What to Expect When Adopting a Senior Pet - Stella & Chewy's Pet Food

What to Expect When Adopting a Senior Pet

November 15, 2018

What to Expect When Adopting A Senior Pet

It’s always exciting to add a new furry member to your family, but there can be a lot to consider. There are endless cats and dogs of different breeds, sizes, ages, etc. looking for their forever homes, and it can be tough to choose which fit is best for you.

Both Stella and Chewy were adopted as adult dogs, inspiring our passion for supporting adult and senior pet adoption through our Journey Home Fund. November is National Adopt A Senior Pet Month, so we are here to share the joys of rescuing an older pet, and what to expect when you do.


Ease into a Routine: It’s important to allow your newly adopted senior pet to slowly get used to your home and your own daily routine. Make sure they know where food and water dishes or the litterbox are. Be consistent on timing of meals and potty breaks and consider confining your new senior pet to one room or smaller area at first as they might get confused having the run of the home without guidance.

Patience is Key: Senior cats and dogs in shelters decline quickly in the new and stressful environment. They may have gone from living in the same home their entire lives, to suddenly being in a small, confined and noisy space. Their world was most likely turned upside down, so it is important to allow time for a senior cat or dog to decompress when you first bring them home. They may hide, become shy or refuse to eat at first. These things are all normal in the first few hours or days (always take your new senior pet to the vet if you are concerned by their behavior or suspect a health condition causing these actions). Patience and understanding are key in older pet adoption and they need to be able to acclimate to a new home at their own pace.

Proper Nutrition: The transition to both a new environment and, usually, a new diet, can cause an upset stomach. Try adding canned pumpkin or food containing added probiotics into their bowls to aid in digestion. Minimally processed foods are able to be digested more effectively and can give older tummies a break from digestive exertion. All Stella & Chewy’s recipes are formulated for all life stages and also contain added probiotics and natural sources of fiber, like raw ground bone and pumpkin seed. Sudden changes in diet, including overfeeding, can sometimes result in digestive issues.

Always introduce any new food by slowly mixing with your current diet for the first 7-10 days, increasing the amount of Stella & Chewy’s while decreasing the amount of the other brand. You can learn more about our best practices for transitioning your pet to our food.  We all want to feed our pets the best and help them achieve happy, healthy, and longer lives, and high-quality nutrition becomes an even more important aspect as a pet ages.

Provide Comfort: Senior cats and dogs may suffer from arthritis, so consider investing in an orthopedic bed or adding joint supplements/pain relievers to the daily routine (always consult with a veterinarian first). Senior pets may also have a more difficult time managing their internal temperature, and a self-heated bed is also a great option, especially if you live in a colder climate. More than likely, your new senior pet will be most content curled up next to you on the couch.

Rewards: Older cats and dogs may not be as excited about toys, but you can still reward and spoil them with soft treats, like our Carnivore Crunch, or wet food like our Stella’s Stews.

If you are considering pet adoption, please consider adopting an older pet and saving a life. All throughout the month of November, we’re featuring adoptable senior pets and donating $1 for every use of #ISupportSeniorPets up to $5000 to senior and adult rescues.

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