5 Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog From the Animal Shelter

Local animal shelters offer some of the best dogs available for loving families seeking to add new furry additions to the family. Unfortunately, many families head off to local shelters in search of cute, bundles of puppy fluff–ignoring the many, wonderful adult dogs living in the shelter or rescue organization. Some families cite age and health concerns in their decisions to avoid older dogs from shelter environments–but, in reality; there are a number of advantages to adopting an adult or senior dog. What are some reasons for considering an older dog from the animal shelter?

Many adult and senior dogs are housebroken. While there are exceptions, a number of older dogs are owner surrenders due to poor owner health or circumstances. Many adult and senior dogs lived long lives as housedogs–and were fully housebroken and crate trained by their previous owners. Some of these dogs may require a refresher course in potty training–but, will be far easier to housebreak than a new puppy with no previous housebreaking skills.

Older dogs are not puppies. Puppies are adorable–and puppies are chewing, nipping, yipping, potty filled bundles of energy. Unlike puppies, older dogs are often housebroken, as previously mentioned. Older dogs also have all of their permanent teeth and are less likely to chew–and are a lot less active and loaded with puppy energy as their junior counterparts. Older dogs make great adoption choices for older adults–or for families with less time for active play and less willingness for clean up detail.

Older dogs often have had some level of training. Again, many adult and senior dogs were made homeless by circumstance. Many had loving, attentive owners and families who became unable to provide the care necessary. Many older dogs are leash trained, know a number of common obedience commands and even perform tricks.

Healthy, older dogs require less supervision. Many older dogs are more likely to lounge on the sofa than troll the house for stuffed animals to shred or garbage cans to ransack. Older dogs are just not as curious and energetic as puppies. If a dog is healthy, there are generally fewer concerns with accidents and mischief than with younger, friskier dogs.

Adopting an adult or senior dog is heartwarming. Consider for a moment that your family will provide a warm, secure, loving home to a dog that lost the only family he remembered. Imagine how much love that animal would provide in his remaining years. Rather than fearing a short-lived relationship, families considering adult or senior dogs should realize that the love and memories are just as strong and valuable as those given to an adopted puppy–maybe even more so for the senior dog seeking to live his last years with a family that loves him.


Personal experiences working with shelters, rescue groups, and personally adopting or fostering a variety of homeless dogs and puppies.

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