Five Benefits of Adopting a Senior Dog

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October is Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month and November is Senior Dog Month, so I thought it would be a perfect time to talk about adopting a senior dog.
senior adoptionOur two dogs, Jack & Maggie were both adopted and they are both seniors, so we kill two birds with one stone! When we adopted our first senior, Becca, some folks asked us why we would adopt a senior – why we didn’t get a puppy. Good question, but at the time, our other dog Tino was a senior and he was blind, so I didn’t feel comfortable bringing a bouncy puppy into his calm, stable atmosphere. We lucked out with Becca – she fit right in and was as calm and forgiving of Tino’s lack of boundaries and inability to ‘read’ dog cues as Sally was. When Tino left us and we wanted to adopt again, we needed to find a dog that would fit with Becca. Becca was a senior with severe back issues, so she couldn’t be running around and playing with another dog, so we got Jack who was 7-8 at the time, but wasn’t (and still isn’t) a playful dog.


As you can see our decisions to adopt seniors have been driven mainly by our existing family needs and lifestyle and that’s really the best way to determine what type or age of dog to adopt. Even so, most folks want puppies or young dogs, but I’m here to put in a good word for the seniors because I think they make ideal adopted pets.

Here’s my list of the top five benefits of adopting a senior dog:

  • You won’t lose any shoes or belts or socks to a puppy that’s teething. Senior dogs can’t be bothered with destroying your clothes or your house or your garden, there’s sunshine to be soaked up and naps to be taken.
  • Seniors don’t require hours of exercise to burn off excess energy. A stroll around the block a few times a day with the appropriate amount of stops to smell the roses is all they need to keep them happy and fit. If they do require more exercise than a stroll (like Jack) they make great walking, running or biking partners. They aren’t as easily distracted by other dogs, people or critters, they’ve seen it all.
  • Their diet can be pretty simple. Contrary to the marketing from the food companies, seniors don’t really need a special diet. You should be more careful with the calories because just as with human seniors, they might be getting less exercise and their metabolism slows down. But that’s easily addressed by feeding them a little bit less and filling in with some raw veggies.
  • Extra sleep. Senior dogs are content to sleep in on Sunday mornings, or any morning because they know that a good nights sleep is important. They are also big fans of the afternoon nap, the morning nap, the evening nap…well, just naps in general.
  • Lots of love. Seniors still have lots of love and affection left to give and they don’t hesitate to share it with you and with everyone they meet.
Senior siesta - an afternoon nap in the sun.

Senior siesta – an afternoon nap in the sun.

We obviously think senior dogs make great pets and there are thousands of them in shelters or rescues that are looking for their forever home. They bring unconditional love, as well as a sense of calm and perspective to what’s really important in life. Consider adopting a senior dog today.

We are joining the Thursday Barks and Bytes Blog Hop Co-hosted by our friends at 2Brown Dogs and Heart Like a Dog. Grab the badge and join the fun!


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  1. Seniors are awesome, but they can also be extra work with their health issues. For us right now we need more high energy dogs, so with Katie being a senior it means extra walks for just her that are slower and shorter. Mom doesn’t mind, because aging is part of life but I think it will be a few years until Mom is ready for a low energy dog. We do think for many a senior is a great fit as they don’t want to be out walking, running, etc. all the time like we do.
    Emma recently posted…I Attended The DOGFACE Book Release Party!My Profile

    • True – if you have an really active lifestyle and want to take your dogs with you, seniors may not be the optimal choice.
      mkob recently posted…Five Benefits of Adopting a Senior DogMy Profile

  2. Very compelling post this morning. As Harley gets older I am learning to appreciate his new “mature” outlook on life. For instance, when it’s raining extremely hard Harley will look at me as if to say: “it’s cool, we don’t have to go out right now :)” Love it!
    Groovy Goldendoodles recently posted…ME AND MY GHOUL-FRIENDS | WORDLESS WEDNESDAYMy Profile

  3. It’s great that you’ve highlighted all these benefits. I know there are tons of people who don’t have the time/energy to keep up with a puppy but would still love the companionship of a dog. A senior dog could be a perfect fit.

  4. I love the seniors and would like to adopt one someday. I’m really having a hard time deciding if my next dog should be a puppy, middle-aged or a senior and if I should adopt it while Ace is still around. I guess it’s hard to know what to do! But, for me, the seniors are the best because of the points you made. They are generally less energy and less likely to get in trouble. And they are almost always potty trained. I like to keep my life as stress-free as possible, so that’s one of the reasons I’m drawn to adopting a senior dog.
    Lindsay recently posted…Can you believe these embarrassing cat stories? #CatPawMy Profile

  5. I think seniors are so great. I love what you said about how adopting is driven by the needs of your existing pets…that is so true. We opted to adopt a puppy because Cricket can have issues with other dogs and we thought she’d more willingly accept a puppy that she could teach. But I wouldn’t hesitate to adopt a senior if they did fit in (plus we already had 3 seniors at that time!).
    I was also glad you said that seniors don’t need a special diet, other than cutting back on calories. That is what I thought but never really had it confirmed.
    Jan K recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – Birthday BestMy Profile

  6. All great reasons for adopting a senior dog. Thanks so much for joining the Barks and Bytes hop.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Thursday Barks And Bytes–A Howling Good Give-AwayMy Profile

  7. I’ve discovered I’m not a puppy person. I love puppies, of course. But I love them more when they belong to other people. When we brought a dog home, she was well beyond the puppy stage. We’re all happy!
    Heather recently posted…The Art of NegotiationMy Profile

  8. I wish so much that more people would consider senior pets. Wonderful post
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
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