7 Reasons to Adopt a Senior Dog, and Give Them a Forever Home


Dec. 7 2023, Published 1:19 p.m. ET

Elderly Golden Retriever lying on wooden floor with a tennis ball, looking happy with life.
Source: iStock

These days, shelters are often overwhelmed with abandoned pets. In 2023, France was in the headlines for an abundance of this very issue — but unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence in many parts of the world. And while there are plenty of kindhearted humans willing to go the adopt, don’t shop route, most people want a puppy to bring home. It makes sense. It’s hard to resist these cute bundles of fluffy energy.

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Although not as obvious, older mutts have just as much to offer. Yet, sadly, they are often passed over in favor of their younger counterparts. It's time to change the narrative, and follow the example of this New Yorker. These are just a handful of the many benefits of adopting a senior dog. Fair warning: you may just find yourself at the shelter before the day is out.

1. Senior dogs have already been housebroken.

If you've ever been a pet parent to a puppy, you’ll know the “joys” of waking up to a smelly mess on the floor or coming home to chewed-up furniture. When you adopt a dog who's older, you can skip the potty training phase and enjoy a clean and well-behaved furry friend from day one.

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2. They usually have a calmer temperament.

Older dogs have usually outgrown their puppy stage and tend to be calmer and more relaxed. However, this does depend on the breed. Jack Russells, for example, tend to be full of energy regardless of age. Adult dogs generally have established personality traits, making it easier to find a perfect match for your lifestyle. The website How I Met My Dog has a great guide for potential adopters that’s worth checking out.

Person walking in the woods with an older Beagle dog
Source: iStock
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3. Older pups often require less training and socializing.

Older pups often have prior training and can be well-behaved, saving you from the time-consuming process of training a younger dog. You’ll often find they’ve already learned basic commands and manners, making the transition into your home much smoother. Also, when you adopt an older dog, they're often already socialized and comfortable around people and other animals.

4. Pooches with a few miles on their pads generally have lower energy levels.

Senior pooches generally have lower energy levels, making them a great choice for retirees or people with a more relaxed lifestyle. If you're not up for long, challenging walks or intense play sessions, an older dog may be worth considering. They still enjoy gentle exercise and outdoor activities, but they likely won't require the same level of physical activity as a younger dog.

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5. They need unconditional love (and give it back in buckets).

A dog that's older can make an incredible addition to your family, offering loyalty, companionship, and unconditional love in return for a safe and loving home. These OGs (older guys and gals) thrive on one-on-one attention. If you have the time and space in your life, it can be incredibly rewarding to be on the giving (and receiving) end of a relationship like this.

Elderly person and older Beagle gazing lovingly at one another
Source: iStock
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6. Adopting a senior dog gives them a second chance at life.

Many older dogs find themselves in shelters due to unforeseen circumstances like their human passing away or no longer being able to care for them. By offering a shelter dog a forever home, you allow them to experience love, happiness, and companionship in their twilight years.

7. Older dogs can be just as much fun as puppies.

Older dogs might have a few more years under their belts, but they can still have the capacity for love, laughter, and adventure. Whether it's going for leisurely walks, snuggling up on the couch, or exploring new places together, older dogs can bring a lot of fun to your life.

These are just a few of the happy benefits of offering an older pooch a home. Each animal has their unique qualities and charms, so consider adopting a more mature dog and experience the joy that comes with giving them a forever home.

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