How ‘Adopt a Senior Pet’ Month Is Saving Lives

How ‘Adopt a Senior Pet’ Month Is Saving Lives

Each year, Adopt a Senior Pet Month, sponsored by, grows in popularity and helps to save more and more older dogs from euthanasia in shelters. Adopting a senior dog can benefit shelters and your own home. Here’s how:

Bypass Puppy Training
Puppies offer their own playful companionship and charms, but they also can be high maintenance. “They have incredible energy and require a great deal of exercise,” says Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of the ASPCA Adoption Center and Mobile Clinic Outreach Program. She says that puppies fly out the shelter doors, but owners may, in fact, do better with an adult or senior pet, depending on their particular lifestyle and needs.

Gain an Adult Family Member
Some people worry that senior pets come with problems, but healthy ones don’t often ask for much. They’re usually just looking for a warm place to sleep, companionship, good meals and plenty of love.

Buchwald agrees and walks the talk. She has two pets: an elderly cat and dog. She adds that some owners who take similar medications as their dogs do schedule med times with their pets. “My dog is on a glucosamine chondroitin supplement. A lot of people who also take this supplement for arthritis will take it when they give it to their dogs,” she says.

Senior Pets Are Still Active
Dogs, like humans, often live long, active and healthy lives well past reaching adulthood. “There’s a bias in our culture towards youth, and that extends to our pets,” says Buchwald. “People will fixate on wanting a kitten or puppy, when really their best match might be a senior dog.”

You May Save Money
Many shelters offer adult and senior animal adoption promotions. Check with your local shelter to see what it has in place. Some of the programs help to match senior people with senior pets. The Atlanta Animal Rescue Friends in Atlanta, for example, has a Silver Paws program for older adults who wish to adopt a senior pet. Silver Paws pays for all medical care and even later boarding for adopted dogs.

You can also save money on your medical bills with a senior pet. The Humane Society of the United States reports that the comforting presence of a dog can lower blood pressure and have additional cardiac benefits. Pets also help to ease loneliness, thereby promoting mental health too.

5 Tips on Caring for a Senior Dog

1. Feed your elderly dog a proper diet. “Veterinarians recommend senior diets for older dogs,” she says. Certain dogs may require other special diets if they have particular health issues.

2. Groom and bathe your dog regularly, per recommendations for its breed. If you use a professional groomer, make sure that he or she is informed of any health conditions, such as arthritis, which could require a more gentle touch.

3. Provide regular physical activity, following veterinary guidance.

4. Keep your home relatively quiet. “If your home is like Grand Central Station all of the time, your older dog is likely to become stressed out,” says Buchwald. Make sure your dog has a nice, peaceful spot to retreat to throughout the day.

5. Schedule regular veterinary visits. Prevention and early detection can help to save and extend lives.
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Posted on March 11, 2012

Colby says: Like people, trsess can wreak havoc in a dog's physical, mental, and social well-being. Whether intentionally or not, we have subjected our dogs to trsess in some form or another, yet we have failed to recognize the possibly damaging effect/s it has on them. More often than not, we point to infectious causes of disease when our dogs fall ill. But trsess should be considered when attempting to diagnose a disease condition in dogs in order to address these problems correctly.

Posted on March 10, 2012

Gerard says: I have been enjoying nrdaieg all of the information on dog packs Ceasar Milan etc. It is interesting that while we lived in a rural part of La Paz, Mexico for several years, we saw a lot of dogs roaming the countryside scavenging for food. Generally it would be a lone dog hunting down/scavenging anything that was edible. I do mean anything. A neighbor who owned livestock, cows, goats, sheep, and pigs grazed his animals through out the area. He had a pack of dogs, of mixed breeding and in very poor health which was normal since most all of these dogs never had the luxury of having 2 square meals a day unless they found it themselves. The neighbors dogs helped in the herding, though they weren't what you would call trained herders. They just followed along behind the neighbor and his livestock. You rarely saw these dogs apart from one another. Two of the dogs hunted together and were an interesting team to watch. The only other time we saw packs of dogs was during breeding season..every 6 mos. Then there would be groups of up to 12 or so in number hanging out together waiting for an opportunity to mate w/one or two bitches.Having read your blog made me think of what we witnessed in Mexico as to dog packs and I realized that few people here in the states will ever get to witness how dogs live in poor parts of the world. Reflecting on all of this has helped me to re-think my view of dog packs and how our dogs fit into our lives and we into theirs.

Posted on December 31, 2010

PetsPhotography says: One important thing omitted from the article.... When is "Adopt a Senior Pet Minth"?

Posted on December 26, 2010

Carolyn Johnson says: I adopted a 5-7 yr. old female beagle a year ago. She is the delight of my life even though she can be a naughty little girl. She keeps me on my toes! We're both senior citizens and love our shared companionship.

Posted on December 27, 2010

Pat Nichols says: My pets of choice for the last 25 years have been these senior treasures.  They are extremely appreciative, have outgrown all bad habits, i.e., chewing, digging, barking and are so greatful for a 2nd or 3rd chance.  I am amazed as how well they adapt to new surroundings  and live long, healthy lives.  They are not displaced because of bad habits but rather due to death or health or economic conditions of former owners.  

Posted on December 24, 2010

Mary L. Schaeffer says: A prescription for heartbreak! A senior dog may require extensive vetrinary care which a senior can't afford The choice of life or death for the dog may result in a choice which is detrimental to the senior owner's life.

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