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10 Reasons to Adopt a Senior Dog – Is it Worth it?

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So, you’ve decided that it is time to add a member to your family, and you have already decided to adopt.  It can be quite fun to walk into an adoption center and be distracted by the little fluffy balls of fur all vying for your attention. Why adopt a senior pet?  Is it worth it?


#1 – All dogs need homes, even seniors…

While it can be distracting to have high energy pups who are so excited to see you, the question is… do you have enough energy to keep up with a puppy right now?

According to the Animal Foundation every dog in a shelter needs a home, and most often older dogs were given up through no fault of their own, most often it is a change in the owner’s lifestyle that has them in the shelter.


#2 – Adopting an older dog may save its life

Since puppies are most likely to be adopted according to The Humane Society, they often overlook dogs over the age of 5.  Since shelters are overcrowded, unfortunately older dogs are among the first to be euthanized if they aren’t adopted quickly.

If you choose to adopt an older dog, you could be saving it from being put down.


#3 – Older dogs have outgrown their puppy ways

Puppies are adorable, and so happy, and so innocent, however, they do come with a lot of habits that most people don’t think about when they are distracted by those big, gorgeous eyes.

  • Puppies chew, and you often must train them to be housebroken.
  • Older dogs in shelters usually have already outgrown these bad habits.


#4 – Senior dogs are great instant companions

Again, going back to #3 – since dogs over the age of 5 have been abandoned through no fault of their own, they are usually somewhat trained, know how to walk on a leash, and understand basic commands.

This makes for a great instant companion.


#5 – Old dogs really can learn new tricks

Scientists have discovered that the brain doesn’t stop learning due to age.

Older dogs are just as smart as younger ones, and as a matter of fact, an older dog usually has a longer attention span than a puppy, making training much easier, according to the Animal Foundation.


#6 – How old is “senior” really?

When you see that 5- or 7-year-old dog in the shelter, don’t pass it up because you are thinking it won’t last long. Dogs have some pretty impressive lifespans. Here are some statistics from the American Kennel Club:

  • Smaller dogs can live up to 17 years
  • Medium size dogs like boxers can live up to about 15 years
  • Large dogs like a St. Bernard can live up to 12 to 14 years

Additionally, while these statistics show an average lifespan, there is much that can be done to prolong those years with a healthy lifestyle and consistent veterinary care.


#7 – Let’s be honest… can you really keep up with a puppy?

While the pandemic had many folks working from home, and adoption rates in animals everywhere went up, according to the ASPCA, if you are back in the office you are likely to come home to many messes, and really… are you going to want to take that puppy out on a long walk after a long day at work?

Perhaps what you really need is a couch potato that would be happy to just curl up with you and binge-watch the latest season of whatever you’re into on Netflix.

A kind companion that is ready to go with the flow is exactly what an older dog has to offer.


#8 – Senior dogs require less attention

Going back to #7, a puppy will need potty breaks in the middle of the night, whereas senior dogs are usually already potty-trained.

Additionally, while senior dogs like to play, and activity is important for their health, it is more likely that they’ll be more on your level, activity-wise.

If you’re idea of exercise is a stroll through the park, or playing fetch in the backyard, and not being drug around by a high-strung puppy who has hours of energy… a senior dog may be more your style.


#9 – Senior dogs are as ugly as they’re going to get

Choosing a senior dog means that what you’re seeing is what you’re getting.  You’re not falling in love with a beautiful Lab only to find out it’s half Dachshund.  Puppies are always adorable, but full-grown… they may not end up being what you thought they were.


#10 – Senior dogs know how fortunate they are

According to the Animal Foundation, senior dogs are more appreciative, and many adopters strongly believe that they understand that they are getting a second chance in a new home.