When most prospective pet owners start looking for a dog, it’s natural that they usually think to look at puppies first. Children come into our lives as babies, so it’s pretty normal to look for a puppy or young dog when you think about adding a pet to your family.
There is another whole class of dogs that needs our attention, though. These are the older dogs that have ended up in shelters. Older dogs find themselves in shelters for a variety of reasons (for example, they might have run away from home but were never claimed), but they still have the capacity to be just as loving as any dog.
In fact, older dogs have benefits that younger ones lack! Since national Adopt a Senior Dog Month is coming up, here are 5 benefits of adopting an older dog.
They’re Usually Housebroken
If you’re having any difficulties with a new dog, there’s a good chance it has to do with housebreaking. Puppies simply haven’t learned yet to wait do their business outside. Older dogs won’t necessarily have that problem. If you adopt an older dog from the shelter, there’s a good chance that his previous owner already trained him. That’s one less hassle that you’ll have to deal with!
One of the biggest challenges for raising a puppy or younger dog is all the energy they have. They are ready and raring to go all the time. It can be tough for owners to deal with this new endless bundle of enthusiasm.
Adopting an older dog means that you have the chance to get one with a lot more maturity. An older dog will be more calm and ready to just hang out around the house (rather than wanting to rip the house to pieces.) They are ready to be your roommate instead of your newborn infant.
Busy Lifestyles Don’t Phase Them
Many Americans would like to adopt a dog, but they have a lot of reasons why they think it just won’t work. One of these is that they are too busy, and this is a valid concern. Dogs need a lot of care and attention to make sure that they thrive. They need someone to walk them a few times a day, and they need play time with a loving family.
While older dogs definitely need all of this attention, they fit better into a busy lifestyle than a brand new puppy would. They are more patient and won’t mind as much when you can’t seem them until after work.
Their History May be Known
Adopting any new dog is a bit of a gamble because you don’t know what sort of medical history that dog’s parents had. Were they always in generally good health, or does that family have any medical problems that might have been passed down to your pup?
A benefit of having an older dog is that any medical problems are likely to have already made themselves apparent. The shelter’s staff should be able to fill you in on any issues that you need to be aware of before taking the dog home.
Good with Children
Another extremely positive aspect of older dogs is that they are often much more gentle and careful around children. They have a few years of experience around families under their collars, so they know not to jump up on a small child. A younger dog might not have learned this lesson yet and accidentally cause an injury
So, what are you waiting for? If you’re thinking about adopting, consider an older dog when you head to the shelter!