Adopting an Older Pet
Posted July 05, 2013
There's no mistaking it, baby pets are adorable and many grow up
to become magnificent companions. Unfortunately pet owners often
forget the trouble involved with raising a pet from infancy, and
overlook the countless mature dogs awaiting adoption from shelters
and rescue organizations.
"Consider adopting an older pet if you want to skip the
house-training and want an animal that may already be obedience
trained," said Dr. Mark Stickney, Clinical Associate Professor at
the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical
Science (CVM). "Another benefit with older pets is that their
personality is set when you meet them, and any health issues or
special care needs may already be evident."
Within the first week of bringing home an older pet, schedule a
visit with your veterinarian to identify any health concerns and to
update vaccinations, heartworm prevention and parasite
"When selecting a pet to bring home make sure their behavior and
activity level will fit into your lifestyle, which is much easier
to determine when you meet an older pet," said Stickney. "For
example, a pet that is calm and relaxed for a smaller house versus
super-active pets that need room to move around and a large yard.
You should also have it meet all of the family to make sure the pet
will get along with the children, males, and females living in your
It is also important to ask the shelter or rescue organization
about any known health or behavior issues, or if the pet has been
around other pets before or not.
Preparing your home for an older pet is not that much different
than a younger one, with a few exceptions that many find easier.
"When bringing home any pet, it is important to have things such as
the appropriate food, bedding, bowls, and the appropriate toys like
chew objects for dogs or a scratching tree for cats," said
Stickney. "It is also essential to have a carpet cleaner around for
a few accidents until the pet understands your house's routine, and
to make sure your yard is fenced with no breaks where the pet could
escape and get lost. If your pet has arthritis and has trouble
moving and jumping, you may need a ramp to help it maneuver
Older pets can also be easier to train because they do not get
distracted as easily as puppies. However, if they have
already learned certain commands you will need to stick with the
same command words and gestures instead of trying to use new
commands for the same trick.
To view adoption services and to adopt an older pet of your own,
check out services such as petfinder.com or visit the
local Aggieland Humane
About Pet Talk
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Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.
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