The reasons that people ultimately adopt a dog vary but choosing to adopt a senior dog has many benefits. One significant aspect that appeals to the masses is knowing what you are adopting.

Whenever you are considering adopting a new pet, there are endless factors that you will need to consider. If you choose to adopt a dog, those factors may shift but rarely does that list of factors shorten.

Adopting a dog is a major decision that will change not only your life but the life of whatever dog you adopt as well. Each stage of a dog’s life comes with its own list of pros and cons, so it can be hard to know if age really matters. When you consider adopting a dog, several deciding factors may lead to a person’s ultimate decision.
The determining aspects vary in importance by the potential owner and their personal preferences could include: Size, Coat, Temperament, Exercise, and Grooming.

8 Reasons Why You Should Adopt A Senior Dog

  • You Know the Dog You’re Adopting
  • Older Dogs Require Less Training
  • Older Dogs Require Less Exercise
  • Senior Dogs Are Calmer
  • Not All Senior Dogs Have Health Problems
  • You’re Steering Clear of Puppy Mills!
  • Your Rescued Pal Will Be So Thankful
  • “Senior” Isn’t Always As Old As You May Think!

You Know the Dog You’re Adopting

While adopting a puppy may seem like the preferred option, you never quite know what kind of dog you’re bringing home. Older dogs have had time to settle into their personalities and are developed into their full character. This helps to know what their temperament truly is. Being full grown also helps to know what their coats are like, as changes are minimal once a dog has reached maturity.

Fun Fact:

Some dogs don’t stop growing until they are around two years of age, according to the American Kennel Club.[1]

Older Dogs Require Less Training

If you aren’t sure if you’ll be able to dedicate the time necessary to train a puppy, you should absolutely consider giving love to an older dog. Senior dogs have had years of experience before you and have more than likely had training before you as well. This means when you adopt your dog, they may already be:

  • Housetrained
  • Leash-trained
  • Off leash-trained
  • Socialized

Older Dogs Require Less Exercise

Every dog is going to require exercise, and if that is not necessarily your forte, maybe you should consider adopting a fish instead. Senior dogs won’t need as much exercise as their younger counterparts, but they still enjoy going on a nice walk with you!

Let your senior dog go at their own pace with exercising. While their bodies may slow down as they age, they still need to exercise to maintain their quality of life.[2]

Senior Dogs Are Calmer

With youth comes near-endless energy. A life filled with responsibility may mean you do not have the amount of time needed to play with your puppy as often as it desires. In this case, an older dog may be the best choice for you. Your adult companion will be more likely to laze on the couch with you after a nice walk.

Not All Senior Dogs Have Health Problems

With age, it can only be expected for the body to start settling and experiencing increasing issues. However, not all older dogs have health problems. Even coming across a dog with minor issues such as arthritis doesn’t remove them from the equation! Dogs with arthritis can still live with the condition.

You’re Steering Clear of Puppy Mills!

You don’t have to worry about supporting puppy mills or those supplied by puppy mills if you adopt older dogs! While some may extort the love everyone has for puppies, such as when you get puppies from breeders, dozens of rescues exist that house and care for older and senior dogs.

Not-So-Fun Fact:

According to The Puppy Mill Project, there are about 10,000 puppy mills in the US alone, including breeders that are both licensed and unlicensed.[3]

Your Rescued Pal Will Be So Thankful

Everyone needs companionship, and your potential dog is no different. They have likely had companionship before. Your gift of companionship will mean the world to them as they live out their golden years with a friend.

“Senior” Isn’t Always As Old As You May Think!

While some of us cannot come to terms with our pups growing older, a dog officially ages into a senior anywhere from 7 to 11 years old. The larger the breed, the earlier they will hit their seniority; this means that breeds like Chihuahuas will generally hit seniority after 10 years, while breeds such as Great Danes will hit seniority anywhere from 6 to 9 years old.

Can You Bond With An Older Dog?

 There is always a concern that when you adopt an older dog, there will be a rift between the two of you. You have not grown together, so the dog will be unsure of you at first. This can happen for a number of factors, but often reasons include past experiences of neglect and abuse. Shelter animals that have been in and out of shelters for their life can also be stand-offish because they are sure they will be taken back to the shelter again.

Don’t be afraid of any of the awkward silences that may fill the space between you and your new pal, though, as they will warm up to you if you give them enough time. They just want to be sure they can trust you. When that trust is finally established, you will find a love that you can only experience from a dog you adopted in its seniority.

What Should I Know Before Adopting A Senior Dog?

While there are many positive aspects of adopting a senior dog, you also should be aware of some of the potential struggles. Each dog will be different, but you may experience trouble with your new pet for numerous reasons.

You’re Not The First Owner

While this may be your first experience with the dog, this is not the dog’s first experience with people! You never know what someone had gone through before you met them, especially if they can’t talk about it. Be sure to stay patient with your precious pal.

You May Have To Break Bad Habits

Since you have not been with the dog since their puppy years, it is hard to know exactly what habits they may have. If they have patterns that are troublesome, you will have to spend the time to break said habits. Some bad habits may include:

  • Using the restroom in the house
  • Chewing on objects other than toys
  • Jumping on visitors
  • Pulling on their leash

Your Dog May Take More Time Than Expected to Trust You

Since you are not the first owner, it could take way longer than you expected for your new friend to trust you. You have to be empathetic and think about what they could have gone through. How would you feel if you had been placed with multiple families only to end back up at a shelter?

Conclusion to Adopting a Senior Dog

When considering adopting a dog, adopting a senior dog may be the best option for you. You will be adopting a dog with a personality it has grown into, as well as a dog that shouldn’t grow anymore than it has.

Older dogs have a distinguished tone to them and can provide you with the best company you can ask for. What you have to do is give them a chance to show you who they can truly be. If you think you’re ready to give an older dog a forever home, feel free to make their day! It could be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done!