10 Reasons to Adopt a Senior Dog

In recent years, there’s been a spike in popularity surrounding the idea of adopting older dogs from shelters. Puppies are frequently adopted at a much faster rate than senior dogs. Whether it's getting the most years with a new dog or being able to train and raise a dog, there are multiple reasons why dog owners would gravitate towards adopting a puppy. However, thanks to groups like Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary, social media has really pushed the public opinion toward senior dogs in a positive direction. When we first began thinking about adopting a second dog, we knew we wanted an older, calmer dog as a companion for our current dog, Piccolo. Since adopting our new dog, Nala, a 10-year-old pit bull mix, over a month ago, I have discovered so many other great reasons to consider adopting a senior dog. 

(Nala; Photo by Author)


  1. 1. They just want to sleep all day…

  2. 2. But, still want to play too!

    Most of the time, it’s Nala initiating playtime with Piccolo. Although their games of chase only lasted a few laps around the house, Nala really enjoys these few minutes of play in between naps.

  3. 3. They don’t need much exercise to expel their energy.

    Puppies and young dogs often need lots of time and space to get out all of their energy with a lot of play sessions during the day. We have to wake up our dogs for their daily 20-30 minute long walks, after which they immediately go back to sleep. However, if the weather or plans for the day don’t allow for a full walk, we’re not worried about coming home to a destroyed couch cushion.

  4. 4. They are the best snugglers.

    I can barely sit down on the couch before Nala is already launching herself on top of me, quickly settling in with her nose buried into my neck. She’s a classic velcro dog and wants to be as close to me as she can at all times. 

  5. 5. They already know how to be in a home.

    A large portion of senior dogs end up in the shelter for many reasons, but they’ve usually been in a home at some point in their lives. It’s rare a puppy is taken into a shelter and lives just in the shelter for their entire lives. Because of this, there is very little training needed to be done with older dogs as they adapt to your routine and schedule pretty easily. 

  6. 6. They’re usually already potty/crate trained.

    Potty training is easily the most stressful part of bringing home a new puppy. This goes along with the previous reason, but senior dogs who have already lived in a home are usually already potty trained and are comfortable in a crate. 

  7. 7. They’re more content sleeping while you’re gone than being destructive.

    Like previously mentioned, senior dogs don’t feel the need to be destructive when bored or have too much energy like puppies do. Our girls just decide to rotate which room of the house they’re sleeping in, and that’s the most exciting part of their day.

  8. 8. Their graying face is so hard to resist kissing.

    Like seriously, who doesn’t love seeing a super old dog with a super gray face? There is something absolutely adorable and kissable about their gray noses.

  9. 9.  They’ll be grateful you gave them a second chance.

    Whether their owner passed away, surrendered them, or abandoned them, going from living in a home to a shelter environment is incredibly stressful and traumatizing for any dog. I’m convinced rescue dogs love harder, and Nala is the poster child for that. She immediately settled in and wanted to be in our lives.

  10. 10.  You’re saving a life.

    If not for all the reasons above, true altruism stems from purely wanting to save a senior dog from passing away in a shelter. Many people take on the role as a hospice foster, opening their homes to very old or sick dogs for an unknown amount of time to simply prevent the dog from dying in a shelter. They are able to get a taste of having a loving family, home, and a bed to call their own. 

Nala is 10 years old and in really good health and whether we get months or years with her, the quality of time outweighs the quantity.  She was abandoned by her previous owners and lived on the streets for who knows how long, and we are so fortunate to give her a forever home in our family. If you are considering becoming a first-time dog owner, I strongly suggest adopting a senior dog from your local shelter for all the above reasons and so many more. They may not be your longest companion, but it is so worth it.