There are times when you inherit an older dog, accidentally or otherwise. Some may be strays you rescue from the street, others may be dogs whose owners cannot take care of them for some reason or the other, and yet others may be those you bring home from the pound. However they come into your life, looking after older dogs is a different experience from taking care of puppies. There is a tremendous need for adopting older dogs as most would opt for the puppy. You can experience much pleasure when you save an older dog from the alternative. In general, here’s what you need to know when it comes to taking care of your adopted older dog:
• If you think it’s going to be easier looking after an older dog when compared to taking care of a puppy, you’re mistaken. While you may not have to housebreak them, you do have to spend time and effort in training them to obey your commands and accept your authority.
• It’s actually harder to train an older dog, especially if their previous owner has not trained them properly or had a different method of training.
• Some dogs may have been abused by their previous owners, and if you’re bringing home one of these, you may have to work overtime to earn their trust and win them over with your kindness and attention.
• If you’re taking home a stray from the streets, ensure that no one is looking for the animal first. Then take the dog to your vet and get him/her thoroughly checked out to see if they’re in good health. You may also have to spay/ neuter them.
• While older dogs may not be as destructive as puppies who chew up everything in sight when they’re teething, some dogs may exhibit uncharacteristic or unacceptable behavior which you need to change – stealing food from your dining table, destroying your property, and similar others.
• Older dogs that have been trained are more suitable companions for the elderly and those who don’t have the energy to keep up with an exuberant puppy because they’re more sedate and laid back.
• If you’re open to an older dog, you could even find purebreds at affordable prizes.
• And finally, if you’re worried about having to re-train an older dog, don’t stress too much – it can be done with just a little effort and a lot of love.
Before you bring your dog home, have him/her checked out by your vet or check the dog’s health records for illnesses, vaccination history, if they are available and make sure they have been neutered or spayed.
VetTech.org is the combined work of Tina Marconi and Joseph Morris. Tina, with more than 15 years of experience in the veterinary field, she shares her educational experience and knowledge with prospective veterinary technicians in order to shed some light on this very rewarding field. VetTech.org is a nonprofit site devoted exclusively to providing students with an understanding of the process of becoming a vet tech. To that end, both Tina and Joseph have compiled and maintained the first and only comprehensive list of veterinary technician programs in the US, so that students have a single place to research their educational options.
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