What exactly constitutes a “senior” pet? In the veterinarian world in Springfield, we consider a dog or cat a senior when they reach the age of 8. For large breed dogs, their senior years begin at a younger age, closer to 6 years.
Many people shy away from adopting a senior pet because they think their time with them is short. However, these pets are such loyal companions and have so much love to give because they are grateful to have a wonderful family and home. The life expectancy of many dogs and cats can be 12-15 years or longer, and giving them a loving environment for the remainder of their lives is very rewarding. Senior pets often are more laid-back and have less energy than a young dog, which is a desirable trait for many pet owners.
With age comes more health concerns of course, but many of the senior pet diseases can be managed with changes to diet, environment, and/or medication. It is a good idea to have a senior pet examined by your veterinarian prior to finalizing the adoption. The most common health issues that we see in senior animals are arthritis, liver or kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Don’t let this list scare you away from adopting a sweet senior and giving them the best loving home they’ve ever had. With well managed care, they can maintain a great quality of life for years as a member of your family.
Often, rescues and shelters will have Senior Pet Programs where discounts are offered for the adoption of a senior pet. If this is something you are interested in, be sure to ask the staff when you go to find your new forever friend!
If we can answer any questions for you regarding senior pet health or where to find a senior pet to adopt, please contact us in Springfield at 217-529-4499. Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
Below are some links of local shelters who adopt out senior pets: