Courtesy Best Friends Animal Society

November isn’t just for Thanksgiving and all things pumpkin spice to be celebrated. It’s also Adopt a Senior Pet Month, highlighting all the amazing dogs and cats “of a certain age” awaiting new homes at a shelter near you.

“Senior pets can be among the most at-risk in shelters, so this is a great time to talk about why an older dog or cat just might be the best choice for your next best friend,” said Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society. “Some shelters categorize seniors starting as early as age five, so they still have lots of life to share and love to give.”

Whether you’re looking for an active senior to go on walks with or a couch potato to help keep you company, there are plenty of older dogs and cats that are waiting for a second chance as a fantastic family member.

“Many senior pets are used to being in a home, so they tend to have great manners, once they’re introduced to their new routine and surroundings,” said veterinarian Erin Katribe, medical director for Best Friends Animal Society.

That’s just one of the reasons Best Friends recommends looking at a senior dog or cat when you’re in the market to adopt. Here are four more:

  • Sure, puppies and kittens are cute, but they also need to be trained, socialized, and can be a bit unpredictable when being handled (especially by children). That’s a time and energy investment some families may not be comfortable with. Instead, a shelter adoption counselor may be able recommend an older animal with a positive history of living with youngsters and being housebroken.
  • Senior pets are far less likely to be destructive to the belongings in your home than younger dogs and cats. Instead of having to go through that annoying chewing and destruction phase, most older pets just want to hang out with their people and their toys or find a cozy spot in the sun to curl up for a nap.
  • You know exactly what you’re getting with a senior pet. Their size, weight and personality are already developed, so you can choose them for what they are, rather for what you hope they’ll be when they group up.
  • Looking for a specific breed? It’s often easy to find older purebred pets looking for new homes through shelters or breed rescue groups.
    If you’re concerned about adopting an older dog or cat due to potential health issues, it’s important to discuss the pet’s history with shelter staff.

“Shelters do intake exams upon admission and review any historical notes the pet may arrive with. Based on that history and any veterinary assessments done during the pet’s shelter stay, staff can tell you if the pet needs specific medication, food, supplements or more frequent veterinary visits,” Katribe said.

One great way to see if a senior pet is right for you is to foster the dog or cat first. Most shelters and rescues provide all necessary supplies and medical care during a foster period. If you fall in love and can commit full-time, that foster can transition to an adoption.

“We call that a foster win and it’s definitely something to celebrate,” Katribe said.

Ready to find that special senior? Get started by visiting now to find a rescue or shelter near you.

About Best Friends Animal Society
Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 347,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs all across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 3,300 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit