We commend anyone who chooses to adopt an animal from a shelter instead of a pet store or breeder. That said, too many people in the market for a dog go straight to the puppies and don’t pay much attention to the adult canines. They could be cheating themselves out of an ideal pet. Older dogs may not have as many years ahead of them as puppies do, but they also don’t have the drawbacks that younger dogs come with. Read on to learn all the reasons why older canines make great pets.
Share this on Facebook?
YOU’LL KNOW YOUR OLDER DOG’S PERSONALITY RIGHT AWAY
A puppy or a young dog is like unmolded clay. It remains to be seen how its personality will turn out. Some of that personality results from its environment, but some of it is genetic predisposition. It’s a roll of the dice. When you adopt a senior dog from a shelter, you have ample opportunity to get to know the dog before you bring it home. You can find a companion whose personality fits yours, and you probably won’t encounter any surprises.
OLDER DOGS ARE LESS DESTRUCTIVE
No matter how well you train and discipline your dog, if it’s a rambunctious puppy, it’s going to destroy a thing or two. It’s natural for young dogs to explore their world — often with their mouths and claws — potentially causing chaos. An older dog is past that. When you adopt a senior dog, you can rest assured it won’t barrel around your home ripping, tearing and breaking things heedlessly.
OLDER DOGS ARE MORE PATIENT
Owners aren’t perfect either. Sometimes your dog needs to show patience with your behavior instead of the other way around. Puppies, just like kids, want what they want and they want it now. A senior dog, being more mellow in general, cuts you a lot more slack. It understands its own limitations, and it has experience with human limitations as well. This makes senior dogs particularly good choices for new dog owners, because new owners require their own time to understand the ins and outs of dog ownership.
OLDER DOGS ARE LESS DEMANDING
Even if you’ve never owned a puppy, you’ve probably had a friend who has. Do you remember when they first got the dog, and how it affected their social lives? A senior dog can, for the most part, be left on its own at home for periods of time. This is much less true for puppies, whose energy, curiosity and lack of training means constant supervision is required. A senior dog demands less from your time-management skills, and wreaks far less havoc on your everyday routine.
OLDER DOGS ARE TRAINED ALREADY
All dogs need some amount of training. Housebreaking, at the very least, is always necessary. Adopting a senior dog usually means this work has been done for you. Going for walks for exercise, and to urinate or defecate, is already second nature to a senior dog. It will probably even know basic commands like “sit” and “stay.”
OLDER DOGS ARE ALREADY SOCIALIZED
Outside of training and commands, a senior dog has a better basic understanding of human behaviors and routines. It’s been around people and homes. It knows certain sights and smells. It has a basic understanding of safety, and what is and isn’t allowed. You won’t have to “explain” the world to a senior dog; it will easily become a part of your lifestyle.
OLDER DOGS WON’T OUTGROW ANYTHING
Puppies grow, and they do it quickly. If you buy a young dog, you can expect a more significant financial investment as you pay to upsize and upgrade collars, bowls, beds and other doggy gear as your puppy outgrows them. Senior dogs, on the other hand, are already finished growing. You can buy for it once, and those items should last you a good, long while.
YOU’LL SAVE MONEY ON STERILIZATION AND VACCINATION
If you adopt a senior dog that has reached a certain advanced age with another owner, there’s a good chance the animal is already spayed or neutered, and has been properly vaccinated, assuming its previous owner provided even the bare necessities of its care. While regular checkups will remain your continued responsibility, you won’t need to foot the bill for the medical groundwork that all young dogs require.
YOU’LL SAVE A LIFE
Despite all the advantages senior dogs offer, animal shelters still have a great deal of difficulty finding homes for them. Often, the reason why a person or a family doesn’t opt for an older dog is because the time such a dog can be a part of its family is reduced compared to that of a younger dog. While that may be true, it’s also the best reason to adopt a senior dog. A dog with only a few years left still deserves to live life in a warm and happy home, not in a shelter wondering when or if anyone will come to offer it love.
Next: Why You Should Adopt a Mutt
YOUR OLDER DOG WILL BE GRATEFUL TO YOU
A dog can tell the difference between life in an animal shelter — even a shelter with comfortable accommodations and an attentive staff — and life with an owner in a real home. When you adopt a senior dog, it will understand the second chance you’ve given it to live out its days with you in your home. That’s a special bond you can’t get any other way.