10 Reasons Why You Should Adopt an Elderly Animal

Sure, puppies and kittens are super cute, but older animals need a home too!

The sad truth is that elderly animals are often overlooked, with many spending the rest of their lives at the shelter waiting for the perfect forever home.

If you’re considering adding a new member to your family, then check out these top ten reasons why you should adopt an elderly animal:

1. Easier to Train – Forget the corny old saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Senior animals have a greater attention span and impulse control, making them easier to train. Yes some senior animals can be stubborn and stuck in their ways, but dogs in particular are great at reading human behavior and are quick to figure out what you’re asking them to do.


2. Less Likely to Mess – Elderly animals tend to be house trained as they’ve already got years of experience under their belt. This is good news for you as you won’t have to waste endless rolls of paper towels cleaning up poop. Trust me, your floors and furniture will thank you!


3. Already Spayed or Neutered - Many elderly animals will already be spayed or neutered, which means fewer trips to the vets and worrying about who your new family member can or cannot come into contact with.


4. What You See is What You Get - From the start, you know exactly what you’re getting into when adopting an elderly animal. They are already fully grown and have already developed their personality, which makes choosing the perfect companion for your lifestyle a whole lot easier.


5.  They’re Not a 24-7 Job – Puppies and kittens require constant monitoring, care and attention, meaning you won’t get a minute’s peace. If you have a busy lifestyle or you have children, elderly animals may be a better match.


6.  They Like To Take It Easy – Senior animals are content to kick back and relax in your company, unlike juveniles who are always getting up to mischief. Of course elderly animals will still need exercise and mental stimulation, but they are not as likely to run you ragged.


7.  Great Napping Buddies – Speaking of relaxing, elderly animals make the ideal napping buddies, so if you’re looking for a friend to snuggle up with, then an older companion might be a match made in heaven.


8. No 3 am Wake Up Calls – While it’s fun to watch excitable kittens and puppies crazily playing and racing around the house, it’s important to remember that these activities can happen at all hours, including when you want to sleep!


9. They are Super Loving – Older animals just want someone to love and to love them in return. They have been through so much in their lifetime that they make for sincerely grateful and devoted companions. Just ask anyone whose adopted an elderly animal and you are sure to hear glowing recommendations.


10. You Might Save Their Life – When you adopt a senior animal, chances are you’re saving their life. As old animals are the least likely to get adopted, they are often the first to be euthanized.

It’s important to remember when considering adopting a senior animal that there are certain worries involved. Elderly animals are more likely to be prone to health problem, which means increased vet costs so you need to ensure you have the means to properly care and support them through these potentially troubling times. Elderly animals can also carry emotional and physical traumas with them from their previous lives, meaning you may have to work hard initially to gain their trust and help them overcome their fears. Lastly, you need to be fully aware and prepared for when you adopt an elderly animal, you will inevitably have less time with them before they pass (but there’s more reason to make their last years count).

Unfortunately for elderly animals, most people gravitate towards the adorable kittens and puppies. Young animals are never short of admirers, but for the older animals, you might be their last chance of happiness.

Photo Credits: Thinkstock, Squigman via Wikimedia Commons, MBK via Flickr


Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Love our angels

Irene S.
Irene S3 years ago

No kitten and puppy for me. But I have to recognise, most of my shelter pets seem to get younger when they settle at my home. Two years ago a got a little dog. It was said she would be two years old or more. Since she lives with us, she acts like a ten month old. It´s heart warming to watch her being happy, but I definitely did not get what I thought to see!

Sharon S.
Sharon S3 years ago

I prefer to adopt an older dog because they have such a difficult time getting adopted. Let's try not to discourage others from adopting senior pets. All pets can die at any age & it's always heartbreaking.

Nicole Heindryckx

I fully agree with the above. And before we also adopted older dogs and not puppies. However, as I explained in my comment on the "LOK LOK" dog, adopting an elderly dog is not possible for everyone. Being old and / or disabled , having a small pension, having high medical expenses yourselves, mourning too much when your beloved friend dies within a couple of years etc.. all are reasons NOT to adopt an elderly pet. Sure, they also need a loving home, and have big advantages compared to puppies, but do not forget the back side. As for everything, it has it's advantages and disadvantages. So think before you act, and let not lead your decisions purely and solely by your heart.

Muriel Servaege
Muriel Servaege3 years ago

Thank you for the article. When their Belgian malinois died, my father and mother-in-law found an elderly dog in a shelter, but he was incredibly foolish and less intelligent. My in-laws obviously had a big heart!

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Virginia Abreu de Paula

"They are the least likely to get adopted, they are often the first to be euthanized".

The elderly dogs are the first to be killed for this reason. Not euthanized. Euthanazia is killing for compassion when the animal is seriously ill without any hope to be cured. Animals are not euthanized because nobody wanted them. They are killed. I think they use the word euthanasia ( is it written with an s or a z?) to make it seems less terrible. But it doesn't change reality.

Don Swanz
Don Swanz5 years ago

OFF TOPIC - just a little - but something that was sent to me from a friend at Col. Potter that I thought that you might enjoy. Don and I CAN! :-))


Cindy Jaeger
Cindy J5 years ago

The part about knowing what their personaility is all about is true! We had our cat for 18 years. When he passed I was talked into kittens...you can train them to stay off the counter, etc. etc. Well, you know know what their personalities really are until approx 2-3 years old. Neither are lap cats (why I wanted a cat again), one prefers the outside to inside (I wanted indoor only cats) one really should be an only cat, he gets stressed easily and having another 4 legged friend seems to make it worse...the list goes on. I now volunteer at a shelter and get to visit with cats yound and old. When the time comes again to bring home an animal, I will only adopt older pets from the shelter! I learned the hard way....