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November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and San Diego Humane Society is reducing adoption fees for senior pets (7 years of age and older) by 50%. Courtesy photo
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Five reasons to welcome a senior pet into your home

By Gary Weitzman

November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and what better way to celebrate than by opening your home to a senior animal in need? All month long, in a promotion sponsored by our friends at Purina, San Diego Humane Society is reducing adoption fees for senior pets (7 years of age and older) by 50% to help these special animals find the loving homes they deserve. Across our campuses, we currently have dozens of senior dogs and cats available for adoption.

Senior pets often experience longer stays in shelters than younger animals — but these older cats and dogs have plenty of love to give and make for wonderful companions. Here are just a few reasons to consider adding one to your family:

  1. You can teach an old dog (or cat!) new tricks: Some senior pets are already trained — and, even if they’re not, they tend to catch on faster and have an easier time focusing than their younger counterparts.
  1. They adapt faster: Mature animals are likely to settle into a home more easily and quickly than younger pets, often due to past experiences living in houses among people or other animals.
  1. What you see is what you get: Unlike adopting a puppy, there’s much less guessing about what a senior animal’s full size, personality or required care will be. This information makes it easier to pick an animal who is the right fit for your household.
  1. A little R&R: These sweet seniors usually have less energy, and require less exercise, which makes them great additions to mellow, relaxed households looking for a cozy companion.
  1. Unconditional gratitude: A senior pet will bring maturity and wisdom into your home. If you give a senior a chance, they will thank you for the rest of their life!

Once you bring your senior pet home, proper care is essential to making their golden years special. Here are a few tips on senior pet care:

  • Nutrition needs: A healthy diet is essential to keeping your pet healthy and at a proper weight. In many cases, a diet specially formulated for senior pets can be the best option.
  • Stay active: Like humans, pets often become less active as they age. But while long walks may no longer be part of your daily routine, it’s important to keep your pet active (and happy!) by engaging in regular, gentle play. Enrichment toys are a great way to keep your pet fit both mentally and physically.
  • Routine vet checks: It’s important to take your senior pet to the vet regularly so that any health concerns, such as arthritis, can be addressed before they become a problem.
  • Loads of love: The most important care tip for your senior pet is to give them lots of love, affection and companionship!

If an older pet sounds like a good fit for you, there’s no better time to adopt than during National Adopt a Senior Pet Month. Walk-in adoptions are available at San Diego Humane Society’s campuses in Escondido, El Cajon, Oceanside and San Diego during our normal business hours of Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. You can also browse available senior pets online at sdhumane.org/adopt.

Gary Weitzman, DVM, MPH, CAWA, is an author, veterinarian and passionate animal welfare advocate. He has served as the president & CEO of San Diego Humane Society since 2012.

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