Why Not a Senior Dog?

Puppies are fun, exciting and a whole lot of responsibility. Puppies take a great deal of time to train and in the midst of training can create a bit of chaos in the home. Puppies are great for people who have time to spare, children that are beyond the toddler stage and for people that are looking to put a bit of spark into their lives.

But what about the person who would enjoy a dog companion without all the hassle of puppydom? This is where a “senior dog” dog comes in!

What is a senior dog? A senior dog is any dog that is over the age of 4 but closer to the age of 5 years. In most cases it is a dog that has been taken to a shelter and left as an unwanted pet.

These are not dogs with behavior problems, most of them are very well behaved and loving, they are there as a product of problem people.

The reasons are many from the death of a guardian, to a new baby in the house, a change in housing, new job situations, to a spouse that does not like dogs. There is no end to reasons real or made up. The sad part is the life of a wonderful dog is put in jeopardy. Puppies are the first to find new homes when you visit a shelter. Older dogs seem to end up on death row.

The question I want to put to you is why adopt an older dog? Why would you want someone else’s cast off pet?

Let me give you a few good reasons:

  • They have gone beyond the chewing stage
  • They love to cuddle and take naps with you
  • Learned that bones are for chewing and shoes are for walking
  • The outdoors is for potty calls
  • They fit easily into a household
  • Can still learn new tricks
  • May have had some obedience training
  • Need moderate exercise
  • Understands the meaning of “no”
  • Make excellent companions for busy people and seniors
  • Are already housebroken
  • You already know what size it will grow up to be
  • Will let you sleep at night
  • Gives you a reason for being
  • Will improve your health and force you to walk
  • People with pets seem to live longer
  • You are saving a life and what better reason is there than that
  • Usually are good with children

    According to a recent study it is said that heart patients with a dog are six times more likely to survive beyond the first year after a heart attack than those who don’t have the responsibility of a dog.

    Many people feel that older dogs found in a shelter are there because of behavior problems and that maybe true in some cases.

    However, many dogs are there because the owners do not want to take the time necessary to care for their pets or the novelty of having a pet has worn off. It is hard to realize that many people will buy a certain breed of dog because it is the “in thing” to do and soon as the responsibility factor kicks in they get rid of the dog.

    Most shelters will allow you to take home a pet and will accept it back if there is a behavior problem you cannot handle. Many people bring pets to a shelter and do not tell the truth about why they are leaving the dog. Shelter workers can only go by what they are told and what they observe when the dog is at the shelter.

    One thing to consider when getting a shelter dog is that for the first few days there may be an adjustment problem. Imagine being taken away from your home, and in most cases, the only home the dog, has ever known and not have any idea what is going on. That has to be the most traumatic experience a dog can have.

    Adjusting to life at a shelter has got to be the second most upsetting experience (losing your forever family being the first.) Think for a moment the horror a dog must feel, leaving a peaceful (hopefully) environment and going to a place where the dogs are barking and yowling in hopelessness and confusion. How would you feel?

    Expect a few days of adjustment, you are a stranger, the dog is a stranger and it will take time for the both of you to know each other and bond. A shelter dog is a loving and appreciative dog if given a chance.

    What should you look for when you go for a shelter dog? Get a health report to see if there are any apparent health problems. If the shelter cannot give you such a report ask to be allowed to take the dog to your vet or a local vet.

    If you are adopting a certain breed, research the breed to see what genetic problems there might be.

    If you were adopting a puppy, you would also be taking an unknown entity as you would not know until the puppy was growing if it had any health problems, So using health as a reason is not a good excuse unless there is evidence of a serious problem.

    Dogs now live to be 12 to 15 years of age if properly taken care of. Proper diet, regular teeth cleaning, freedom from fleas and regular check ups will prolong the life of any dog. Being an observant owner can catch other problems early on and preventative medicine and treatment can prevent large vet bills.

    When humans fall in love and/or build a relationship there are no guarantees that life will be a bed of roses and it is wrong to think that adopting an older pet should be any different. For the love and devotion that an older pet will give you for many years, the investment of time and a little money for proper health care is a small price to pay.

    Adopting an older dog can be the best gift you have ever given yourself or a lonely loved one in your family. The life you save might not just be the dog’s, it could be yours.

    Independent Thought:

    Old homes and old dogs need protection from mosquitoes here is some advice for you. Without proper mosquito control, old homes can turn into bat houses. Therefore if not spraying, then mosquito netting is essential in order to avoid getting mosquito bites.

    Drs. Foster and Smith Inc.

    As Featured On Ezine Articles
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