It’s a struggle to find homes for adult dogs and cats (six months and older). People are afraid that they won’t fit into their home or family, get on with existing pets, or behave as they want them to. There is a misconception that you have to raise pets from a very young age or it will be a disaster. But, although in some cases this can be true, in most cases there is no reason why you shouldn’t adopt an adult dog – and many reasons why you should!
BTW: Adult ‘adult’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘senior’. A year or two is already adult but is still young and full of life.
Here’s why adopting an adult dog is a great idea:
- Adult dogs fit in very well with other pets and we can help you choose a good match. With careful introduction, there’s no reason why they won’t get along with your existing pets.
- They often learn quicker than puppies as they have longer attention spans and better focus.
- Adult dogs tend to be over their chewing destructive phase and you’re less likely to lose your shoe collection to puppy teeth.
- Many adult dogs already know basic commands such as ‘sit’.
- Adult dogs have much better bladder control than pups so it’s easier to house train them. Those which were surrendered by a family may already be housetrained.
- Small pups need feeding three to four times daily, and cannot be left to their own devices for long periods, whereas adult dogs are much more independent.
- You know exactly what you’re getting. There’s no guesswork about what size and temperament your dog will have when they grow up (and being purebred doesn’t guarantee this either). What you see is what you get so you can make an informed choice and find the perfect dog for you.
- Pups need many more courses of vaccinations and deworming than adults do, which can be expensive.
- Teachable moment: A common reason people give as to why they want a puppy is that they ‘want it to grow up with their baby/toddler’. “This is understandable, but these days dogs and cats can easily live ten to fifteen years or more; you and your children will have your pet for many years to come. Adopting an adult dog also teaches children that it isn’t just ‘new, young, cute’ things that have value. And remember: coping with a rambunctious puppy while trying to look after a baby or toddler is a big task to tackle. Puppies need work, training, and attention to become the childhood companions you envisage. “Why give yourself the added stress – and possibly end up not being able to provide what the pup needs? Sadly, shelters are handed juvenile dogs like this daily, when people realise they can’t cope (a dreadful example for the children). The pet is then out of its easy-to-adopt age, and becomes yet another adult animal looking for a home.”
- You will save a life. Adult dogs don’t get homed easily and, in many shelters, they are euthenised by the thousands every year.
Most of FAW’s dogs and cats come from busy township environments where they are used to being around many dogs and people, making the majority well-socialised. If you choose the right dog (i.e. not just the ‘prettiest’ one) and introduce it correctly, your new pet should integrate well with existing ones.
The key to adopting an adult pet, Davies explains, is to, “Accept that any animal, regardless of age, isn’t going to be 100% perfect immediately – be prepared for this and you’ll do just fine.
Some may fit in right away, some may need a couple of weeks to learn the ropes.
Ask the animal welfare to recommend dogs based on your needs (e.g. energy, size, sex, etc.) and keep in touch for advice.
Of course puppies also have their place, and they need homes too, but don’t overlook adult dogs – they really do make super family members.
Here’s some advise on adopting: http://www.faw.za.org/advice/