Ever wonder why there are so many older dogs found in shelters? Most people assume they were left there due to the dog misbehaving, are aggressive, or untrainable. Contrary to popular belief, most of the time, these notions are false.
November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month and, as that’s only weeks away, now is the time to consider a hound who’s been around the block a time or 100. It’s also the perfect opportunity to explain why senior dogs are just as deserving to be in a “furever” home as that cute puppy you have seen on the internet or at the local pet store. We’ve come up with 10 reasons why old doggos are the best and shared them below.
1. No potty training necessary
Adopting a senior dog means they have already been through the puppy stages. A lot of clients ‘forget’ how difficult it is to potty train a puppy. It is not only a stressful time for both owner and pup but it’s also a time-consuming process. Those little bladders need to be released every couple of hours which includes when you are all comfy sleeping in your bed. To avoid an accident on the floor or a puppy that has rolled in a ‘mess’, you will have to get up at all hours to let them use the bathroom. With older dogs, they can say, “Been there, done that”. They know outside is for potty time and, when needed, most can hold it for up to 8 hours.
2. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
With older dogs, most know basic obedience training – sit, stay, down, and come. No trainer is needed, and they are already equipped with good doggie manners, leaving you more time to work on ‘new’ tricks. Now for my personal experience. One of our clients adopted a dog that was 13 years old. Her history was her family was moving and only spoke French. She didn’t understand English and the client did not understand French! Even with the language barrier, the client was able to teach her ‘catch’, ‘back up’, ‘turn around’ and ‘bring’.
3. Puppy stages are over
Puppies like (nay, love) to chew, and they are not discerning about they chew...new slippers be damned. While puppies are going through their teething stages, your Nike sneakers always seem to taste better than any of the puppy chew toys you bought. With a senior dog, shoes are for walking, not for chewing. And instead of nibbles on your hands, arms, legs, and feet, older dogs give kisses to show you how much love they still have left to give.
4. Older dogs know right from wrong
With older dogs, most are actually very well behaved. They know what’s right and they know what’s wrong. When raising a puppy, it is an ongoing learning experience. What you want them to do and what they ‘think’ you want them to do are usually two different things. Training is a long and repetitive process. Older pets know the word ‘NO’ means no, which leaves more time for love and cuddles.
5. Less active
Just like us, as we age, our bodies slow down. We become less active and we require less activity. This makes coming home after a long day at the office rewarding when greeted by a dog that will be happy to cuddle on the couch with you as you watch your favorite show. On the other hand, puppies are very high-strung no matter which breed you decide on and will be looking for your attention throughout the day AND night for the first year if not longer.
6. Avoid costly surgeries
As you may have guessed, all adoption agencies, rescues, humane societies, and animal control facilities are completely against breeding. There are too many unwanted pets looking for homes and sadly being euthanized. All senior dogs and cats that are adopted have been spayed or neutered to help control the pet population. They also make sure adopted dogs and cats are fully vaccinated with the core vaccines, including Rabies, saving you any unnecessary additional costs.
7. What you see is what you get
Taking an adult dog into your home will leave you with fewer surprises. You don’t have to question, “What will he or she look like when they get older?" With older dogs, there aren’t any size-related issues. You can decide immediately if they will live comfortably in your environment. You will be able to see appearance (fur) when they are fully mature which helps determine how much vacuuming you are willing to do on a regular basis. Personalities are also well-established, making family and lifestyle fit easier.
8. Hidden treasures
Sometimes, you may find purebred dogs looking for adoptions. There seems to be a rescue for every breed, most of them being local. It’s not because there is anything wrong with the pup, as the blame usually falls on the owner. That Rottweiler puppy looked like a little bear as a puppy but grew up to reach over 100 pounds or the owner didn’t realize Golden Retrievers shed so much! Many clients do not research the breeds before spending big bucks for the pedigree pup. For whatever reason, they needed to part with their pup, you can adopt your dream breed at a fraction of the cost.
9. Devoted companions
Have you ever been in a store and seen a therapy dog with a vest on guiding their human and wonder how calm and content that dog is? Most therapy dogs are older dogs with calming temperaments and must be at least one year of age. They are picked because they can adapt to their environments and situations that are given. Many are chosen from rescues for that reason. You, too, may be so lucky to find a devoted, grateful companion when you adopt a senior pet.
10. Be a hero!
Save a life and be a hero and lead to saving many lives. When your friends and family meet your newest older family member, they will be amazed. They will see the beauty and feel the love you share and maybe they, too, will adopt older pets. It makes a huge difference to allow a senior pet to live out their remaining months or years with a loving family in a warm, cozy bed.
So, if you are in the market to add another fur baby to your family, consider adopting a warm-hearted senior dog. You will be happy you did, and they will show how grateful they are with never-ending love. In fact, some rescues may even waive the adoption fees when adopting a senior pet in the month of November. It’s time to get your ducks - or dogs - in a row! If you have any questions about how to ensure your senior dog is the healthiest they can be, give us a call!