Caitlin UltimoPet Lovers / Pet Parenting

8 Reasons Why Adopting an Older Dog Is the Best

If some things get better with age, why are there millions of homeless older dogs sitting in shelters and waiting for their forever homes? If you’ve considered adopting a dog in need, maybe it’s time to consider adding a golden oldie to your family pack.

Here are eight reasons why adopting an older dog is completely awesome.

Housetraining Made Easy

Senior dogs, for the most part, will not need to be housetrained. They will, of course, need a period of readjustment so they can get comfortable with learning a new routine. And the gentle patience and guidance of a pet parent who believes in positive reinforcement is essential. But when you adopt an older dog, those puppy piddle times in the house are, for the most part, a thing of the past.

Cuddle Experts

Senior dogs tend to be more laid back and are generally happy to snuggle by your side. Their young, angst-filled years are behind them and they are ready to be your best friend for the years ahead. And who doesn’t like the feeling of cozying up with a warm, comforting dog when you’ve had a bad day?

Save a Life Syndrome

Puppies are generally the first to be adopted in shelters. Senior dogs, on the other hand, are harder to place and are often the first to be needlessly euthanized. Standing up for a senior means displaying an act of compassion and giving that dog a second chance at a happy life.

Lifelong Learning

The old adage of “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is completely false. Dogs of any age, with the right person and level of patience and compassion, can learn a variety of new things. Often times, dogs who end up in shelters with “behavioral problems” are simply dogs who are bored and had nothing to do. Give a dog a “task” and have fun together as you both learn.

Living Longer

Statistics show that people who have a pet tend to live longer lives, or at the very least have fewer health problems, lower stress levels and generally feel better about themselves. In fact, a recent study shows that adopting a dog could add 10 years to your life! Life spans of dogs are also increasing thanks to improved veterinary care, nutrition, medical advances and due diligence in the way we care for our pets.

A New Outlook

Bad habits be gone: From quitting smoking to meeting new people, senior dogs have a way of balancing a person out and re-introducing them to a whole new world. Need someone to get you moving and off the couch? Want to try playing a new sport? Maybe it’s time to reevaluate your attitude. A senior dog can inspire you to approach all of these things with a new outlook.


Ask any senior rescue volunteer, an adoptable dog is WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get). You can see if he has mobility issues, what color he is, what his energy level is like, and how big (or not) he will grow. Temperament has been developed and any behavioral issues can be addressed with positive reinforcement and a respectful, qualified dog trainer. An older dog, therefore, comes with a clear history whereas a young pup is less predictable.

Purebred Intentions

If your heart is really set on a particular breed, there are plenty of purebred rescue groups out there that focus their efforts on a saving dogs of a specific breed. You can adopt that purebred Golden Retriever, Dachshund or Bulldog by just doing a little bit of research. These rescue groups often have older dogs on hand, just waiting for awesome pet parents to take them home.

So go ahead, take a chance on an older dog. Age is nothing but a state of mind, and the feeling of self-gratification that comes with adopting a senior dog is worth a lifetime of wags.

Image via Shutterstock

Carol Bryant runs the blog Fidose of Reality.