When you bring a new dog into your home, you obviously want to know that they’re going to be with you for an extended period of time. However, this is not the case for those that deliberately adopt a senior dog. What goes into bringing home a dog that is already in their golden years? Are there any advantages? Here’s what you should know about this wonderful and family-specific choice.

What is considered senior for dogs?

First, let’s figure out just what a senior dog is. In most medium and large breeds, it’s anything above 7 years old. Larger dogs are seniors above the age of 5. Small dogs start as seniors after 8 years in most cases.

When a dog is a senior citizen, they will start to have some health complications, just like many human seniors have when they reach that certain age.  

What are the most important facets of owning a senior dog?

When you have a senior dog in your household, there are some important distinctions from having a puppy or an adult dog. They involve things other than housetraining and coming home to find your favorite pair of shoes eaten.  

  • You won’t have as much time as them: This is a very sad thing to start with, but it’s important to remember. While no dog’s lifespan is ever guaranteed, you automatically know that bringing home a senior dog is going to mean fewer years. This doesn’t mean that your years won’t be as happy with them, but they will be noticeably fewer than with a brand new 8-week-old puppy.
  • You’ll have to really get used to regular vet visits: Senior dogs need more vet attention than regular adult and young dogs. This is because they tend to have more health issues that require attention. While pups and adults can get away with yearly check-ups, you might find that senior dogs are going to need more frequent trips in some cases.
  • You may need to have health specialists: As dogs get older, you also might be facing the need for care by vet specialists. For some, it might be for surgery. For others, it could be for pain treatment with something like acupuncture and water therapy. As dogs begin to have aches and pains and their bodies break down, these specialists can step in and offer some dedicated help and support.
  • Be ready to adapt their diets: Many dogs have issues with their teeth and gums, particularly if their earlier life didn’t involve healthy dental care. This may mean that you change their diet to include soft foods and other healthy foods recommended by your vet. Senior dogs have unique nutrition needs, and you might have to get creative in how you feed them! Don’t worry, though; your vet is a great ally to advise you with all of this!
  • It can be hard to retrain behavior: You know that old expression: “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? Well, it’s actually false. You certainly can teach an old dog new tricks or behaviors. However, it may take longer for them to unlearn old habits and relearn new behaviors. So, this is something to think about when you’re looking at the time that you want to spend with your dog.

While older dogs may need a different approach, there are plenty of advantages to having them so that you can enjoy a happy and fulfilling life with your senior dog!

Are senior dogs good choices for adoption?

So, when you think about all of these things, what makes senior dogs a good choice for a household that wants to have a dog? There are quite a few perks to think about seriously about how these lovely dogs will be positive additions to your household.

Firstly, senior dogs are often passed over for adoption in favour of puppies or adult dogs. Fewer people are willing to bring home a potentially sick or frail dog that might possibly cost them extra money at the vet. So, even if a senior dog is as healthy as a young dog, he may get skipped over. By adopting a senior dog, you are giving these sweet adults a chance to enjoy a family before their days are up.

Secondly, senior dogs are great choices for those that don’t want to have to deal with puppy training or even adult dogs that still have a lot of energy. They can be more the speed that you need when you’re looking to enjoy a better calm, quieter quality of life in walking, playing, and overall sociability.  

Thirdly, senior dogs are great for loving their adopted families. They understand the value of a loving home because most have had them before and then ended up in the shelter somehow. When you bring them home, they’ll be really kind and loving to you because they are so happy and excited that you chose them to be your loving dog!

Is adopting a senior dog a good idea?

With those kinds of advantages, you can see just how bringing home a senior dog  can be such a great thing, right? While senior dogs aren’t the most popular choice in statistics from rescue shelters and organizations, it is really special to see just how you can make such a huge difference in a pet’s life by thinking outside the norm.

Bringing a dog into your household is always a decision to think about and take seriously. For some people, senior dogs don’t make the best choice for their lifestyle. But if you think that a golden age dog will be a great addition to your household, then really  consider it carefully. As we discussed, there are many advantages and a few downsides to understand and think about. You’ll love the potential waiting for you in adopting one of these wonderful dogs.


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