Almost everyone loves puppies; where there’s one, the ooh and aahs are sure to follow. But raising puppies comes with its own struggles. For first time pet owners, it can be too much work. Many people overlook older dogs, for the new puppy experience. The puppy stage doesn’t last long, so it may be more beneficial for new pet parents to adopt an older or senior citizen dogs. Check out our list of the Top Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog:
HOUSEBROKEN Most people work at least 8 hours or more a day. Puppies need a consistent schedule and trips outside to eliminate about every 2 hours. Their bladders are small so they can’t be expected to hold it until you get home. Most older dogs are already housebroken and they can hold it for longer periods of time, until someone comes home and lets them outside.
NO DESTROYED SHOES OR CLOTHES Puppies like to chew on things. Forget to leave out a chew toy and your brand new pair of heels may end up in the trash. When they are teething, nothing is safe no matter how closely you watch your puppy. That includes your socks, underwear, books, remote control, the couch cushions — the list goes on. Older dogs are less likely to destroy items throughout your home.
A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP Expect a puppy to be very demanding. That means waking up to whining at 2 am because he misses his littermates. You may have to take him out every morning at 4 am when his cries wake you up. On the plus side, you might be able to give your alarm clock a rest. Your puppy is your new alarm clock! Rescue an older dog and get a good night’s sleep, and more peace and quiet.
FINISH THAT NOVEL Trying to finish a good book or work from home? Expect plenty of interruptions with a puppy that wants all your attention. An older dog is likely to sit next to you while your focused on something else. Pet him while you’re reading after a long day of work to help ease your stress levels. If you have kids, they’ll be the only ones running amok in your house.
VET TRIPS Puppies need a series of puppy shots, fecal, testing, spayed or neutered. 1 or 2 emergency visits to vet because they swallowed something dangerous also are not uncommon. If you get a puppy, that adds up! Adopt an older dog who’s already had all their shots and been altered. You won’t spend as much time and money in the vet’s office.
WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET Your adorable puppy may not look the same as an adult dog. This is more likely to happen if you get a mixed breed puppy. Their personality may change as they grow older, and there’s no predicting how active they will be as an adult. Rescues and foster homes can help first time pet owners choose the right match. They often end up with dogs that owners surrender because the pet was wrongly matched. It’s much easier to predict how an older pet will act once you get her home.
NO TRAUMATIZED CHILDREN A teething puppy without a chew toy, or maybe no interest in chew toys, will chew on children and yourself. Panicked parents regularly call rescues to report the puppy bit their child. After asking a few questions, rescue groups often find the puppy is being nippy, with no intention of doing harm. Everything goes into the mouth of a growing puppy learning about the world. If not corrected early on, nipping from an adult dog will definitely hurt. Most older dogs have “been there, done that, and moved on.”
MATCHMAKER’S PERFECT MATCH Puppy love is often no more than an attachment to a look or a color. First time pet owners shouldn’t base their decision on those characteristics when choosing a dog they will love and care for 15 years or more. Will that puppy be active in adulthood; or couch potato, will he develop a deep attachment, follow you everywhere or prefer to be outdoors when you’re an inside person? Pet mismatches are one of the top reasons dogs are returned to shelters or rescues. A good rescue will have evaluated their adoptees and thoroughly reviewed an applicant’s background to ensure a successful match.
INSTANT COMPANION With an older dog, you automatically have a buddy that can go everywhere and do everything with you NOW. There’s no waiting for a puppy to grow up. You can select a dog that travels well or one that loves to play with your friends’ dog. Instead of coming home after a long day’s work to cleanup up after a puppy, you can spend your time on a relaxing walk, ride, or swim with your new best friend.
RESCUE DOG BOND. Older dogs who have been uprooted from their happy homes, or have not had the best start in life, and are more likely to bond completely and deeply with their new people. Those who have lost their families through death, divorce or lifestyle change go through a terrible mourning process. Once attached to a new loving family, they want to please as much as possible to make sure they are never homeless again. They know what life on the streets, life on the end of a chain, or worse is all about. Older dogs can be extremely loyal companions, so consider rescuing one.
Choosing a rescue dog over a purchased pup will not solve the pet overpopulation problem, but it does give many of them a chance they otherwise would not have. But, beyond doing a “good deed,” adopting a rescue can be the best decision and addition to the family you ever made.