8 min read

Things You Should Know Before Adopting A Senior Dog

They’re oldies but goodies 🐶

senior dog adoption

Adopting a dog is one of the best things you can do.

And if you’re interested in a senior rescue dog it can feel even more rewarding, since older pups are so frequently passed over when it comes to adoption.

If you’re a little apprehensive about taking in a senior, The Dodo spoke to Lesley Brog, founder and CEO of Wags & Walks in Los Angeles, to break down everything you should know about what it’s like.

What you should know before you take the plunge

“If you are considering adopting a senior dog it's important to keep in mind that age is just a number, especially in rescue since [oftentimes] it's simply a guesstimate,” Brog told The Dodo.

Taking home a pup in the later stages of his life can make senior dog adoption seem kind of intimidating, but it’s actually really rewarding.

“Older dogs are often overlooked at the shelter but still deserve a loving home and can still make an amazing companion,” Brog said.

But before you make that leap, keep in mind that there’s a higher chance your senior pup could experience medical conditions — just since they may experience complications sooner than a puppy would.

So it’s important to make sure you’re ready for that possibility.

“When dealing with dogs in their later life stages, there can likely be more health and medical concerns such as issues with kidneys, mobility [or] cancer,” Brog explained. “Therefore when adopting a senior dog, you should be prepared mentally, physically and financially to take on those responsibilities.”

That being said, health and medical issues could pop up at any point in a dog’s life, so that should be something you consider no matter the pup’s age.

The best parts about adopting a senior dog

If the idea of pee pads and potty training stresses you out, adopting a senior dog might actually be perfect for you.

“Senior dogs tend to be a little calmer and wiser so you probably won't have to deal with some of the fundamental training foundation you would with puppies,” Brog said.

It’s not a guarantee that you won’t need to house train a senior dog, but it’s definitely way less likely, especially if you tell the rescue you’re looking for a potty-trained dog.

“Seniors are also usually past the puppy destructive phase so your shoes, rugs [or] couch are less likely to become chew toys,” Brog explained.

So you probably won’t have to worry about getting tired out trying to keep up with your dog’s case of the zoomies, or that anything you leave in his reach could get destroyed.

“The other benefit of adopting a senior dog is that their size and personalities are more established, so you will have a better idea of what you are getting,” Brog said.

So it’ll be easier to tell if a senior dog will fit in perfectly with you (and anyone else in your home).

But one of the best parts of adopting a senior dog might be that heartwarming feeling you get when you bring him home.

“You're giving them a second chance where they can live out the rest of their lives with the affection and care they missed out on in their younger years,” Brog said. “Adopting a senior means you see value in that dog's life when others may not have and in return, you'll receive the immeasurable love of an extra loyal companion.”

How to help a senior dog adjust to his new home

Any dog — from puppies to seniors — will need an adjustment period whenever they’re moving to a new home.

“A good rule of thumb is two weeks minimum, but it's not uncommon for [a dog] to take months to fully acclimate,” Brog said.

According to Brog, while your pup is adjusting, you can make him feel comfortable in his new digs by creating routines for him.

Some routines you can make for your senior pup include:

  • Scheduled walks
  • Scheduled feeding
  • Crate training (to give him a safe, quiet place to adjust)
If this all sounds like it’s right up your alley, you should definitely consider adopting a senior dog so you can give him or her a loving home (even if it’s later in life).

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