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Why You Should Consider Adopting a Senior Dog

Senior dog lying in the grass, happy he got adopted

Adopting a dog is one of the kindest things a human can do. Adopting a senior dog may be even kinder. If you're visiting shelters or scouring available rescue dogs online, we urge you not to scroll past those dogs that are past their prime puppy years.

In fact, there are many advantages to adopting a senior dog.

How Old Is a Senior Dog?

As the saying goes, age is just a number.

Seniority doesn't hit all dogs at once. For smaller breeds, it takes longer while giant breeds can be considered seniors at the young age of 5. However, most dogs can be labelled as seniors once they're 7 or 8 years.

Determining if a dog is a senior also become tricky when dealing with shelter doggos. Often, shelter staff doesn't know the exact age of the dogs that enter their doors.

However, if a dog has become a bit white or grey around their muzzle, slowed down a bit in energy level, they're probably a senior.

Why Do Senior Dogs End Up at Shelters?

.Many senior dogs have found their way to a shelter because the original dog parent:

      • Passed away
      • Had to move into a place where dogs were not allowed
      • Could no longer care for the dog because of financial or health reasons
      • Became lost, confused, and was labelled as a "stray"

Of course, none of these are reasons for excluding these dogs as you look to adopt.

When planning to adopt a senior dog, remember that smaller dogs generally live longer than older dogs. This can mean more years of snuggles and love. it can also amount to a longer list of medical bills. So, you might want to consider that as you are getting ready to make your choice.

The many advantages of adopting an older dog

There are many good reasons to choose a senior dog when looking for a forever friend. Sure, they don’t have that puppy bounce anymore, but then, they don’t have that puppy bounce, so you won’t be chasing them around or picking up all the things that they have knocked over. 

1. Senior dogs are full of love

While they might not be full of puppy kisses, older dogs do not lack love and still can give their human parent a lot of affection. Many senior dogs know that they do not have a good chance of being adopted, so they are much more grateful when they are taken to their forever home and will quickly bond with their new parent.

2. They may not get adopted

Puppies are so cute and bouncy, so they naturally attract more attention. Not the case with most senior dogs. You might be their only chance to leave the shelter and find a home with the attention and love that they deserve.

Even senior dogs in no-kill shelters, senior dogs are a lot more likely to stay longer and experience more stress and trauma [1].

3. You know exactly how big your dog will get

So, how much is that puppy going to grow? You can never be sure, especially with mix-breed puppies from rescues. With a senior dog, what you see is what you get. It is full-grown from the time you first see them. You can count on them remaining the same size.

4. Calm = better

Older dogs are more sedate than puppies and younger dogs. They sleep more and require less exercise. This can be a huge benefit for people that work long hours.

Plus, there is less chance to come home and find that one of your kitchen chairs has been gnawed or your favourite pair of shoes has been shredded. No counter walking or returning home to find plants knocked over and dirt spread across the floor.

5. Many come potty trained

Most older dogs have been house broke for years, so there is much less chance of coming home to a piddle in the middle of the floor or a doggie doodle either. While there might be a few initial accidents, once the senior dog is adjusted to their new home and schedule, they will be few and far between.

6. Most already know tricks and leash etiquette

When you meet your senior dog, they will probably be trained. But you still may need to work with them a little bit on the leash and basic commands they may need to brush up on.

Remember–old dogs can learn new tricks. Don’t be afraid to add a couple of new tricks to their repertoire.

7. Seniors have better social skills

Senior dogs won’t be jumping up on everyone that comes through the door or nipping and nibbling on fingers and hands. This is especially important if you have kids around. They can be scared and intimidated when a dog jumps up on them and covers them with licks or nips at their hands.

8. Most are better with other dogs and pets

Already have a dog or there is a cat in your house? Well, you can do a meet and greet with your prospective dog and see if they are compatible with your current furry friends. If they have been around other dogs or small pets, you will quickly know if they will fit into your home.

Things to be aware of when viewing older dogs for adoption

an old dog outside and wearing a tshirt being patted on the head

As you meet senior dogs, you will want to watch for any signs that may not be ideal for your household or the amount of time you can devote to training.

Observe them for bad habits

Some senior dogs might have not been cared for properly or have developed bad habits. Most shelters will be aware of this and let you know if the dog you are interested in has any. But some issues can be treated. 

Separation anxiety, with training and medication, can be reduced. Bathroom and incontinence problems can be cured with doggy diapers.

Trouble walking?

Mobility can be an issue, especially if your intended adoptee has problems with their joints. With weight loss, improved diet, proper medications and mechanical devices can solve many of these issues.

Kids and cats

At this age, if a dog has problems with cats, there is little you can do to retrain them [2]. The same is true of dogs that are aggressive toward children. If there will be other little furry pets or kids in the house, it is best to pass up on an aggressive dog.

Other health issues

Senior dogs do have more health issues than younger dogs. You just have to ask yourself if any problems your senior dog has are deal-breakers. If they are not, work with your vet to give your new dog the best quality of life that you can.

Give an old dog a new chance

Senior dogs must get tired of getting attention from prospective forever families only to watch the family take home a younger dog. You can bet that they will be overjoyed if you snap the lead to their collar and guide them to your car.

Then once you bring your senior forever friend home, make sure that you provide them with what they need. Petzyo has a variety of healthy chews and supplements that can keep your doggo their healthiest. Order Kibble that Counts or Raw Royalty for them along with chew treats and toys that will help maintain their dental health. If they need extra vitamins and minerals, we have those as well. Give your senior doggo their longest and best life!

References

[1] https://www.bustle.com/p/if-youre-adopting-a-traumatized-dog-heres-what-experts-want-you-to-know-18009866

[2]https://www.dailypaws.com/dogs-puppies/dog-behavior/dog-psychology/what-does-it-mean-when-a-dog-has-strong-prey-drive