Here's Why You Should Adopt an Older Dog

Here's Why You Should Adopt an Older Dog

 It could be the best decision you’ll ever make.

By Brienne Walsh

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 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.

(near) ATLANTA, GA: It's always sad, confusing and frustrating when adoptable dogs don't receive the attention they deserve - more important, that they so desperately need. This is 10 year old Scruffy's second post on SSD. He has been up for adoption for several months now without interest. One of Scruffy's homeless buddies just found her forever home (which, of course, Scruffy is happy about for her!) but that means he'll be without a friend again. Scruffy is in need of companionship, love, and all the good things that being adopted is about. PLEASE SHARE! 💘 Animal Aid Foundation of Dawsonville, GA wrote, "Scruffy has been in foster care since he was dumped three months ago. He looked like a large hairless Chihuahua and he could barely walk from scratching his flea bites. He had no microchip and there was no response to lost and found sites. Scruffy has hip dysplasia and intervertebral disc deterioration, which have caused the hitch in his giddy-up. But that hitch doesn't stop this dog from chasing a ball until your arm wears out! He's also missing most of his lower teeth but that doesn't slow his eating or treat consumption down one iota. The boy is an eatin' fool. 😄 Our vet puts Scruffy's age at around 10 to 12 years. And he weighs about 30 pounds. If you didn't know that Scruffy was an elder boy you'd peg his age as a young adult. Chasing a thrown object a full speed is his passion, dropping it at your feet for more. He's been wearing doggie diapers (no big deal, especially for male dogs), we don't know whether he has a little pee problems because of his back or whether he needs training, but he prances like he's in an Easter parade with his doggie diaper and sweater on! Scruffy is good with other non-aggressive dogs and people. He has been eyeballing the cat, but hasn't gone after her. His eyes are clear, his smile is wide and he's happy to be alive. We imagine that Scruffy has got many got years left to go!" To adopt Scruffy, please email Winde at with any questions and to being the adoption process. Scruffy is currently in foster care in Dawsonville, GA. Out of state adopters are welcome to apply. ❤️ #seniordog #georgia

A post shared by Susie's Senior Dogs (@susiesseniordogs) on

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.

😕 #emojisinthewild

A post shared by muttville senior dog rescue (@muttvillesf) on

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.

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