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November is National Adopt A Senior Pet Month! Stella & Chewy’s is dedicated to promoting the joys of older pet adoption and supporting shelters and rescues across the US who share our mission through our Journey Home Fund. We want to help you find your new best friend!

Why Adopt A Senior Pet?

senior dog with white muzzle sitting on a dog bed indoors

You save a life (or two!)

Adopting a senior pet is a wonderful thing. Senior cats and dogs are abundant in shelters, and, unfortunately, are usually homeless longer since they are considered “less adoptable” than their younger counterparts. When you bring a senior pet home, you also allow another life to be saved that will fill the newly empty kennel or foster home.

You know what you’re getting

Puppies and kittens are constantly growing and picking up new behaviors and changes in personality. They require training, supervision and are a huge time commitment. Adult and senior dogs and cats come in the perfect, most likely potty-trained and established package so you almost always know exactly what you are getting when you take them home. Having already gone through the teething puppy phase, senior dogs are much less likely to destroy your shoes and couch while you’re away.

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks 

Senior pups are much more attentive than puppies and are able to focus on what is asked of them. They are usually more eager to please their owners and learn quickly.

You get a best friend

Most older cats and dogs have lower energy levels and are perfect for owners who are looking for a couch buddy, a calmer travel companion, or a more leisurely walking partner. Seniors are content to lounge around the house and do not demand your constant attention.

You gain a new perspective

Time with senior pets is never guaranteed, and this teaches us to live each day to the fullest; to focus on the quality, not the quantity. Love hard, spoil often and enjoy each moment you get with your adopted senior cat or dog.

senior cat stretching next to a scratching post

Where to Adopt A Senior Pet

Thinking about adopting an older pet but aren’t sure where to start?

Learn what animal welfare organizations are in your area 

A simple Internet search should yield results and show shelter facilities local to you.

Contact your local shelter or rescue 

Contact a shelter or foster-based rescue near you and inquire about adoptable senior pets and their adoption process.

Use an online adoption database 

Visit a website like Adopt-a-Pet or Petfinder. These are national online databases that make it easy to search for all adoptable pets in a certain radius and let you narrow down your search with specific criteria like age, breed, etc.

Tips for Welcoming A New Senior Pet Home

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 litter box 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.

dog sitting behind sign that says National Adopt a Senior Month

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 fiber or added probiotics into their bowls to aid in digestion. Make sure your new senior pet stays properly hydrated as well by keeping water bowls clean and filled or feeding food high in moisture like a raw diet or wet food. Always introduce any new food by slowly mixing with your current diet for the first 7-10 days, gradually increasing the amount of the new food while decreasing the amount of the old food. All Stella & Chewy’s dog food and cat food diets are formulated for All Life Stages and provide complete and balanced nutrition for every senior pet. 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.

Adopt A Senior Pet Month is one of our favorite months as it allows us to help connect senior pets with their new families! There are so many amazing ways you can help a senior pet feel loved and taken care of in their new forever homes.