Senior pets provide piles of love

Senior pets provide piles of love
Photo/Animal Welfare League of Alexandria Senior pets, like Tessie, are often much more mellow and do not require the same level of training and adjustment as younger pets.

By Gina Hardter

Adopt a Senior Pet Month may be coming to a close, but the love of senior pets lasts year-round. November was Adopt a Senior Pet Month, but it’s always a good time to extol the virtues of senior pets. Dogs and cats are generally considered “senior” once they reach 8 years of age, but at 8 years old, many of these pets are in the prime of their lives.

So often when people are adopting a new family member, they think of puppies and kittens, but here are five reasons why senior pets are worth adopting:

Cool cats and chill dogs

A young, exuberant animal who has never lived with children before may not know quite how to interact with them. Puppies and kittens explore the world with their teeth and their nails, and sometimes that can be too much for their human brothers and sisters. Senior pets, on the other hand, have often lived with human youngsters before and understand the need to be gentle, giving kids the chance to learn how best to interact with pets.

Everyone loves a couch potato

Although every animal is an individual, when many pets reach seniorhood, they’re no longer looking to climb the curtains or go on five-mile hikes. They’re happy with leisurely walks around the block and marathon cuddle sessions with their favorite people. At the end of a long day, what more can you ask for?

Wisdom with age

Senior pets have been around the block a time or two, and often they’ve had experience living in a home and are likely even house-trained. They know bones are for chewing, not shoes and that they can find better water in a bowl than a toilet. Senior pets have learned from experience, and you will benefit from their wisdom with a happier, smarter home.

Historical knowledge

Often, we will have years of background information on senior pets: veterinary records, favorite foods, whether they have lived with other animals. All of this information can help you make your home more comfortable and welcoming for your new best friend.

As advertised

At 8 years or older, your new pet comes to you with their personality fully formed, so you know just what to expect. Sure, old dogs – and cats – can always learn new tricks, but it’s helpful to know which type of treat is most likely to get them to do that trick, and with a senior pet, they are happy to show off all of their fancies and foibles.

Senior pets have years of experience giving love to their human companions, and they deserve that same dedication in their later years. When you adopt a senior animal, you improve not only their life but also your own. So, the next time you are considering adopting a new family member, consider a senior pet. They can be the perfect addition to any family!

The writer is director of marketing and communications for the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization supporting Alexandria and beyond. More information is available at