November is ASPCA Adopt A Senior Pet Month!
There are tens of thousands of dogs waiting in shelters all across the country for someone to give them a “fur-ever” home. Most people tend to think of adopting a puppy, or younger dog. These guys are full of energy and cute as buttons. Unfortunately this means that many great older dogs, and particularly senior dogs, are often overlooked as viable pets and companions. But senior and older dogs make great pets; but, as with anything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider before adopting a senior dog.
The Pros of Adopting a Senior Dog
There are many good reasons to think about adopting a senior dog over one of their younger, more spry brethren.
- A senior dog comes with a lifetime of training so you don’t typically have to go through all that rigmarole. Someone else already went through the time and trouble to housebreak them, teach them to shake, fetch, and how to walk on the leash, so that saves you all the time and effort of working with them.
- There are frequently more senior dogs to choose from, enabling you to select the breed and gender that you truly want. Also, many local shelters will be more flexible on fees when it comes to adopting senior dogs over younger dogs. Shelters know that older dogs are less popular, so those who want to give them a good home may face fewer fees.
- Senior dogs require less maintenance: They usually do not need to be exercised as much as puppies and young dogs. They are generally past the point of chewing up your stuff. They can go for longer periods of time without having to be let out. They are often well-socialized.
The Cons of Adopting a Senior Dog
It’s not all rainbows and candy kisses, though, and there are some very legitimate risks and problems that come with senior dogs.
- Senior dogs are more likely to have health problems, and that can make them less attractive for owners who don’t want to spend their days at a vet’s office.
- Some senior dogs may have behavior patterns (or problems) that are ingrained now, and which would take a lot of work to undo. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, they say, and the reason they say that is because it is really, really hard to get an old hound to change his ways.
- The biggest reason people don’t adopt senior dogs, though, is because they only have a few good years left in them. The idea of adopting a dog, falling in love with him, and then having to give him up just when you were really becoming friends is a heartbreaking one for many potential owners, and it’s why they wait until there’s a younger dog available more often than not.
Senior Dogs Still Need Homes
While senior dogs can bring a lot of things to the table, and there are some legitimate problems with older pups, none of that changes the fact that many of them are good dogs who just need a home. In some cases, you could think of a senior dog like a used car. Sure, it has a lot of miles on it, and it’s not as young as it used to be, but it’s still reliable. You might be the last owner it has, but that doesn’t mean your time together won’t be great.
So why not take a risk? Who knows, a senior dog might be just what you’ve been looking for this whole time.