The benefits of adopting senior dogs
Adopting a senior dog is such a kind and compassionate thing to do, plus the benefits for both human and adopted dog are surprising; no rambunctious puppy eating your favourite shoes for example.
Essentially, with an older dog, they’ve become what and who they are going to be. No surprises; what you see is what you get. Their physical size is established and their temperament and personality are also fully developed.
Sure, puppies are very cute, very fun and likely to be around for more years and there's no denying the great adventures that come with bringing home a puppy, however, older dogs have their own special characteristics to offer. Here we take a look at some of the positive reasons to adopt a senior dog:
One of the main reasons puppies and young dogs are housed in pet rescues is because their owners didn't understand exactly what they were getting into. By adopting an older dog, you reduce this risk significantly.
Older dogs have already grown into themselves, both physically and mentally. Although there might be some changes in behaviour seen at a rescue centre, most older dogs are going to be accurately assessed so you’ll know exactly what kind of dog you're adopting.
You'll know if he/she likes cats, does well with children, prefers to be alone sometimes, how much activity he needs, and more.
Most older dogs are already trained or need very little training to get on the right track in their new homes. Most have already lived in another home and many find themselves in a rescue centre because their previous owners have moved overseas, found themselves in hard financial times or perhaps find themselves challenged with a difficult divorce.
Try to remember that not all rescue dogs have been: abused or rehomed due to “bad behaviour”, (which could present with worrying behavioural traits), many are toilet trained, walk nicely on a lead, don't steal food from dinner plates and most importantly just want to be shown love and kindness.
Very often senior dogs are well socialised too. While they will often require an adjustment period when they arrive home, but after the first few weeks, most of the hard work will be over and done with.
The time needed to adjust to an older dog is much shorter than to a puppy. Remember, puppies will need socialising with everything.
Because older dogs are often already trained and fit for home life, they tend to be great dogs for first-timer pet parents. You can start with basic training, for the skills he/she might not already possess, but the amount won't be as rigorous as it is with puppies.
Adopting a senior dog helps you ease into pet parenthood without all of the overwhelming care and attention that a puppy needs.
Adopting a senior dog does not get you out of exercise; all dogs need physical activity, both for mental and physical stimulation. That said, older dogs often need much less exercise than puppies and young dogs. This will depend from breed to breed and an individual dog’s needs though.
Puppies, on the other hand, spend a lot of their lives in go, go, go mode.
Senior dogs still want to have fun, in fact most senior dogs still enjoy activity. Many are surprisingly active and agile in their mature age; they just don't need quite as much exercise.
A walk a day, a game of fetch with their favourite toy, or a quick swim is often enough to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.
Slower life style
Senior dogs want to and enjoy being with ‘their people’, and they are as content to settle in their favourite spot in the house as they are to be outside in the sunshine. Because they don't demand as much attention and care from their human family as puppies do, senior dogs are an excellent choice for someone who is a little more laid back and looking for a cuddle buddy on the sofa.
Adopting an older dog gives less energetic pet parents exactly the energy level they might be looking for in a furry friend.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that senior dogs needs more veterinary care than puppies or younger dogs, but it’s never a fore gone conclusion. None of us know what the future holds, and all animals, irrespective of age, can require medical help.
Senior dogs from reputable rescue centres will already be neutered and as long as they are up to date with their vaccinations, will be less susceptible to the many diseases that pose more of a danger to puppies.
If you do adopt an older dog, remember they do require different nutritional requirements than younger dogs. For this reason, picking up a generic bag of dog food won’t be the best fit.
You should look for a Senior food specifically created for older dogs. A diet created to support their more delicate immune and digestive systems, prevent excess weight gain, (more common with age), care for their skin and coat health as well as providing nutritional support for joints.
In a nutshell, adopting a senior dog gives you the opportunity to choose the personality that fits perfectly with your lifestyle. Not only are there enormous benefits to bringing home a senior dog, you can feel great about giving him a forever home in his golden years.