So, you’ve decided you want to get a pet. Great, but before you get your heart set on getting that adorable puppy, consider these factors— and why you may want to consider a senior pet as your new companion.
Don’t want your furniture destroyed or your carpet peed on? It takes a lot of patience and energy to teach kittens how to use scratchers and litterboxes, or to teach your puppy commands to let you know when it needs to be taken outside. For busy people and families, this may not be an option as they may not have the time or even the ability to train a new pet. Adopting an older dog means no sleepless nights listening to that new puppy howl. They’re content to lie on their pet bed or just curl up for the night.
Older dogs generally are already trained, as many (seniors) previously lived in homes with families, but they and were unfortunately given up by their previous owners. Older dogs:
Animal behavior experts say personalities for cats and dogs are set by age two. When you adopt an older pet, what you see is what you get. That dog that licked you at the shelter and seemed so playful? That’s pretty much what you can expect from that animal. Few surprises. Knowing an older pet’s personality makes it easier to determine which one is right for you.
There is an assumption that older pets are costlier ones. That isn’t necessarily so. As with people, pets may experience age-related health issues, but they may not be costly ones if they receive regular veterinary care. Puppies require a lot of vaccinations, more trips to the vet, and if they are young, the owner may need to pay for the costs of spaying or neutering. Not to mention costs of training or the destructive costs of not properly training them. Many shelters discount the adoption fees of older animals, which means less upfront costs (and more money for toys and treats!).
Puppies have a great deal of energy, and who doesn’t love watching their crazy antics on YouTube? However, that kind of energy is less fun when they’re tearing up your furniture, jumping all over the place, not letting you have a moment’s peace because they need lots of attention. For older folks or people who don’t lead the most active lifestyle (who doesn’t love a night of binge watching?), an older dog may be the perfect companion.
Older dogs may be overlooked at animal shelters because people mistakenly believe that there isn’t much life left to them. As shelters get overcrowded, many older animals are euthanized just for being older. Even at no-kill shelters, these overlooked animals can spend their last years never having a home to call their own.Many older dogs still like to play and go on hikes. Also, smaller dogs can live longer – sometimes as long as 20 years.
The best part of adopting an older dog is having a grateful and loving pet who can give you years of joy.
Getting a new pet can be rewarding — both for you and the dog. While it’s tempting to get a puppy, consider the time, cost, and energy it takes. You may find that getting an older pet is a better fit.