Like any person with a pulse, we can’t help but melt into sappy love puddles when face-to-face with sweet little puppies. Their eyes are so shiny, their breath is so sweet, their fur is so fluffy, their energy is so dopey. There’s a reason why puppies are the antidote for sadness and despair - they’re undeniably adorable!
But at Bow Wow Labs, we have a sweet spot for senior dogs and we hope you’ll develop one too. Why? Because sadly, adoption rates for seniors in shelters are always low and some of the best dogs are passed up just because of their age.
So what constitutes a senior dog? First it’s important to note that dogs do NOT age at a rate of seven “dog years” to our one human year. They do, however, mature more quickly during their first year of life - equal to about 15 human years. So your one-year-old puppy is everything like a rebellious teenager!
Smaller dogs tend to be categorized as “senior” around 10 years old, while larger dogs are viewed as “senior” by around 5 years.
Benefits of adopting a senior dog
Senior dogs have often been orphaned by a elder owner’s passing, a family moving far away or more recently, as a result of natural disasters. There are so many reasons why senior dogs find their way to shelters, and most often it’s not because of behavior or family fit. Adopting one can be the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself and for the dog.
Senior dogs can be the best companions because:
1. No training manual required
You won’t need to follow your new pet around wondering if it’s housebroken. Chances are - they know the drill. “Sit,” “stay” and “come” are also common “built-in” commands that senior dogs might already know.
2. They are family-friendly
Senior dogs usually have experience living with families so bringing them home to yours could be a more seamless transition than with a puppy. Senior dogs don’t wake in the night to pee (or play or eat or tear your slippers apart) and they tend to be calm, cool and collected. Their mature temperaments make it easier to incorporate their low-maintenance needs with your busy life and schedule.
Be aware that a senior dog with any pain or injury might not be a good fit for families with kids. Since dogs don’t have words, they might protect their bodies when in pain with growling, nipping or even biting.
3. What you see is what you get
Senior dogs have often “come into their own.” This means that they are settled in their personality, so you can determine if you’re a good fit almost immediately. Puppies grow into themselves and while they will steal your heart with their ridiculous faces, you never know what habits or behaviors they will develop as they age.
4. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!
Contrary to popular belief, old dogs can learn basic commands and training techniques much quicker than puppies because their brains are fully developed. Puppy brains bounce around like ping-pong balls!
November is Senior Pet Awareness Month, the perfect time to learn more about the benefits of older dogs. Consider adopting a senior dog if you’re in the market to adopt but don’t have the time commitment (or stamina) for a puppy, or just want a reliable cuddle buddy. We guarantee they are some of the greatest companions you’ll find.