Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

Benefits Of Adopting An Older Pet

Audio

Aired 11/10/10

What are the pros and cons of adopting an older pet? What characteristics should you look for when trying to select an older dog or cat to bring into your home? November is the ASPCA's Adopt-a-Senior-Pet-Month, so we've invited our pet experts give tips on adopting older pets.

What are the pros and cons of adopting an older pet? What characteristics should you look for when trying to select an older dog or cat to bring into your home? November is the ASPCA's Adopt-a-Senior-Pet-Month, so we've invited our pet experts give tips on adopting older pets.

Guests

Dr. Katy Allen, local veterinarian, and owner of Canterbury Tails Veterinary Services.

Carol Harris, a certified pet dog trainer, and the owner of The Educated Pet.

Read Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, you're listening to These Days on KPBS. It's not just human beings who are living longer. Well cared for pets are stretching out their golden years, healthier and more active than ever. So it makes more sense than ever to consider choosing an adult dog or cat as a pet. This is the ASPCA's adopt a pet month. But just as puppies and kittens have special needs when you take them home, there are some tips about how to introduce and older pet into a new home environment. I'd like to introduce my guests, Doctor Katy Allen is a veterinarian here in San Diego, owner of Canterbury Tails Pet Services. Welcome back.

KATY ALLEN: Thanks Maureen.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Carol Harris is a certified pet dog trainer and the owner of the Educated Pet. Carol, it's good to see you.

CAROL HARRIS: Good to see you again. Thank you.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We'd like to invite our listeners to join the conversation. Have you adopted an older pet? Would you tell us about it? 'Cause we'd really like to hear, what kinds of special problems or needs or special delights can you expect from an older pet? Give us a call with your questions or your comments about your senior pets. 1-888-895-5727. Katy, give us an idea of what are some of the benefits of adopting an older pet.

KATY ALLEN: I think there are a lot of benefits. Maybe first of all, I would say, what you see is what you get. You know exactly what you're getting. You're gonna know their grooming needs, you can see what their coat is because they're already adult. You know their important. So you're not going in blind.

CAROL HARRIS: You know their size.

KATY ALLEN: Absolutely.

CAROL HARRIS: You don't have to deal with how big to their paws get.

KATY ALLEN: Yes, you know what you're getting and I think that's very important. And from my own experience, I think they're really super loving and extra devoted. When you adopt a senior pet, they make the bond quickly, they appear grateful. I know that's kind of making them see like people. But that's the way it's appeared to me. And I've talked to lots of people who've rescued a senior pet from a shelter. They feel that's a very special bond. They feel like they've been a bit of a hero, they feel they've saved a life. Because everybody goes for the puppies, and they all walk past the very senior pets. So there's a very special bond. And my first pet was from one of these situations, and that was 20 years ago, and I still miss him. It was a lovely experience.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Carol, what would you say some of the benefits are?

CAROL HARRIS: I'd say that people are busy right now. Our lives are just so full and so busy, and sometimes people don't really have time for a puppy or a young kitten. And these senior animals really have -- they're already house broken a lot of times, they've already got the puppy crazies and the chewing out of the way, and they can just sort of fit right into your lifestyle as opposed to having to make that work to make that happen upon.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Katy, what other sort of home environments will be just may be perfect for an older animal to be introduced to.

KATY ALLEN: Often an older an 3458 might fit an older couple or somebody who's elderly and on their own. If you're older and maybe a bit more sedentary yourself, an older animal that prefers to be sedentary is ideal. If you're 70 and arthritis, you don't want a dog who needs to be walked for an hour three times a day. It's going to be a shorter commitment, and if you're not quite sure of your future quite so much, then maybe a shorter commitment is appropriate. What if your children are 15, they'll be gone to college in 3 or 4 years, you don't want to be buying a puppy and looking ever it for the next 15 to 20 years. So the timeline might be appropriate for you.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: In honor of the ASPCA's adopt a pet month, that's exactly what we're talking about, the benefits and considerations about adopting an older pet. My guests are doctor Katy Allen and carol Paris, and we're taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. We do have a caller on the lineup. John is calling us from Kensington.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning good morning thank you for having this show. We, our family, two and a half years ago adopted a very nice dog from an Orange County organization that puts the dogs in a 12-week program at a local prison up in San Diego County. So a prisoner who is his or her best behavior gets to have the dog in a crate in their jail cell, and twice a day, they go off for an hour and train the dog for 12 weeks.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Oh, wow. So what kind of training did you get with your dog? Did you --

NEW SPEAKER: Well, the dog was fully trained. So they go to Orange County and LA County, and the society type places, dog pounds and they find a dozen or so dogs that have -- that will probably be able to work together with each other, and because they're gonna be in a small confined area the at the prison walking area, and the prison is designated an area for these dozen or so prisoners to go twice a day and train the dogs.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So you adopted one of these older dogs. Do you still have this dog.

NEW SPEAKER: We do. The dog is about seven. The program has changed names. I don't have the name of the program. But maybe later on today, I could give it to you and you could put it on your website.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: John, thanks so much for calling I appreciate it. I've never heard of that program.

KATY ALLEN: I've never heard of that program, but there are lots of rescue organizations in San Diego County that take in dogs all the time and cats also. So if you're looking for a particular breed you want, you can go on-line and Google them, and see what kind of animals they have available. There's plenty of resources out there.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: When you go to a shelter, and most people sort of pas up the adult cats and dogs. They just hone in on the puppies and the kittens. And so how do you turn that mentality around? Do you have any advice?

KATY ALLEN: Well, I think if you do your research beforehand, and you know what it is you're looking for, and maybe you are one of these families where a more sedentary is more important or you don't have the time for training, then go and look with that in mind. I am looking for an adult dog or I am looking for an adult cat. Put your blinders on, walk past the cute little puppy. And just really focus on exactly what it is your family and your situation needs. It's tough to pass them up. But those puppies will all be adopted. But the poor old one stuck in the corner won't be, unless you want to step up and be a hero. And you will be paid back in spades by that animal. You really will.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And carol in.

CAROL HARRIS: Well, I think as people as Katy said, need to be realist, and a lot of times we're not, we're just sucked in by a cute face. But as my mother used to say, cute is as cute does. So when you get the dog, really that important is gonna shine through. And you need to be realistic about what you're gonna be able to give the dog. A lot of us aren't able to give the puppy what they need. That's a lot of time and training and exercise and so on. But a lot of these older dogs can just walk into your home and be part of the family today. As opposed to we've gotta wait until that dog finally matures whenever that may hopefully happen.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right. We've gotta wait until the puppy stops crying at night or stops crying when people leave in the morning. We're taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. Heather is on the line from La Mesa. Good morning, heather and welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: Hi. How you doing?

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Great.

NEW SPEAKER: This message -- message? This question is for Carol. But I also wanted to share, I have an adult dog we adopted when he was won, and he's been a wonderful dog. And in fact, carol, you've met him, this is Congo, you've seen him almost every Saturday. This is Heather Prizo.

CAROL HARRIS: Hello, Heather.

NEW SPEAKER: But anyway, my question is this, we thought about getting an adult cat. We have two adult cats at home. And one of -- the older one, he's eight. He has had urinary tract infections in the past. They have been treated. But now he got in a horrible habit of peeing outside of the litter box. Of and so I don't know if it's behavioral or what. But we wondered if we were to bring another cat home, if he would just start peeing everywhere. So I can take your answer off of the air.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Thank you for the call, heather.

CAROL HARRIS: Well, the likelihood is, first of all we need to find out what your initial cat is doing what he's doing, and if it's behavioral or if it's health wise, first of all, of course, getting him checked by the vet. Second of all, talking to me on Saturday at the soccer game, about maybe working on that problem. But cats are going to urinate where other cats have urinated. So the likelihood is, if you bring in a cat and you've already got a problem, you're going to double your problem with that until you get your first problem solved. I never recommend people get an animal when they've got one that has a problem because the other animals learn my modeling, and they're going to pick up those bad habits. Unfortunately, I don't know why animals do this, they pick up bad habits a lot faster than they pick up the good ones.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Sounds like a big mess, doesn't it Katy?

KATY ALLEN: It does.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Victoria is on the line from Encinitas. Good morning, Victoria and welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning. This is a great show. I just wanted to say I'm a person who -- I go past the puppies and the kittens, as cute as they are. I like getting older animals, one, as you said, you know the temperament. You see what you're getting. With a puppy or a kitten, you have to wait and find out what develops. And secondly, I'll an adult with a disability. So I just don't move that fast. And an older animals perfect for me. An older dog that isn't as buoyant. Because I just can't keep up with a puppy, but, you know, a dog that's seven and above, maybe ten, who loves to take walks but likes to take them slower is perfect for somebody like me.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Certainly. Thank you so much for calling in, Victoria, I appreciate it. And I want to let everyone know our number is 1-888-895-5727. One thing that occurs to me though, when you see -- when you go into the shelter and you see an older dog or cat, it would occur are to me, what kind of baggage is this animal bringing with him? What kind of life have they had before?

CAROL HARRIS: I think you need to be understanding, first of all because of our economy right now, a lot of wonderful animals are being placed in shelters because people are losing their homes or jobs and they just can't afford them. These dogs and cats don't necessarily have baggage. I mean if you -- if you have a background on them, and a lot of them do come with a background. They do come with, we had this dog for 4 or 5 years or whatever, and we just can't care for it. A lot of them don't come with baggage. That's kind of a misconception. You have to get in there and interact with the dog or cat, and really try and make that connection. If that connection's there you probably aren't getting a pig in a poke, as my mother used to say. But there's a lot of animals out there that are losing their homes due to the economy, not due to anything that they have done wrong.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right. Katy, do animals miss their former owners and human friends?

KATY ALLEN: I'm sure they do. But again in my experience, it does seem to settle in very well, the fact that they have had a family and a home and whatever, that they can read people, they can read people's voices and their body language and walk into a new home and gauge the situation very well and quickly and settle in. And you might find the first few days they're still a little bit depressed and quiet, but they very much live in the now, again like children, how are things going now, and they take off and they fit in really, really well.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What about if you come upon an older animal that hasn't been spayed or neutered? Can you do that at an older age.

KATY ALLEN: Absolutely, you can. And it's still a very good idea to do that. And certainly if you're going to pick up an older animal, you want to know what health problems you might be taking on. Because certainly middle age and on, just like us, things start to break down, so if you get an older animal the pound, I would go take the pet to see your veterinarian as soon as possible. And get an examination, see if they have been spayed or neutered, it's still very worthwhile spaying and neutering them if they haven't within. Bad behaviors from not being neutered are now behavior driven rather than hormone driven, but it can improve things, and with the females you're going to avoid the old age things that come with unspayed females, like something called a pyometra, which is when the uterus gets infected, urinary cancer, uterine cancer. So it's definitely worth doing that.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We are talking about adopting a senior pet for adopt a senior pet month. And we're taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. Joanne's calling us from Del Mar. Good morning Joanne and welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning. I just wanted to let you know about my experience. My cat, Tom boy, died in the end of February. He would have been 19 in March. And I had a chance to adopt a 12-year-old, Aussie, and through my daughter whose friends could no longer keep her, and we bought -- so I got her in March. We bonded right away. She's been wonderful. And she's just been -- it's been a wonderful experience to have her as company. She is in the hospital right now because she just had surgery for a mass in her liver. But I'm hoping to bring her home tomorrow and I'm look forward to that. So I just wanted to let you know about my experience.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Joanne, did you ever think of before adopting an older cat had all of your other pets been adopted as kittens or puppies.

NEW SPEAKER: Well, I would have possibly thought about it except that this opportunity came up. And I knew my dog is Sidney, and I know her parents, and they have been friends for a long time. And they just wanted a good home for her. So that was just the right opportunity for me.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Well, thank you so much for calling in and legals us hear your story. I appreciate it. Again, though, and we'll talk more about this, there is that idea of health problems being associated as pets get older.

KATY ALLEN: Exactly, and so you will be seeing me or your veterinarian a little more often, and that's an experience that you need to work out for your budget, or get pet insurance. I certainly would recommend that. But as we get older, we all of us spend much more time at the doctor than when we ever did when we were young.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We have to take a short break. When we return we will continue to take your calls. You can tell us your story about senior pets during adopt a senior pet month. You're listening to These Days on KPBS.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, you're You're listening to These Days on KPBS. And the ASPCA is asking you to perhaps consider choosing an adult dog or cat, especially this month when you're choosing a pet. It's adopt a senior pet month, and we're asking for your phone calls, your questions, and your stories about having an older pet at home. Any questions or comments you might have. My guests are doctor Katy Allen, she is the owner of Canterbury tails veterinary services, and carol Harris is a dog trainer, the owner of the Educated Pet. We're taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. One thing I think we should clear up and that is in the open I said that pets live a lot longer than they used to. How much longer? What are you looking at as a life span now for a dog or a cat?

KATY ALLEN: For a Kitty, high teens easily. 17, 19, 20, the lady who just lost her 19-year-old cat, that's not uncommon. My last cat made it to 19. So that's not uncommon at all. With dogs it varies a lot more with their size. If you get yourself a little dog, you may have that dog easily for 16, 17 years. If you get a Great Dane, maybe only 6 or 7. So it varies. But yes, a long time. So we do see a lot of old age diseases, but they be around a long time.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: How do you begin to judge the quality of life, when she said life subpoenas are growing by leaps and bounds?

CAROL HARRIS: I think you do it the same way as you do with people. Is the dog or cat happy, are they eating well, are they still enjoying the things that they've always enjoyed? Maybe shorter walk, but they're still enjoying going out for their walk. Maybe they play for 20 seconds rather than two hours. It's a matter of, I think quantity, are they still happy for these things that they like? Are they still greeting you? Are they in pain? Are they in great discomfortable? As long as they're happy and they're still doing the things that they've always liked to do, I think their quality of life is very good.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Because I think everyone these days has been -- has seen the little dogs you're talking about just trying to make it. And you can just tell they're very, very old, and they're just hobbling along, but they still seem to be going out for walks.

KATY ALLEN: And as long as they are still asking you to take them for a dog, that's very very good. If you're dragging them on the leash that's definitely a sign. But they do, they want to keep going, and just like when you're young, you think I couldn't possibly live with they bad back, and when you get there, you see it's possible and it's fine.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We're taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. Joella is calling us from Poway, good morning Joella, welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning. Thank you. I have a question for carol. How is the best way to introduce your newel adopted senior dog into your home with a couple of other dogs and cats.

CAROL HARRIS: Oh, that's a really good question. When you're adopting any pet and you have pets at home, it's possible to do an introduction off sight, meaning out of your home environment, that's usually a really good idea, first of all, let's introduce them, see if they have any interest in one another or if there's gonna be any difficult of that's generally harder to do with cats but for dogs I would definitely recommend an off site introduction. And take everybody for a walk at one time, rather than just bringing your new dog into the living room and saying here, face it. Sometimes dogs aren't fond of dogs coming into their territory. Cats may not be either. So you want to make sure that you do it very slowly, if you're bringing a cat into the home, I don't know if Katy, but I always recommend Katy, bringing that cat in a separate room, and letting your other Kitties know that the other Kitties are there, they know, they can play paddy cake under the doing and do your introductions very slowly. Most people end up with problems when they try to do those introductions too quickly.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Katy, any additional tips.

KATY ALLEN: No, I think she's right on. Especially with the kitties. The new Kitty has to have their own room, the new cat's territory, the spare bedroom or wherever you've given your new cat. And that seems to go pretty well. I just took in two new kittens so I'm living through this right now.

CAROL HARRIS: Lucky you.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And is it working?

KATY ALLEN: It's working. But it's a lot of working it's a lot of frustration, my daughter talked me into it, so every now and again, she hides from me. Whereas an old cat would just come and curl up on my lap, if I've got a senior cat. I'm watching television and all of a sudden I get a kamikaze kitten on my head. Are you really prepared for this?

CAROL HARRIS: I will say the biggest challenge in that introduction thing is introducing a dog into a house that has cats. If you've got cats, they haven't lived with dogs prior, and you decide for whatever reason to adopt a dog, be it a puppy or know older dog, that can really throw your poor cats into a panic mode. So you want to make sure your cats always have a safe place they can go that does not include the dog. You want to make sure a room is designated for them, or that they have high shelving where they can sit and look at the dog and say nah, nah, nah. You can't get me.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Monica is calling from Northpark.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning. Thank you so much for such a great program. A little experience I had at the humane society off of friars road many years ago, I was looking for a cat, not sure of the age, it didn't really matter, and my back was to some people behind me looking at a 13-year-old beautiful princess is her name, and I heard the little girl loved the cat, but the father said, no, no, she's too old. And so I turned and I -- Princess looked at me, I look would at her, I said you're coming home with me. But the most thrilling thing when I did the paperwork and the staff there all gathered around and said, princess is going home, princess found a home! And they were so thrilled that this older cat found a home and I had her, she was 13, and I had her till she was 21.

KATY ALLEN: Wow.

NEW SPEAKER: So yeah.

KATY ALLEN: I have a feeling that the family might have been planted there.

CAROL HARRIS: Good for you.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Monica, thank you for sharing that story. That really does say it all in a nutshell doesn't it.

KATY ALLEN: Absolutely it's wonderful.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Hillary is calling from San Diego. Good morning Hillary welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: Hello. I am a veterinarian in the area as well, hi doctor Allen.

KATY ALLEN: Hello.

NEW SPEAKER: Hello. And I just wanted to let everybody know about an event that's gonna be happening on Saturday, November 27th, that's the weekend, just after Thanksgiving. And it's fully a gray muzzle adoption event. So many, many of the rescue groups in the area are going to be getting together and sponsoring this event. There's gonna be, I believe so far we have a could you want of 75 to a hundred adoptable senior animals and it's going to be from ten until three at the Petco on sports Arena boulevard.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: A gray muzzle event. I've never heard that borrow.

KATY ALLEN: That sounds fantastic.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Thank you for calling in, Hillary. One point I wanted to make is if you introduce an older pet into a home that has small children, are there any considerations that you have to -- I mean, you think of small kids and puppies and kittens. Can an older dog, are an older cat take that kind of attention?

CAROL HARRIS: Sometimes they do better.

KATY ALLEN: Yes, yes, if you have a history on them, they may have come from a family with children. So you already know they're good with children. You don't know if the puppy you're going to be raising is going to be good with children. Again, ask the history. So you may actually be doing a better job with that. Essential, a very old arthritic dog that doesn't see or hear very well is not gonna do great with toddlers that creep up behind you and grab your tail and pull it.

CAROL HARRIS: Another thing is training your children and making sure that the abuse they're heaping upon these animals is as little as possible. But a bigger dog can often take a little bit more of a toddler falling on them or laying on them than a puppy can. The a puppy's gonna get frightened or try and run away or squeal or bite and may react in an adverse way where's these older dog, they've seen it, they have been here, they've done this. They can handle it.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Pat's calling us from Escondido. Good morning, pat, and welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning thank you for taking my call. I'm a volunteer at the Escondido humane society on Saturdays. Of and this past Saturday I had the pleasure of walking one of our little Pomeranians who's available for adoption. She's 13 years old.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Wow.

NEW SPEAKER: Yeah, and she seemed like she was great. She walked well on a leash, she didn't seem arthritic. She was a sweet heart. I'd love to take her home with me, but I already have one that I adopted from there. A Shih Tzu, and he's a seven-year-old that's full of life. So I'm very fortunate.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Pat, I wonder, as carol was mentions, are you seeing more older animals showing up at shelters?

NEW SPEAKER: Well, we have a lot of senior animals. And yes. And it's unfortunate but with the economy the way it is, and foreclosures, etc, unemployment, a lot of people have had to surrender their animals, which is really a shame for the animal.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Well, thank you for the phone call, and thank you for letting us know that there's a great older dog up there walking around. I'm wondering, when you introduce an older animal into your home, you said, Katy, that you have to be prepared to encounter some medical expense. What are the kinds of things that you might be seeing?

KATY ALLEN: Well, dogs and cats sort of have different aging diseases. Dogs, arthritis is a big thing. So you might need to have them on some medication for that. You may be looking to have X-rays taken to get that diagnosed. There are all kinds of food additives and diets for arthritis. It will be an additional expense of cats often will have problems with their kidneys, over active thyroid and diabetes are the three most common old aged diseases of cats. And those all require monitoring and medication, and again, that's an expense as well. So there's -- nothing's free, apparently. I don't know why God made it that way. But nothing's for nothing. So you will have to be -- take that into account when you're making this decision.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now you mentioned insurance. Can you get insurance for an older animal?

CAROL HARRIS: Oh, absolutely, you have to do your research of there's a lot of pet insurance companies out there, and actually call the companies and talk to them, don't get stuck on the on line mode of just reading things. Actually call and talk to a human being. But there's a lot of variance in what they will take. And what you can get insurance on. It's -- it is quite hard, honestly, to insure a 13-year-old animal, for example, that has never been insured before, but a 6 or 7-year-old animal, certainly you can do it. And you just need to do your research, but insurance is a great thing for pets, you know, medical insurance is a great thing for pets.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let's take another call. Colleen is calling from Carlsbad. Good morning colleen welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning. Thank you. I recently adopted an older dog from the Escondido humane society, in fact, and there were a few things I wanted to point out that might help people who are trying to consider it of.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We might only have time for one.

NEW SPEAKER: Okay. It's free. It's a compassionate adoption. My pet was a stray, he was spayed, he got his shots, he got a chip, I had a free vet opportunity if I wanted. And all of that was great. I took him home and introduced him to my cat, and they work out well together. He's been a great companion, he needs a little more exercise than I thought because he's maybe a little bit younger than they estimated. But that's fine for me. But I would encourage people to do it. Escondido humane society has a great older adoption specialist, look on line, note the descriptions of the dogs. I found out a couple of things that I should request, like a dog who could stand to be left alone while I went to work during the day. But they found an animal that fit all of my needs, and I apparently fit his. He came to work with me today we're going to doggy obedience graduation day later on.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Colleen, thank you.

NEW SPEAKER: And it's just been great.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Thank you so much. That was a great call. Thanks so much. In the remaining time we have left because this is the last pet show we're going to have, I believe, before the holidays. We always ask for some holiday tips when it comes to dogs and cats, perhaps they shouldn't be allowed to eat in the kinds of ways that they can kind of combine with families to have a wonderful holiday. So if you could just briefly give us some tips Katy and Carol.

KATY ALLEN: Well, my major ones are no Turkey skin, no ham, no bacon. Keep the chocolate away, and be really, really careful about that sort of thing. And make sure all your house guests know the rules.

CAROL HARRIS: And my number one is you're gonna have a lot of people around, and your animals may not be used to those people. You may have children around that the animals are not used to, you may have older people with walkers and the animals are not used to. Give your cat or dog a lot of time out, away from the crowds. Don't make them over stimulated. Don't force them into loving everybody because they're not quite ready for it, and you're not ready for it because you're busy being a host.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Are there any holiday treats you can give them?

KATY ALLEN: No.

[LAUGHING]

KATY ALLEN: I'm hard line on that.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: You are a hard line person.

KATY ALLEN: Oh, I'm tough, man.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Maybe we'll sneak in one but we won't tell you. Doctor Katy Allen, thank you so much.

KATY ALLEN: My pleasure as always.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Doctor Katy Allen is owner of Canterbury tails veterinary services. And Carol Harris, thank you. She is the owner of the Educated Pet. There were so many calls. We couldn't get to all of you online -- I mean, on the air, so please do go on-line, KPBS.org/thesedays. Thanks for listening, you've been listening to KPBS.

Comments

Avatar for user 'MayasMum'

MayasMum | November 10, 2010 at 11 a.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Thank you for discussing the issue of adopting older pets! My family adopted a 9-year-old female cat from a scheduled euthanasia when her family didn't want to deal with her ongoing hairball issue. We spent about $600 on a dental procedure to rid her of most of her rotten teeth and a full blood panel (which came back perfectly normal) and have since started her on Laxatone for her hairballs. What we initially spent getting her up to speed in the veterinarian's office has been returned back to us in spades. She's incredibly loving and social, and since her dental has returned to a normal weight and plays like a kitten. She brings so much joy to this household, and we are so thankful to have her in our family. I would encourage everyone to give older pets a chance. It's worth it!

( | suggest removal )

Forgot your password?