It’s National Adopt a Senior Pet Month in November, reminding people that there are older dogs and cats in Baltimore and Carroll County shelters waiting to be adopted. It’s essential to recognize that even though you personally had a chance to think this through, your new pet has no idea that an unknown family, different household, and various expectations will become his new reality. In honor of National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has a few suggestions to assist you in making your new pet pal feel at home.
Most people walk into a shelter hoping to take home a puppy or kitten while overlooking the senior animals living in the same shelter. Sadly, older pets are often the last to be adopted from the shelter. In addition, most never find a home and spend the remaining of their lives caged inside a shelter kennel. Since they spend the longest time at shelters, this also increases their risk of being euthanized.
Senior pets have so much to offer! Senior pets are just as loving and loyal as the younger pups and kittens. In addition, they tend to be calmer companions as their youthful days of romping and getting into trouble is behind them. In fact, pets are the easiest way to attract warmth into your life. Since we love National Adopt a Senior Pet Month so much, consider opening your heart to a senior animal in November.
Introducing Your New Pet
Getting a new family member is very exciting for us but can be scary for them, especially for senior pets. While you know they are coming into a loving environment, their world has been turned upside down. So, they need a little more patience and understanding as they adjust to their new life. Here are some tips to make the adjustment period easier for your new pet:
- Plan Ahead – Make sure you have picked a pet that will align with your lifestyle. Prepare your home for the new arrival by getting all the necessary supplies (food, water, food bowls, crate, bedding, toys, etc.). Also, see if the shelter will allow you to bring something from home before you take home your new pet and vice versa.
- The Beginning- Set up a quiet place away from everyone else for your new pet to become acclimated. Keep them away from current pets until they are comfortable with their new surroundings. Once your new pet is in relaxing mode, you can do gradual introductions through doors or gates. This allows pets to meet without risking aggressive behavior or mishaps.
- Patience- The number one thing when introducing any new pet, especially a senior pet, is to be patient! Remember that all of this is very new to them, and you don’t know what their previous life was like. Be patient with nervous behavior, and don’t rush them into situations they aren’t comfortable with. If your new friend is doing something worrisome, reach out to our amazing team to discuss any concerns.
Aside from helping your new pet get accustomed to their new life, owning a senior pet comes with more medical responsibilities. Keep reading to see how you can make sure your senior pet is getting the medical care it needs.
We recommend bi-annual senior wellness exams from one of our veterinarians for your pet pals who are seven years and older to ensure your pet’s senior years are happy and healthy. Even though your canine might look healthy, some diseases are hard to detect and can go unnoticed. If diagnosed early by a staff member at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital, we can slow the progression of or even cure health conditions. Please call us to schedule a senior wellness exam today!
Dental care is critical for all pets, especially for senior animals. Over half of cats and 80% of dogs over the age of 3 have some form of dental disease, and that number only increases with age. Dental disease can also produce unnecessary pain for your cat and dog and adversely affect their liver, heart, and kidneys. Fortunately, you can maintain your pet’s oral health with regular care. For veterinary dentistry services, call 410-343-0200 to schedule an appointment with us!
As your pet ages, one of our veterinarians will recommend blood work to check their health status and catch any early problems. This blood work will check your pet’s organ function and show us issues that can’t be observed during an exam. Early detection allows for early intervention. This can help your pet live a longer, healthier life and ensure they are happy in their golden years. A veterinarian will suggest senior blood work based on your pet’s overall health, breed, and size. If your canine is approaching senior years, please ask our team about senior blood work.
Keeping your senior pet current on its vaccines is important for their overall health. As with humans, our senior pets don’t have the immunity they once had to fight diseases. Vaccinations are a way to ensure your pet’s safety. If you live in Baltimore or Carroll County, rabies vaccination is required by Maryland law for all dogs and cats. Whether your senior pet is at the groomer, doggie daycare, or simply in your backyard, our pets can come into contact with a contagious disease. In addition to giving vaccines, we also perform vaccine titers. Titers let us know that your pet has enough antibodies to guard against common diseases such as adenovirus, distemper, and parvovirus.
Did you know that mobility loss is one of the primary causes of euthanasia among pets? Sadly, most pet owners aren’t aware of adjustments they can make to accommodate senior pets and choose to put them to sleep. However, senior canines and felines don’t have to suffer. With available treatments such as supplements, medication, and laser therapy, they can and should still live happy lives despite their difficulty moving. If your pet shows any signs of mobility issues (reluctance to use stairs, decrease in grooming habits, stiffness, etc.), please reach out to us so we can assist!
Here at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital, We’ll Treat Your Pets Like Family!
Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!