What You Need To Know When Adopting A Senior Dog

It’s wonderful to adopt a puppy, but it’s also pretty great to adopt a senior dog.  Often, these are the dogs who are left last when they should be enjoying a happy and loving retirement home. If you are considering adopting an older dog from a shelter or a breed rescue organization, here are some tips to think about as you start your journey.

Know What You Want

This is always the case when you’re adopting an animal but, particularly, a senior dog who may have physical and medical limitations.

As an example, you won’t want to adopt a dog with arthritic knees if you live in a two story house.

Also, the older a dog gets the more medical attention he may need.  While it may be tempting to rescue that handsome face you see, ask every question you can about medical needs so you aren’t put in the position of having to return him.


We can’t stress the importance of this enough. Workers in shelters and breed rescue programs are always looking for foster homes.  This would be a great trial run to see if the dog you have your eye on will fit well into your home and you can handle his or her limitations.

Give Her Time

It’s very possible that the older dog you want to adopt has had one or more homes.  If you’re fostering before adopting, make sure to add some activities to your regular routine like car rides, going to the dog park or visiting friends.

After adoption, she will need at least a month to settle in and become comfortable that this is her new, forever home rather than just a way station.

Reasons to Adopt a Senior Dog

Seniors are wonderful for lots of reasons but here are some of our favorites:

No uncertainties – This kind of dog is a “what you see is what you get” option.  You’ll know how big the dog is, their personality and grooming needs.

Monitoring – One of the big benefits of adopting a senior dog is that you won’t have to watch them 24/7.

They’re House-trained – For the most part, a senior dog will know what to do when it comes to going outside to do his business.

Enjoying the good life – These guys love to relax and settle in.  While older dogs still require some exercise, they won’t need the constant running a puppy will.

Be a hero – Adopting a senior dog means you are saving a life.  And you never know.  Perhaps she’ll be saving your life too.

Photo Credit:  istockphoto.com

Will you be willing to adopt a senior dog?


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