Puppies are great, but they’re not the only dogs in need out there! November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month, founded by the ASPCA and Petfinder to bring attention to all of the great senior pets in need of a forever home to live out their golden years. Senior dogs in animal shelters and rescues can have a harder time finding a home than younger pets, despite often being just as affectionate and playful as younger dogs, and usually better behaved, too!

Before you visit the animal shelter or scroll through dog adoption websites, check out our Top Ten List to find out why senior dogs can make a great addition to any family!

  1. No need for basic training. Most older dogs have long since been house-trained and leash-trained, and in some cases, crate-trained, too. No late night potty trips, chewed up couches or crying all night in the crate? Sounds great to us!
  2. No huge lifestyle change. Older dogs are not a 24/7 job. Most of them don’t require the constant monitoring and training that puppies do and leave you with more time to do your own thing. This flexibility can be a great fit for single people, retirees and first-time dog owners.
  3. Wisdom comes with age. Senior dogs have already learned many of life’s lessons. They know that dog toys, not shoes, are for chewing, and that if they get into the trash, there will be repercussions. They also know the meaning of “no.” (Well, no dog is perfect, of course, but the average senior dog knows a lot more than the average puppy.)
  4. Easy transition. Older dogs often settle into their new homes more easily than younger dogs. Plus, shelters and rescues may know more about an older dog’s history (i.e. have they lived with other dogs, cats or kids before) that they can use to better match you with the perfect pup for your situation.
  5. Low maintenance. Most senior dogs are content with casual walks and cuddling. They are perfectly happy to nap the day away while you’re at work, and will greet you calmly at the door when you get home.
  6. Easy to Train. Old dogs CAN learn new tricks. They are generally calmer, more mature, and more focused than younger dogs, and most will easily pick up new tricks. (FYI – Getting them used to their DogWatch Hidden Fence should be a breeze, too!)
  7. What You See Is What You Get. Older dogs have grown into their shape, size, temperament, and personality. You know exactly what you’re getting, so there won’t be a ton of surprises like you might get with a puppy!
  8. Instant companions. Due to their not needing as much time or effort to settle in and adjust, lots of older dogs are instantly ready to be your new best friend. Whether you want to go to the park, visit friends or just hang out on the couch, they are ready for whatever adventure you’d like to bring them on!
  9. You’ll get a good night’s sleep. Older dogs are used to human schedules and shouldn’t need nighttime feedings, comforting, or bathroom breaks. (Phew!)
  10. Save one life and you’ll save another, too! By adopting one senior pup, you are making room for the shelter or rescue to help another pet in need in your community. Plus, by spreading the word about how great senior dogs are, you can encourage others to consider an older dog that they might have otherwise overlooked.

If you think a senior dog is the right fit for you, here are some great resources for adopting a senior dog:

Do you have a senior pet? Share their photo on our Facebook Page and tell us what makes your senior dog unique and wonderful!

This blog post is adapted from an earlier DogTails blog post from 2011 and 2019.