November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, which aims to bring awareness to the many adoptable older animals waiting in shelters every year to find their forever homes. Each year, Little Traverse Bay Humane Society (LTBHS) finds homes for dozens of senior animals. Younger animals may require a good deal of time from their owners to train them properly. On the other hand, an older animal is likely to be potty trained, while a puppy will require some work and patience. Another thing to consider is that young animals are still developing their personalities, but with older animals, usually what you see is what you get.
Adopting an older animal can be an incredibly rewarding experience, just take it from Emily Stratton, who recently opened her heart and home to Daisy, a 13 year old cat who was surrendered with her feline friend, Lucy, several months ago. Lucy, who was much younger, quickly got adopted, but Daisy found herself sad and lonely at the shelter, being passed up by potential adopters in favor of younger cats. Thankfully, Emily had been keeping an eye on Daisy and vowed that if she didn’t find a home during the Empty the Shelters weekend (where all adoptions were sponsored by the BISSELL Pet Foundation), that she would come on Monday and adopt her.
“It made me so sad when I heard that her buddy (Lucy) left,” Stratton said. “Her story definitely spoke to me and I had to bring her home.”
Stratton said that Daisy has been a wonderful addition, and even though she’s older, she is a great companion.
“Daisy may be an older kitty, but she has a lot of years left in her and a lot of love to give,” she said. “I would recommend adopting an older shelter animal to anyone-they need homes, too.”
It’s Important to keep in mind that older pets may require some extra TLC in regard to their health. Take these tips into consideration so that your senior pet can remain happy and healthy for many years to come!
• Regular check-ups: Make sure to visit your veterinarian for a yearly exam, even if you pet appears in good health as some diseases are not outwardly apparent.
• High-quality food is a must: Older animals are more likely to become obese due to less physical activity than their younger counterparts, so be sure that they are not only eating the appropriate amount of food, but that it’s a high-quality variety that provides your pet with the proper nutrition.
• Consider supplements: If your pet’s fur has lost its luster or if they’re having joint issues, it may be a good idea to consider supplements if your veterinarian approves of them.
• Keep up on oral health: Older animals are likely to have issues with their teeth and gums than younger animals, so schedule a yearly dental exam/cleaning.
• Get them out and about: Make sure you pet continues to be physically active in their golden years. They might not go for as long of a walk as they once did, but be sure they are getting the exercise appropriate for their age and condition. If your senior pet is not used to exercise, consult your veterinarian and develop a plan to start slowly.
Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic offers numerous options for geriatric care to ensure that your pet stays healthy well into their golden years. To make an appointment, please call 231-622-6363.