They may not have the cute factor which sell puppies and you never see them in pet shop windows, yet senior dogs have something else to those looking for love, loyalty and devotion. A dog over the age of 7 is considered a senior. While senior dogs have a certain charm, people are put off adopting them due to a belief that they need more veterinary attention, medication and care.
There is a perception old dogs are high maintenance. Compared to training puppies who whimper in the middle of the night and leave puddles on carpets, senior dogs have a lot going for them. The hard work is done, as older dogs are usually house broken. Senior dogs come with the benefit of life experience and understand simple commands like NO and are use to human rhythms.
The Senior Dogs Project aims to educate and encourage people to consider buying aged dogs. Instead of rushing straight to puppies. They praise these dogs for their ability to stay at home and not wander, they are more stable, more devoted and quiet. A spokesperson for the group said, "What you see is what you get with senior dogs. They settle in easily and know what it takes to get along with humans. They don't chew furniture and are still able to learn new tricks and behavior".
For those looking for couch potato dogs, then mature dogs are a great option. They still need exercise but at a slower pace. They are good for elderly people who need motivation to go for walks and often help people stay connected with the community.
There is also the feel good factor for the humans. By adopting an older dog you are giving it a life after some one else had given up on it. Shelter dogs are not all runaways or lost causes. Many end up there due to a change in the previous owners lifestyle. Many are still healthy and have been well looked after. Surrendered dogs are often stressed out in refuges and maybe timid and not as active in seeking attention and can be looked over. They maybe different once they get home and are more relaxed.
The lifespan of a dog depends on their breed, lifestyle, medical history and the care they receive. Mature dogs may need a little more vet care but any dog requires regular medical checks. Vet science has developed special diets, medication and exercise routines to suit elderly dogs. The Australian Veterinary Association recommends four ways to give aged dogs a good quality of life. They suggest matching exercise to meet their physical capabilities such as swimming for arthritic dogs and gentle, slower and smaller walks are still essential.
Mental stimulation is vital for delaying canine dementia. They can still benefit from toys and small food puzzle games with out being too physically taxing.
Regular vet checks can reduce the risk of small issues becoming major health problems. Your vet can also suggest specially designed dog food to match certain ailments. Tailored dog food can be expensive but the food may last longer then you think and can prevent more vet visits.
Teeth are essential to a dog's health. Dental decay can be painful and many dogs tend not to display this and continue eating regardless. Poor mouth hygiene will also cause bad breath and is a sign of declining health. If eating becomes too painful then the dog may reduce eating all together and miss out on vital nutrition at a time when they need it the most.
Of course there is the issue of their decline. Elderly dogs may not be with you as long as a puppy, but knowing the time with them is limited makes it all the more special. Dogs of any age can become sick or die early. Yet with proper care, diet and love you maybe extending a life of a dog that may not have had that long to live while waiting in a cage waiting for some one to come along.
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