There is a lot to consider when adopting a dog, and factors such as breed, gender, ability and age should not be overlooked. While many want to add a puppy or younger dog to their family, adopting a senior dog comes with its own list of benefits and rewards. And since November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, learning about what makes our senior companions so special may help in breaking the stigma around adopting an older animal. After all, we think senior dogs are some of the best and when it comes to opening your heart and home to a new furry companion, we’ve got some compelling reasons why an older dog might be the one for you!
1. They’ve Got Basic Training Down
Perhaps the biggest frustration in adopting a puppy is that often times, they come untrained and un-housebroken. Senior dogs, however, have been around the block a time or two and generally will come to you already knowing their basic commands, when and where to go potty, and how to behave. This means no 3AM potty breaks, no puppy-proofing the house, and no spending loads of money on treats, toys, training, and new shoes for the kids. Plus, even if your new companion does need some help with training, older dogs tend to listen better and are faster learners than their puppy counterparts. We guess you can teach an old dog new tricks!
2. No Huge Lifestyle Change
Adding any new dog to a home will require some changes and there will always be a transition period where people and pet must figure things out together. However, senior dogs are more likely to be calm, independent and require less constant care and attention from their new family. This means an easier transition for them, and no huge lifestyle change for you. Most senior dogs simply require a bed, a few soft toys, and lots of love from their new family. What more could you want?
3. They Come With No Surprises
Sometimes knowing exactly what you want in a dog before you bring them home can be helpful in creating lasting bonds and making sure that a new pet fits perfectly into their family. With puppies, it can sometimes be a mystery to know who they will grow into, especially if they’re a mixed-breed dog. With a senior pup, however, there are no surprises or unexpected traits. Most older dogs have already grown into their full size, shape, temperament and personality, and most adoption groups can tell you everything about the dog’s history so as to be able to match them perfectly with their new family. This is good news for you and the dog and ensures that you both get exactly what you want!
4. They Can Be Instant Companions
A lot of senior dogs come to rescues or shelters already used to being in a home environment. This means they know what it’s like to go through a daily routine with people and are eager to form bonds with their new family. Senior dogs know what it’s like to snuggle in bed or on couches, go for long walks on Sundays, or beg for some food off the table, and they’ll waste no time in getting back into that routine. In fact, they’ll be grateful for the opportunity and they’ll show it with instant love and companionship!
5. They’re Much Lower Maintenance
Every dog requires a level of love and care to live happy and full lives, but some require more than others. If you’re looking for less work when it comes to caring for a new friend, an older dog may be for you. Senior pups tend to require shorter walks, longer naps, and are much quieter and calmer than their puppy companions. Older dogs still like to play and be active, but to a lesser degree. You might just find that a nice, half-hour walk is all your pup needs to entertain him for the day, and the rest of your schedule can remain open for napping and snuggles!
6. They Still Have Lots of Love to Give
Older dogs might not be as active, adventurous or rowdy as a younger pup, but they’re still dogs. This means they still want to go for walks, get their bellies rubbed, chase squirrels through the yard, and snuggle up with you on the couch. Just because they’re older doesn’t mean they’ve lost their love for life or their need for companionship. Adopting a senior dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences as you watch them live out their golden years happy, healthy and in their forever home.
7. You Help to Save a Life
Adopting a dog of any age from a shelter or rescue helps to save a life by not only giving that animal a home, but providing space for another animal in need to enter. The sad fact remains, however, that senior animals are often overlooked and are some of the last to be adopted out into new homes. This can be stressful for the dog in their older age and stressful on the shelter to try and accommodate for them. When you choose to adopt an older pet, however, you help to remedy this situation as well as give your new dog the happy home that they deserve. It’s a win-win!
Choosing to open up your heart and home to an older pet in need can be one of the most rewarding experiences for the both of you. If you’ve been thinking of getting a new furry, family member, you might just be surprised to learn that a senior dog is the perfect pet for you!