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Do you love dogs and want to adopt a rescue dog? Dogs are in shelters for many different reasons. Some are stray dogs that don’t have a home and some were surrendered by their owners for different reasons. They all need love and a good home. Adopt a rescue dog and save a life.

Advantages to Adopting a Senior Rescue Dog

There are many senior dogs available for adoption in shelters. Many people want to adopt a puppy instead of a senior dog. Puppies take more time and attention than healthy senior dogs do. Keep reading to find out why people choose to adopt a senior rescue dog instead of a puppy!

You may be asking, “When is a dog considered a senior?” Most veterinarians say that dogs become seniors around the age of 7. Small dogs usually live longer lives and would, therefore, become a senior later in life. Most rescue shelters consider a dog a senior at 5 years old. Most people want younger dogs or puppies. A dog 5 years old and older, in a shelter, are less likely to be adopted.

Senior Advantages

Senior dogs are in shelters for many reasons. Read more here about why dogs are in shelters. Most senior dogs have lived inside a home before at some point in their life, making it a little easier for them to adjust to living in your home.


Senior dogs are already housebroken. You won’t have to train your dog to relieve themselves outside because they already know that. If you get a puppy, most likely you will have to train them to go outside. You will also have to take them outside more often than a senior dog.

Not teething

If you have ever had a puppy, you know how much puppies chew. You will have to teach a puppy what is appropriate to chew on and what is not. Puppies chew more when they are cutting teeth to soothe their sore gums.

A senior dog will not be cutting teeth. A good bone to chew on will satisfy a senior dog. Senior dogs are less likely to be destructive with chewing than puppies and younger dogs.

Some training

Most senior rescue dogs will have had some training. They will know basic commands like sit and stay, plus they will understand the word “no”. With a puppy, you will have a lot of training to do. You will have to teach your puppy everything, including basic commands and socialization, is very important for your puppy.

Calmer, more relaxed

Puppies are full of energy and they need lots of exercises to release that energy. They will need several walks each day along with playtime.

A senior dog is a low energy. They are much calmer and relaxed. They enjoy a good nap and so can you. If you want a low energy and relaxed dog, don’t overlook the senior dogs.

Learn quickly

Older dogs are very eager to please their owners. They will enjoy the attention from training and the mental stimulation they will receive.

Senior dogs can focus more than younger dogs or puppies making training easier. They have seen many different things and people during their life, where a puppy or younger dog can be easily distracted.

Save a Life

Be a hero to a senior rescue dog and save its life. When the kennels are full at kill shelters, the senior dogs are usually the first to go. Senior dogs get overlooked many times when they could be the perfect pet. A senior dog somehow knows that you are saving its life. They are very loyal to their owners who rescue them. You are their hero! They will want to please you and make you as happy as you have made them.

No Surprises

An older dog is full grown. You don’t have to wonder how big it will get. When you meet the dog you will see how big they are, their temperament, and their personality. You will be able to ask questions of staff members who have interacted with the dog. Is the dog good with children, other dogs or cats? Whatever questions you may have, ask the staff members.

Get a Checkup

Have your veterinarian give the senior rescue dog you are considering to adopt a checkup. If there is a medical issue with the dog, you can then decide if you want to take on the financial responsibility for the dog. If you want a low energy dog with some training that will be loyal and thankful, adopt a senior rescue dog. They will be grateful to you for saving their lives. Best of all, they will love to cuddle with you!

Have you adopted a senior dog? Feel free to leave a comment or share a story about your dog. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.

Before You Visit a Shelter

First, if you don’t live alone, have a meeting with everyone in the household. Discuss and decide on rules and limitations for your dog and family. Talk about responsibilities for each member of your family. Make a list of commands that each family member will use with your dog. Be consistent with commands so your dog does not become confused.

You will need to fill out an application and speak with a staff member at the shelter. Staff members can help you find the right dog for you and your family. They are around the dogs each day and they get to know each dog’s personality and energy level. Choose a dog with an energy level equal to or lower than your own energy level.

If you have lost a pet recently, wait a little while before adopting. You don’t want to bring a dog into a sad household. Grieve the dog you lost first.

Visit the Shelter

Don’t limit yourself to just looking for a puppy. There are many adult dogs available for adoption. Consider older dogs also. Many times adult and older dogs are already housebroken and trained.

Choose two or three dogs that you consider possible adoptees for you and your family. Spend time with each dog away from the other dogs in the shelter. Go for a short walk with each dog before you make a choice. Take your time in choosing a shelter dog. Don’t rush your decision. It might take several visits to make a decision for such a long-term commitment.

If you already have a dog, bring your dog to the shelter to introduce the dog you want to adapt to your current dog. If there are any problems between the dogs, you may have to choose another dog. Not all dogs will get along.

Things You Will Need

If you don’t currently have a veterinarian, you will need to find one. Don’t wait until your dog is home before finding a veterinarian. Be prepared before you need a veterinarian. Click here to find out how to find a veterinarian.

You will need to buy dog care items for your dog. Your dog will need a collar, a 6ft leash, ID tags, water and food bowls, food, toys, a crate, bedding, and a brush. Find out what food the dog is currently eating at the shelter to prevent digestive problems.

If you and your veterinarian decide to change your dog’s food, you will need to introduce the new food slowly over a week. Continue feeding the same food on the same schedule for the first few days. Start with 25% new food to 75% old food. Over the next week slowly add more new food, 50% old food to 50% new food. Then 75% new food to 25% old food. Finally, 100% of the new food.

Bring Your Dog Home

Your dog should be safely secured in a crate or a travel harness on the way to its new home. If you are involved in an accident, you don’t want your dog being thrown around and injured or worse.

If possible, take off work for a couple of days to spend time with your dog and help them adjust to their new surroundings. Don’t spend every minute with your dog as they will become accustomed to you being with them and they may develop separation anxiety.

Leave your dog inside while you go outside for a few minutes. When you return inside, don’t get excited and make a big deal out of your return. Remain calm so your dog will remain calm. Slowly increase the time you are away from your dog.

Be Patient With Your Dog

After adoption, give your dog time to acclimate to your home and family. Hold off on introducing strangers to your dog. Also, wait to introduce friends and family members dogs to your dog.

Remain calm and quiet for the first few days. Allow your dog time to get used to its new surroundings and settle in. Spend time one on one with your dog to get to know them better. Be very patient.

When you arrive at home, take your dog immediately to the area where you want him or her to relieve themselves. Spend some time with your dog in this area.

Take your dog inside and show them where their food and water bowls are, their crate, bed, and toys. Have a crate ready for your dog inside with the door open so he can go in the crate if he feels overwhelmed.

Be prepared for accidents inside your home. A new home, new people, new smells, new sounds can throw your dog off and accidents may happen. Take your dog outside frequently to relieve themselves in the same area. Praise your dog for relieving themselves outside.

Start your dog on a schedule for feeding, going out to relieve themselves, walking, playing, and time for training. Be consistent so your dog will know what to expect each day.

The Next Few Weeks

Invite friends and family to come to your home to meet your dog, one or two at a time. Don’t overwhelm your dog with new people, take your time. Let your dog get to know someone and then introduce their dog to your dog.

If you find that your dog has behavioral issues, you may need to see a dog behavioral specialist. Try using positive reinforcement to help correct behavior problems. Praising your dog for good behavior will show them what you expect out of them. Dogs love to please their owners.

Make a Long-Term Commitment

Take your time making your decision to adopt a puppy or dog. You need to make a long-term commitment to take care of a dog for the rest of its life. They will depend on you every day and they will give you unconditional love in return. Don’t make the decision to adopt a rescue dog lightly. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.

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