I mean, we get it. Puppies are, like, beyond adorable. Who wouldn’t want to adopt a tiny, floppy little creature, and watch them grow?
In the same token, isn’t it wonderful to adopt a dog after he or she has gone through all of the most difficult stages of life? Their infancy, when they need to be taught everything from scratch — which, by the way, requires a lot of dedication on the part of the owner? Their toddlerhood, when they have so much energy they can’t help but destroy things? Any dog over the age of seven is considered a senior dog.
There’s a strong case to be made for adopting an older dog especially for a family with a lot of other responsibilities — like human children — or an elderly person looking for companionship. But still, more than any other type of animal, older dogs languish in shelters. A 2015 survey conducted by Petfinder.com found that senior pets are the hardest type of animal to re-home. As a result, they are the first to be euthanized when a shelter runs out of room.
There’s a misconception that senior animals have been relinquished to shelters because they are difficult, when actually, they are often left homeless because their owners have died, or found themselves unable to bear the responsibility of a pet for personal reasons. It’s not that they’re not wanted; there’s just no one to love them.
Below, we outline the top five reasons why you should adopt a senior dog.
1. They are calm enough to learn new tricks.
You know that saying — an old dog can’t learn new tricks? Not the case, according to pet experts. In fact, older dogs are significantly less hyper than younger dogs, and have longer attention spans for learning new commands. Many older dogs already know basic commands — and if they don’t, they are quicker to train than a puppy who wants to sit, but also really wants to lick your face, and jump on the couch, and there’s a squirrel, and OMG PEANUT BUTTER SNACK!!
2. They need to be exercised less.
A young dog needs to be walked. And walked and walked and walked. And they need to run at the dog park. And they need to play with other dogs or else they are going to eat your couch from boredom AND THEN KNOCK YOU OVER WHEN YOU WALK IN THE DOOR YAAYYY!!! An older dog? They usually need at least less exercise than that. And that means you need to exercise less as well. Doesn’t that sound nice in this cold weather, when you really, really don’t want to spend two hours just endlessly exercising your incredible athlete of a dog outdoors?
3. They already know about routines.
Puppies are so cute but they also PEE A LOT. Like everywhere. In all of the places you don’t want them to pee. Again, the problem is focus. An older dog is mature enough to hold it in. And they also learn quicker where it is appropriate to pee, especially if you consistently take them to the same place on a walk. Not only are older dogs more likely to take to housetraining, but they also like routines in general — routines for sleeping, routines for going on a walk, routines for watching hours of Bravo — making life easier for everyone.
4. They are great for kids and elderly people.
Yes, an older dog might live for less time than a puppy. But they are much better companions for anyone who already has a lot on their plate — and that includes families with young children and elderly people. If you have a bunch of kids running around, making life total chaos, do you really want the responsibility of another chaotic (albeit adorable) creature? And if you are an elderly person, what better companion for you than a dog that thrives on a schedule, needs to rest a lot, and loves you unconditionally? Added bonus — dogs reduce blood pressure, and encourage moderate exercise, both things that are great for older humans.
5. Older dogs are the first to be euthanized.
Most people come to shelters looking for puppies and young dogs. As a result, older dogs languish in shelters, and are usually the ones to be euthanized when a shelter doesn’t have room for any more animals. It’s so sad! If you adopt an older dog, not only are you getting the blessing of a wonderful companion, but you are also doing the kindest thing for an animal that has very few chances left in life.
And if you were a dog, wouldn’t you want someone to do the same for you? So if you’re considering adopting, maybe look at the older animals first. They’ll still make great pets, we promise.
Unleashed is Bravo's celebration of pamper-worthy pets and how to spoil them. Want more? Then Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates.