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Things to Know before Adopting a Senior Dog

Read this before adopting a senior dog.Loyal, cuddly and well-behaved are just a few of the words that you’ll hear being used to describe an older dog. While puppies may be adorable little fluff balls, you’ll quickly find that a senior dog is just as cute. Sadly, senior dogs are often the last to be adopted, even though they make some of the sweetest pets. As you get ready to head to the shelter, keep these things in mind about what it really means to give a senior pet a wonderful home.

You Help to Break Stereotypes about Old Dogs
One of the reasons why senior dogs are often left behind by adopting families is that people tend to fall for the misconception that they are problem pets. Interestingly, there are many reasons why senior dogs come to shelters that have nothing to do with their behavior. The dog that you choose may have been owned by someone who could no longer cover the cost of their food and supplies. Some families kick a pet out when they have a new baby or need to move to a smaller home. Adopting one of these dogs helps you to spread the word that a senior shelter pet is often one of the sweetest ones that you can adopt.

Senior Dogs usually Come Well-Trained
Older pets are a great choice for first-time pet owners who are just learning how to connect with a dog. You’ll also love having a dog that already knows what to do if you are an experienced pet owner who just doesn’t want to deal with another round of chewed up shoes. Most senior dogs have already been properly house trained by their previous caregivers. If not, then their foster home or shelter caregivers have like invested time in helping to train them. Instead of spending your first weeks together potty training, you can get straight to having fun with your new pet.

You Know What You are Getting
When you adopt a puppy, you really are taking quite a risk. Puppies sometimes develop health issues after adoption, such as diabetes or epilepsy, that you might not have seen coming. By the time a dog reaches their senior years, they’ve typically begun to show signs of any health issues that might arise in the future. Naturally, you may have to accept a dog that already has a health problem, but you’ll be better prepared to handle it when you already know what to expect. Shelter dogs with established health issues tend to come with a treatment plan already in place that lets you know exactly what types of extra care they need.

Seniors Are Generally Calmer Canines
Now that the puppy phase is over, you can look forward to having a pet that settles quite naturally into your home. Senior dogs tend to calm down as their joints begin to age, and you can use supplements that contain glucosamine and hemp seed oil to keep your pets knees and hips comfortable. Even when their joints are in perfect health, senior dogs just don’t seem to want to jump on people and furniture anymore. If you prefer a calm pet, then this is a wonderful thing to discover about senior dogs.

You Can Still Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
Despite what you might have heard, older dogs can absolutely learn new things. In fact, teaching your dog how to sit or stay on command is a great way to keep them mentally strong. Try taking your new pet to the dog park and challenge them to jump through a hoop or walk up an incline. They’ll love enjoying the playtime, and you’ll love knowing that you are helping to stimulate your new pet’s mind and body. Just remember that you may need to take it easier with your older pet. While they may enjoy playing games, you also want to give them chances to rest if they start to get tired.

Senior Dogs Quickly Adapt to Your Routine
Senior dogs tend to just go with the flow. They may already have done similar things after living in someone else’s home, or they may just decide that you two are a perfect match personality-wise. Are you retired and like to nap during the day? Your senior dog will be right there ready to snuggle up and rest in a quiet house. Alternatively, they’ll also be ready to go for your early morning walk, and you can just bet that your new pet will also be up for some cuddles while you watch your favorite shows in the evening. The adaptability expressed by senior pets also makes them perfect for bringing along on your outings.

You Could Be Saving a Senior's Life
Unfortunately, many shelters still practice euthanasia as a way to prevent having an overfilled facility. Even at no-kill shelters, an older dog may simply not thrive as well as they would in a loving home. Giving these dogs a safe, loving environment helps to restore their vitality while protecting them from potentially lethal shelter practices. Bringing home a senior dog from a shelter literally makes you their hero.

Senior Dogs are Immensely Grateful
After being placed in a shelter or struggling in an ill-equipped environment, senior dogs have seen both sides of life. Once you bring them home, they seem to have an innate sense of understanding that you have rescued them from their form circumstances. Your senior dog will return your gesture with lots of snuggles and love that makes every bit of care you put into them worthwhile.

Adopting a pet is a huge decision, but there is also nothing more rewarding than seeing a senior dog thrive in your loving home. With proper care, an older dog can live comfortably for many years. As you get acquainted with your new best friend, remember to have fun, play hard and always keep an eye on their health. You’ll quickly see that your senior pet brings you just as much joy to your life as you hope to give them.

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