Adopting a Senior Dog

Please note, I received compensation in exchange for this blog post. – Robin Bennett, CPDT-KA

Senior dogs, rock! For many people looking to adopt a pet, they don’t often consider an older dog. Young puppies and adolescent dogs generally get adopted more quickly. However, there is something special about giving a senior dog a new lease on life by adopting one from your local shelter or rescue.  Here are some advantages to adopting a senior dog.

  • What you see is what you get.  Senior dogs are fully grown, and their temperament is established.  You can rest assured that your new adoptee isn’t going to get bigger. Right away, you will know their size, what they look like, and how much grooming they need.  You will also get a good idea of their energy level and personality because all of that is well established.
  • Lower energy. Senior dogs won’t need the same amount of exercise as a young puppy or adolescent.  While you’ll still want to get them out on walks and to experience the world, they will most likely be content with a shorter walk or enrichment exercises in the house.
  • May have training.  Senior dogs may already have some training. This includes some common behaviors such as sit or down, but also means they are most likely housetrained as well.

If you are looking for your perfect senior dog, here are a few things to consider.

  • Health – while not all senior dogs have health issues, you’ll want to plan on regular veterinary visits to keep up with your new pup as he or she ages.  As one example, mobility issues, such as arthritis, are not uncommon in older dogs.
  • Less interested in high energy play.  Although some might consider this a plus, it is important to understand that a high energy environment might not be the best for an older dog.  Busy households with active, young children might be too hectic for an older dog who might not enjoy the high paced activity level. 

The obvious downside to adopting a senior dog is that you most likely won’t have them as long.  However, the love you will receive from your senior dog will last forever.  And you’ll know you did a wonderful deed giving a senior dog their best years ever at the end of their life.

Robin Bennett is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). To learn more about her, visit her website.