profile of senior dog

5 Reasons to Adopt a Senior Pet

Every year approximately 3.2 million animals are adopted from shelters in the United States. And while everyone loves how cute puppies and kittens can be, adopters sometimes find that they aren’t able to handle the needs of their pet. When this happens, the animal is often returned to the shelter, or worse — put outside on the street to fend for themselves.

Finding the right pet for you or your family comes down to finding the right fit — which may not always be an energetic and untrained puppy or kitten. In fact, there are many older dogs and cats that have already settled into adulthood, gone through training, and just need a home and a human to call their own.

So what are some of the ways adult and senior dogs and cats differ from their younger selves?

Temperament

Puppies and kittens seem to have two modes: asleep or crazy. But older dogs and cats, who’ve had time to mature, are usually more mellow because everything isn’t shiny and new. The biggest changes to an older cat or dog’s personality may occur in the first few weeks after bringing them home for the first time. Even still, they are unlikely to do a complete personality flip from when you first met them.

If the idea of an energetic pet makes you nervous, a calm, older animal can make a great companion for new pet owners and senior citizens.

Training

Many older dogs who end up at shelters have already had some training and may know some basic commands. They will almost certainly be housebroken and may even be crate trained. Even if your new pet is not trained in all the areas you would like, building on existing training fundamentals is a much easier place to start from.

Exercise

Much like humans, as cats and dogs mature their energy levels tend to decrease resulting in a need for fewer long walks and less playtime. However, they should still be taken outside at regular intervals and played with for extra bonding time. Dog parks are also a great way for your dog to expend some of their excess energy while socializing with other dogs.

Cats, on the other hand, are notoriously independent. Given a proper assortment of toys to choose from (or cat furniture and scratching posts) most will exercise themselves. However, playing with your cat can do every bit as much good for your wellbeing as for theirs. Is your cat acting out? Playtime can also help relieve your cat of aggression they may be showing. Just be sure to put the squeaky and jingly toys away before bed or your cat may decide it’s time to play at 3 am.

Veterinary Care

When adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue you’ll receive a breakdown of the animal’s medical history. Adult and senior animals will almost always be spayed or neutered, whereas some puppies and kittens may be too young for the procedure upon adoption. In cases like these, the surgery will need to be scheduled when they are old enough. Vaccination records, current medications, and general health concerns should also be discussed.

Love

A puppy or kitten will love you no matter what because it has also never known (or has no memory of) a life before you. But the best part of adopting an adult or senior dog is that they have every bit as much love to give you and your family as a puppy or kitten would — maybe even more.

By adopting an older dog or cat, this animal will love you unconditionally because it knows what life is like without you, or worse — what life is like without anyone. Dogs and cats that come from the street spend their lives scrounging for food, dodging cars, and staying away from other more aggressive animals or predators. Being in that constant state of fight or flight, they may need a little time to adjust to their new surroundings and understand that they are safe. Once this happens, there is no limit on their love, loyalty, and gratitude.

Keeping Your Pet Happy and Healthy

Have you recently adopted a pet, or are you considering it? Regardless of a pet’s age, accidents can happen and veterinary bills can be expensive. Members of the AMSA have unique access to a special discount on pet insurance from Nationwide Insurance. To learn more or to request a quote, please visit https://amsa.memberbenefits.com/pet-insurance/ today.

weimaraner puppy

My Pet Ran Away, What Do I Do?

One of the scariest situations anyone can face is a missing pet.

The good news is, when a pet runs away, they seldom go very far – which makes it more likely to reunite with them. According to a 2012 study, 59% of lost cats and 20% of lost dogs return home on their own after being lost. But there are always additional steps you can take to help ensure a happy reunion.

Lure Them Back with Scent

Both cats and dogs have highly developed senses of smell and direction. For dogs, consider putting something with your scent on it outside near where you think it got out. For cats, putting their litter box outside may be your best course of action. Even if the litter box has just been cleaned, your cat may still recognize the scent and come back to it.

Get Their Picture Out

Social media has become a great tool for reuniting lost pets with their owners. Post on community Facebook groups, and share it among your own network of friends to help spread the word organically.

Much like flyers (which you can also print and post in your area), your social post should include at least one photo of your pet, their name, gender, any identifying features, when and where they went missing, and your contact information.

Take a Walk

Most lost pets tend to stay close to home, so walking around your own neighborhood is a great place to begin your search. Try calling their name, and carry their food with you. According to the aforementioned study, searching the neighborhood was the most successful way to locate a lost dog (49%), and the second most successful way to reunite with a lost cat (30%).

Don’t become discouraged if your missing pet doesn’t immediately appear. A scared cat or dog may not move or even make a sound out of fear of predators, so it’s important to have patience and keep trying.

Check Local Shelters

When a stray animal is brought in to an animal shelter or city animal control, they are placed on a “stray hold”. These hold times vary by state so it’s best to know the laws regarding lost and found pets in your area. If your pet is left unclaimed after the stray hold period, it will be put up for adoption as long as it is in good health.

The Importance of Microchipping

The best way to avoid your pet getting lost is to do everything you can to prevent it. Still, accidents can happen.

Fortunately, pet owners now have affordable access to microchip technology. The concept may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but it is the equivalent of your pet wearing a tag and collar that can never come off.

The procedure only takes a minute and is often done during the pets spay or neuter procedure. During the surgery, a tiny microchip with your contact information is implanted anywhere from the neck to between the shoulder blades of the animal. The microchip is approximately the size of a grain of rice and shouldn’t cause your pet any discomfort.

If your pet ever goes missing and is later scanned for a microchip, your information will be made available to the veterinary office and an attempt will be made to contact you with the information from the chip. (So make sure that you keep your contact information with them up to date.)

A Lifetime Commitment

When adopting any animal, it’s important to understand that you are committing to keeping your new pet happy and healthy until the end of their days.

Pet ownership can be expensive, and an unexpected illness or injury to them can be a financial drain. To help offset these costs, the AMSA Health Insurance Marketplace has teamed up with one of the top pet insurance carriers in the country to offer discounts on coverage to members. To learn more, or to request a quote, please visit amsa.memberbenefits.com/pet-insurance/ today.

Top 5 Dog Breeds That Would Benefit from Pet Insurance

Any dog owner can benefit from pet insurance, most simply don’t know that they need it. The truth is that any animal can suffer from an illness or accident, and veterinarian bills can run in the thousands for emergency services.

Every breed of dog has the potential to need advanced care at some point during their life, but some breeds are more at risk for serious health problems. While pet insurance is always a good safety net to protect your pet and finances, it’s even more advisable for owners of these 5 breeds.

Read More »

Pet Insurance: Worth the Cost?

You love your pets and you think of them as family, which is why you may be considering the option to buy a Pet Insurance policy. Specifically, Pet Insurance is designed to help cover medical expenses related to your pet’s well-being. Before you decide to shell out your hard-earned money for a policy, however, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself.

Read More »