Senior dog perks: 7 years wiser, needs love all year long

  Science is continuing to improve the lifespan of not only humans but pets too. To put age into perspective, a 7-year-old dog is equivalent to a 49-year-old owner. A 7-year-old cat is equivalent to a 45-year-old owner. With a lengthier lifespan comes the responsibility for pet owners to be able to keep up with the annual cost of pet health and food expenses. And a loyal pet owner will want his or her dog around to live a happy, healthy life for as long as reasonably possible.

Unfortunately, according to National Geographic, elderly dogs have a particularly difficult time finding homes versus puppies or younger dogs. The primary reasons for the older dog shunning is due to consumer beliefs that older dogs will be too set in their ways and possibly have health problems. (To add on to picky behavior, large black dogs, no matter the breed or health status, have the most difficult time being adopted of most dogs.)

In a Best Friends survey discussed on PetSmart Charities, of 1,000 nationwide people surveyed, only 31 percent of people between the ages of 18 to 34 would consider shelter adoption compared to 46 percent who looked to breeders or pet stores for purchasing a pet. Even worse, 40 percent of the surveyors didn’t believe shelter animals were at risk of euthanasia. The sobering truth is that 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats are euthanized each year, according to the latest stats from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Of course it’s not all bad news. There are new pet owners who do make an attempt to turn these statistics around. Senior dog rescue organizations like Muttville Senior Dog Rescue celebrate the owners of older dogs. Some of their popular pet events include Senior Prom, Senior Sunday and “Old Dogfather” petting parties. Young at Heart and The Senior Dogs Project are a couple more organizations that also have a soft spot for seasoned dogs.

To be frank, yes, there are health complications that can possibly happen with elderly dogs. But the same can be said of humans that aren’t abandoned once they reach AARP age. In fact, Americans not only are happier as they age but they apparently are 5 percent happier every additional 10 years. So maybe potential pet owners should consider which dogs may match their living arrangements and personality compatibility instead of the age of the dog. They could be just as happy, too. Golden Retrievers alone could out-friendly some of the friendliest puppies of any breed.

Healthy Pets by Mercola adds on to the idea of why senior dogs are a force to be reckoned with:

  1. Better manners
  2. Less destructive
  3. More attentive than puppies
  4. Great company for senior citizens
  5. More likely to know potty training rules

In addition to companionship and a dog who knows the ropes, there’s also the added bonus of saving the life of a dog who more than likely ended up in a shelter through no fault of its own.

Shamontiel L. Vaughn contributed to this blog. Find out more about her at

Photo credit: Pixabay