Adopting an Older Dog vs a Puppy:
Pros and Cons
Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot little puppies.
Adopting an Older Dog vs a Puppy:
Pros and Cons
Getting a dog will change your life!
To help you choose the best dog for your family,
here are some pros and cons of adopting an older dog vs. a puppy.

PROS of adopting an older dog…
You’ll skip the crazy puppy phase
Puppies are A LOT OF WORK.
It’s like welcoming a toddler into your house — except this toddler
may chew up your shoes.
There’s house training… and teaching basic commands… and the
responsibility of socializing your puppy… and the joys of teething…
the everyday chaos that comes with having a highly energetic, very
curious, rapidly growing dog.
Accidents on the floor!
Half-swallowed socks!  
Shredded toilet paper rolls!
It requires time, energy and endless patience.
This time-intensive period can last anywhere from six months to two
years, depending on the pup.
In contrast, when you get an adult dog, your dog has already gone
through this phase.
He (or she) is likely to be house trained and know basic commands.
While certain breeds have higher energy levels than others, he’s
likely through the frenetic phase of puppyhood.
If your life is busy or you just don’t want to start from scratch, an
adult dog may help you keep your sanity intact.

You won’t have to pay the first-year veterinary costs of
having a puppy
The first year of having a puppy can add up: wellness exams,
puppy shots, spaying or neutering, and more.
The first year of puppyhood can range from $500-$1000 in
veterinary care.
Adult dogs may simply need annual, routine care.
(Though, if you’re adopting an older dog and his health has
been neglected, your dog may need some attention. More on
that down below!)

You can learn your dog’s health history, behavior and full-grown size
BEFORE adoption
If you’re adopting an adult dog from a reputable shelter or rescue group,
they’ll have your dog’s medical history (if it’s available) and be able to
share the dog’s personality.
They’ll also appreciate you asking why the dog was surrendered. (An
important question to ask!)
And yes, you’ll know how big your dog is as a full-grown dog.
No surprises!
All of this information can help you make a logical adoption decision,
rather than one based solely on emotion.
In contrast, with a puppy, it can be difficult to predict what a dog’s long-
term personality will be like.
There are many factors that can influence a dog’s personality. It isn’t
possible to predict them all with a puppy aptitude test.
Not to mention, estimating a puppy’s full-grown size isn’t an exact science,
particularly if your dog is a mixed breed.
We have clients who were told that their puppies would grow to be 40-50
pounds… only to discover that their dogs ended up being dramatically

You can more easily fit an adult dog into an active lifestyle
With puppies, there’s a period in which your pup gets all his shots and builds
up his bone strength.
To help protect your pup, it’s helpful to be more selective on where you take
your dog for a while.
You also may need to wait for your puppy’s joints to get strong enough for
strenuous activity.
If you’re getting an adult dog that is socially well adjusted and is up-to-date
on his shots, you can take him just about wherever you go.
As you get to know an adult dog, pace yourself with activities that could give
your dog some anxiety, though. (This includes  trips to the dog park where
your dog will be surrounded by new dogs.)
Make sure you’ve gotten a “green light” from a dog trainer or behaviorist.

CONS of adopting an older dog…
You may need to invest in your dog’s health (particularly dental care)
Whether you’re adopting a middle-aged dog or an old dog, your furry
friend may not have had the best healthcare in his previous home.
For example, your dog’s teeth may have been neglected.
It’s estimated that periodontal disease affects as many as four out of five
dogs. This disease can make it painful for your dog to eat and put your dog
at risk for more serious health issues.
Be prepared to invest in dental care (particularly if your dog is four years
old or older).
Your dog may simply need routine cleanings… or you may need to address
broken or rotting teeth.
Another health consideration for older dogs: Dogs that are seven years
old and up can suffer from arthritis.

You may want to consider how many years you’ll be able to spend with
your dog
Look into the average life expectancy of the breed you’re
(or breeds, if the dog is a mix).
You may not have a lot of years together.