Should I Adopt an Older Dog?

two old golden retrievers

If you are considering adopting a dog, your first thought will probably go to a cute puppy. Very few people think about adopting an older dog, even though an adult pet can bring you equal lots of happiness and a lot less work. If you never thought about the possibility of bringing an older dog home, here are some of the pros and cons of the decision.

old black dog


  • It’s cheaper. A puppy requires frequent visits to the vet, numerous vaccines, and possibly spay/neuter a surgery; an older dog adopted from a shelter will be up to date on vaccines and only need a check-up once a year.
  • It’s easier. Older dogs are already housebroken, which means you don’t have to deal with the aggravation of house “accidents” or having to walk the puppy ten times a day. An older dog is the best choice for somebody who is home only in the evenings or somebody who doesn’t have the energy or physical ability to run after a puppy nonstop.
  • It’s safer. If you haves small children or other pets in the house, an older dog may be the best choice. Puppies may not tolerate teasing well, and their playful biting can get rough at times. An older dog will understand limits better and become a companion rather than a rival.
  • It’s humane. Adopting an older dog means you will be saving a life. Since most people tend to adopt puppies from shelters, older dogs are more likely to be put to sleep or to spend the rest of their lives living in shelter cages.


  • Time. An older dog will have fewer years ahead to share with you. If you’re adopting from a shelter, it may be impossible to guess exactly how old the animal is, so you cannot know for sure how long you have with him.
  • Health issues. Although young dogs are not necessarily any healthier than older dogs, the complications certainly multiply as years pass. With an older dog, you may be dealing with problems that were caused by malnutrition or abuse from previous owners, about which you can not longer do anything about.

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