November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and I what a fitting time it is to talk about the benefits of adopting an older dog. In this season of thanks, I can't think of a better example of pure thankfulness than a senior dog. Having a senior Labrador Retriever myself, I am reminded daily how precious each moment we have with our dogs truly is. So many families are convinced that adopting an 8 week old puppy is the only route when getting a new dog, but the truth is that senior dogs often make a much easier transition into your home.
Here are my top 5 reasons to consider adopting a senior dog:
#1: The transition will likely be easier. Bringing home a younger dog often involves a pretty hectic transition period. Whether you're adopting or purchasing a dog from a breeder, younger dogs will need constant monitoring, especially in the first few weeks after coming into your home.
#2: You know their temperament. Getting a puppy or adolescent dog is always somewhat of a gamble. Genetics and socialization both play big roles in the overall temperament your dog will have as adult, and a senior dog already has its temperament established. So if you meet a sweet, laid back older dog, you can expect that he will keep that same temperament for the rest of his life.
#3: Less exercise! Many of us live busy, hectic lives. Often times, exercising the dog can fall to the bottom of the to-do list. With a senior dog, exercise is still important, but it will take shorter and less intensive exercise to fulfill his activity needs.
#4: You skip the wild puppy years. Puppies require an incredible amount of time and patience. Potty training a puppy often involves hourly trips outside, while senior dogs can 'hold it' for much longer. Puppies can be extremely mouthy and may whine or bark excessively. With a senior dog, you're much less likely to have to deal with these types of behaviors.
#5: The gift of golden years. There's no better gift than adopting a senior dog and making his last years the best of his life. Seniors have a harder time getting adopted, so you will truly be saving a life by adopting one.
So the next time you're in the market for a new dog, take a second glance at that sweet older dog with a graying muzzle. It might just be the best decision you'll ever make!