A dog is a faithful friend that will love you until your dying day. While the bond between a dog and their owner is a beautiful thing, it can turn to tragedy when the owner either passes away or is no longer able to give their canine companion the care they need. These faithful friends (through no fault of their own) usually end up in animal shelters where they’re eschewed by many who are looking for a puppy or a younger dog. Hence, they face much greater risk of humane euthanasia than their younger counterparts. But older dogs can be equally wonderful companions and the difference you can make in caring for them in their later years really can’t be underestimated.
Why rehome an older dog?
Older dogs are wonderful companions who have certain advantages over the young whipper snappers. They are calmer and more even tempered than puppies, so you’ll face very little risk of having your socks shredded, your furniture gnawed and your home in disarray as is the case with the furry bundle of energy that is a pup. They tend to be trained not to pee or poop in the home and will likely be smart enough to let you know when they need to be taken out to use the bathroom. They’re less likely to need training, although contrary to popular beliefs old dogs can learn new tricks.
While older dogs are less demanding than pups and younger dogs, they do have some specific needs in order to integrate into your home in good health and happiness.
The first few days will be rough
Even the most caring shelters can be extremely lonely and stressful places for dogs. When they arrive in their new home they’re likely to be in a state of stress or emotional distress and will take a while to acclimatize. Don’t be surprised if your new friend sleeps for three days straight as soon as they arrive. Make sure they have somewhere warm and comfortable to sleep and make sure you’re always close by to give them plenty of love.
Know their nutritional requirements
Older dogs have different nutritional requirements, and you need to make sure you’re feeding them the right foods for optimal health. Senior dogs are much like senior humans. They will tend to eat less, putting on more body fat and gaining less muscle mass than in their younger years.Because of this they need more nutrient rich foods full of lean proteins, high fiber (since older dogs are prone to constipation) and natural dog treats, avoiding over processed canned foods and aiming for a lower overall calorie count.
Keep your health expectations realistic
A senior dog is more likely to come to you with some health issues (though obviously, it’s not guaranteed). They may be prone to sight or hearing loss, hypothyroidism, heart murmurs and arthritis so make sure you check in with the vet as soon as you feel comfortable to make sure you can cater to your pet’s needs.
So find an older dog near you in desperate need of a new home, and help them enjoy their later years in comfort, love and happiness.
Thank you for reading!