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Adopting older pets has its perks

Everybody loves puppies and kittens. They’re cute, full of energy and they can’t wait to explore the world around them.

As rewarding as it is for pet parents to raise a puppy or kitten into healthy, strong adults, they require a lot of hard work.

When it comes to adopting an older pet, you have the privilege of choosing their fully-formed personality to best fit your lifestyle. There are no growing pains and few surprises; you simply bring home your new best friend.

“There’s no denying the great adventures that come with bringing home a new puppy or kitten, however, older pets have their own special characteristics to offer and they should not be overlooked,” Hill’s Pet Nutrition nutritional advisor Dr Guy Fyvie says.

Temperament

One of the greatest attributes of older pets is that they have already grown into themselves physically and mentally.

Although there might be some changes in behaviour seen at a shelter, most older pets will be accurately assessed and you know exactly what kind of pet you're adopting.

You’ll know if they like other animals, do well with children, prefer to be alone sometimes, how much activity they need and so on.

One of the main reasons young pets are returned to shelters is because their pet parents didn't understand exactly what they were getting themselves into.

Your shoes will thank you

Puppies and kittens are cute, curious creatures. They also go through the teething process and love to chew on everything. Young pets are notorious for tearing up shoes, pillows, toys and anything else that tickles their fancy.

Adopting an older pet means you shouldn’t have to constantly keep an eye out for mischievous play.

Older dogs (and cats) can learn new tricks

Even if your new, older pet hasn’t had any formal training, adult dogs and cats are calmer and more focused than their puppy and kitten counterparts, making them good candidates for learning basic commands or more impressive moves for treats.

Former owners may have already taught your new fur baby how to sit, stay or lie down too.

Exercise

All pets need physical activity. Exercise keeps their bodies and minds healthy and limits undesirable behaviour brought about by under-stimulation and boredom.

Older pets need much less exercise than puppies and kittens. However, this doesn’t mean older pets don’t like to have fun.

Most older pets love activity. In fact, many are surprisingly active and agile in their mature age; they just don't need quite as much exercise.

For an older dog a walk a day, a game of fetch with their favourite toy or a quick swim is often enough to keep them physically and mentally stimulated, and for cats, a scratch post, tunnel, games with a toy mouse and catnip are all age appropriate activities.

Older pets want to be with their people, and they are as content to settle in their favourite spot in the house as they are to be outside in the sunshine.

Veterinary care

It might seem like an older pet will need more veterinary care than a puppy or kitten, but this is not the case.

Unless you’re specifically looking to bring home a pet with special needs, most older pets in shelters are healthy and just need somewhere to call home.

They are already spayed or neutered, they are up to date on their vaccinations and they are less susceptible to the many diseases that pose a danger to puppies and kittens.

An abundance of love

If you’ve ever rescued an older pet, you know they always seem to know how lucky they are. Older pets have a lot of love to give. They are always grateful, and they never fail to show it.

Older pets can also quickly transition to a new home and provide an unbelievable amount of love to their new family.

Nutritional care

If you're considering adopting an older pet, make sure to also consider what you’re going to feed your new family member.

Mature pets have different nutritional requirements to help support their ongoing vitality.

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