Should You Adopt A Senior Dog?

Old Dog 1

(Picture Credit: Purple Collar Pet Photography/Getty Images)

Thinking about adopting a dog? There are many things to consider when it comes to adoption. One of which is your potential new family member’s age. When we start to think about bringing a dog into our family and home, we often consider adopting a puppy. But there are many reasons to go against the grain and adopt a senior dog. In fact, it can be a fulfilling and life changing experience for those who do.

The first you should know is what makes an old dog a “senior.” Usually it depends more on the breed and size of a dog. A smaller dog will usually have a longer life span than larger ones.

In fact, a large breed like a Great Dane would be considered a senior by five years. Typically, seven years is about the age one would consider a dog a senior in most cases, but there’s a lot of variation.

When families go to shelters or kennels to adopt a new family member, they typically go straight to see the puppies. This sadly leaves senior dogs overlooked where they possibly live out their remaining years at the shelter.

Some might think senior dogs are there because they misbehaved or are hard to handle. But this stereotype is simply not true.

There are many reasons and circumstances senior dogs are left to shelters–from the unfortunate passing of their previous owner, to situations like financial hardship or owners moving somewhere their pets might not be allowed to follow. It usually comes down to the difficulty or inconvenience of a pet parent to take care of their dog.

Even then, senior dogs still have much love to offer any family looking to adopt.

Why Should You Adopt A Senior Dog?

As cute and playful as puppies are, they need a lot of attention and care. You’d be dealing with teething and potty training, among other things with a puppy as they destructively discover the world around them. Senior dogs have been around long enough that they will already be housebroken and do not need as much training as a young pup would.

Older dogs will already have established personalities of their own. They are less high-spirited than their younger counterparts, and thus they would be able to easily adapt to your lifestyle and home.

You also know exactly what you’re getting when you adopt a senior dog. When it comes to adopting puppies, you never quite know what they’ll grow into. With older dogs who are already full matured, you know exactly what they’re going to be like for the rest of the time you have with them.

Older dogs are also generally more independent and won’t need your full undivided attention at all times. When puppies are not getting the attention they want, they usually start looking for things they can gnaw on to pass the time—that means your shoes or toilet paper. But with senior dogs, they are able to amuse themselves by either taking a nap or playing with their toys.

Things To Consider When Adopting A Senior Dog

Old Dog 2

(Picture Credit: Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images)

Still, there are a couple things you might need to consider when adopting a senior dog.

The first thing to keep in mind is their health. The older any of us become, the more we need to pay attention to our health, as anything can come up. This also applies to senior dogs.

This can lead to numerous visits to the vet. Make sure you are financially stable and able to handle these events. Even if you bring home an older dog with a clean bill of health, they can still fall ill depending how old they are.

Another thing to consider is behavioral issues. They may have picked up bad habits in their past lives, like chewing on things they’re not supposed to or garbage surfing. It’s hard to un-learn a bad habit, but it’s not impossible. Seeing a pet behaviorist or local trainer might help.

So Is It Worth It?

The short answer is yes. Adopting a senior dog can be life changing and fulfilling. Old dogs are beautiful and gratifying pets like no others.

Sadly, there’s a high euthanasia rate for senior pups, as they are mostly overlooked when a family wants to adopt at a shelter. Considering adopting a senior dog can be a great decision, and you also might literally be saving a life.

You will definitely feel a lot of love and devotion if you adopt a senior dog. They are reliable pooches who just need a loving home. And yes, their time on earth might not be as long as you want it to be, but life is short for us all. These older pups will definitely remind us to make the best of our time here.

What do you think about adopting a senior dog? Are you considering adopting a sweet senior? Let us know in the comments below!