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Home > General > National Senior Pet Month 2024: What It Is & When It’s Celebrated

National Senior Pet Month 2024: What It Is & When It’s Celebrated

hand petting an old dog outdoor

Most pet owners will experience what it’s like to live with a senior pet. Depending on the animal, you might have a senior pet faster than you realize, especially if you own a Cane Corso or a Maine Coon.

But fear not because senior dogs and cats still offer much to offer their doting owners, including companionship, loyalty, and attention. For all of those reasons and many more, National Senior Pet Month was created in November to celebrate your favorite senior pet and all the love, affection, and companionship they bring into your life. Read on to learn more about this special holiday, including what you can do to enjoy it with your beloved pet!


When Was National Senior Pet Month First Celebrated?

National Senior Pet Month, from what our research found, was started very recently in the United States. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) notes on its website that, in October of 2022, a grassroots effort was underway to acknowledge the month of November as National Senior Pet Month.1 In effect, the day isn’t formally recognized. However, many veterinary clinics across the United States have already started celebrating this unofficial holiday every November.2

old calico cat at home
Image Credit: Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock

Is National Senior Pet Month for All Pets?

While you can certainly celebrate any senior pet during the month of November, the truth is that National Senior Pet Month is mostly for dogs and cats. Unlike most other pets, dogs and cats become uniquely attached to their owners.

That’s not to say you can’t have feelings for a goldfish, gerbil, rat, or parakeet, and many folks do. It’s just that, in the pantheon of pets, the dog and cat are the perennial favorites by a large margin. For this reason, National Senior Pet Month is mostly directed toward cats and dogs.

How Can You Celebrate National Senior Pet Month?

There are many fun and fantastic ways to celebrate National Senior Pet Month! Below we’ve listed a few of the best to help you have a great time with your pets during all of November.

1. Volunteer at a Shelter

Whether you have a senior pet at home or simply want to lend a helping hand, volunteering at a shelter during National Senior Pet Month is a fantastic idea. Most cities across the United States have at least one shelter, if not many, and most are severely understaffed and overworked. Lending your time and energy in any way will certainly be much appreciated.

Close up of female volunteer holds on hands cat in shelter
Image Credit: Evgeny Bakhchev, Shutterstock

2. Adopt a Senior Pet

Did you know that November is not only National Senior Pet Month but it’s also National Adopt a Senior Pet Month? It’s true! During November, you’ll find shelters across the United States running promotions that allow you to adopt a senior pet for little or no cost. Adopting a senior pet will give you a wonderful companion to brighten your days and likely save them from being euthanized.

3. Bring Your Senior Pet to an Assisted Living Home

Senior pets offer several attributes that make them a fine choice for bringing to an assisted living home. Since they’re older, for example, they will be more mature and calm. A senior pet is usually well-trained and accustomed to being touched, handled, and engaged. Also, they can be more easily controlled when needed. All of these traits make bringing your senior dog or cat to an assisted living facility an excellent idea and one that will be very pleasing for the occupants.

volunteer holding a senior dog's head
Image Credit: Serhii Ivashchuk, Shutterstock

Which Age Is Considered Senior for Dogs and Cats?

One of the fascinating and often confusing differences between different breeds of dogs and cats is that some live longer or shorter lives than others. Yes, the average age for cats, and thus senior cats, is more or less the same across the entire cat spectrum. For dogs, though, the average can be vastly different.

Take a Great Dane or Cane Corso, for example. Both are massive dogs that, because of their size, live much shorter lives on average than smaller dogs like the Chihuahua and Pekingese. It’s long been known that larger dogs live shorter lives, which also means they become seniors earlier than smaller dogs. The numbers and data below support this fully.

Dog Size Weight Lifespan (Avg.) Senior Years
Small < 30 pounds 10–15 years 8–11 years
Medium 31-55 pounds 10–13 years 7–10 years
Large 56–70 pounds 9–12 years 6–8 years
Extra Large 70+ pounds 8–12 years 4–6 years

For cats, the average age is similar across the board, between 12 to 18 years. That would make the average cat a senior at about 11-14 years of age, according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) senior care guidelines. However, you should note that many veterinarians begin treating a cat as a senior when it reaches 7 years of age.

What Are the Benefits of Adopting a Senior Pet?

Even if they’re a step slower, senior pets offer many wonderful benefits when adopted.

1. They’re Usually Trained

Older pets are typically trained by their previous owners, and some are very well-trained. Adopting an already-trained pet can make the transition to your home much easier and prevent many of the problems a young pet can cause.

old gray tabby cat lying on bed
Image Credit: Alex Zotov, Shutterstock

2. They’re Less Expensive

Senior pets are an absolute bargain compared to adopting a new puppy or kitten and the cost of everything necessary to raise them. Also, because it’s less likely that they’ll be adopted, the cost of a senior pet is usually much less, including adoption fees.

3. Senior Pets Have a Set Personality, so Fewer Surprises

While adopting a kitten or puppy is exciting, you never know ahead of time what type of personality they will have as adults. If you don’t want surprises like that, adopting a senior pet is a better choice. Their personalities and habits are already set (for better or worse).

woman giving old dog a treat
Image Credit: SeventyFour, Shutterstock

4. Senior Pets Are Typically Much Calmer and More Mature

This last benefit is possibly best for adopting a senior dog; they’re usually calm, cool, and collected. Senior pets offer maturity and tranquility for owners who can’t (or don’t want to) deal with a rambunctious and immature pet.


Final Thoughts

Although it’s not a genuine national holiday (at least not yet), National Senior Pet Month is a special time to honor all the things that make senior pets endearing, precious, and attractive. Senior pets bring just as much love and affection into your home as younger pets, but with many bonuses. Senior pets cost less, need less training, and are much calmer, in most cases, than their younger counterparts.

A senior pet is perfect for pet owners who want a companion full of love but not excited energy (and the mayhem it can bring). That’s why, every November, veterinarians and pet lovers across the United States do a little something extra for their senior pets to show them their appreciation during National Senior Pet Month. However, as a senior pet owner, you’ll be celebrating them every month of the year!

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Featured Image Credit: Ksenia Raykova, Shutterstock

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