, older pets’ muscle memory also comes into play, associating sets of words with behaviors, actions, and treats. If you’re tight on time or money, getting a young pet may not be your option, as developing skill sets and training can be heavy on both accounts.
Pet Hobbies: Young pets are often full of energy in contrast to their older counterparts. Running around, playing fetch, and ripping up shoes, toys and pillows can often be a young pet’s favorite pastime. Unlike them, older pets are faced with the resistance of time on their bodies and opt for activities like light walks, sunbathing, and snuggles with their families.
Emotional Responses: With older pets, less time and supervision are needed in raising them. Differences in responses to external stimuli, like the mailman and lightning and thunder, can be vastly different from a senior pet to a young one. This is often due to limited experience in the world and training. In younger pets, emotional responses to external stimuli can be as small as whimpering or into more substantial issues such as destructive behaviors, barking, negative bathroom habits, and aggressive behaviors.
When making the final decision, it’s essential to reflect on what’s suitable for you and your family. Allow yourself time to plan and evaluate your situation and get information on expected behaviors and actions of the pet that’s being considered your new family member. For example, you might find that that senior pet that’s been giving you the adopt-me eyes at every visit is the one for you.
Here’s a list of just a few local rescues who have senior pets ready to go to their forever home!
About The Author: Nicole founded Miami Pet Concierge in May 2007, with a mission to provide Miami, Florida’s pet parents with personalized pet care plans based on their pets’ species, age, breed, health, and lifestyle. All while keeping their pets “happy at home.” In addition, offering pet care education for all pet owners to guide them to become great pet parents.