Adopting an Older Dog

Guest post by Isabella Miller

An elderly man holding an elderly pug in his lapAlthough most people prefer to adopt puppies, there are many advantages for adopting older dogs. Maybe someone can't afford Fido, but you can provide a loving home.

More and more irresponsible dog owners are dropping off their pets at animal shelters. Tragically, many of these dogs will be put to sleep because of overcrowding, as well as the reality that most owners prefer puppies to older dogs.

However, there are many advantages to adopting an older dog. If you don't have the time or energy to train a puppy, then choosing a more mature dog may be a better choice.

Why Adopt an Older Dog?

  • Already housebroken - Adopting a puppy is exciting, but most owners don't enjoy the breaking-in stage. By adopting an older dog who's (usually) already housebroken, you don't have the anxiety of worrying about your carpets being destroyed. What's more, they're also past the chewing and digging stage, making for more desirable house companions.
  • Calmer - Older dogs aren't as hyperactive as when they were puppies, making for calmer pets. They're less likely to run after cats, reducing stress on both the dog owner, as well as the cat owner.
  • Gentler with small children
  • More loyal - With an older dog you don't have to spend as much time worrying about him or her escaping. Because older dogs are more settled, they're less likely to venture out, or tunnel under a fence, running away to other homes.
  • Less demanding - This leaves you more time for yourself.
  • Less curious - Whereas puppies and younger dogs do dumb stunts such as drinking toilet water and checking out dangerous situations, or chewing on power cords, older dogs are more mature and less likely to pose a danger to themselves or your home.
  • Personality already developed - With an older dog, what you see is what you get. On the other hand, a young puppy has to develop his or her own particular personality, so what you see as a puppy could evolve into another personality later. Knowing a dog's personality upfront is beneficial in judging how he'll adjust to your household. For example, if you have children, you don't want a puppy that later might mature into a dog that isn't kid friendly.

Best Older Breeds to Adopt


There are just as many different personalities of dog breeds as there are owners. While some owners may actually prefer an active dog (who's also older), others opt for less athletic, smaller dogs such as toy breeds.

Realizing that older dogs already have some time on them, it's probably better to choose smaller breeds simply because they generally have a longer lifespan. In other words, you may love large breeds, such as Great Danes, but unfortunately, such big breeds typically live less than ten years, whereas smaller dogs, such as Fox Terriers, can live up to 14 years.

Establish a Routine Early


An older dog with a senior manDon't hesitate to establish a routine as soon as you bring your new dog home. Also, let each family member get to know the new addition on a one-on-one basis, rather than the whole clan descending on Fido at once. For additional tips, study books on the subject to help your dog adjust to his new home.

You're Saving a Life


Although there are many good reasons for adopting an older dog, the best reason is that you're saving a life. You can feel good that you're giving an older dog another chance at life. Maybe his original owner couldn't afford him, but you can make a comfortable home not only for a lovable new pet, but also help your local animal shelter have one less dog to feed or even worse, to put to sleep.


Isabella Miller is a dog lover who's passionate to share her knowledge about pets. In her free time she helps to find owners for abandoned puppies and she writes at me Puppy, a blog about dogs.

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