Dog Studies | Myths About Older Dogs
Older dogs (or senior dogs) have always had issues getting adopted or finding a new family/shelter, this is because most people prefer adopting younger dogs to older dogs for some reasons best known to them although some of the reasons are myth based.
Before going further, senior dogs are dogs that are above 7 years for small dog breeds and 5 years for large dog breeds.
Senior dogs do not basically mean feeble, frail, skinny old dogs that can barely walk. Senior dogs are also healthy breeds that are fun to be with. But just like we all know, ‘to each his own’, some people love young dogs while others prefer senior dogs probably based on their past experience.
A key fact about most senior dogs is that they’re mature they don’t pee in your house, they don’t eat your stuff, they have dignity and decorum, they know who they are and how to act around other pets and people, and they’re calm.
Some common myths about older dogs include;
They’re Not Fun To Be With
Dogs basically pick up and respond to our emotions – this means if we stop playing with or having fun with our dogs, regardless of their age, they’ll do the same. Once senior dogs are in good health, they can remain active for years to come. Your dog getting older does not mean they cannot play, have fun or just enjoy life. The simple fact here is that you shouldn’t treat your senior dogs like they are old and unable to be active or have fun because it will only accelerate their aging process. So to get your senior dog active, you need to come up with creative adventures you can have together, so get creative and see your happy senior dog join you happily.
Senior Dogs are not Trainable
You might have heard people say ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. Well, that’s not true, the truth however is that depending on their background, some habits may be only difficult to break and not impossible – all it needs is patience (same as younger dogs). Dogs generally love a scheduled routine, so if you give your senior dog a scheduled routine combined with proper nutrition, a loving home, the right mental stimulation, and the right physical exercise, you’ll be amazed at the pace at which your senior dog will adapt to the new. In summary, your senior dog can be trained at any age, they also have the added advantage of valuable problem-solving skills gained by experience.
All changes are natural signs of aging
A frequent vet call is one of the ways of raising a healthy dog (young or senior). Although some people believe that all changes a senior dog shows point to aging, it actually not true, you really need to confirm from your vet what’s going on with your dog no matter how subtle the sign is, do not throw caution to the wind when it comes to your dog’s health (senior/young).
You Spend More on Vet With Senior Dogs
The truth is, every dog is different. A senior dog just like a younger dog that has been receiving adequate/regular care his whole life could turn out to be a very healthy dog. You always have the option of getting a health assessment report from a veterinarian before going ahead to adopt in order to be on the safe side(it’s always advisable to run a health check before any adoption).
You may not spend a long time together
There are no guarantees when it comes to life. Life itself is very unpredictable and sometimes, age isn’t even a factor when it comes to issues like this. There are quite a number of instances where dogs live up to 20 years and die based on natural causes, and puppies less than 5 months taken too soon by disease or accident. The goal here isn’t primarily the ‘how long’ but ‘how well’ you’ve lived with your senior dog. How well encompasses the quality of time, the memories you create, the compassion you show, and the love you share is immeasurable.
N/B: If you choose to open your home to a dog that needs hospice care then yes, it’s likely you won’t have much time together but how beautiful that time will be for both of you. ❤️
Anesthesia is too expensive
The fact here is that age is not a limiting factor to anesthesia, general body health is. Yes, anesthesia is riskier in old dogs than young ones, but that’s not enough reason to avoid a necessary procedure. Having a vet you trust and that’s good at what he/she is doing is a great way to conquer this. A series of pre-op tests and advanced monitoring medical equipment have made the process even easier. So don’t make the mistake of denying your senior dog complete health examination and treatment under anesthesia because of his or her double-digit age.
Although it’s not really a popular myth, you’ll still have some people saying this. It may be true that not all senior dogs will like the introduction of a new puppy that’ll be jumping around (distorting the norm) but they’re definitely
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