What Should You Expect If You Adopt A Senior Dog?

Written by: Paige Towers

May 9, 2019

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If you’re thinking about adopting a dog, don’t overlook the senior dogs patiently waiting for homes. Shelters are often filled with them. Although many people lean towards adopting or buying a puppy or young dog, older dogs also have many wonderful qualities. As well, like all dogs, senior dogs deserve a safe and loving home.

Senior dogs also make loyal and loving canine companions. In fact, people who have adopted senior dogs often talk about how rewarding the experience is as older pups are often grateful just to have a home and family. If you do decide on rescuing a senior dog, here’s what you can expect:

What’s A “Senior” Dog?

Susie's Senior Dogs

The word “senior” often receives an unfair negative connotation. Yet, a senior dog is simply the term most veterinarians use to describe a dog over the age of about 7 or 8. This age range can change depending on the size and breed of the dog though.

Giant breeds with shorter lifespans, like Great Danes, may be considered senior by the age of 6. Small or toy breeds, like a Chihuahuas or Jack Russell Terriers, might not be referred to as a senior dog until the age of 10-12. While there’s no exact number or set of factors, a senior dog can simply be thought of as a pup who has entered their golden years.

Why Adopt A Senior Dog?

There are many reasons why you should consider rescuing an older dog. Here are just a few:

Senior Dogs Often Turn Into Instant Companions

Chester senior dog and barkbox toy

To begin with, senior dogs often make wonderful, loving, and fun best friends. In fact, many senior dogs can participate in the same activities that their younger counterparts can, including walking, hiking, swimming, playing fetch, and more. Whether you’re cuddling on the couch or taking a stroll through the park, older pups are often immediately dedicated to the people who have saved them.

Senior Dogs Are A Better Fit For Many People’s Lifestyles

noodle the pug at barkbox in a small bed

Adopting a senior dog is also a great idea for people who have less time on their hands for training and care-taking. Older dogs are also a better match for less active and/or older people who can’t provide the intense levels of exercise and attention that young dogs need.

Unfortunately, millions of puppies and young dogs are given up for adoption, re-homed, or abandoned each year due. Why? People no longer want to take care of them once they become high-energy and destructive. More people adopting older dogs who better suit their lifestyles is one great solution to this issue.

Senior Dogs Often Come Already Trained And Have Social Skills/Manners

Chihuahua Eating Dog Treats Dog Food

Here’s one major benefit of adopting a senior dog: older pups usually come potty-trained. Better yet, they often already have social and obedience skills too. Socializing, training, and cleaning up after a puppy can be an overwhelming and exhausting amount of work. Yet, with a senior dog, you can immediately focus on the fun stuff without having to work overtime.

While not always true, senior dogs are also more likely to be socialized with other animals and people. This means no spending time and money on training classes, or worrying about their crazy antics. Older dogs may also be calmer and easier to control, thus making them more reliable when you’re out and about.

Senior Dogs Often Give Back Love And Companionship For Many Years

Fidel Chihuahua Chewing BarkBox Plush Tug Toy

Lastly, it’s a misconception that adopting a senior dog is less desirable due to their health and longevity. Many older dogs are still healthy and active. In fact, depending on the age and breed of your senior dog, you could likely spend five or many more wonderful years with them.

Of course, it’s always important to ask about your potential new dog’s medical background first—whatever their age. If the senior dog that you’re interested in needs medication or a medical procedure, you’ll want to consider your finances. Still, many dogs live into old age without needing much more than love and care.

Where Can You Adopt A Senior Dog?

Golden Retriever Licking Lips

Older dogs are available for adoption in shelters across the country. As some people tend to abandon dogs once they’re no longer as physically active, there are countless numbers of senior dogs searching for a home right now. Narrowing down your search to pups over the age of, say, 7, will leave you with an abundance of wonderful options.

Animal rescue groups also have older dogs in need of new humans. In fact, some rescues specialize in senior dogs only, as this group of dogs is so very much in need. Remember, by adopting a senior dog from a local shelter, you’re also very likely saving a life. Again, as many people are looking to adopt puppies and young dogs, seniors are the most common age group of dogs to be euthanized. Thus, the choice to adopt an older dog is an honorable one, which will likely be rewarded with many years of beautiful memories.

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Written by: Paige Towers

May 9, 2019

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