Older dogs can require a little more care than their younger counterparts, and it’s important to fully consider whether you’re in a position to take on the responsibility for their care, and potential medical requirements before going out and getting one!
Adopting an older canine can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, there’s just something about senior pooches being able to comprehend that he’s being rescued that makes him so appreciative. And I’ll tell you - nothing beats that look of love from a dog who knows that you saved him!
Does He Have Additional Nutritional Requirements?
The caloric, and macronutrient requirements of your dog change over time, and depending on the breed and age of your specific pooch - he may require a senior-specific blend of dog food.
When looking at older dogs, it’s important to consider whether you would be happy to spend that little bit more on his food as senior foods are notorious for being more expensive. It’s important to bear in mind this isn’t because dog food companies just want your money, but rather - it’s more expensive for them to make.
Not all older dogs require a change in diet, but it can be beneficial: therefore it’s a good idea to speak with the rescue center and their veterinarian to determine the best food for your new member of the family!
Does He Suffer From Pre-Existing Medical Conditions?
Adopting any dog comes with its risks, and many older canines are relinquished to rescue organizations due to their previous owner being unable to afford the medical care they require.
With common medical ailments including diabetes - which of course can require daily, or twice daily insulin shots, and obesity - which requires your dog to stay on a strict diet.
Before you fall in love with a dog that suffers from any medical issues you absolutely must think about whether you have the financial means, time availability, and positive attitude to take on a dog with these additional needs.
Will He Fit In With My Active Lifestyle?
Finding a dog that fits your current lifestyle is an absolute must, yet all too often, owners will adopt a dog without even thinking about which breed has the best temperament and energy levels to fit in with them.
One of the leading causes for rescue canines not working out in their new homes is a mismatched lifestyle. A heartbreaking scenario that nobody wants to be put in, so please consider this before you adopt.
If you’re incredibly active and go mountain biking every weekend - you need to think realistically about the dog’s ability to keep up, and whether the level of activity will be too much for him.
If you’re looking at a chubby-little-couch-potato pooch, chances are - he’s not going to fit into your mountain biking lifestyle, but don’t feel sorry for him and rescue him anyway: he’d far rather wait for a family that hangs out at home on the weekend!
Will He Mind Being Left Alone?
Older dogs are known to suffer from stress more frequently than they did in their youth. A dog that has never suffered from separation anxiety can all of a sudden hate to be left home alone as he begins to age.
New surroundings can exacerbate this, and for that reason - when older dogs come into a new home, it’s important to do this on the weekend, during your vacation, or when someone can be there with them during that settling in period.
Separation anxiety can be a simple fix, with time, patience, and commitment. So if you’ve already brought Fido home, and he’s suffering from some anxiety - don’t worry, it won’t last forever!
How Much Training Will He Need?
Most older dogs will be potty trained, and have a reasonable understanding of basic obedience commands - but not all of them. Don’t just assume as you may end up getting a nasty surprise when you arrive home! Ask the rescue center how each of the dogs have done in their obedience tests, and whether they keep their kennels clean.
All dogs are products of their environment, and if a previous owner has allowed their dog to pull on the lead, or bark at the mailman - there will be bad habits that you need to re-train. But don’t worry! That old saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is far from the truth, and many older rescue dogs have gone from no training to obedience masters in only weeks!
Older dogs have so much love left to give, and there’s this silent wisdom behind their eyes, but above all - they know that you saved them and will appreciate their new shot at living a happy life with their new family.
With so many dogs living out their lives in kennels, if you think that a senior dog could fit into your family, then go-get-em!