Senior dogs are often overlooked when people visit a shelter or rescue. Younger dogs and puppies win out! But that grey muzzle just might mean you’ve found the perfect dog for you. A senior dog often has many wonderful, healthy years left and lots of love to give! Here are some reasons to consider adopting an older dog:
AGE IS JUST A NUMBER
There are many factors that determine when a dog is considered a senior dog, like size and breed. But typically, a dog is considered a senior when he or she is between 5 and 10 years old. Thanks to advancements in veterinary medicine, dogs are living nearly twice as long as they did just 40 years ago. We know that a good diet, lots of exercise, the right kind of mental stimulation, and lots of comfort and love should allow your senior dog many happy years with you.
YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GETTING
A fully-grown senior dog is a great choice if you know the type of dog that would best fit your lifestyle because the dog’s habits, personality traits, social needs, and energy levels are easier to determine. Also, information about the dog’s background might be available. The fact is that many senior dogs are relinquished due to unfortunate circumstances out of the previous owner’s control (such as a move, financial difficulty, etc.)
“Thanks to advancements in veterinary medicine, dogs are living nearly twice as long as they did just 40 years ago.”
OLD DOG, KNOWS TRICKS
Most senior dogs are already house trained and many know commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “down.” They also likely know what “No!” means, and do not exhibit the same difficult and destructive habits (like chewing, excessive barking, etc.) that puppies do. And yes! You can teach an old dog new tricks! Because senior dogs have longer attention spans, they are often easier to train with the use of positive rewards and consistency.
Since older dogs are used to human schedules, adjusting to having a dog in the house is not quite as big of a lifestyle change for you! This means no getting up with your puppy during the night if they need comforting, or until they learn to hold it until morning. Also, senior dogs usually don’t require the constant monitoring puppies do, and they tend to settle into their new environments more quickly than younger pups.
If you think a senior dog might be right for you, be sure to check out the ASPCA and Petfinder to discover all the great senior dogs near you that are in need of a forever home. You can also call around to your local shelter and rescue groups and let them know you are interested in adopting a senior dog. They – and you – will be thrilled to know that you are offering a loving home to a dog who surely misses having one!