November is Adopt a Senior Dog Month. This blog defines what “senior” means and gives the positives of adopting a senior dog and an overview of what to expect when bringing your new senior dog home. What is a Senior Dog? According to the ASPCA dogs reach the senior stage of life on average between 7-10 years of age depending on their breed. Big breeds reach senior-hood earlier than small breeds; large and giant breed dogs (51+ pounds) reach their golden years as early as 5. Positives of Adopting a Senior Dog There are a lot of misconceptions about adopting a senior dog. This section includes information from Cesar’s Way and The Winnipeg Humane Society. If you’re thinking of adding a dog to your life here are some things you might want to consider before deciding what dog to bring home:
- Old dogs can be taught new tricks. Just because a dog is in the late stages of life doesn’t mean that it can’t learn. Old dogs are just as capable as puppies at learning new things.
- Senior dogs generally don’t need to be trained. Most old dogs already know basic commands like “sit” and “stay”. Further, senior dogs are, in general, already potty trained. This will save you a lot of time as you won’t have to worry about starting training from the beginning.
- Senior dogs are experienced dogs. Old dogs are typically less excitable and calmer than younger dogs. Senior dogs have already lived through the puppy stage and have experienced different living situations and types of people. Many senior dogs have an even-keeled temperament which makes them good with children and less likely to destroy your home and shoes.
- Old dogs make great companions. In general, older dogs already know how to accompany a person on a walk and how to play fetch. You won’t have to train them to heel or bring you their favourite fetching toy.
- You might be saving a life. Older dogs are often over looked at shelters in favour of younger dogs. This means that older dogs are the first to be euthanized. When you choose a senior dog you are likely saving its life.
- Senior dogs settle into your life quickly. Senior dogs have pack experience – they know how to fit into your life and can adjust more readily than a young dog.
These are only a few of reasons adopting a senior dog is a great idea. Remember, when adopting a new pet always look around first – find the pet that will fit your lifestyle. For more information on the benefits of adopting a senior dog check out:
- Benefits of Senior Dogs by Luigi Aero – http://www.winnipeghumanesociety.ca/senior-dogs
- 7 Reasons to Adopt a Senior Dog by Nicole Pajer – http://www.cesarsway.com/dog-care/senior-dog/7-Reasons-to-Adopt-a-Senior-Dog
Bringing a Senior Dog Home If you’ve made the decision to adopt a senior dog here are a few tips from Petfinder:
- Take it easy – don’t invite over a lot of people to meet your new dog on the first day. If you have other pets introduce your new senior dog to them individually.
- Take the tour – take your senior dog on a guided tour of your home and yard. Once the tour is done let your senior get settled into their space.
- Safe spot – provide your senior pup with his/her very own safe spot. The spot doesn’t have to be secluded from the rest of the family. Place your dog’s bed and toys there.
- Diet transition – if you’ve decided to change your senior dog’s food take it slow. A sudden change in foods with very different qualities can make your dog sick. Mix the old and new foods together for a week or so – slowly decrease the amount of the old food.
You may also want to arrange a vet visit with in the first week. For more tips and information about your new senior dog’s first days at home check out:
- The First Days with Your Senior Dog by The Grey Muzzle Organization – https://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/dog-adoption/first-days-senior-dog/
- Adult Dogs: Adjusting to a New Home by Kathy Diamond Davis – http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1533
PHOTO CONTEST Do you have a senior dog? Go to our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DoonGo) and post a picture of your senior pup along with your pup’s name, breed, and age. The contest closes November 12 at 11:55pm. The winner will be announced November 15 on our Facebook pack. For more information or if you have any questions please feel free to contact us through our website: doo-n-go.com, Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DoonGo or email: [email protected]. Remember to Share: Do you know someone with a senior dog or who is thinking of adopting a dog? Share our blog with them J