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Adopting A Senior Dog

November 1 2021

November is Adopt A Senior Dog Month! Older dogs have some very endearing and special characteristics that make them wonderful pets. Unfortunately, these guys have a very hard time getting adopted, as most people prefer puppies. If you’re considering adopting a new canine companion, you may want to take a closer look at that sweet elderly pooch no one wants. He may be the most lovable dog you’ve ever had! A Carmel Valley, CA vet offers some tips on adopting a senior pet in this article.


You may find that there are some surprising benefits to adopting an older pup. One of the best things about dogs in their golden years is the fact that they tend to be very loving and calm. Fido is more interested in collecting belly rubs than in chasing squirrels around, and he’ll plod loyally along beside you instead of hauling you behind him. Older dogs are also already trained, and tend to be super affectionate. They really just want someone to love them, care for them, and dole out ear scritches. What more could you ask for?

Getting Ready

Getting your place ready for a senior dog isn’t exactly the same as preparing for a puppy, though there are many similarities. Fido probably won’t be too interested in chewing things, though you will want to keep things like toxic plants, unsafe foods, and small or sharp objects out of paws’ reach. Comfort is really king when it comes to caring for older pooches. Thick beds, carpet runners, pet ramps, and stair treads are the sorts of things that will make your home safe and welcoming for Fido. You’ll want to stock up on treats as well!

Tail Wags

Fido may need time to settle in. Generally, dogs need three days to get a feel for new surroundings, three weeks to get comfortable, and three months to really feel at home. In that time, you’ll want to help your furry buddy feel safe and secure. Keeping him on a set schedule for walks, meals, and playtime will definitely help. Aside from that, just give your four-legged friend lots of love and attention. You may find that your canine friend very quickly melts your heart!

Our Advice on Adopting A Senior Dog in 2024

What are the unique benefits of adopting a senior dog?

Adopting a senior dog offers unique benefits, including their calm and loving demeanor. Older dogs tend to be less interested in vigorous activities and more focused on companionship, making them ideal for a relaxed home environment. They typically come trained and exhibit a deep affection towards their caregivers, seeking simple pleasures like belly rubs and ear scratches. Senior dogs’ appreciative nature for care and companionship enriches the lives of their adopters, providing a fulfilling and heartfelt experience. In addition to veterinary care, incorporating Holistic Home Pet Care practices can further support the well-being of your senior dog. These qualities make senior dogs particularly rewarding pets to bring into your family.

How is preparing for a senior dog different from a puppy?

Preparing for a senior dog differs from a puppy mainly in focusing on comfort and safety suited to their age and mobility. Unlike puppies, senior dogs are typically past the chewing stage, reducing the need for puppy-proofing against small, ingestible objects. However, creating a senior-friendly environment involves ensuring easy access around the house. This can include providing thick, supportive beds, carpet runners for traction, pet ramps, and stair treads to accommodate decreased mobility and joint issues. Comfort and accessibility are key in making a home welcoming for an older dog.

Are there specific health conditions common in older dogs that you should be aware of?

Yes, older dogs commonly face specific health conditions, including arthritis, dental disease, kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, and vision and hearing loss. Obesity can also become a concern, affecting their overall health and exacerbating joint issues. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for early detection and management of these conditions. Monitoring for signs of discomfort, changes in behavior, or appetite can help in promptly addressing potential health issues. Tailoring their diet, exercise, and living environment to their aging needs plays a vital role in maintaining their quality of life. Our clinic offers Vet Nutrition & Weight Management services to help you develop a personalized plan for your senior dog’s dietary needs.

Are certain breeds or sizes of senior dogs prone to particular health problems?

Yes, certain breeds and sizes of senior dogs are prone to specific health problems. Large breeds, like German Shepherds and Labradors, often face joint issues such as hip dysplasia and arthritis due to their size and weight. Small breeds, like Chihuahuas and Poodles, are more susceptible to dental disease and heart conditions. Additionally, certain breeds have genetic predispositions to specific ailments; for example, Dachshunds are prone to back problems, while Boxers have a higher risk of cancer. Regular veterinary care is crucial to manage breed-specific health concerns in senior dogs.

How can you prepare yourself emotionally for the potential of a shorter lifespan with a senior pet?

Preparing emotionally for a senior pet’s shorter lifespan involves acknowledging the reality of their age and focusing on the quality of life you can provide. Celebrate the time you have together by creating memorable experiences and providing comfort and love. It’s important to cherish the moments, understanding that each day is valuable. Additionally, seek support from communities or groups who have faced similar situations. Planning for their care and being informed about their health needs can also offer peace of mind. Remember, the joy and companionship senior pets bring can be immensely rewarding.

Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns about adopting a senior pet. At our animal clinic in Carmel Valley, CA, we are committed to providing the highest quality veterinary care for your pets. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any of your pet’s health needs. Our team of veterinary professionals is always here to help.

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