What You Should Expect When Adopting A Senior Dog

Getting adopted is a senior dog’s dream. Most dogs that get adopted are cute, young, and active pups, and usually, old dogs get left behind. But before adopting a senior, consider the following. 

Expect A Dog With Health Issues

Just like old people, senior dogs may already have health issues and even advanced health problems like hip dysplasia, cataracts, digestive problems, and heart problems. But with careful screening, frequent vet visits, and the love of a new owner, senior dogs will surely carry on.

There are senior dogs that get rescued from shelters and adoption centers that continue to live long and fruitful lives in the care of loving owners. Usually, senior dogs just need a little more attention, good nutrition, and the care of a good vet.

Not As Active As A Young Dog

Let’s face it, old bones and muscles are not as good as new ones, but this can’t stop senior dogs from being active. It’s the job of its new owner to adjust their activity to suit their aging new pet.

For instance, instead of allowing the dog to move up and down flights of stairs, install screens to prevent it from accessing the stairs. Instead of walking a senior dog with other younger dogs, walk it alone so it can move at his own pace. 

Walk a senior dog daily because exercise also benefits its muscles, heart, and lungs but does so in a limited manner. Don’t expect it to jump, run, and leap as far as a young dog. Supplement his energy with the right kind of dog food for seniors and to monitor its diet to prevent obesity or overweight. Being obese can further affect its energy levels and will also strain its heart.

Some Socialization Issues

Some senior dogs may not be too happy being the center of attention. A new family, new owners, would mean the new pet will be showered with attention, toys, cuddles, and food that sometimes, this is too much for a senior!

So expect that your new senior dog will adjust slower than a young pup. If it wants to lie down and just be with himself, then let it. When interacting with a senior, don’t come at the same time. Introduce the new pet to your kids and tell them that it needs time to adjust. Soon, it will be an energetic, happy dog that will love to be with your family.

A Lovable, Well-mannered Pet

No doubt that senior dogs are the most well-behaved pets! These dogs already know how to behave during meal times, during walks, and sometimes even around small children.

Patient dog breeds like bulldogs, beagles, collies, and poodles will even be patient when dealing with kids. You won’t find them hissing, biting, or destroying furniture. Most are house-trained and are good pets.  

But as with all new dogs in a new environment, you still need to show your new dog where things are at. Give it its own bed, dishes, and toys. If it will share your home with other pets and other dogs, introduce the senior dog with your resident dog gradually. Don’t rush things as this can result in a fight, straining the old dog more.

A few days before the adoption, ask someone to help you introduce the two dogs. Make the initial interaction brief and then gradually make their meetings longer. Then a day before the adoption day, let your senior dog visit and stay longer at home. 

Experts say that it can take around three months for a new dog to become acclimated to a new environment. Senior dogs may acclimate faster, especially when they feel loved and welcome in their new home. 

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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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