Saturday, September 17, 2011

Warming Up Your Life: Adopting a Senior Dog

Autumn is a big time for dog adoptions. As such I felt compelled to share information on the benefits of adopting an adult dog. The benefits of adopting an older pet far outweigh the possible reasons not to.

Shelters and rescue groups are full to the brink with older dogs waiting their forever home. From personal experience I can tell you that adopting an older dog -- even a senior dog -- is well worth it and it’s a terrific feeling to know that, in many cases, you will be saving the animal’s life.

While puppies are cute and adorable they are also lots of work. They look at the world with new eyes and act silly as they explore and play. But time, training, and working with any personality or behavior issues can be difficult if you already have a busy life.

When looking to bring a new pet into the house, consider adopting an adult dog. Many adult dogs are surrendered to shelters and rescue groups due to reasons of financial instability, moving, or allergies. Most of these dogs are great, loving pets and just need a new forever home.

Here are 10 reasons to adopt an adult dog:
1. What you see is what you get. They are full grown, their personality is developed, and the type of grooming they need is apparent. If you’re looking for a dog that has certain physical requirements and personality, it’s easier to see that in an adult dog.

2. Easy to train. You can teach an old dog new tricks...if you want to! Older dogs focus better than puppies and are much calmer. Many of them may even know basic commands such as sit, stay, and come.

3. Fewer messes. Many adult dogs are housebroken or very good at holding it till you take them out. If they aren’t completely housebroken many pick it up fast. Also, since adult dogs are past the teething stage, they tend to not chew on unacceptable objects or have been trained to not eat shoes or destroy furniture.

4. Super loving. Adult dogs that have been in homes want nothing more than to be in another one. They may be uncertain and shy at first but many people who have adopted adult dogs talk about how amazingly loving and affectionate their adopted dog is and how bonded they became almost instantly. Dogs are pack animals and are looking for YOU to lead and love them.

5. Settle in fast. Dogs that have lived with a family or grown up in a house have learned the ins and outs of reading humans, knowing what sounds are typical in a house. They won’t be as jumpy as a puppy learning all these things.

6. Not a 24/7 dog. Puppies require constant monitoring and puppy-proofing of your house. And may not be acceptable to take along to other people’s homes. Adult dogs have generally already learned to not chew on the electric cords, will usually nap if you’re busy making food or reading a book, etc. Some adult dogs that have been crate-trained will even put themselves to bed when they are tired.

7. Saving a life. Older dogs are usually overlooked in shelters. Adopting an older dog saves them from growing old in the shelter or being euthanized depending on the shelter policies. Shelters can be tough on dogs who are used to living in a home.

8. Won’t be as overwhelmed. Adult dogs aren’t as bouncy and loopy as puppies. If you’re an older adult looking for a furry friend, an older dog can be the right match in terms of energy level, play level, and will be happy just to be around you.

9. Easy Living. Adult dogs won’t be as hyper. They will still enjoy exercise and exploring the world but won’t drag you down the block like a young dog might. They won’t need to run miles a day.

10. They’re adorable too! Older dogs can be silly and cute. Their muzzle with some white fur coming in, big stretches when they wake up from naps, and other personality quirks can make you smile and laugh.

Trust me when I tell you, based on my own experience of adopting senior dogs, you will not regret adopting an older dog. Within hours of coming into your life you will love them like they had always been yours from the very start.


  1. How true! Thank you for taking the time to outline the benefits of adopting an older dog. So often they get missed.

  2. last year we got an approx 7 year old dog - some would consider that as senior, I think more middle aged. Now, I could not imagine having a puppy, with all the potty training, chewing and constant running around. It took him a few months to fully trust us and other people but what a wonderful, grateful, cuddly companion he is now.... he is not my first dog, but he is the best and cutest of them all!!! I wouldn't trade him for any other dog EVER!!!!!