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Caring for Senior Pets

Senior pets, especially senior rescue pets, can be some of the most loving and loyal companions you’ll ever have. While they may have a few more grey hairs and a bit of wear and tear, these golden oldies can bring immense joy into your life. Caring for senior pets requires some special attention and understanding to ensure their golden years are comfortable and happy. Here are our top tips for taking care of senior rescue pets.

  1. Vet Visits Are Essential
    Regular veterinary check-ups become even more critical as pets age. Make sure your senior rescue pet has a comprehensive examination at least once a year. These check-ups can help detect and address age-related health issues such as arthritis, dental problems, and organ function decline. If you’re in the Sydney area, you might be pleased to know that the Sydney Dogs & Cats Home now offers vet services to the public, providing expert care for your senior pet. Discuss with one of our friendly vets or with your vet about any specific concerns related to your senior pet’s breed or history. It’s a wonderful way to ensure your beloved companion’s golden years are filled with health and happiness.

  2. Proper Nutrition
    Senior pets often require specialised diets to support their changing nutritional needs. Your vet can recommend senior pet food with lower calories to prevent obesity and supplements that might aid in joint health. Feeding them a balanced and age-appropriate diet can help manage common senior issues such as weight gain and dental problems.

  3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
    Senior pets are more prone to obesity, which can exacerbate age-related health problems. Be mindful of portion control and monitor your pet’s weight regularly. Exercise them appropriately to keep their muscles and joints in good shape. Consult your vet for advice on the best exercise regimen for your senior rescue pet.

  4. Provide Comfort and Mobility
    Older pets can struggle with arthritis and joint pain. Make their lives more comfortable by providing soft bedding and keeping their living environment warm. You might also consider installing ramps or steps to help them reach their favourite spots without straining their joints.

  5. Dental Care
    Dental health is a common issue in senior pets. Periodontal disease can lead to pain and even systemic health problems. Brushing your pet’s teeth and providing dental chews can help maintain their oral hygiene. Regular dental check-ups are also crucial to address any dental issues promptly.

  6. Mental Stimulation
    Senior pets, just like their human counterparts, can benefit from mental stimulation. Engage them with interactive toys, puzzles, and gentle play. This not only keeps their minds active but also strengthens the bond between you and your pet.

  7. Grooming and Hygiene
    Maintain a regular grooming routine to keep your senior pet’s coat clean and tangle-free. Older animals may struggle to groom themselves effectively, and mats or tangles can be uncomfortable. Additionally, check for lumps, bumps, or unusual skin conditions during grooming sessions to detect potential health issues.

  8. Medication and Supplements
    Some senior pets may require medication or supplements to manage chronic health conditions. Administer these as directed by your veterinarian and keep a close eye on any side effects or changes in their condition.
  9. Patience and Understanding
    Senior rescue pets may have experienced trauma or neglect in their past. Be patient and understanding of their behaviour. They may require time to adapt to their new home and build trust. Show them love, kindness, and consistency in your interactions.

  10. Addressing Increased Anxiety
    As pets age, they may experience increased anxiety, which can be attributed to various factors such as changes in their routine, cognitive decline, or past traumas. It’s essential to recognise that anxiety is normal for some senior pets and to address it proactively. If you notice signs of anxiety, like restlessness, excessive panting, or withdrawal, consult your veterinarian. They can recommend strategies to help alleviate your pet’s stress, which may include behavioural training, environmental modifications, or, in some cases, medication. Remember, understanding and addressing your senior rescue pet’s anxiety can significantly improve their overall well-being and quality of life. 

  11. Regular Love and Attention
    Last but certainly not least, shower your senior rescue pet with love and attention. Spend quality time together, offer affection, and cherish the moments you have with your furry friend. Senior pets have a lot of love left to give, and the bond you build with them in their golden years can be incredibly rewarding.  

Caring for senior rescue pets is a rewarding and compassionate choice. These older animals often have so much love to give, and by following these top tips, you can ensure they enjoy their senior years to the fullest. Remember, adopting a senior pet not only changes their life but can also enrich yours in ways you never imagined.

Love senior pets but don’t have one yourself? You can support the senior pets who come into the care of Sydney Dogs & Cats Home by donating to the Senior Pet Project. Click here to make a donation today.

Adventures of Jigglypuff: From Pokémon Battles to a Triumph of Resilience!

Meet our incredible feline friend, Jigglypuff, whose journey has been nothing short of extraordinary! This adorable kitty, not from the Pokémon world, has faced hardships but has emerged as a shining example of resilience.

Upon arriving at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home, we discovered that Jigglypuff had a previously broken leg that had healed improperly, causing discomfort. Our amazing vet team made the tough decision to amputate his leg and the tip of his tail, suggesting he might have had a fierce Pokémon battle before finding his way to us!

During his recovery, Jigglypuff found comfort in a foster home, embracing life as a tripod kitty with determination and courage. This little fighter made an incredible recovery and now showcases his vibrant personality for all to see.

Don’t let his missing leg fool you—Jigglypuff is an unstoppable force of joy! He loves chasing toys and playing with fellow feline friends. We are pleased to share that Jigglypuff found his forever home last month, and he is being showered with patience, understanding, and unconditional love. Jigglypuff’s new family appreciates his unique spirit and provides him with a safe indoor haven, so no more Pokémon battles ensue!

Jigglypuff’s transformation wouldn’t be possible without the unwavering support of our incredible community. Your generosity enables us to provide vital treatment and care to precious creatures like Jigglypuff. Together, we can make a difference!

Published: 4 August 2023

Adoption Success Story: Herbie

Herbie the cat (formerly known as Kawaii), is a feline with a striking panther-like appearance that immediately catches your attention. However, his sweet and affectionate nature is what truly captures your heart. Herbie found himself at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home in November of last year. He required an extended stay to receive treatment for dental disease and address his hyperthyroidism. Once he made a recovery from surgery and his hyperthyroidism was improving, Herbie embarked on his journey to find his forever home.

At the age of 10, the shelter environment was far from ideal for this cat who longed for sunny spots, playful toys, and the warm companionship of a human family. Fortunately, Herbie’s wait for a loving family didn’t last long. In late March, Ella and her family stepped forward and welcomed him into their lives with open arms. The adoption was a perfect fit, especially since they already had another 10-year-old black cat named Gary.

From the moment Herbie joined the family, he and Ella formed a strong bond. Herbie seems to be Ella’s constant companion, following her wherever she goes in the house. Even while Ella works from home, he finds comfort in his cat bed beneath her desk, complete with a cosy heat pack during the winter months.

Living a life of luxury like any cat deserves, Herbie even spends every night sleeping in the human bed with his cat sibling Gary. Apart from looking like a panther, Herbie also has some human tendencies and tucks himself into bed under the blankets and rests his little head on the pillow.

Ella happily reports that Herbie’s presence has had a positive impact on Gary, making him a happier cat. With his funny, cuddly, and chatty personality, Herbie has become an adored member of the family. Ella and her family can’t help but adore him and express how much they love him.

With his panther-like allure and endearing nature, Herbie has found his place in a loving home, making it clear that he was meant to be there all along.

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How Does Foster Care Work?

Anyone can foster as long as you are 18 years old or over, live in metropolitan Sydney and have access to your own transport.

You can foster cats, dogs, rabbits or guinea pigs! We provide everything you need and you provide the love.

Simply complete this short form and then we’ll give you a call to discuss.



If you are ready to make a difference in a rescue animal’s life, then don’t delay!

Goober Now in Sunny Queensland

Goober was found in Marrickville Park in the Inner West Council area and brought into Sydney Dogs & Cats Home in early July. Sadly he wasn't microchipped nor was he wearing a collar. Surely, we thought, someone would be looking for this delightful Shar-Pei boy. However, despite our best efforts and a social media call-out, no one came forward to reclaim Goober.

It quickly became apparent to the team that Goober wasn't enjoying his time at the shelter despite our best efforts to make his stay comfortable. We reached out to our trusted network of foster carers and to local foster-based rescue to no avail. No one was able to take Goober into their home, providing him with a more comfortable environment than the shelter as he sat waiting to be adopted. And sadly no one showed interest in adopting Goober providing him with a forever home.

Finally, after weeks of searching for a positive solution for our boy Goober, we identified a Shar-Pei rescue in Queensland who was able to take him into their foster-based network. However, before we sent Goober off, we needed to ensure we'd done our best to set this boy up for success. As is typical of the Shar-Peis entering our care, Goober was suffering from Entropion. A painful eye condition where the eyelids fold inwards, Entropion results in the lashes continuously rubbing against the cornea of the eye and which left untreated can lead to blindness.

Therefore before sending our boy off, we organised and funded, thanks to our donors' support, Goober's necessary corrective eye surgery and desexing.

Following a successful surgery, Goober returned to the shelter to recover from his procedures. And ten days later, after spending a total of 53 days in our care, we were able to purchase Goober transport on a flight from Sydney to Brisbane and into the welcoming arms of Shar-Pei Rescue.

It is not uncommon for dogs to struggle in the shelter environment like Goober. Therefore we are always looking to expand our capacity to care through our foster-based network. If you think you could offer a shelter dog a temporary home while they wait to be adopted, please click here to learn more about becoming a Sydney Dogs & Cats Home foster carer. 

Alicia, Proof that Cats Have More than One Life

A sweet little cat, who we named Alicia, recently arrived on our doorstep. She came into our care in a terrible state, after being found badly injured on the ground floor of a 13-story apartment block. We assume she had fallen off a balcony.

Seeing she was injured, the resident who found her contacted the local council ranger who quickly brought her into SDCH. Upon her arrival, we organised X-rays which revealed that this still affectionate ball of fluff, had a shattered front leg and a broken jaw.

The team immediately put her on pain relief and organised a surgery to save this girl's life. Due to the severity of her injuries, Alicia's front leg had to be amputated, and her jaw was wired to help the bones align and support the healing process. 

With an estimated cost of her surgery coming to $1,100, our team put up flyers in the apartment block where Alicia was found in the hope of tracking down her owner. Sadly no one came forward to claim this girl. However, thanks to the generous support of our community, we were able to raise the necessary funds required to cover the cost of Alicia's essential surgery.

Following a successful operation, Alicia was immediately placed into foster care with one of our volunteers. In her foster home, Alicia was given round the clock post-operative care and monitored closely. Truly on the road to recovery, Alicia's stitches have now been removed from the site of her leg amputation. In a few weeks, she'll be returning to the vet again to have the wiring from her jaw removed.

According to her foster mum, Alicia purred the entire time while at the vets having her stitches removed. An affectionate smoochy girl even with all the trauma she has experienced, Alicia is now ready to find her forever home. If you are interested in adopting Alicia, please contact the team via the enquiry button on her profile page here.


Five Years Missing

Last month was a little more unusual than most at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home.  Chicko and Merci were both reunited with their respective owners after being lost for years.  Both pooches went missing from their original homes five years ago, and within the space of three weeks, both were picked up as strays and brought into Sydney Dogs & Cats Home.  Chicko and Merci were microchipped and although both owners' original contact details (e.g. phone numbers, email addresses) had changed their mailing addresses thankfully remained the same.  Imagine their shock and delight to receive a notification in the post that after five long years, their beloved pooches were alive and waiting to be picked up and reunited with them.  Share in the tears of joy watching Merci's reunion with her mum here. Also, remember always ensure your pet is microchipped - it's the law in NSW - and keep all your contact details up-to-date.  At Sydney Dogs & Cats Home, our favourite event is a happy reunion!

Senior Pet Project: Gentle Blue

Blue, a sweet, nearly blind 12-year-old Fox Terrier, was found wandering the streets in Mount Pritchard. Not microchipped, Blue was brought straight into our care by a Ranger from Fairfield City Council.

Looking like a decrepit old man, it was evident when he walked there was something wrong. It only took a quick assessment by our dedicated vet team to discover that one of his testicles was abnormally engorged.

Blue, was then rushed straight into emergency surgery as the mass was swollen, descended and painful to the touch. The team was concerned that it may have been a tumour, a twisted testicle or a scrotal hernia.

Once Blue was prepped for surgery, X-rays revealed no evidence of the mass encroaching on his abdomen so a scrotal hernia was ruled out. Explorative surgery confirmed it was an enlarged testicle that was 5x its normal size. Both testes were then removed.

While under anaesthetic, Blue received a much-needed dental and bloods were taken to check for any other underlining health concerns.

Once out of surgery, Blue was put on pain relief and anti-inflammatories and placed into a loving foster care home to recover.  The results from Blue’s blood test indicates that he is at the early stages of kidney disease. 

Thankfully showing no clinical symptoms, Blue is now ready to find his perfect retirement home where he can enjoy his twilight years.

Caring for Carla


Carla, a 13-year-old Maltese-cross, came into our care as a stray.  As is the case with many of the senior pets entering the Home, Carla was not in the best condition. 

 With a mouth full of rotten teeth, a mammary tumour, and an inguinal hernia, what concerned our animal care team most was that Carla was struggling to urinate.

 She would urinated often, but always small amounts often tinged with blood.  Carla was quickly put on antibiotics and given pain relief, then taken to an offsite vet clinic to have her bladder drained and x-rays taken.

Our dear sweet Carla was then diagnosed with having an enormous bladder stone, a painful condition that was the result of the urine in her bladder crystallising over time.  She was then swept into surgery to have the bladder stone removed, her hernia repaired and the mammary tumour removed.

Carla then recovered in foster care where she transformed. She was much happier and was able to settle quickly as it was clear she was no longer in pain and was able to urinate normally.

Thanks to a clean bill of health, her second surgery was arranged to address Carla’s dental issues and the removal of a few problem teeth. 

Being such a sweet girl, it comes as not surprise that Carla found her forever home with her foster carer.

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