Adopting an Older Dog

By Valdette Muller| June 27, 2016 | Blog


If you are thinking about adoption from your local shelter, please don’t overlook the older dogs.

There are many healthy and active “senior” dogs that are in desperate need of a loving home too!

Many people regard older dogs that are put up for adoption as “problem dogs”. This is not always the case as dogs are put up for adoption for many reasons and not just for bad behaviour! Owners of older dogs are usually unable to keep them for reasons including the death of a previous owner, relocation, job loss or a new baby in the home.

Most animal shelters are overcrowded and it is a sad fact that the older dogs are usually the first to be euthanized.  This is because many people are quick to adopt puppies or younger dogs. So, adopting an older dog could literally be saving his or her life!

Older dogs would usually be “house-trained” but may, due to their new environment, temporarily forget. Once established and settled in their new home and with a kind and understanding attitude they’ll remember again. It may just be a matter of days but may take longer. It is hard to predict how long a dog, either young or old will take to adjust to a new environment. If a dog has been in a shelter, the stress of such an experience may cause him or her to be confused and disorientated for some time.

It is possible to teach an old dog some new tricks, and older dogs are smart and have a longer attention span than a puppy or young dog. Some dogs may even have learnt what “NO” means and have a grasp of basic commands such as “sit”, “stay” and “lie down”. This will save you a lot of time and energy that a young dog would require.

Older dogs will have all their adult teeth and will thankfully be out of the “chewing” phase that puppies go through.  So, less destruction in the home is an added plus!

A trip to your local vet will establish if any age related conditions are present and you can then address them. Older dogs need the same things that younger ones do; love, exercise and good nutrition as well as regular health check-ups.

An adult dog is calmer and less energetic than a younger dog and makes a loyal and loving companion.  Their personalities are by now well established and this will quickly give you an idea of how they will fit into your family dynamic. They appreciate love and attention and you can give an older dog the best years of his or her life while at the same time bring a wonderful addition to your own family.


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