Pets need love especially during their senior years – one of their most vulnerable life stages. This is why it’s most heartbreaking to see them end up in shelters, because they tend to get overlooked in favor of puppies and kittens.  

There are different reasons why senior pets are often left at shelters. Majority of them were once cherished babies of elderly people who died or can no longer take care of them because of medical reasons. Their families also won’t take their pets.  

At first glance, it might seem like a hassle to take care of older pets because some people think they need more medical attention. However, this isn’t always the case. Most of them were well taken care of during their younger years which can contribute to a good long-term health. In this article we’ll be discussing what defines a senior pet, things to know if you’re adopting a senior pet, and where you can adopt.   

What defines a senior pet 

For most dogs, anywhere between 5 to 10 years old can be considered senior age. Large dog breeds may tend to age faster than smaller ones, but this range is what most veterinarians agree on. 

It should also be noted that “senior” and “geriatric” are 2 different terms. Senior pets may still be healthy and are just beginning to experience signs of aging, according to Dr. Lobrpise, spokesperson for the International Veterinary Senior Care Society. 

Geriatric pets on the other hand, are anywhere above the specified general age range for dogs and cats. These pets are already reaching advanced age and may often experience more health issues. 

For cats, while many veterinarians are already treating 7-year-olds as senior, recommending routine checkups every 6 months, they’re officially considered senior when they reach the age of 11 to 14 years old. 

Things to know about adopting senior pets 

  1. Senior pets are more behaved

The saying “mellowed with age” applies to pets too. Unlike hyperactive puppies or kittens, these dogs or cats are generally mature enough to have developed personalities, much like us.  

They’re often more relaxed and do not require as much activity as their younger counterparts. They’re often happy with just staying with their owners as they either relax on the couch, or sleep in bed. 

  1. Check their medical needs

As with most pets, it’s often advisable to have information on their medical records when adopting them. Some may have pre-existing medical conditions or have medicines that need to be taken regularly. Always check with your shelter about these matters and consult with your veterinarian whenever possible, especially if your senior pet is approaching the geriatric age range. 

  1. They need attention too 

Last but not the least, it’s important to shower them with just as much affection as you would any other pet.  

Senior dogs and cats may generally be more relaxed and past the zoomies phase, but they also need you to stay by their side whenever possible. These pets don’t have much time to live and often pass away alone in shelters. That’s why it’s best for owners to keep company and make the most of the time they have left. 

  1. You can save their lives 

There are times when senior pets are the first to be euthanized in area shelters if they’re near the end of their lives. Rather than having them go through this, adopting them and giving them a warm home gives them a shot at a happy life. That way, you’ll also help the shelters by lessening their load too. 

If you’re looking for shelters where you can adopt senior pets, one of these places is Club Otaki in New Zealand. It’s the leading no-kill shelter in New Zealand. The people behind it encourages the community to take responsibility for the welfare of animals. 

If you’re in Singapore, the Oasis Second Chance Animal Shelter (OSCAS) is an option. It’s a registered non-profit dog shelter since 2006, dedicated to rescuing strays and abandoned dogs from the streets or from being culled. 

For those based in the US, Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue is the place to contact. It’s a recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for and rehabilitating lost and abandoned dogs. 

Give these senior pets your love today and help them live a life in a warm home.