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Adopting an older dog: the benefits of rehoming an elderly pet


Adopting an older dog: the benefits of rehoming an elderly pet
This article contains: dog training dogs petplan advice

When considering getting a dog, many people will have an ideal scenario pictured in their heads.

Often it will involve a cute-as-a-button puppy running around their garden, being mischievous and providing boisterous fun for the family.

Yet it’s older dogs that need us the most.

Petplan takes a look at why adopting an older dog could be the right decision when it comes to bringing a new pet into your home…

Why adoption?

Regardless of a dog’s age, adopting them from animal charities or rehoming centres such as The Dog’s Trust, Blue Cross, Cat’s Protection or Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and giving them a good home is a brilliant thing to do.

Often a change in circumstance for owners can result in an elderly dog being given to a rehoming centre.

Therefore, through no fault of their own, they are left to find a new forever home which can prove a little more difficult without those puppy dog eyes. Adopting from one of these charities or a rehoming centre will give these deserving dogs a loving new home and means they can live out their golden years in comfort and happiness.

Dog rehoming centres need our help

Rehoming centres often speak out about their struggle to rehome older dogs. There are stories of dogs being left in these centres for months and in some cases maybe even years.

Not only is this upsetting for the dog but it can be costly to the animal charities and rehoming centres which have to keep them fed, watered and housed. Wood Green Animal Charity state that it costs on average £15 a day to house a dog.

Adopting an older dog can sometimes be off-putting as they may have specific medical needs or be used to a certain lifestyle, living with no children or other pets for example.

However, most charities will ensure anyone considering re-homing an animal with a pre-existing medical condition are fully briefed via the charity’s vet or veterinary nurse and also encourage potential owners to discuss with their own vet to fully understand any likely costs for ongoing treatment. Of course ensuring your pet is insured gives further peace of mind should they suffer from any future illnesses or accidents and Petplan work with over 1,200 animal charities providing four weeks free insurance cover for every dog, cat or rabbit that are rehomed, giving reassurance for charities and adopters alike while the pet settles into their new home.

If you are able to give them the home they need, these elderly dogs are just as lovable as their puppy counterparts and  have a lot of love and companionship to give!

Older dogs require less training

Older dogs will already be toilet-trained and will have mastered basic commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ – saving you energy and time versus training a puppy, which can take months!

Older dogs are often calmer than puppies

Dogs generally slow down with old age, so although they may not be able to take part in very energetic play or long walks, they will still enjoy a gentle game of fetch and a short stroll in the park.

If you have young children, a less energetic and boisterous dog may be more suitable. Plus an older dog will already have their adult teeth which leads to less household destruction versus their puppy counterparts.

You can still teach an old dog new tricks!

Although they may not be as energetic as a younger dog, they still have the potential to keep learning and adapting just like puppies.

Older dogs have the ability to focus for longer periods of time, so if you are worried about training them to your lifestyle, they can often be even easier to teach than younger dogs.

Older dogs aren't necessarily 'problem dogs' as some people think

Older dogs are handed into rehoming centres due to a variety of reasons including allergies, death of their owner, a new baby, loss of job, a move or change in work schedule. These dogs need homes just as much as younger dogs and make a loyal, fun and wonderful pet!

Older dogs are fully grown

You know exactly what you’re getting in terms of size and temperament – rather than guessing with a puppy.

Adopting an older dog is a wonderful opportunity for you to welcome a new member of the family and can be an incredibly fulfilling experience, whilst offering an animal a second chance for a happy life.

Are you thinking about adopting? Would you now consider getting an older dog? Let us know in the comments below…


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laura hancock
I have always rehomed older dogs... the biggest downside is the penalty you pay in both premium and excess when you insure. this will always put people off!
Petplan
Hi Laura, I'm sorry you feel this way. All of our policies are priced to give the most accurate reflection of the risk that pet would pose in terms of potential claims. Unfortunately, as pets get older, they are more prone to illness and/or injury than younger pets and this is therefore reflected in the policy premium and excess in order for us to be able to offer cover. We would be more than happy to discuss any concerns you have further if you email your details to social@petplan.co.uk Thanks, Ed - the Petplan Team
Sue
We adopted an 8 year old choccy Lab and he is a delight and we will definitely consider an older dog again when the inevitable happens. But, like the comment from Laura, we found that, because of his age and lack of medical history, most pet insurers were not interested or quoted exorbitant prices to insure him.
Keiron Cornell
This item is great. I completely understand Laura's concern about the premium for pet insurance. Maybe Petplan UK could be the market leader to offer a discounted rate if the dog is adopted from a registered rehoming centre. This would be a huge incentive to insure rehomed pets with you. Great for business but great for us pet parents.You could advertise your discounts for rehomed pets and push for adoption.
Lisa Victoria
nice and informative post, I also Adopted an older dog named max, I want to teach him some new things and want to play with him but sometimes he doesn't follow me and ignores me. so please help me if you can...!
Petplan
Hi Lisa, our pet behaviorist Inga Mackellar says; 'With any rescue dog it can take time for the dog-owner relationship to build and patience is very important. There can sometimes be a tendency for people to compare their 'new' dog to one they have previously owned. Dogs are individuals and have different characters and motivations. In order to strengthen a relationship try to find out what your dog enjoys doing. Is it playing ball or perhaps search games..or something else? Play for short periods of time several times a day and stop before he gets bored. If your dog is food motivated, and if practical, give several small meals during the day rather than just two meals. By playing and feeding 'lttle and often' your dog should start to become more responsive to you. I would recommend the following book for lots of ideas. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brain-Games-Dogs-provide-stimulation/dp/1842862774/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485177337&sr=1-1&keywords=claire+arrowsmith'. We hope that helps! Steph - The Petplan Team
Lisa Victoria
Really very Thank You for the help and suggesting me a book.
Adrian Barratt
I too have fallen foul of this 20% rule it has cost me £400 up to now and the operation I was to have performed on my Westie can now no longer go ahead as I cannot afford the 20%, the premium I pay is £46 a month and we did that to save these bills ( we thought) As a matter of interest we had our other dog with Tesco half the premium, half the excess and they didn't take 20%, I am not a happy man
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