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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

Things to Know Before Adopting a Senior Dog

senior dog

Dogs of any age bring love and joy into a home. Unfortunately, many people are only looking for younger dogs as they walk through the halls of an animal shelter and older dogs who are just as deserving of a good home are overlooked. If you are thinking about adding a senior dog to your family, your friends at Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic want to help you know what to expect:

Their Health History

One of the biggest advantages of adopting a senior dog is being able to learn about their health history. Since they are already adults, most senior dogs come with at least a brief health history that will help you and your veterinarian understand their health baseline. This can also help you determine some senior pet health problems they might be likely to encounter. 

Their Personality 

When you adopt a senior dog, they are well beyond the transformative years of being a puppy or a young canine, which means they have already grown into their personality. If you have a strong connection at the shelter, you most likely will not have to wonder how to bond with a senior dog—all you need to do is provide them with a loving home. They also have the benefit of already being trained!

Their Exercise Needs

Senior pet exercise needs differ from dogs in other stages of life, so it is important to gain an understanding of what each specific dog needs. While exercise requirements can change based on breed, age, and size, a few general movement tips for senior dogs are:

  • Focus on walking: Walking is great for senior pups, but they will need to move slower than they once did. Try to aim for shorter walks in temperature that is not too hot or cold (or it might be hard on their joints).
  • Work on weak spots: Some older dogs are prone to joint issues and doing gentle exercise targeting those weaker spots can help them get stronger. Be sure to ask your veterinarian before embarking on a new exercise routine for an older dog. Swimming might be a great low impact option.
  • Pay attention to their behavior: Dogs can’t verbally tell us when exercise becomes more painful than pleasant, but they show plenty of physical signs. If they start to walk slower or pant, for example, it is probably time to call it for the day. Pay special attention to their paws to make sure they aren’t dealing with any injury or infection that might affect their movement.

Adopting a Senior Dog Can Benefit Everyone

At Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic, we are always happy to hear when a senior dog finds a new, loving home. We are here to help you ensure your pets have the veterinary dermatology care they need to look and feel their best. Call (425) 742-0342 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.