Are you ready to adopt a dog? Sharing your life with a canine will bring joy to you and your canine companion. Studies even show that owning a dog has health benefits, both mental and physical. An analysis of multiple studies involving more than 3 million subjects found that dog owners had a 24% reduction in dying of all causes. So, dogs can be a lifesaver!

Sounds like a good reason to visit a shelter, doesn’t it? Still, make sure you’re ready mentally and physically to the challenges of owning a dog. You can’t go wrong by choosing your next canine companion from a shelter. You might be tempted to check out the puppies first, but open up your heart to adopting a senior dog too. Shelters are often overloaded with senior dogs, and people pass them by in favor of cute puppies.

Senior dogs are special too, and in some cases, they’re a better choice for a household. Here’s why.

A Senior Dog Is Less Likely to Be Aggressive

Senior dogs tend to be less aggressive than younger dogs, but they can still react badly if they get pushed too far. Aggression is more common in young puppies than in older dogs. This is because young puppies are still learning how to control their behavior and avoid biting people. Senior dogs are also less likely to act aggressively towards strangers, since they’re less excitable. This can be a good thing, especially if your senior dog is shy or has certain physical limitations that don’t allow them to engage with new people. However, all dogs can be mistrustful of strangers and may need some training.

Senior Dogs Tend to Be Less Excitable

Senior dogs don’t bark as much as younger dogs, mainly because they have more self-control. They’re less likely to react strongly to different sounds or sights that catch their attention. This is good news if you have neighbors who complain about your dog barking loudly. Senior dogs usually mellow out a bit with age and are less likely to freak out when your neighbor pays a visit. They have more poise and decorum than a pup.

Senior Dogs Aren’t Always “On”

Senior dogs don’t need constant walks and entertainment like a younger dog, especially a puppy. They’re more likely to want to chill with you on the couch. But, like younger dogs, they still need exercise to stay fit and healthy. Even when you leash them up, a senior dog is less likely to pull you down the street when you go out for a walk. Strolling with a senior dog can be a more pleasant experience.

Senior dogs have often outgrown the chewing stage where they chew up everything you leave lying around the house. Seniors are reliable companions you can trust around your belongings. They’re also grateful for hugs and snuggling with you on the couch. Simple pleasures make them happy.

They May Have Some Training

One of the most frustrating aspects of adopting a puppy is house training. Many senior dogs at shelters are already housetrained and are less likely to repeatedly soil your new carpeting. Despite their older age, they may also be more amenable to learning new tricks since they’re calmer and less likely to be distracted when you’re training them. It’s not true you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

You’re Saving a Life

When you adopt a senior dog from a shelter, you might save a life. Senior dogs are less likely to be adopted than energetic pups and often get passed up. If it’s a kill shelter, they are among the first to land on the euthanasia list. By adopting a senior, you’re giving them a second chance at happiness. Plus, sharing your life with them will add joy to your own household. It’s funny how saving a life can improve your own life and make it better.

The Bottom Line

When you’re ready to open your heart to a dog, visit a local shelter, but be receptive to adopting a senior dog too. More people are discovering the benefits of adopting a senior dog from a shelter. You’ll have an instant friend to share your life with, and you’ll bring joy to a dog in the latter years of his life.


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“Why You Should Adopt a Senior Dog Over a Puppy – NBC Boston.”

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Dog Ownership and Survival. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Caroline K. Kramer, Sadia Mehmood, Renée S. Suen. Originally published8 Oct 2019 Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 2019;12:e005554.

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