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Those of us who have been fortunate enough to share our hearts and homes with a senior dog know just how special those gray-muzzled darlings can be. Earning the love of an aging pup who truly needs you creates a special bond that's hard to put into words.
True, they may have some age-related health issues (like arthritis, dental disease or failing vision or hearing) that require attention or treatment. But older dogs have lots of pros, too, like the fact that they're likely to be better trained than a puppy and they're probably game to lounge around with you and take it easy. And when it comes to adopting a senior dog, you have the benefit of knowing what you're getting in terms of size and in most cases, personality.
Our readers recently shared some great tips for people getting their first dog or cat — and in fact, we know that many of you have opened your homes to adult dogs. So when we wanted to offer tips to people looking to welcome an older canine into the family, we turned to our Vetstreet Facebook followers and asked: What's the one piece of advice you'd give someone adopting a senior dog? And, as we suspected, our readers came through with some excellent — and touching — words of wisdom.
Many readers expressed the importance of showering your senior dog with love. "Love them unconditionally, as you don't know how long you will have them," saidPeggy Lowe-Brooks. "Enjoy each day they are in your life."
Rich Dunn agreed, saying, "Love them, love them. [T]reat them like family, be there to the end and hope someday to see them on the other side!"Dee Davis added, "Make sure you're committed to love, care and cater to them for them the rest of their lives."
Mike Carroll suggested remembering that, for some dogs, age might be just a number: "Have fun with them; they still have a lot of energy and the desire to do most anything they ever did before. Baby them big time and be ready to be on the receiving end of some serious love and affection from them. Just let them enjoy the rest of their life like never before."
William West Patience's experience backs up Carroll's suggestion. "I have had dogs that lived until 15, then I adopted one that was 16 because no one else would," he said. "It has been a rewarding experience and has taught me so much. Except for some mobility issues he doesn't know he's an old dog."
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