Don't overlook the seniors: Adopting an older animal may be your perfect fit

A senior dog looking to be adopted

We all know there’s nothing better than snuggles from a kitten or puppy. Our community loves providing new homes for these younger animals, and they often have the shortest length of stay in our shelters.

But that also means older animals may be overlooked – and they’re equally ready to be your new best friend.

November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month and at Animal Humane Society, we’re taking this time to highlight a few of the reasons why adopting a senior pet might be the best decision you could ever make.

1. Their energy levels are different from kittens and puppies

Adopting puppies and kittens always comes with a little bit of mischief as they grow and learn how to live in a home of their own.

While many of the older animals at AHS have come to us as strays or on a transport from another shelter and will also need patience as they adjust to your home, they may have a lower energy level than their younger counterparts.  

2. Their personality is the best of both worlds

Even if older animals tend to be more laid back, without all the energy you see in puppies and kittens, there’s often more to them than meets the eye: Older cats and dogs can be just as playful as younger animals!

Whether they enjoy interacting with kids, going on walks, or playing with toys or other animals, there are plenty of opportunities to get your older pet active and doing something they love – and it’s a great way to watch their personality shine!

There are plenty of benefits to adopting a senior dog or cat!

Did you know you can search for animals by age on our website? Give it a try and consider looking at older animals the next time you’re browsing for a new buddy! 

3. They've had more time to grow their size and personality

When you adopt a senior pet, what you see is what you get – physically, at least. They are already at their full size, so it’s easier to visualize whether they’ll be the perfect fit for your home and family.

They’ve also had time to develop their own personality – but keep in mind that it takes time for every animal to really show you who they are once they’re in your home. It can take weeks to months for animals to feel comfortable enough to open up and show you their true self.

But even though your older animal has a personality of their own, don’t forget: You can still teach an old dog new tricks.

What age makes my animal a senior? 

Senior cat waiting to be adopted

The age for determining senior animals can vary in cats and dogs, depending on their breed and size. For instance, smaller dogs tend to have a longer lifespan than their larger counterparts. Meanwhile, cats tend to live longer than most dogs.

While every animal’s aging experience may be different, it’s important to know when your beloved friend will be considered a senior. While certain breeds have a higher risk of specific health concerns, you can expect every senior animal to have more frequent vet visits to monitor for any additional health risks that increase with age.

Here is when you can generally expect your pet to be considered a senior: 

  • Small breed dogs: 10 years
  • Large breed dogs: 8 years
  • Extra large breed dogs: 6 years
  • Cats: 10-12 years

Considering adding a senior pet to your family?

Animal Humane Society has a variety of older animals that are ready to be adopted into your family. View our list of animals available for adoption, or stop into one of our three shelter locations.

Our adoption services specialists can talk through considerations with you, and you can contact our pet helpline for additional advice.