Most vets will tell you that dogs are considered to be ‘senior’ as early as age seven. Smaller dogs mature later than larger dogs, but shelters are full of senior dogs who are healthy, active, and in need of a home.
Many people tend to adopt small puppies as they feel they can bring them up to behave as they wish, and they’re smaller and cuter. However, senior dogs make excellent pets for many reasons, which we’ll look at below.
Adopting a senior dog might save its life
Animal shelters are overcrowded, and senior dogs are the first to be euthanized, so by adopting an older dog, you may well be saving its life. Many of these dogs come from previous owners who could no longer look after them for whatever reason, but they were loved and in need of homes.
By adopting an older dog, you are giving a loyal friend the opportunity to live out its last years in a loving home in peace and comfort.
Senior dogs make excellent companions
Older dogs are ready to go out on walks with you right away, and they know how to play fetch. They will be happy to come with you on your workout walks or cycle rides and snuggle up to you on the sofa to watch a movie.
They will also love to cuddle up with you in your bed if you let them – you may want to get a dog ramp to make it easier for them to climb up onto beds or sofas.
Senior dogs are better behaved
Senior dogs are usually calmer and more well-behaved than their boisterous younger friends. Usually, they have lost their homes through no fault of their own, such as a new baby, loss of a job, a move, death of a guardian, allergies, and other reasons.
Older dogs are usually potty-trained and have mastered commands like “stay,” “sit,”, “down,” and “come.” You’ll save time and energy by adopting a dog that is already trained.
Senior dogs will also be eager to please you with good behavior if they’ve already experienced affection from loving human companions.
Senior dogs can learn new tricks
Contrary to the famous saying, you can actually teach senior dogs new tricks. These dogs have a greater attention span than puppies, and they are just as smart, so they are, in fact, easier to train.
Senior dogs are calmer than younger ones
Senior dogs have established temperaments and personalities, so you’ll know immediately how well he or she will fit into your household. They won’t destroy your home as a puppy might, as adult dogs have all of their adult teeth. Your furniture and carpets will appreciate you bringing home a calmer, older dog!
Many adult dogs are excellent companions for younger children, as they tend to be more gentle and have a lower energy level. Many of these dogs have lived with children in their previous homes.
With a senior dog, you have fewer surprises
Senior dogs already have established personalities as well as their size and temperament. You won’t have to wonder about what your dog will be like when it’s grown, what grooming is required, or how big he or she will be. You’ll know if your dog is friendly, shy, etc., so you’ll know what to expect.
Older dogs fit into an existing household much easier than younger dogs.
Senior dogs are less demanding
While you will want to be prepared to give your dog attention and love, a senior dog is often less ‘high maintenance’ than an untrained and full-of-energy puppy.
Many older dogs are happy to go for walks with you, but they are also equally content to nap with you. You won’t be run off your feet with a senior dog, and you won’t need to check on them constantly to see what they’re up to. Therefore older dogs are ideal for households with older people or families who have young children.
You’ll still have years of fun ahead
Most dogs are considered senior at age 5, while dogs live to be 10-15 years old. Adopting a dog over age 5 will still leave you years of fun and companionship to enjoy.
Speak to your vet about how to keep your older dog healthy and happy.
Senior dogs are appreciative of a second chance
Many people who have adopted older dogs believe that the dogs know how lucky they are at having been given a second chance at a happy home life. They show their appreciation to the person who has given them a new lease on life.