What is a ‘senior dog? Dogs tend to enter the last quarter of their lives at around 7 years, with larger animals maturing more quickly than smaller ones. While many shelters and animal rescue locations tend to focus on bouncy, yippy puppies, don’t overlook older dogs if you’re considering adopting a pet. They may bark a little less and move a little slower, but they still have a lot of love to give. There are other advantages, too. Here are a few:
- They’re Pre-Trained – Most senior dogs are already house-trained and understand basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” which makes them ideal for first time pet-owners. And if you think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, you’re wrong. Dogs can be trained at any age.
- They’re Calmer – Senior dogs have their own established temperament, well past the uncontrolled puppy stage so there’s less potential for damage to your furniture and other possessions.
- You Know What You’re Getting – Senior dogs are full grown, and aren’t likely to surprise you in a few years when you realize the cute little puppy you adopted has outgrown your available living space. They look like themselves; if that looks good to you, you know you’ve made a good choice.
- You Honor Their Service – You can be hero to a hero canine. Former police and service dogs often need adoption as well and make superlative pets. They’re trained, good with people and responsive to commands.
- They’re Great For Senior Citizens – adoptees bring comfort and companionship to people in their older years. Studies have shown that spending time with animals can help senior citizens reduce loneliness, anxiety and depression. And senior dogs are quieter and need less exercise, which makes them a good fit for people with mobility challenges.
- You Can Save a Life – many people thinking of adopting automatically envision bringing home a puppy, and won’t consider a dog in its senior years. With overcrowding at many animal shelters, older dogs are the first to be euthanized. When you adopt one, you may be saving a life.
If you’re looking to adopt a dog, cat or other companion, Kids That Do Good lists a variety of places that can help you, as well as places that can use your help. In Spring of 2017, one of our featured causes is Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the largest sanctuary for companion animals in the nation.