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Adopting a dog can be both very exciting and a bit overwhelming at the same time. When you visit a local shelter or adoption center, you’ll find quite a few dogs to choose from, all with different personalities. Many times you’ll find dogs of different ages as well. While many soon-to-be dog owners want to adopt a puppy or a very young dog, they may find themselves adopting a senior dog instead.

At Anasazi Animal Clinic, we take care of dogs of every age. We are also big supporters of Adopt A Senior Pet Month in November, so we’re sharing some tips on how to adopt a senior dog based on what we’ve learned over the years. 

Adopting a Senior Dog: Tips and Advice

1: Go in with an Open Mind

It’s natural to automatically look for a puppy when you’re adding a dog to your family. Many pet owners believe that the younger an animal is, the healthier they will be and the more time they’ll have to enjoy their company. However, senior dogs—large dogs 8 years and up and smaller dogs ages 11 and up—can just be as healthy and provide many years of companionship. 

Keep in mind that the benefits of adopting a senior dog could outweigh the benefits of adopting a puppy. Because they are fully grown, the personality of the dog you meet at the shelter is the same personality they’ll have for years to come. Older dogs usually don’t need as much training as young dogs. And, if they’re past their destructive puppy years, you could save your furniture and shoes from being constantly chewed on. 

2: Ask for a Comprehensive Health History

Another benefit of adopting a senior dog is you’ll have much more medical history than you would with a younger dog. Many times owners put up their senior dog for adoption because of lifestyle changes, such as moving or financial hardships. As they’ve cared for the dog for much of their life, they’ll have provided a pretty full medical history when they surrender their dog to a shelter or adoption center. This can help you know in advance of any health care concerns your senior dog may have. 

3: Ease Them into Your Home

Like any new animal you bring home, you want to gradually ease them into their new surroundings. This is especially true for a senior dog who may have spent a long period at the shelter before getting adopted. Give them plenty of time to settle in and investigate their new home. They might act a little “off” for the first day or two as they adjust, but that’s perfectly normal. And, if you have additional dogs or cats in your home, introduce them one at a time so you don’t overwhelm the new dog. 

4: Keep Their Diet the Same

Ask the adoption center or foster family what type of food your new pet has been eating, and stick with it. Older dogs know exactly what they like and what they don’t like. You can’t always teach an old dog new tricks, and changing a dog’s food could wreak havoc on their digestive system. If at all possible, try to stick with the same food they’ve been eating. 

5: Schedule a Vet Appointment

Make sure to schedule a full check-up for your new senior dog as soon as possible. Bring the full medical history you obtained from the shelter or foster family. Your veterinarian will thoroughly examine your new companion, go over their medical history with you, and answer any questions you may have on senior dog care.

Local Vet for Dogs of All Ages

All dogs deserve forever homes, but senior dogs often have to wait for much longer than puppies to find one. By adopting a senior dog, you are giving them a chance to live the rest of their life surrounded by love and comfort. The friendly staff at Anasazi Animal Clinic loves to take care of all the dogs in Gilbert and Chandler, regardless of their age! Contact us today to make an appointment.  

Image by AnjaGh from Pixabay 

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