November is National Senior Pet Month

November is National Senior Pet Month. This is the first I’ve heard of it, which makes sense because it’s a very new thing, but it’s a great idea. Just like our human elders, our longtime fur buddies deserve celebration and comfort in their old age. 

Pets can develop a lot of chronic issues like dementia, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and so many other conditions that require specialized care and broader awareness. Very often good diet and supplementation can alleviate or delay the onset of many of these issues. Basic things like using the proper amounts of fish oil can combat joint and cardiac issues, and goat’s milk is great for kidney issues and hydration.

The elderly population in shelters is prevalent and it’s because it is twice as hard to adopt them out. Puppies and kittens are great, but older buddies deserve companionship, too. And they have so much to offer.

When older animals are rehomed they often prove to be great pets as they are already trained and used to living in homes. For example, senior cats know where the litter box is, and many have lived with other animals before so they won’t need as much time to adjust.

So many senior pets need homes, as well, for a variety of reasons, but we’ve got a local success story:

A local man nicknamed Pee Wee is a resident of a 55+ senior living establishment and was badly in need of a new companion animal. He kept coming to our adoption events looking for that perfect pup but had no luck. One day he happened to run into one of our staff and they took PeeWee to our local Humane Rescue Alliance with him to see what they might have available. Within an hour, PeeWee was on his way home with an adult dog named Alpaca.

The dog had been taken in as a stray, covered in heavily matted hair and starving. Now PeeWee and Alpaca, renamed JoJo, make their rounds in Takoma Park and are learning to live and love each other. We are told JoJo is a favorite of the retirement community with perfect manners and a sweet disposition.

If you’ve got mobility issues like PeeWee, or simply have a lower than normal activity level, a senior dog is just the right speed! Plus they have lower feeding requirements as their caloric needs are lower, so you spend less on food.

Even if you’re not ready to adopt, you can volunteer at a shelter to spend time with animals and you can foster animals until they find forever homes. There are so many things you can do to enrich a animal’s life beyond adoption, and you’ll be doing so much for the humans who care for them!

Whether you’re adopting a senior or have one who’s grown up with the family, The Big Bad Woof is here to help with your concerns and their changing needs. We can offer recommendations on things like nutrition and hydration to pet insurance, other pet professionals, and compassionate end of life care.