Adopting an Older Dog: What You Should Know


When adopting a new dog, few people consider the possibility of choosing an older dog. Adopting a puppy or a young dog may seem more appealing for various reasons; some people are afraid of losing their dog too soon, or simply want a dog that adapt more easily to their family. This is a shame, because there are many benefits to adopting an older dog. In this post, I will explain why older dogs can be beneficial, as well as some factors to consider.

Benefits of Adopting an Older Dog

  • They’re More Calm. While puppies tend to be full of energy, older dogs are much calmer and are likely to enjoy quiet walks or hanging out at home.
  • They’re Fully Grown. With puppies, there’s a lot of guess-work involved when it comes to their size. With older dogs, however, what you see is what you get.
  • They’re Personality is Already Formed. Think about how much work goes into training a new puppy when you bring it home. This isn’t the case with older dogs: they are most likely potty trained, and their temperament has already been formed, so you don’t need to tell them what to do and what not to do.
  • Great for All Ages. Older dogs are calm and easy going around children, and make good companions for older people, too.
  • You’re Giving Them a Chance at a New Life. Older Dogs over 5 years old are often the first to be euthanized in shelters, so you may be saving a life. Older dogs deserve love just as much as younger ones.

Having the Right Home

While older dogs have varied personalities and abilities and may prefer different types of homes, here are a few qualities in a home that older dogs tend to prefer.

  • Accessibility. Keep in mind that many older dogs may have joint problems or other conditions that make moving around the house difficult. This means steep stairs might be a challenge. Some companies manufacture ramps that can help your dog climb onto various furniture.
  • Quiet Home. Most older dogs prefer a house with less noise. This means young, noisy children might be an annoyance for a sleepy older dog.
  • A Willing Family. Owning an older dog means your family must be willing to put in the effort to take care of an aging dog. As they age, some older dogs might develop health problems, so this means you must be willing to put in time and money for his care.

Health and Financial Considerations

Some older dogs develop health problems, such as:

  • Vision or Hearing Loss
  • Arthritis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Heart murmurs

Health issues should be taken into account as much as possible before adopting an older dog. If the dog was surrendered by a previous owner to a rescue organization, there may be information available about their health. Admitted dogs also have their health checked by a vet who might be able to provide insight about their health.

Taking care of a dog with health issues is a financial investment, too. Make sure you are prepared to manage any existing health issues, as well as new ones that might arise.

Adopting an older dog may come with challenge, but the experience will prove to be rewarding. When you give an older dog a new home, you are giving them a new chance at life that will be beneficial to both of you.