There’s nothing more heartbreaking than seeing the grey
muzzle of a senior dog at the animal shelter. More often than not, senior pets
end up at the shelter for reasons beyond their guardian’s control, not because
of any misbehavior on their part. The death of an elderly parent; allergies of
a newborn child; housing restrictions caused by an unexpected move: any of
these can force a perfectly well-behaved, slightly older dog into homelessness.
Read on to learn why senior dog adoption is so important.
Here are the top five reasons you should consider adopting a senior dog:
1) What you see is what you get.
When you adopt a puppy, they are still developing their personality and settling into their adult behavior. When you opt for a senior dog adoption, there will be fewer surprises. Older dogs are typically housetrained and are unlikely to exhibit boisterous puppy behavior such as jumping up, destructive chewing or an over-the-top need for play.
2) You’re saving two lives.
Each year, millions of dogs end up in animal welfare organizations. That’s an enormous number, one that completely overburdens shelters across the country. Most adopters are looking to adopt a younger dog, so senior dogs are often the ones who spend longer in the shelter or are the first to be euthanized when space is needed. By choosing senior dog adoption, you not only provide a safe, loving home for that dog, you also free up space for another dog to live in.
3) You’ll have an instant best friend who already knows the ropes.
Senior dogs have been around the block. Typically, they are already well-socialized with other dogs and people. That means that with little-to-no training, they’ll know that an open car door means “Jump in” and recognize routine commands like “Come” “Sit” and “Stay.” Most senior dogs are comfortable with leash walking, so you are likely to enjoy civilized walks from day one. In short, choosing a senior dog adoption will allow you to more easily integrate a new companion into your life without spending months and money on training.
4) Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks!
Contrary to the adage, senior dogs are more apt to learn new tricks because they have a longer attention span than their younger counterparts. If you are into training your newly-adopted dog, a senior dog who already has the basics down will be ready to move on to more advanced tricks sooner.
5) Save money!
At first glance it may seem like a senior dog will need more veterinary care than a puppy or young dog, but this is actually not true. Unless you specifically bring home a dog with special needs, most senior dogs in shelters are healthy and just need a new place to call home. They have already been spayed or neutered, are up-to-date on vaccinations, and are less susceptible to the many diseases that puppies are at risk of contracting.
If you’ve decided that senior dog adoption is the way to go, see who is looking for a home at petfinder.com. Or, if you’d prefer not to go to a shelter, there are individuals out there who are unable to keep their dogs and need to rehome them. Check out Get Your Pet to learn more about adopting a dog from one good home to another.
Senior dog adoption: looking for their next forever home
Lastly, it may sound silly, but because senior dogs have known a comfortable, happy life before finding themselves without a home, they are the most grateful companions. You’ll understand what we mean once you’ve completed your senior dog adoption!
Angela Marcus is a life-long animal advocate and co-founder of GetYourPet.com, the first nation-wide online pet adoption community that directly connects people who need to rehome a pet with people who want to adopt a pet.