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Advantages to Adopting a Senior Rescue Dog

senior rescue dogThere are many senior dogs available for adoption in shelters. Many people want to adopt a puppy instead of a senior dog. Puppies take more time and attention than healthy senior dogs do. Keep reading to find out why people choose to adopt a senior rescue dog instead of a puppy!

You may be asking, “When is a dog considered a senior?” Most veterinarians say that dogs become seniors around the age of 7. Small dogs usually live longer lives and would therefore become a senior later in life.

Most rescue shelters consider a dog a senior at 5 years old. Most people want younger dogs or puppies. A dog 5 years old and older, in a shelter, are less likely to be adopted.

Senior Advantages

Senior dogs are in shelters for many reasons. Read more here about why dogs are in shelters. Most senior dogs have lived inside a home before at some point in their life, making it a little easier for them to adjust to living in your home.


Senior dogs are already housebroken. You won’t have to train your dog to relieve themselves outside because they already know that.

If you get a puppy, most likely you will have to train them to go outside. You will also have to take them outside more often than a senior dog.

Not teething

If you have ever had a puppy, you know how much puppies chew. You will have to teach a puppy what is appropriate to chew on and what is not. Puppies chew more when they are cutting teeth to sooth their sore gums.

A senior dog will not be cutting teeth. A good bone to chew on will satisfy a senior dog. Senior dogs are less likely to be destructive with chewing than puppies and younger dogs.

Some training

Most senior rescue dogs will have had some training. They will know basic commands like sit and stay, plus they will understand the word “no”.

With a puppy, you will have a lot of training to do. You will have to teach your puppy everything, including basic commands and socialization is very important for your puppy.

Calmer, more relaxed

Puppies are full of energy and they need lots of exercise to release that energy. They will need several walks each day along with playtime.

A senior dog is low energy. They are much calmer and relaxed. They enjoy a good nap and so can you. If you want a low energy and relaxed dog, don’t overlook the senior dogs.

Learn quickly

senior dogOlder dogs are very eager to please their owners. They will enjoy the attention from training and the mental stimulation they will receive.

Senior dogs can focus more than younger dogs or puppies making training easier. They have seen many different things and people during their life, where a puppy or younger dog can be easily distracted.

Save a Life

Be a hero to a senior rescue dog and save it’s life. When the kennels are full at kill shelters, the senior dogs are usually the first to go. Senior dogs get overlooked many times when they could be the perfect pet.

A senior dog somehow knows that you are saving it’s life. They are very loyal to their owners who rescue them. You are their hero! They will want to please you and make you as happy as you have made them.

No Surprises

An older dog is full grown. You don’t have to wonder how big it will get. When you meet the dog you will see how big they are, their temperament, and their personality.

You will be able to ask questions to staff members who have interacted with the dog. Is the dog good with children, other dogs or cats? Whatever questions you may have, ask the staff members.

Get a Checkup

Have your veterinarian give the senior rescue dog you are considering to adopt a checkup. If there is a medical issue with the dog, you can then decide if you want to take on the financial responsibility for the dog.

If you want a low energy dog with some training that will be loyal and thankful, adopt a senior rescue dog. They will be grateful to you for saving their life. Best of all, they will love to cuddle with you!

Have you adopted a senior dog? Feel free to leave a comment or share a story about your dog. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.

Shop Clothing To Save Animals at The Animal Rescue Site! Every Purchase Funds At Least 14 Bowls Of Food For Shelter Animals In Need! Another way to help shelter animals without adopting!



  1. Absolutely great informative reading. Having rescued a 6 year old Chocolate Lab myself, I’m totally with you on this subject. Thank you for bringing this more to light!

    • Alice

      August 12, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you decided to rescue an older dog. So many times they are passed over for a younger dog. I hope this information will help people to make an informed decision about adopting an older dog. They can be the perfect pet.

  2. I’ve worked with transported rescued dog for quite a while and absolutely for all the reasons you’ve mentioned, senior dogs make excellent pets. It warms my heart to see the older ones get new homes. Good post!

    • Alice

      August 13, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Thank you for your comment. And thank you for helping rescue dogs find a new home! I know you have seen how grateful the senior dogs are when they receive help. Keep up the good work with helping the dogs!

  3. Hi, Alice. Thank you for your sharing!
    In Hong Kong, people usually adopt puppies instead of senior dogs. This is because they misunderstand that it takes more effort to train old dogs compared to puppies. Of course, they think puppies are cute too. So, there are much more old dogs in rescue shelters.

    So, I think your article very useful, especially for Hong Kong people. Because I can show to them that adopting old dogs is also a good option.

    • Alice

      August 13, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Hi Anthony. Thank you for your comment. The US has many senior dogs in rescue also. Like you said, many people want the cute puppy not realizing that a senior dog could be the perfect pet. Please share this information with your family and friends and lets try to save some senior dogs!

  4. Alice, you totally convinced me that I should consider adopting a senior dog! Truth be told, I am not looking to adopt a dog, but your article left me thinking. I never thought of the points you mentioned, but yes, I can see how a lot of the work would have been done for me before.

    I wondered though if the seniors would not be set in their ways and may not adapt easily. Really great post. Thanks, I am more knowledgeable now about adopting seniors. All the best.

    • Alice

      August 15, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Josephine! With love, kindness, time, and attention senior dogs can adapt, some more easily than others. Senior dogs are extra grateful when they are adopted. They naturally want to please their owners and many will adapt to new surrounding easily. I’m glad that I got you thinking about considering adopting a senior dog!

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