7 reasons why adopting an older dog is best for Baby Boomers

Australians love their pets, and 62 per cent of households have at least one animal companion. Dogs are the favourite, with 38 per cent of households owning them, and 29 per cent owning a cat.1

As you get older, inviting a pet into your home can provide love, companionship, and a reason to stay active with daily walks. Here we look at seven reasons why you should consider adopting an older dog.

Here we look at seven reasons why you should consider adopting an older dog.

1. Older dogs make great companions

Unlike boisterous puppies, more 'mature' dogs are perfect for people who have slowed their working lives, and who may have more time on their hands.2 Your older dog can go on walks with you, keep you company throughout the day, and provide affection, and even protection.

Energetic younger dogs will usually need extra training, as well as a lot more attention and exercise, while an older dog may be able to settle in more seamlessly with your routine, offering you great companionship.

2. Not as much physical demand

Puppies have a lot of physical needs; they’re messy, loud, might occasionally bite, and generally require training and a lot of exercise. An older dog will usually have very different energy levels to a puppy or a younger dog. Adopting an older dog could make more sense if you don't want to live a high-energy lifestyle. For example, an older dog might want plenty of time on the couch, lots of affection, and a gentle 30-minute walk each day as opposed to long walks and runs.

It’s important when looking for an older dog that you keep your personal lifestyle in mind and discuss this lifestyle with the shelter or rescue you are choosing your dog from. This way it’s more likely you will get a dog who fits best with your needs.

3. Less maintenance and training

An older dog might be more mellow than a young puppy, and that could be exactly what you need. They could still have a fun-loving, affectionate side, offering you joy and playfulness without the high-maintenance and high-energy requirements of a puppy.

Puppies usually require training of some sort to ensure they behave well around people, children and other dogs. Puppy training can be costly, and usually requires many weeks and training sessions to get results. An older dog can still be trained but has usually mastered those skills such as crossing roads, traffic confidence and basic behavioural commands.

4. No housetraining required

An older dog might be more likely to have already been house-trained and taught basic commands. Putting up with the weeks of newspaper on the floor, accidental spills, torn furniture and curtains is something many older Australians would prefer to avoid. Not all older dogs are perfectly behaved, but in general an older dog will be housetrained, and less likely to tear up your household like a puppy would.

5. A senior dog can encourage you to be more active

With a dog at home, you’ll have a companion who will encourage you to become more active.3 Whether it’s twice-daily walks or weekend strolls at the park, your older dog can act as a motivator to get you out and enjoying the outdoors. He or she can also provide you with opportunities for social interaction in the process.4

Older dogs tend to be calmer than puppies and they might have less of a need for intensive exercise, so you might not need to spend hours each day trying to wear your furry friend out. For an owner who might be in an older age group themselves, the more laid-back activity level of dogs past their early years could be perfect.3

6. Pets could improve your well-being

Owning a dog has been associated with fewer visits to the doctor, lower stress levels, and increased social support2. According to recent research, potential health benefits can also include enhanced cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, lower triglycerides, and in men lower cholesterol5, along with reduced risk of anxiety, depression, and loneliness.6

A pet can also boost well-being by giving you a sense of purpose, decreasing stress, and increasing your sense of belonging and commitment.7 The emotional benefits of owning a dog are very valuable to consider.

7. Give a rescue animal a home

The majority of new dog owners prefer puppies to older dogs, and this means older dogs could be more likely to be left behind at the animal shelter.3 If you’re looking for a new pet, why not take the opportunity to give an older animal a loving home? They could still have many good years ahead of them.

Modern animal shelters can provide some insight into a dog’s personality, needs and requirements. Many dogs at shelters are listed as “not suitable for a household with young children” or are restricted for adoption into single animal homes. Dogs that are older, or that have specific needs might find the best fit with a household that can tend to them with the one-on-one attention they deserve.

The perfect companion

Adopting an older dog allows you to give a loving home to a dog in need, and it can offer you well-being and health benefits.

Australian Seniors is a leading provider of quality pet insurance for over-50s, covering up to 80% of your eligible vet bills for pets under the age of nine years.* Get a quick quote for pet insurance now to ensure your loyal companion will always have the care they deserve.