Seniors can Benefit on Pet Adoption

3 May
There’s no question that pet adoption can be good for some seniors.The benefits are well-documented:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced feelings of stress
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • improved overall health means fewer doctor appointments
  • Increased sense of responsibility and alertness
  • Reduced sense of loneliness
  • Increased activity during the day
  • Increased fun!

Sounds great, doesn’t it? But before you rush out and buy that dog, cat, or ferret, make sure you are making the right pet adoption decision.

Things to Consider About Pet Adoption for Seniors

  • Don’t surprise anyone with pet adoption. Ever. No matter how wonderful the animal is, pet ownership is a big responsibility. The American Humane Society encourages people not to purchase pets as a surprise, so discuss pet adoption and pet ownership with the senior before you acquire the animal.
  • Let the person choose his or her own pet.You may love Beagles, but your grandmother might want a quieter dog. And while your grandfather says he would love to have a cat, perhaps grooming a long-haired cat isn’t what he had in mind.Pet adoption is sort of like dating…there has to be some chemistry or it won’t work.
  • Consider the senior’s lifestyle. Does the older person enjoy going for walks? If not, then a dog would not be a good choice. This is another reason to discuss pet ownership before going ahead with the pet adoption.
  • Consider an older animal. A mature animal is likely to be calmer, which may be a good fit for a senior. Check out your local Humane Society, animal shelter or Purebred Rescue group for wonderful, loving and more mature companions.
  • Consider the senior’s health. Having a larger dog requires more physical strength and agility to handle it, so talk about which type and size of pet would result in the most successful pet adoption.
  • Who will care for the animal if its owner gets sick? Be prepared for this by making a plan for someone to care for the animal if the owner becomes incapacitated.
  • Can the senior afford food and veterinary care?The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has calculated the following average annual costs of pet adoption, including food, toys, treats, medical care and licensing, if required:
    • Fish: $20 (plus a fish bowl or aquarium, which ranges from $20 to $200)
    • A small bird: $120
    • Cat: $575 (plus the litter box and kitty litter
    • Medium-sized dog: $620
    • Rabbit: $691
    • Large dog: $780

    And don’t forget that additional supplies like dog crates, pet cages, and training can add an additional $75 to $400.

    These are average costs for pet adoptions, but pet owners will tell you that the costs can go much higher if there are unexpected medical problems…or if you like to buy exotic toys for your pet. Make sure the new owner can afford to care for the animal, or make additional arrangement to help pay for pet care.

    Senior and Pet Adoption: Consider All of the Options
    Seniors and pets can make a great combination, but pet adoption brings big responsibilities along with the joy. To find the best fit, make sure you consider all of the options before making a decision about pet adoption.

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