Pet adoption at Tahoe: Older dogs, cats can make great pets too! | SierraSun.com

Pet adoption at Tahoe: Older dogs, cats can make great pets too!

Bev Keil
Special to the Bonanza

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Visitors to animal shelters are drawn to the playful puppies and frisky kittens. Young animals are always the first to be adopted.

On average, dogs are considered senior at age 7 and cats between ages 7-10. But even at age 2 or 3, a pet in a shelter may be overlooked as being "old."

But did you know: Older animals offer many advantages over youngsters?

Puppies and kittens have high energy levels and short attention spans. If you don't have the time to entertain them, they can get into considerable mischief.

Older pets make great napping buddies. They are still happy, active and playful, but they are also content to sleep many hours each day. They are less needy.

Older animals are calmer and have been socialized. They've probably had training and understand the meaning of "no." They've been housebroken or litter box trained.

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Their personalities are developed, and they have reached their adult size. What you see is what you get. They won't chew your prized possessions as they aren't teething like young animals.

You can teach old dogs new tricks. In fact, older animals show a greater attention span for learning.

Adult animals lose their homes for many reasons, usually not due to their behavior. An animal that once had a home appreciates love and attention from a new family. They have many ways of showing it.

More households than ever have four-legged residents. The health benefits of living with a dog or cat, or both, are well documented: lower blood pressure, lower risk of heart attack, improved mental well-being, and increased socialization. Still, over 2.4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in the U.S. every year.

If you are considering pet adoption, take at close look at the older animals in your local shelter. Adopting an older animal teaches children and others to value life at any age.

Pet Network Humane Society is offering 50 percent off adoption fees for all animals age 2 or more during January.

Beverly Keil is a board member with the Pet Network Humane Society. Learn more at http://www.petnetwork.org.