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National Senior Pet Month 2024: When Is It and How Is It Celebrated?

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Senior Boxer Dog on the bed

Pets come in all shapes, sizes, and species. Some people prefer caring for birds, lizards, or fish, while others enjoy sharing their lives with cats and/or dogs. No matter the type of pet in question, every animal ages and enters into what we refer to as their “senior years,” just like humans do. Unfortunately, not all senior pets have safe and loving homes to call their own. Many spend their final years in animal shelters due to circumstances beyond their control, such as their caretakers passing away.

Pet lovers all over the country understand the importance of caring for the senior pet community, so a national holiday has been established to promote the adoption of senior pets throughout the United States. It’s called National Senior Pet Month (also called Adopt a Senior Pet Month), which is every November. But what’s the holiday about and how can it be celebrated? Read on for the answers!

November Is Reserved for Highlighting Senior Pets

The month of celebrating senior pets is in November of each year, just in time for a few of America’s other holidays. National Senior Pet Month was established to highlight the many senior animals living in shelters throughout the United States that are looking for loving, caring homes. The idea is to get people who are thinking about adopting a pet to consider a senior animal instead of a younger one.

Why Senior Pet Month Is So Important

Persian senior cat on the bed
Image Credit: Michelle_Maria, Pixabay

Puppies, kittens, and other pets are adorable and tend to get homes more easily than senior pets do. Many times, seniors are overlooked because they are thought to have “already experienced life” or “won’t be easy to bond with.” The truth is that senior pets still have plenty of life left to experience, and they are just as eager to bond with human companions as younger animals are.

Therefore, veterinarians and pet lovers alike decided that it would be a good idea to bring attention to senior pets by dedicating an entire month to them. It promotes the fact that many senior pets require homes and that their needs are just as important as those of younger animals.

What Is Considered a Senior Pet?

Generally speaking, any animal within a few years of their expected lifespan is considered a senior. For example, if a bird’s expected lifespan is 16 years, they would be considered senior by about 12 or 13 years old. Here’s a chart to give you an idea of a senior cat and dog’s age:

Cats Dogs Over 50 Pounds Dogs Under 50 Pounds
8 – 10 Years About 6 Years About 8 Years

Source: INVMA

Keep in mind that every pet ages differently. One dog that is 8 years old might act younger than a dog that is only 7. It all depends on the animal and the type of care that they have received throughout their life. This is true for younger animals too. An animal that is 2 years old might act older than one that is 5!

How You Can Celebrate Senior Pet Month

senior golden retriever
Image Credit: Linoleum Creative Collective, Unsplash

Celebrating Senior Pet Month is as easy as reaching out to your local shelter and asking how you can help with their needs. Maybe you can volunteer at a community fundraiser or adoption event, or you can pass out fliers that highlight the benefits of adopting a senior pet. You can consider having a party for all the senior pets living in your neighborhood. You might even want to think about adopting a senior pet of your own sometime in November. It is all up to you and the amount of time and commitment that you want to put into this special occasion.

A Few Reasons to Consider Adopting a Senior Pet in November — or at Any Time!

There are many good reasons to consider adopting a senior pet in November or any time of the year. First, most seniors are just as cute and cuddly as younger animals. They love to snuggle and are just as willing to bond. Here are other good reasons:

  • Senior pets do not require constant supervision and don’t need as much training to learn how to get along in a household setting.
  • Most senior pets are already housetrained, whether that means using the bathroom in a litter box or asking to go outdoors.
  • Senior pets readily display their personalities and grooming requirements, and these will not change, unlike what can happen with younger animals.
  • Most senior pets already know the basics of leash walking and living with other animals.
  • Senior pets have a way of helping us slow down and enjoy the small things in life.
  • Senior pets are less likely to be destructive inside the home, saving your furniture and personal belongings.
  • Senior pets appreciate their new home more because they are out of the shelter.

With so many reasons to adopt a senior pet, it’s no wonder that an entire month is dedicated to helping these loving and deserving animals find forever homes. Even if you can’t adopt a senior pet yourself, you can promote the idea to others who are looking for a pet.

Senior cat lying on the wooden floor
Image Credit: sophiecat, Shutterstock

A Quick Review

Senior pets are just as deserving of good homes as younger animals are, which is why the month of November is so important for them. This is when shelters and pet lovers throughout the United States showcase senior pets and increase their chances of getting adopted. Even if you can’t adopt a pet yourself, you can still celebrate Senior Pet Month by getting involved with your local animal shelters.

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Featured Image Credit: Holly Michele, Shutterstock

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