One of my dogs is 13. By definition, she is a senior. We found her as a puppy, running loose in our neighborhood. Over the years, we watched her go from wild child with non-stop energy to slow, daily walks where she prefers to literally just smell the flowers.
As a pet ages, life gets quieter. Senior pets have always held a special place in my heart. Some of my most cherished times are just sitting on the back porch, quietly, listening to the soft snores of my dog asleep in a puddle of sunshine.
Old pets are good pets. Whether you’re looking to adopt a senior pet or growing old with your own, here are some of the top reasons older pets are worth having in yoiur life..
When is Pet Considered a Senior?
So really, at what age does a pet become a “senior?” That depends.
● Cats have more grace when it becomes labeled as a senior. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), cats become seniors after the age of 10.
● The AVMA also points to various experts who suggest a dog is senior when it hit the last 25% of its life expectancy. However, no one told my terrier Harriet that. As aged 10 she still acts like a puppy most of the time.
Because size also plays a big role for when a dog is thought of as senior, it’s challenging to definitely state a specific age. Larger breeds tend to age faster. For example, generally, a large breed dog like Irish Wolfhounds will become a senior sooner than a small breed like a dachshund.
My Bonnie is a pitbull and based on her weight is classified as a large dog. So my best guess is Bonnie became a senior when she hit 6 years old.
Regardless of your pet’s age, if you or your vet start seeing signs of aging, you might have a senior pet. No worries though. It’s the next natural stage in their life and your relationship!
Reasons Old Pets are AWESOME!
- Older pets are experienced. After 13 with my dog, she knows, without a doubt, she can count on me. With a puppy, it can take quite some time for them to warm up to their new human.
- You know what you get. Older dogs can absolutely learn new tricks, but their personalities aren’t as likely to go through major changes as in the first few years of life. This is definitely important when adding a new dog to your life. You can easily select a companion animal based on your lifestyle.
- Oh, training! Good grief, house training is annoying! Having a puppy in the house is a lot of fun but also very time-consuming! Older pets are most likely already trained. They might need a refresher, but chances are, they already know how to poop outdoors or tell you when nature calls.
- Dogs speak their own language. After all my years with Bonnie, we are totally in sync. I know when she's hungry, when she wants to go for a walk or when she just wants to be left alone to nap. Growing old with your dog is so beautiful.
- More time cuddling. Bonnie shows her affection by asking for "hug time". Sometimes she'd rather spend the afternoon buried in a pillow fort of her making on the top of my bed, but she also absolutely adores sitting on the couch with us as we watch tv. A pet that’s been with you for a while might get more affectionate over time, and older pets are often more interested in cuddling.
There’s a bunch of reasons a pet might become more affectionate as they age. They might trust you more and want to show some love, ant to make you feel better or develop anxiety.
This said, make sure to keep regular wellness checks with your vet and bring your pet in if you notice any major changes—even if you like them, like extra snuggles. There could be a medical condition that should be explored further.
The best reason? Their love is mature. Older dogs just get you. They understand a good thing and (usually) have the maturity to be a great companion. While youngsters might need to learn the boundaries, seniors are more likely to know things like nipping=uncool and naps=awesome.
Don't Let These Moments Slip By...
13 years may seem like a long time, but it actually goes by in the blink of an eye. Looking back on the few photos I have of Bonnie when she was younger, makes me wish I had taken more photos of videos. It's so important to capture their unique personality and beauty at different stages of their life. With a professional photo session of your best friend, you can preserve their youthful spirit through photography and have those memories that will last a lifetime and beyond.
Celebrate their journey, honor their wisdom, and preserve their legacy through stunning photographs that will warm your heart for years to come. Don't miss the opportunity to capture their unique charm and the bond you share. Book a session now and cherish the priceless moments with your senior pet forever.