Adopting an older dog - any tips?

in Pets & Pet Care
161 replies 6.7K views
Hi :hello: (apologies if this is in the wrong section)

My fiance and I have seen a dog in a rescue centre that we have fallen in love with :happyhear . Although our families have dogs- this is our first one together. We're really nervous about it, we have always wanted a dog but it was always one of those 'in the future' type things. Now that we've seen this dog who we think will be just perfect for us, it's brought it into the 'here and now'.

Anyhoo enough of my ramblings, we're not particulalry worried about the money aspect but it would nice to go in with our eyes open . How much do dogs generally cost to keep? he's a Lakeland terrier- i.e. a medium/small dog.

We've thought about:
* Food (how much do dogs eat? £5 a week? more?)
* New accesories (leads, collars etc)
* Pet insurance (~£15 a month?)
* Vet bills (£ who knows!) but being from a rescue centre he will have all his jabs before rehoming.


Anything we've missed? Any words of advice?

Thanks
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Replies

  • wigginsmumwigginsmum Forumite
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    Do both of you work? It could be a little unfair to leave a dog alone all day if you do.
    The ability of skinny old ladies to carry huge loads is phenomenal. An ant can carry one hundred times its own weight, but there is no known limit to the lifting power of the average tiny eighty-year-old Spanish peasant grandmother.
  • black-saturnblack-saturn
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    I've got a 9 month old Yorkie x Patterdale Terrier. I depends how big the dog is you want and how extravagant you want to be. Her food costs around £3 per week. Her lead, bowls and toys all came from Poundland. The insurance costs £7.50 per month and the vaccinations cost £25 per year. The carpet cleaner cost £16.00 and the carpet shampoo costs about £1 per week.

    However, the lino in the kitchen she ripped up when I left her indoors for 20 minutes on her own cost me £250 to replace and the dining chair she chewed up had to be chucked out. The carpet in the hall could do with replacing and all the downstairs carpets need steam cleaning. Thankfully she is trained now though.
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  • Debt_Free_ChickDebt_Free_Chick Forumite
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    Thankfully she is trained now though.

    As what - a terrorist? :rotfl:

    Oh yes, she's a terrier :)
    Warning ..... I'm a peri-menopausal axe-wielding maniac ;)
  • Debt_Free_ChickDebt_Free_Chick Forumite
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    ftbworried - can you give some more information about your circumstances? Homeowner? Renting? Working? Full-time? Away from home?

    And most importantly, why do you want a dog?

    It's just that your situation may well raise issues in addition to cost that you've not thought about.

    Cheers
    Warning ..... I'm a peri-menopausal axe-wielding maniac ;)
  • ftbworriedftbworried Forumite
    358 Posts
    To answer a few questions- he's 9 years old so HOPEFULLY he'll be housetrained (they've said that he is).

    Yes, we both work- but fiance works from home. Occasionally he has to go to London for meetings for the day but since I 'work' as a PhD student I have the option of perhaps working from home on those days or we thought of employing a dog walker for those (odd) days.

    Oh and we own our own home.

    We'd like a dog a) as we love animals b) would enjoy walking around the countryside that we live in with a dog (feels a bit aimless walking on your own) c) for the company and generally the loe you get from a dog.
  • black-saturnblack-saturn
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    ftbworried wrote:
    To answer a few questions- he's 9 years old so HOPEFULLY he'll be housetrained (they've said that he is).
    What breed is it?
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  • Debt_Free_ChickDebt_Free_Chick Forumite
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    ftbworried wrote:
    To answer a few questions- he's 9 years old so HOPEFULLY he'll be housetrained (they've said that he is).

    OK ... this potentially throws up a big issue and I think you need to spend much more time with the dog before you decide to take it on.

    If you take on a rescue of this age, you inherit all of the "bad things" that this dog has previously learnt. For example, if he's unfriendly to other dogs (probably been attacked by a dog in the past), if he's unfriendly to men (probably been abused by a man in the past), unfriendly to children (probably been terrorised by children who thought they were playing with him). If he guards possessions or food (i.e. is aggressive if you approach him when he has either) he's had things taken away from him - possibly as punishment. If he destroys things whilst left alone - separation anxiety, probably as a result of being left alone for long periods when too young.

    There are a whole load of other issues you could be taking on and I really think they're best left to a more experienced dog-handler.

    So ... you need to find out much, much more about this dog before you take him on - to be fair to you AND the dog. If he has any "history" it may need some very careful handling.

    To be honest, you'll never know completely about the history of any rescue dog - as they don't come with a log-book :)

    OK, I might be painting a bad picture ... but it's possible and, sadly, not very unusual with rescues.

    Why was he rescued? What do you know about the previous owner?

    Cheers

    p.s. all the other stuff was very, very positive. You'd be great dog-parents :) Just need to get you the right dog - this one might be it, but you need to be careful.
    Warning ..... I'm a peri-menopausal axe-wielding maniac ;)
  • bulchybulchy Forumite
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    Great advice from debt_free_chick,yes it might seem negative, but its all too true. I have a rescued weimy, and through having him have met a lot of people that havent been half as lucky as I have with my dog. While a rescue can be so rewarding, bad habits can be hard to break, but not impossible, you just need to be prepared to put in a lot of hard work, and training, or re-training in most cases. Its a great idea to spend some time with this dog, to get to know him, maybe the rescue centre will let you take him for walks to see what hes like with other dogs.
    As for cost, it can cost you as much or as little as you want it too. Insurance will be expensive for an older dog, as the older they get, the more likely you are to use it unfortunately. I have my pets insured through M&S, we get good cover and good discount for being a multiple pet household.My dogs are fed the raw food diet, this costs very little, and they are doing very very well on it.
    Flea and worming treatments are quite expensive, ime pet shop bought remedies have never worked for me in the past, you have to buy them from vets, I get my wormers from website called best pet pharmacy, but they dont sell the flea treatment without a prescription.
    Cant think of anything else at the moment, if I do, I'll get back.
    If you do decide to go ahead, good luck, hope it all works out, will be nice for one less doggie to be in rescue. Its so good that you will consider a rescue dog, rather than a cute little puppy.
    Good luck
    Sue
  • ftbworriedftbworried Forumite
    358 Posts
    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply everyone.

    The comments about spending more time with him are very true and is very valuable advice. I will be going to spend some time with him on Thursday afternoon- hopefully we can take him for a walk and get to know him a little.

    Fortunately for us, he was a 'sign-over' i.e his present owners signed him over to the centre so his previous owners are known- maybe the recue centre can give me their contact details- I don't know if they are allowed though. This means that he does have some history known. The main reasons that they had to rehome him are due to him not being able to live with another pet (we dont have any other cats or dogs) as he gets jealous (he's fine with other dogs that he meets on walks and things apparently)-similarly he didn't fit well with their new family for this reason. As we're not planning to start a family for at LEAST another 4 years (probably longer) because of my PhD he will be in a child and other-pet free environment (and as he is 9 years old the chances are that he will be around when we plan to start a family are slim :-( ).

    My parents took on a rescue dog when i was about 11, he was aggressive towards other dogs (in all situations) and this did cause some very awkward situations but the loyalty and friendship he gave to people far made up for his problems.

    I guess I'm just nervous as this is a massive step, dogs are a big committment.
  • Bagpuss741Bagpuss741 Forumite
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    I've had my dog for 7 years and the best insurance she has had was from Marks & Spencer (143.04 for the year) Have a look on the internet for flea/worm products, my dog has to have Metacam (Pain Killer) quite regularly, from the vet this is £43, we have just found it on the internet for £26.
    Tesco £1027.99, Vanquis £858.59, Very £625.00, Next £1958.02. As of 04/11/21
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