By Guest Blogger Alexandra Seagal
Bringing a senior dog into your home and giving her the gift of love and security is one of the most compassionate gestures you can make to a four-legged companion. The emotional return you will receive from this decision cannot adequately be expressed.
But as with any adoption, you want to carefully plan and ask the right questions before you choose an older canine who will fit best with you and your family.
Here are 5 important questions to ask before you adopt a senior dog so that you — and the dog in question — can find the best fit possible for future happiness.
1. Where should I adopt a senior dog from?
One of the best places to find the newest addition to your family is at your local dog shelter or independent rescue. Sadly, many shelters and rescue facilities are full of senior dogs who in many cases remain there for extended periods of time, overlooked for the younger dogs and puppies.
Many older dogs spend nearly four times as long at a shelter waiting for adoption than younger animals.
By adopting from your local rescue or shelter, you will be saving a life and giving an older dog new hope. You will also help open up a spot in the shelter for another dog in need who is looking for a forever home.
2. Won’t I be adopting the previous owner’s problem?
Many people don’t realize that senior dogs are rarely ever surrendered to shelters through some fault of their own. Older dogs lose their homes for a multitude of reasons, including the death of the previous owner, allergies, changes in lifestyle, not enough time for the dog, and moving to a new location.
When you adopt a senior dog, you aren’t taking in a dog with a problem. It was the dog’s former owner who had the problem! With an older dog, you’ll be getting a pup who is already trained, who is past the chewing phase, and who just wants to be loved.
3. Don’t older dogs have expensive health needs?
If you adopt a dog, at some point veterinary visits, shots, and medication will be necessary regardless of the pup’s age. Read the shelter’s health assessment, so you know whether any age-related conditions are present.
Then determine if you and your home can provide the best place possible for the dog. Make sure that you can make the financial commitment needed if any health concerns arise.
4. What advantages do older dogs have over younger ones?
Many senior canines get along with multiple people as well as other dogs and cats. Older dogs thrive on love and attention, so they quickly learn what you expect from them and try their best to live up to your expectations.
Senior dogs are calmer than puppies. They are patient and willing to simply sit by you while you have your coffee or read a book. They are just as ready to become an instant companion and accompany you on walks, hikes, or rides in the car.
5. How long will it take for a senior dog to adjust to a new home?
It’s difficult to predict exactly how long it will take for a senior dog to become accustomed to her new home as each dog is an individual with her own past experiences. If the dog has been in a shelter or rescue for a long time, it may take awhile for her to settle into her new family.
Give your older dog at least a month to find her new routine. Some dogs will adjust in a few days, and others will need more time. Show your new addition love, affection, kindness, and patience, and she will eventually come around.
Senior dogs are an ideal adoption choice for families with small children or owners who don’t have the time to housetrain a puppy or deal with its energy level.
You will know the dog’s health requirements and temperament ahead of time. All she wants is a loving, permanent home where she can enjoy the remainder of her life, so help a senior dog out and consider adopting one today.
Otherwise, the majority of senior dogs require what younger ones need — quality food, exercise, regular vet visits, and lots of love.