Rescue a Senior Dog: How a Senior Dog Can Be Good for You


Senior Shih Tzu dog lying on a benchSenior Shih Tzu dog

If you’re ready to bring a dog into your life, it can be one of the best decisions you ever make.

It’s also a choice that you should carefully consider.

While many people may jump to adopt or rescue a puppy, don’t underestimate the fantastic way an older dog can benefit your life.

Adopting a senior dog has several advantages, including a more settled disposition, fewer surprises, and instant companionship. Plus, older dogs typically require less exercise.

Perhaps one of the biggest plusses of rescuing a senior dog is it enables you to save a pup’s life. Older dogs are often the first to be euthanized in shelters so that you can make a big difference.

Of course, adopting a dog, no matter its age, is a big commitment and responsibility.

So, make sure you’re prepared to put forth the time and effort that caring for a dog requires.

Then, if you’re ready to make the move into dog companionship, know that there are benefits of rescuing a senior dog which can be good for you.

The Benefits of Adopting an Older Dog

When you bring home an older dog instead of a puppy, there are a few advantages that you might experience:

Less Demanding

Older pups are typically less demanding since they’re content to snooze on a comfy couch or dog bed for a good part of the day.

Of course, this doesn’t mean your new furry friend doesn’t need and want some of your attention, but he’ll definitely need a lot less than a rambunctious puppy.

If you have a busy schedule or travel often, then an older dog can be an excellent option for you.

Less Exercise

A senior dog often need less exercise than younger dogs, so a couple of short walks a day or even a few minutes wandering around in the backyard might be enough to satisfy a senior dog’s need for activity.

If you live in a home with a small backyard (or no backyard) or you have mobility issues that prevent you from walking your dog, then a senior dog can be the perfect companion.

Fewer Surprises

When you adopt an older dog, he likely already has a settled disposition, and you can get a more definite picture of his personality.

This is especially great if you have kids or other pets and want to be sure your new addition will get along well with others.

Less Training 

Many older dogs are already trained, so you can reap the benefits without having to put in all of the time and energy into socialization and training.

Although, you’ll have to learn the commands and tricks that your dog knows.

However, if your dog isn’t trained, or there are a few special tricks you want him to learn, don’t worry. Despite the popular saying otherwise, you really can teach an old dog new tricks.

The most significant difference with an older dog is that he might have a few established habits you want to change, but know that it’s possible to do.

An Instant Friend

Older dogs usually already understand how to behave around humans, so you don’t need to work too much on socialization. An older dog is ready to provide constant companionship and affection.

Having an instant connection can help you immediately feel the emotional rewards and benefits a dog brings, like less stress and more love.

"Not everybody needs a rescue dog,
but every rescue dogneeds somebody"

Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog Instead of a Puppy

Black and white senior Shih Tzu dog in a red doggy coatShih Tzu dog

Puppies are often the first dogs in shelters and rescues to find homes. Many people looking for a new dog want a cute, playful puppy, especially families with young children.

Unfortunately, many people are under the misconception that older dogs aren’t a good choice because they could have medical issues, have shorter lifespans, and won’t want to do anything.

However, senior dogs are often full of affection, patience, and love, and when you adopt an older dog, he’s likely extremely grateful, too.

Shelters are overcrowded, and senior dogs are typically the first to be euthanized. Therefore, when you choose to adopt an older dog, you save his life and give him a wonderful gift. In return, you get a faithful companion that will truly enrich your life.

In addition to the emotional side of things, there are also many practical reasons to select an older dog over a puppy.

If any of the following qualities describe you and your lifestyle, adopting a senior dog could be the perfect solution to your desire for a new pup:

  • You have a hectic schedule that keeps you away from home for most of the day. 

Puppies need a lot of attention in the beginning, plus lots of exercise. Of course, your senior dog needs your attention too, but not as much, so he can likely handle it better if you need to work longer hours. Plus, older dogs are usually already house-trained, which is a big win.

  • Puppies need to be on a strict schedule, and if you aren’t able to stick to it, it’s best to get an older dog that already knows the ropes.
  • If you have mobility issues or any other conditions that would make it hard for you to keep up with a puppy, then a senior dog could be the perfect fit for you.

Tips to Help Your Senior Dog Transition to Your Home

No matter what age pup you adopt, a transition period is to be expected. There are a few things you can do to help your senior dog get comfortable with his new environment:

Ask the shelter if your new dog has a particular item, like a blanket or toy, that you can bring home with you. This gives your dog something familiar to help him have a smoother transition.

●     Introduce your pup to his new home one step at a time. Start with the yard, let him explore, and then bring him inside to continue his explorations. As your dog investigates, have lots of tasty treats at the ready to offer him to help associate all of these new experiences with something positive.

●     Make sure to have a special place for your dog ready-to-go before you bring him home. Giving your dog his own space can help him feel comfortable and secure. You could simply place a cozy dog bed with a few toys in a quiet corner.

Finding the perfect dog for you and your family is a decision that you need to consider carefully, and you don’t want to rush into it.

However, it’s worth considering dogs of every age; don’t just assume a puppy is the way to go.

Adopting an older dog can be a life-changing experience for you and your new pup. You could even say that when you rescue a senior dog, he rescues you right back.

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Posted 1/15/2021