Why do senior dogs end up in shelters?

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Dogs wind up in shelters for a variety of reasons. A family may move to a home where they can’t keep a dog, or they may find caring for their dog too much of a burden. People surrender dogs for these and many other reasons.

Senior dogs are more likely to experience incontinence (inability to hold urine or feces) and have accidents. There are many ways to address this, such as pee pads, but many owners simply choose to put their pets up for adoption.

Senior dogs are also more likely to have expensive health issues. While a dog can experience health issues anytime in her life, it’s better not to adopt a dog unless you’re financially prepared to care for her for her entire life.

Sometimes a senior pet will end up in a shelter because of a senior owner. As a person gets older, they may become less able to care for their pet. They may move to a home that doesn’t allow pets, or they may pass away. If no one steps up to take care of the person’s dog, she can wind up in the shelter.

An older person (or any person for that matter) should have a plan for their dog in case they are no longer able to care for her. This can be as simple as leaving the dog with a relative or friend they trust, and with whom they have discussed the issue beforehand. If this person happens to be you, it’s a very good deed to step up and take that responsibility. It’s an act of love and respect—not just for the dog, but for the person she’s left behind.

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