Senior Chocolate Labrador

Adopting a Senior Dog

When looking for a new dog, people go right for the puppies. Cute, small and energetic, puppies will steal your heart! But adopting a senior dog might be a better choice for you.

While senior dogs may not be energetic, don’t overlook them in your adoption process. There are tons of reasons to adopt a senior dog.

Set the Record Straight

Charlie, 11 year old Labrador and Rottweiler MixFirst, most senior dogs are not put up for adoption because of “behavioral problems.” Surrendered senior pets happen for a variety of reasons out of their control. For example, an adoptable senior pet’s owner could be sick, moving, too busy or passed away.

Second, people assume an older dog will not have a strong connection with them. This is false! Rescued seniors dogs will quickly form devoted, loyal connections with their new owners. Older pets love their owner just as much, or even more than, a younger pet.

Pros

  • Cuddle Companions – Senior dogs are well past their puppy stage and have a lower energy level, so don’t need as much exercise. Senior pets make great cuddling companions. They are happy to go for a stroll around the block, come home and snuggle. 
  • Pre-Trained – Senior dogs are almost always trained in basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” Most are usually potty and leash trained as well. This will make adjusting to living and communicating with your new companion easy.
  • Old Dog, New Tricks – If your senior dog isn’t well trained, fear not! The old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is false. Older dogs are as smart as puppies and even easier to train because their attention span is longer.
  • TemperamentAn adult dog has an established temperament and demeanor. You will know exactly what you are bringing home. Most senior dogs have spent time around other animals or children, so they adjust to their new home quickly. Senior dogs are full grown, which means no puppy chewing, no surprises about size or adult coat. It also has an established health record.
  • Senior Friends – Senior dogs are also a great companion for a senior person. The dog will be a constant companion and provide company that matches a senior person’s energy. Senior dogs require less maintenance and cleanup.
  • Purebreds – If your heart is set on getting a purebred dog, breed specific rescues can help. 

Cons

    • Health Concerns – The health of your senior dog can become an issue as they age. This could require expensive vet visits or medications. Like people, dogs can develop diabetes, arthritis, cataracts or other problems.
  • Senior Black LabradorLimited Time Together – One of the biggest drawbacks of adopting a senior dog is the limited time an owner will have with them. The fear of becoming attached to a sweet dog only to lose it in within a few years is heartbreaking. These dogs deserve of love, comfort and happiness, even if it is only an extra few years. Give senior dogs a chance and they will return your kindness with endless love and affection.
Bringing a pet into your life is a big responsibility. Dogs older than five get adopted less and are therefore more likely to get euthanized. Adopting a senior dog gives you a loving companion and it also saves a life. Senior dogs aren’t for everyone, and that is OK. But before you do, consider saving an older furry friend first.

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