What is Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week?

by Hannah Roundy

Every pet deserves a loving home–even less-adoptable pets that might need special love and care. That’s why we celebrate Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week each September!

Pets who are older or have health issues are often the last to be adopted from shelters. They can spend months and even years waiting to be adopted. Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week was started to give these pets an opportunity to find their forever home. 

Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week occurs annually on the third week of September. In 2022, we are celebrating Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week from September 19th-25th. 

During this time, many shelters will advertise free or discounted adoptions fees for less-adoptable pets so that they can find a loving home. You can even find less-adoptable pet adoption events during this time at your local shelter. 

What Types of Pets Are “Less-Adoptable”?

The ASPCA says it takes shelter animals about 12.5 weeks to get adopted. Pets who are in shelters for 48 weeks or longer are classified as “less-adoptable”. 

Dogs can be considered less-adoptable based on their breed and coloring. Breeds that are known to be aggressive or even less-attractive are adopted less. Black and dark-colored dogs are known to be the last dogs to be adopted in shelters. 

Senior dogs and dogs with disabilites are also less-adoptable. People may think that because a dog is older or handicapped that they are more difficult to own. But this is not always the case! Depending on the pup, many disabled and senior dogs can be a welcome addition to your home. 

Tripod Dogs

Three-legged dogs are often called a “tripod dog”. These pups are considered less-adoptable because on first glance, a tripod dog seems like a challenge.

Most people think a tripod dog needs special medical attention–but this is a myth. PetMD mentions that after a dog’s leg is amputated and rehabilitated, they normally don’t require additional veterinary care. 

The only thing to worry about with a tripod dog is their comfort and joint health. The lack of a limb can cause more stress on a dog’s hips, joints and spine. Vets recommend giving a tripod dog supplements with glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM to help with joint health. 

Tripod dogs can still safely exercise and play like any other dog. In fact, it’s important to keep them fit and at a healthy weight to create less stress on their joints. 

There is typically no need to modify your home for a tripod dog–but you can do a few things to make them feel comfortable. For people with hard-floor homes, you can try no slip dog-socks or booties so your tripod dog doesn’t fall. Dog steps and ramps can also be purchased to help your pup easily access high-up spots like beds or couches. 

Hearing-Impaired or Deaf Dogs

Just like humans, dogs can lose their hearing as they get older. Dogs can also be born deaf or lose their hearing from a traumatic injury to the ear. 

Many pet parents don’t want to take on the task of caring for a deaf dog, but it’s not as difficult as you may think. VCA Hospitals say that deafness is not linked to other health conditions–so you can have a perfectly healthy deaf dog. 

Even if a deaf dog can’t hear, their other senses are heightened. Deaf dogs are known to pay close attention to their surroundings and learn commands very quickly. They will look to their pet parents for guidance if they are unsure of what to do. 

You can train a deaf dog commands with hand signals and body language. Many dog trainers specialize in teaching deaf dogs, as well. With many resources available to help you care for a deaf dog, they are an amazing pet to have in your home. 

Dogs in Wheelchairs

Dogs with mobility issues like arthritis, paralysis or hip dysplasia may need a wheelchair. A dog in a wheelchair may also have missing hind legs. But as long as you are caring for these pups properly, a dog in a wheelchair shouldn’t be considered less-adoptable. 

It can seem overwhelming when a dog needs a wheelchair, but it can help your dog live a happier, healthier life. There are wheelchairs for hind leg support and full support, depending on their needs. 

A dog in wheelchair can still play, run and walk as long as they fit comfortably. Many wheelchairs will still allow the dog to go to the bathroom like normal, as well! As long as your dog is supervised, they will stay safe and secure. 

You can open your home to a dog in a wheelchair by making sure they have enough space to properly navigate. Try to keep objects off the floor that might a dog in a wheelchair might stumble on. Keep stairs and steps in your home to make sure they can painlessly get to hard-to-reach spots. 

Blind Dogs

Similar to hearing-loss, dogs can lose their vision as they get older. A blind dog may have lost their vision as a puppy due to cataracts, glaucoma or Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS). 

Caring for a blind dog may be a challenge, but it shouldn’t make a pup less-adoptable. Blind dogs can still play, train and be a great companion. 

Similar to a deaf dog, blind dogs have heightened senses and can rely on smell, touch and hearing to get around. You can use scent markers and texture maps to help your dog navigate around your house.

The best way to help a blind dog is to let them learn. DogTime says that carrying the dog won’t help them learn the best way to get around. But you can help them by moving sharp or pointy objects out of their way and avoiding drops or staircases. 

Senior Dogs

Naturally becoming blind, deaf or handicapped can all come with old age–which is why senior dogs are classified as less-adoptable. Many prospective pet parents also worry that they might not get enough companionship from senior dogs since they have less time to live. 

Even if there are reasons not to adopt a senior dog, there are so many more reasons why you should. 

Senior dogs are a great option for people who have less time to exercise because they burn their energy in much shorter bursts than younger dogs. That means they can get their exercise in playtime and short walks. 

Since they are less energetic, a senior dog is typically out of the chewing and biting stage. They are less likely to get into trouble and more likely to spend time snuggling up with you. 
Most senior dogs are house-trained, so you won’t have to worry about accidents. You can teach an old dog new tricks, as well! At any age, dogs are still capable of learning new commands. 

How can I celebrate Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week?

The best way to celebrate Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week is to spread the word! Tell your friends and family about less-adoptable pets and encourage them to adopt one. You can share photos of your less-adoptable pup o social media to raise awareness. 

Consider adding a less-adoptable pet to your family. Many shelters have special adoption events just for this week! If you aren’t in the position to do this, you can always donate to your local shelter and try volunteering. 

Treat your less-adoptable pet with Sundays for Dogs! Our USDA beef recipe is made for all-life stages, meaning it provides complete and balanced nutrition for dogs of all sizes, ages and breeds. 
Try Healthy, Easy Sundays