This article was contributed by Danielle Kunkle (Co-founder of Boomer Benefits)
Puppy vs Adult Dog: What’s Best for You?
Having a companion is vital during your senior years. Many seniors become lonely due to having family and friends moving away and, unfortunately, from passing away. An easy way to find a companion in your senior years is by adopting a dog. Dogs provide you with company every day and can fill your heart with love and happiness. The first thing to consider is what type of dog is best for you regarding age. There are pros and cons with all dog ages, so let’s discuss each of them to see which one could be the best for you.
Pros and cons of a puppy
Pro #1: Instant connection
There is no feeling like picking up your new puppy and bringing them home for the first time. Puppies don’t fully understand they are leaving their mother and siblings, so they are likely to cling to their owner. Getting a new puppy means they did not have any previous owners, and they only know you as their mother/father. You typically have an instant connection and a stronger bond with your puppy when you spend every day with them and by their side throughout their lifetime.
Pro #2: Great health benefits
Owning a new puppy will most definitely keep you on your feet, resulting in many health benefits for you. Puppies require lots of attention, want to play fetch, and will require many walks to release some energy. Whenever you are outside and active, it helps relieve anxiety, stress, boredom and lower your blood pressure which can help prevent major health conditions in the future. Your mind and body will benefit from owning a puppy.
Con #1: Puppies require work and effort
A puppy does not come with an instruction manual. Puppies require training on what they can and cannot do. For example, you must potty train your puppy, or it will continue to go to the bathroom inside your home. You must be present in your puppy’s life, or it will continue to do what it naturally does.
Puppies love to bite, chew, and dig through the trash. If you are never home to watch your puppy or cannot put in the effort of training him/her of right and wrong, they will never learn, and you will continue to go around in circles with your dog, which could be exhausting in retirement.
Con # 2: Puppies are more costly
Many costs come with a new puppy, such as vet visits, vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and dog toys. As mentioned above, puppies do love to chew on things. Therefore, you will likely have some shoes, cords, and pillows that may end up getting destroyed. The cost of a puppy can be a major con for some seniors who are on a budget or are trying to save money in retirement.
Pros and cons of an adult dog
Pro #1: Adult dogs are already mature
One pro of owning an adult dog is that it is far from the puppy phase of having an abundance of energy and chewing on everything. Depending on the breed of dog, your adult dog will likely be less active and calmer compared to a puppy.
An adult dog typically is better on a leash whenever you take walks, and their destructive behavior is less frequent. Whenever you give your adult dog the attention it needs, he/she will stop trying to get your attention by acting out.
Pro #2: Great for a first-time dog owner
Since puppies require a lot of time and effort into training, an adult dog can be ideal for a senior. Adult dogs don’t get into as much trouble, and they aren’t as curious as puppies. Adult dogs understand they are rewarded for good behavior, making it easier for first-time dog owners.
Con #1: You don’t know their background
Whenever you adopt an adult dog, they have a long past that you don’t know about. The dog could have been abused, neglected, or has been a stray their whole lives. There is a chance certain environments or people can frighten the dog, making their next move unpredictable.
Although the dog could have had a great background, there is no way for you to know what triggers him/her.
Con #2: Harder to untrain
Adopting an adult dog can be nerve-racking since they should be already trained, but you don’t know in what way. For example, a dog could have been neglected for ten years and has gone to the bathroom inside the home their whole lives. Potty training an adult dog is not impossible, but it will require a lot of work. The same thing applies to chewing. If the adult dog has never been taught not to chew, the dog could be more destructive than a puppy.
There is a lot that goes into deciding which type of dog is the best fit for you. When you are ready to be a dog owner, compare these pros and cons of a puppy vs. an adult dog and decide which one you think is best for you.