Should I Get a Puppy For My Senior Dog?

Many times here at Leesville Animal Hospital, we have clients ask us if they should get a new puppy for their senior dog. The idea is that a new puppy will help to perk up the senior dog that is slowing down. Since this is a question that we get quite often, we thought that today was the perfect time to address our thoughts on the matter!

 

New puppy

As our dogs get into their senior years, they start to slow down. As pet parents, this slowing down can be disheartening and even downright painful to watch. So, many of our clients come in and ask us what we think about their getting a new puppy to help perk up their older dog.

Increased focus on the concept of the dog as a pack animal has led to the belief that a dog needs other dogs in their family “pack.” This is simply not true. A dog will be just as content with a human “pack” of companions as they would be with a “pack” of other dogs. In fact, many domesticated dogs thrive without the companionship of other dogs in their home!

With this said, some dogs will appreciate the companionship of another dog, particularly if you find yourself away from home during the day at a 9 – 5 job! Of course, this companionship can be found through the use of a dogsitter, doggy daycare, or even the sound of a television!

So, what does this mean?

It means that all dogs are individuals. If your senior dog has always been an “only dog” then the chances are that he or she is not going to appreciate the addition of another dog now, so late in their life. If your senior dog has grown up with a canine companion throughout their life and is currently without one, they may appreciate the addition of another dog to the household. And yes, this addition may even perk them up!

If your senior dog has always been an “only dog” then the chances are that he or she is not going to appreciate the addition of another dog now, so late in their life. If your senior dog has grown up with a canine companion throughout their life and is currently without one, they may appreciate the addition of another dog to the household. And yes, this addition may even perk them up!

If you are concerned that your senior dog is feeling “down,” try other approaches to cheering them up instead. Look into hiring a pet sitter, trying new senior-dog friendly activities together, make sure that your senior is not in discomfort, and make sure to have your vet look into any possible physical causes for them feeling “down.”

If your senior dog has grown up with a canine companion throughout their life and is currently without one, they may appreciate the addition of another dog to the household. And yes, this addition may even perk them up!

Should that new addition be a puppy? Well, that all depends on your dog.

Don’t forget that, as a senior, your dog may not appreciate the constant bother of a puppy nipping at their ears, barking in their face, waking them from naps, or “claiming” their favorite toys.

If you think that a new companion might cheer up your senior dog, consider whether these things will be a concern. Has your dog always been good with puppies? Will they do well with such a young addition? Or would they, perhaps, appreciate a less active companion? If you answered the latter, we suggest looking into older companion dogs. No, we’re not saying that you should bring home a second senior dog! But try looking into young adults and middle aged dogs as companions for your older dog. These dogs are much less likely to be as bothersome to your senior. Plus, they are much less likely to be adopted from shelters and rescues due to their age, so you’d be giving a homeless pup a chance too!

Not sure if your dog would do well with puppies or younger dogs? Contact a local rescue and ask if you might bring your dog to visit! It’s a great socialization opportunity for rescue dogs and a great way to test your dog’s reaction to younger companions!

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Monday: 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Wednesday: 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Thursday: 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Sunday: Boarding pick up 5 - 6 p.m.

 

Call Us: (919) 870-7000

 

Visit Us: 9309 Leesville Rd,
                 Raleigh, N.C. 27613
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