The top reasons why senior pets are great to adopt
You may not be aware that November is the National Adopt a Senior Pet Month. It's one of my favourite months as it's a time when senior dogs get all the spotlight, and people are reminded of how much joy and love they bring to a household.
When people search for a dog to adopt, older dogs are often overlooked as they're searching for a puppy to grow up with. And to be fair, puppies tend to suck us in with those adorable little eyes and playful ways.
But senior dogs are awesome too!
Many have found themselves in a shelter when their owners can no longer care for them, have passed away, moved, or had a baby. They are left without their human and feel lost, but they still have much love to give.
This is why potential owners often overlook senior dogs, as they may not look as enthusiastic as younger dogs. But, given time, they will be as loving and loyal as any younger dog.
Let's explore why senior dogs make fantastic pets.
What age is a dog considered to be a senior dog?
There's no set age when a dog becomes a senior dog, as it depends on its breed and life expectancy. For example, large breed dogs such as Great Danes and Mastiffs are expected to live to around 8-10 years of age, so their senior years kick in around 5 years of age.
Small dogs like Chihuahuas or Pommies live to around 12-14 years, so their senior years will begin around 8 years of age.
But of course, all dogs are different, and their lifespan will depend on how they're treated, their diet and overall health.
Top 5 reasons why you should consider adopting a senior dog
1. Older dogs should be trained
Most senior dogs should know the basics like sit, stay, come, down etc. And you can teach old dogs new tricks! You must be patient and show them how things are done in your household with commands and rewards (just like you would a puppy).
2. They love to sleep and don't have as much energy
If you love a quieter lifestyle and love sleeping all night, a senior dog will happily sleep all night (although it may snore!). Older dogs are also happy with shorter walks, so they're perfect for people who don't have as much time or reduced mobility and want a less active companion.
3. Older dogs have a lot of love to give
You'll find that senior dogs are super lovable and have a lot of love to give. They don't have much going on and will live out their days happily lounging by your side, accepting cuddles and sticking to your side like glue. You'll find that adopted senior dogs are incredibly grateful to be taken into a loving home and will shower you will affection.
4. They are not destructive and know what belongs to them
Unlike puppies or destructive adolescent dogs, senior dogs will not destroy your belongings. You can safely leave your shoes or toys lying around without worrying that your dog will chew them up. An older dog is generally not destructive and will know what toys belong to them and what is right or wrong behaviour.
5. You may be saving their old life
It's a sad fact, but senior dogs have higher euthanasia rates at shelters than younger dogs, and many surrendered older dogs live out the rest of their days in a shelter. When you take home an older dog, you will get one of the best snuggle buddies you could ever imagine, and you've possibly saved their life.
Older dogs may require a little bit more TLC than younger dogs
Some people have turned off the idea of an older dog as all they think of are 'health issues'. But honestly, dogs of all ages can get health issues. As a professional pet minder, I've seen dogs of all ages and all breeds in all kinds of conditions, and it's not always due to their age.
When you're adopting a senior dog, yes, this is something to consider, but don't let potential (and treatable issues) turn you off a lovable older dog.
It's recommended that a senior dog has regular vet check-ups so you can stay on top of any health issues that may arise. In older dogs, gum and tooth disease, although with bone and joint issues, are common.
You may need to feed your senior dog a specialised diet, and they may need regular medication to help with 'old age' type ailments.
But if you're willing to put in that extra little bit of care, the love and affection you'll receive from your grateful pooch are beyond anything you can imagine.
And although you may not have many years with a senior dog you adopt, you will still be amazed at how strong a bond you would have formed with your old buddy.
So, if you're considering adopting a new furry family member, please don't overlook a senior dog.
Need a hand walking your dog during the day?
I love all dogs, and I'm particularly fond of older dogs. As your local Glen Iris pet minder and dog walker, I'm available to walk your dog during the day. I am accredited and fully insured, so you can rest assured that your beloved pooch is in good hands.
If you'd like more advice about adopting an older dog, please feel free to get in touch.
Here's a reminder of all my services.
I am fully booked out over Christmas/New Year and will take bookings from Australia day in 2023.
If you've any senior dog stories, I'd love for you to share them below.
Until next time, pat your fur babies for me.