This is the latest guest column from Melissa Grant, dog trainer for LeChic Pet in Issaquah. It’s a cute post, advocating for senior dogs just waiting to be adopted in area shelters. There really are great perks to our older canine companions…
Okay older dogs really aren’t better, but they are nice to have around. I have a twelve-year old Schnauzer/Poodle mix and while I enjoyed the puppy stage, I’m finding the senior stage to have its perks, too.
Depending on what size dog you have, the “Senior Phase” could start as early as seven if you have a giant breed such as a Great Dane. However, a small breed such as a toy poodle could get well into their teens before any sign of age starts to show. I’ve met many a Chihuahua and Poodle well into their late teens still acting like a young dog.
A rule of thumb is, any dog over seven years of age is considered geriatric. You may want to start talking to your vet to see if there should be any changes in day-to-day maintenance of your pet to help ease him or her into their golden years.
Senior dogs can be a great adoption option for families a little too busy for a brand new puppy – for all the reasons I’ll list below. Visit www.olddoghaven.org to see what adoptable dogs may be available in our area.
On with the list… Here are my top ten reasons why senior dogs are better!
- Hard of Hearing– My dog used to raise such a ruckus every Thursday when the garbage trucks rumbled down the road. Now she sleeps right through the noise. Maybe the 4th of July will be better too this year.
- Loss of Wanderlust- I used to have to keep an eagle eye on my dog every time an exterior door was open. Now I can throw all the doors open and she’ll stay close to home. The cat, on the other, hand is a different story.
- Not a 24/7 job– Senior dogs are calmer, more dialed into everyday routine. There isn’t that frenetic need to constantly monitor their every move. They leave their owners free to do their own thing. If you have small children or just value you’re “me” time, this can be a real bonus.
- Fewer Messes– Your shoes, furniture and floors will thank you! Older dogs are probably house-trained and even if they’re not, they’ll likely pick it up quicker than your average puppy. They don’t chew like crazy anymore and won’t be destructive to your property.
- The Livin’ is Easy– Can’t handle the thought of three walks a day, constant need for attention? A senior dog is more likely than not, liable to be a couch potato. They still require some exercise for sure, but not as much as a very young puppy.
- You know what you’re getting– If you adopt a puppy from a shelter there is always an air of mystery to the dog. Will it shed? Will it be large or small? What breed is this anyway? With a senior dog, what you see is what you get. It won’t grow larger or shed more. You know exactly what you’re in for.
- Traveling is Easier Mom and Dad may be reluctant to take a wild, not yet potty trained pooch, but old Fido who lays in a sunbeam all day is much easier to find a willing pet sitter. Paris here you come!
- Easier to Train- Older dogs are more focused and therefore easier to train. They’ve learned to read us over their lives and can quickly figure out what it is that we want, making them excellent companions.
- You get to be a Hero- The likelihood of an older dog being adopted from a shelter is much lower than a cute little puppy. They are generally the first to be euthanized. They KNOW when they’ve been saved and you will have a loyal companion for the rest of their doggie years.
- Be Different – Adopt a senior Dog!