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Adopting a Senior Dog

Adopting a Senior Dog

By Patty Dobson

Commonly categorized as “senior” dogs by most veterinarians, many healthy, active dogs around the age of seven fill animal shelters and are in need of a loving home. It’s important to note that a dog’s size also affects this categorization, since smaller dogs develop slower and become “adults” later in life than larger dogs.

When looking for a new pet at a shelter, consider a senior -- they make awesome pets.

1. Adopting an older dog saves lives.
At shelters, dogs over the age of 5 are often overlooked and unfortunately the first to be euthanized if they’re not adopted by a certain window of time. Through adopting an older dog, you’re saving their life and providing them with a better one.

2. They usually come trained and understand basic commands.
While training a new puppy means starting at ground zero, an older dog will most likely be housebroken and may have had previous training.

3. They fit into your household with ease.
They make excellent companions for individuals of all ages, even seniors. They’re playful, yet also relaxed, making them great for those with children and those who don’t have the stamina to keep up with a young, energetic dog.

4. You can find the perfect companion.
If you’re looking for a pet with specific personality or physical attributes, it’s a lot easier to find an older pet that perfectly matches what you and/or your family are looking for. If you love a particular breed, chances are there’s a breed rescue club that will connect you with older pure breeds in need of homes.

5. They’re socialized.
Unlike their puppy counterparts, older dogs have spent years living with a family and are socialized with life with humans. Often housetrained, it only takes a few hours or a couple of days for them to learn their new house rules.

6. You can teach old dog new tricks.
Adult dogs are more focused than their younger counterparts, making them more attentive and eager to please their humans. If he/she needs to learn a few new things in their new life with you, you can contact a trainer or go the do-it-yourself route.

7. They have character.
What’s cool is that older dogs come with their own experiences, history, and unique personality.

8. Older dogs are relaxing to hang out with.
Calmer and less energetic, they aren’t full of wild energy to burn. Because you don’t have to spend time chasing or cleaning after your older dog, you have a lot more time to spend doing fun and relaxing things with them.

9. A degree of independence and predictability. 
An older dog doesn’t have to be fed or taken out as much, and they can be left alone for longer periods of time, without one coming back to a overturned home.

10. They’re less destructive.
Older dogs have gone through the destructive phases of adolescence and puppyhood. Often well past the search and destroy phase, you won’t come home to a chewed up favorite shoe, a chewed up table leg, or destroyed pillow.

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