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So, you are looking to add a new member to your family. You want to adopt a dog, but you aren’t quite sure if you can handle all that puppy energy. Dogs don’t start to grow out of this puppy stage until they are around three or four years old.

According to most vets, a dog falls into the “senior” category at around seven years old (though this changes depending on the size of the dog). Why not consider adopting one of these amazing animals? Because most dog adopters are looking for puppies or young adults, senior dogs are typically the last to be adopted and the first to fall victim to euthanasia at shelters. If you are searching for a loving, loyal companion, look no further than that gray muzzle and sweet eyes looking up at you.

Not only will you be saving an animal’s life if you choose to adopt a senior pup, but there are some substantial benefits of bringing a more mature dog into your home as compared to a bouncing puppy.

Senior dog looking up into the cameraCeline Nadeau/Flickr

Benefits of Adopting a Senior Dog

1. Training

Senior dogs end up at shelters for several reasons. The older dog you see at the shelter is, more than likely it is that they have lived in a house for many years. Most are potty-trained and are already pros at basic commands. Because they are not in the puppy stage, older dogs are much less likely to chew, engage in destructive behavior, or have other “young dog” issues. If you are looking for an easy transition into your home, think senior!

2. Demeanor

Puppies and young adult dogs require a lot of exercise. They normally need at least a solid hour of intense exercise daily. And if this exercise doesn’t occur, you have a swirling tornado of energy on your hands.

Senior pups, on the other hand, are past that crazy stage. They will be most happy with a nice walk or two each day and some serious cuddle time. You will see definite spurts of energy from your older pup, but it will be much more manageable than a young puppy.

3. Companionship

An older dog knows the ropes and they are ready to be your loyal companion. When you adopt a dog, they seem to know that you are helping them, but when you adopt a wise, older dog, they seem to know that you are truly saving their life. Providing a cozy bed, walks, and attention is all these dogs need you to do, and they will be forever grateful for your love.

Challenges of a Senior Dog

As with any age dog, some challenges should be mentioned with adopting an older dog. You might not get to spend as much time with an older dog as you would with the one you adopt as a puppy, but the time you do get will be just that much sweeter.

Older dogs, like older people, are more prone to health issues than younger dogs and may need to make frequent trips to the vet. You will have to face vet bills at some point in every animal’s life, but with a senior dog, you might have to take on these issues now versus later. The good news is that shelters can often identify any previous health issues your older pup may have before adoption. This will help in financial planning for vet bills to come.

 Senior pugGeoff Livingston/Flickr

Where to Adopt

If you are interested in adopting a senior dog, you will have no problem finding one that will work perfectly with your family. Shelters across the U.S. have more senior dogs than they can handle. There are also rescues specifically dedicated to arranging the adoption of older dogs. The Grey Muzzle Organization, Muttville, and others across the nation have senior dogs waiting for someone with an open heart and a comfy couch. Petfinder also has an option to view senior adoptables in your area.

Grey Muzzle Love

Senior dogs can have a variety of personality traits and come in all shapes and sizes. While many people are quick to adopt a puppy or younger dog, leaving seniors overlooked at shelters, rescuing a senior dog’s life will provide an unlimited return on your investment. Plus, who can turn down those sweet, grey faces?

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