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Top Questions When Adopting a Senior Dog

All dogs deserve a loving home, especially dogs in shelters. The shelters are often rescuing dogs of all ages from all kinds of situations. The more we adopt from shelters, the more dogs they can rescue! But are you hesitant to adopt an older dog?

Also known as senior dogs, families generally shy away from adopting them because they think the dog’s best years are behind them. Today, we’re answering some questions about adopting a senior dog and why they deserve a closer look!

What is a senior dog?

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According to most veterinarians, a senior dog is one who is older than seven years old. This definition can change based on the breed. Smaller dogs who have longer life spans will enter their senior years at a later age. However, dogs that are more than five years old typically have a hard time getting adopted. But these dogs still have a lot of life to live and love to give!

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Of course! An older dog might take a bit longer to learn a trick, but they are certainly still teachable. Each dog has a unique personality (just like us humans!) and they will respond differently to teaching methods. Some dogs will be desperate to please their human, making them eager to learn. And some couldn’t care less!

Will the vet bills be more expensive?

Not necessarily. Puppies as well as older dogs will require vet visits throughout their life. You can request a health report from the shelter at the time of adoption that will give some insight to any health or behavioral issues that you need to be aware of. If there is a problem, make sure you are financially committed before you let yourself get emotionally committed.

Will I be adopting someone else’s problem dog?

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There are many reasons why senior dogs end up in shelters. Families move and grow, financial means change, lifestyles evolve. These are just a few reasons why older, well-bred, well-trained dogs can end up surrendered by their owners. Contrary to what people think, most dogs in shelters do NOT have behavioral issues.

Some advantages of adopting an older dog:

  1. Most have had some obedience or house-training. Mature dogs are perfect for families with very young children who are still in the diaper days!
  2. Older dogs understand “no” and will generally stay away from chewing on furniture or your shoes!
  3. A senior dog is more mellow and doesn’t require as much vigorous exercise as a puppy. If you are in your twilight years, a senior dog is a great option!
  4. They get along with humans, other dogs, and maybe even cats! An older dog has most likely been taught or learned the necessary social skills and how to adapt to situations. It will take less time for them to fit in with their new “pack.”
  5. Older dogs know how to sit quietly and let you relax after a long day! Studies show that petting a dog or cat releases stress, and an older dog is more likely to WANT to relax with you.

If your family is looking for a dog, consider adopting an older dog!