Adopting an older dog - any tips?

in Pets & Pet Care
161 replies 6.7K views


  • lil_melil_me Forumite
    13.2K Posts
    9 years old usually mean they won't start an insurance policy for them.

    Not inc on the list of costs

    Fleas, worms, annual booster, kennel fees (if required can be a lot)

    Leads collars and bowls etc for a small dog you can usually get from a poundland store.

    I'm lucky where I live as someone sells dog food very cheap, get it for £5 for 15kg. So my spaniel/lab cross costs me under £10 to feed a month.
    One day I might be more organised...........:confused:
    GC: £200
    Slinkies target 2018 - another 70lb off (half way to what the NHS says) so far 25lb
  • ukbadger_2ukbadger_2 Forumite
    143 Posts
    I don't think that it's necessarily impossible to have a dog when you work - I have a 7 year old yorkie who I got as a pup. For ages I had debated about a dog because of the work issue but to be honest as she's a small dog it's less of an issue. She has had a dog flap in the 3 houses I have lived in since she arrived , she has a sizeable garden to sunbathe in during the day and get lots of exercise chasing frogs etc . I walk her regularly , she is fed well and adored - I'm sure if you asked her she'd tell you she is happy.

    Oh and she's got a lovely england t shirt on at the moment ...

    Probably some people are going to say I'm wicked leaving her at home but I was at home once for a 4 month period and noted that she just seemed quite happy napping and barking at the people walking past during the day.

  • Bagpuss741Bagpuss741 Forumite
    2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    I've just checked the M&S website and it states there is no upper age limit and if you apply online you get 5% off. Look around other ins companies as well though. If you do decide to get the dog, give him time to settle in and don't fuss over him too much (Mine hid under the table for 2 days although she was 7 weeks when we had her) Good Luck and hope this helps.
    Tesco £1095.46, Vanquis £1157.53, Very £569.12, Next £1834.96 As of 15/01/22
  • notakidnotakid Forumite
    10.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    We decided to get a dog two years ago as my daughter really wanted a dog and so did I when I was young and was never allowed. We had had a dog 12 years earlier who was inherited from my husbands parents who we loved to bits.
    We went to the rehoming centre with the idea of a small dog approx 4 years old we ended up with a mad black eight year old lab. He terrifield us at first he barked all the time jumped up showed his teeth (he smiles but he's got BIG fangs so its not nice!) He pulled us around and knocked over my son, looking back I can't believe we choose him especialy as we passed over a lovely 2 year old terrier which we had first choice of and there were people queueing up for! But something connected and good sense went out the window.
    He had been there for 5 weeks and it was the second time he had been returned (he had been there at the age of four and was returned 4 yeaars later). I now know he was deperate and where not the first family he had terrified.
    The previous owners had written down everything about him and looking back it was all true.
    Buddy (thats his name has been with us for 2/1/2 years now. He attacks other dogs (he's got a rep around our end) No road sense whatsoever can be perfect obeying orders one min and mad the next. He has bitten people, we have to be very wary as he can seem very friendly. On the plus side I would trust him with my children as he has bonded with us and is a wonderful dog and even though reading the above you might think his mad he loves all children and is a wonderful pet, he is one of our better ideas.
    I am not a mad animal lover,making excuses for badly behaved pets, because with us he is great. Its our responibilty to stop him hurting other animals and humans. He is getting old now and his joints are hurting and I think I will have to put a claim in for the very expensive pet plan insurance soon (21.00 per month) I feed him wag dry dog food which is 14.00 a huge bag and buy him tablets for his joints (thanks to ted I got some free the other week) It may be expensive to keep a pet but the love and fun more than make up for it (and the embarresment caused)
    P.s I meant to say Buddy was eight when he had him and you can get insurance but it just is a lot more expensive
    But if ever I stray from the path I follow
    Take me down to the English Channel
    Throw me in where the water is shallow And then drag me on back to shore!
    'Cos love is free and life is cheap As long as I've got me a place to sleep
    Clothes on my back and some food to eat I can't ask for anything more
  • culpepperculpepper Forumite
    4.1K Posts
    We had a 2 year old Alsatian from a rescue centre. She was a lovely dog. The RSPCA came and did a house check to see if our house was suitable and talked about not leaving her alone with the kids at first etc, they also insisted she was speyed and paid most of the cost.

    We used to get front line from the vet to keep the fleas off as nothing else worked .I think it was about £20 but lasted about 6 months and you dont need it in the winter.
    One thing that you might find is a hidden expense is holidays ,as you must either go without the dog or find places that will take pets too. Some camp sites wont allow dogs either or only if permanently on a lead.

    One working couple we knew had 2 dogs so they were company for each other and had fenced off a biggish piece of their garden ,added a shed with a dog flap in the door , dog beds and food bowls inside.
  • Eels100Eels100 Forumite
    984 Posts
    I think the OP sounds pretty sensible all round. We both work full time but manage our dogs because they come with me (unless it's hot, in which case they stay home and get out for a run at lunchtime). They cost a fortune but luckily smaller dogs are generally cheaper, from feeding to vet's bills. If it's a reputable rescue centre they'll vet you carefully before rehoming any dog to you, and will give you all the background info they can. Good luck! Rehoming oldies is a fab thing to do.
  • ukbadger_2ukbadger_2 Forumite
    143 Posts
    Must admit I often debate wether my dog would be happier with a friend , her cousin Tiddler Toots stays weekly and they have loads of fun and she sees Kipper her other cousin when I go around to visit my Brother and his family every couple of nights.
  • He's 9 years old, he's an older gent and like all older gents will probably have his Victor Meldrew moments. He's a terrier so will also have the occasional red mist moment but will also be a bit of a comedian and a joker.
    Most dogs settle with other dogs if they have sensible owners - his previous owners may not have had the time/patience/understanding to help their dogs old and new sort out their relationships and pecking order. My terriers, mum and son, would on occasion sound like they were having the most terrific fight but it was always noise and bluster and one or the other would get bored and walk away.
    If you decide to make him part of your family, you can get an indoor kennel for him so you can close him up when your out, usefully preventing him from investigating things with his teeth, and it can serve as his sleeping place as well.
    As somone has mentioned, M&S seem to have no upper limit for insurance but it might be helpful if you could find out his medical history in case there's been something problematic in the past. On the other hand, lots of home remedies are available in pet shops which work well.
    Most rescue centres will take a dog back if it or the new owners can't settle with each other, but the old saying that there's no such thing as a bad dog only a bad owner has a great deal of truth in it.
    Have a google for a Lakeland Terriers website, it should tell you lots about their temperament, but remember Lakeland Farmers won't put up with a gormless/useless breed. From memory, they're mouthy, stroppy have a highly developed sense of their own importance and are absolutely gorgeous.
    Don't worry about the cost of food, before Pedigree Chum was invented dogs ate the same diet as humans with added dog meal and biscuits to fill them up.
    Try your local market pet stall for cheaper collars and leads and also pigs ears and cows toes for chews - much cheaper than dog chews from supermarkets and last a great deal longer -although the smell is a bit interesting.
    Good luck and please let us know how you get on ( and apoligies, I appear to have written a short book :o )

    edit: Information on the breed here
  • ftbworried wrote:
    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.
    Another four never know how long dogs live and perhaps you shouldn't count on him not being around then.
    My old dog lived till she was 18 years old..I know thats not the norm, but you never know.

    Good luck with any decision you make, I know that we wouldnt be without a dog :) they bring :)

    If you don't decide on this particular dog, or you find he is not really suitable for you I'm sure another will come along.

    We found a dog (a lab cross) which we thought would be ideal for us (but the rescue people wouldnt let us have her because my daughter was under 10 at the time ..she was infact 9 1/2 and very used to sister having two/my father with one/my brother with two and her being brought up with a dog from birth but they said that the rules would stick and she had to be over 10 ) :(.......anyway we're glad we didnt have her in the end otherwise we wouldnt of ended up with the mad crazy mutt we have now :)
    So I'm sure it will work out in the end :) ...good luck
  • i've had dogs from rescue centre and whilst most have had major issues they've been fine- - most 'issues' can be resolved through alot of love, patience, understanding and the right dog handling skills. the dog responds to you e.g. if dog has a problem with other dogs don't pull the dog away from other dogs when walking down street. puts dog on edge and its reacts accordingly. you need to set ground rules from start & where dog will sleep. before dog comes into house buy its bed which should have something soft - platsic ones are good- easy to clean. just wipe out. use rubber gloves. bedding should be cleaned/changed regularly. £5 for food is plenty. dog lead, collar and disc won't cost the earth and is not something you buy all the time. you need to budget for worming tablets, flea powder and will probaly need to vacuum more often because of dog hair. not a big issue. is your hoover up to task of picking up dog hair?. most cheap shops (mr pound, poundstretcher etc ) sell various types of doggie chews/snacks for under £1 and you can get (depends on area) a bag of bones from local butcher from around 10p. explain the bones are for dog and don't give dog any bones which could split and choke them. what will dog play with? footballs, squeaky toys etc only cost about £1. don't give dog a tennis ball- some of fluff can go down throat. some dogs like to play with frizzbies. dogs love retrieving things from water and can swim but be sensible where they are allowed to play e.g. throw ball in shallow part of river, they bring it back and you throw it again. don't throw it into the deep part.
    there was a thread recently where someone said pet plan had a good offer on. just shop around. when he comes from kennels it will take him a while to settle in and he could have 'kennel cough' if he starts coughing/spluttering- a bit like tickly cough in humans. take them to vet and you get course of tablets which will clear it up. doesn't cost much. be careful of bye laws and fouling of pavements- pooper scoops. take bag with you on walk. put hand inside bag. don't touch his poo. don't let dog lick you or feed dog from your plate :eek: :eek: - dogs tongue contains germs which is damaging to humans. dog should have 2 bowls- one for clean water and one for food which should be washed after every meal. these can be obtained from these cheap shops/supermarkets for at most few pounds. most of all- enjoy each other's company.
    some dogs are scared stiff of loud noise- if thunder you need to reassure them- smooth & tickle under the chin. let the lie down somewhere under cover and preferably where it's dark e.g. under a table, behind settee etc. if they are out and hear loud noise and run away just look in their usually haunts (i.e. the park etc you usually take them to). accidents can also happen - use varnish carpet foam and deal with it straight away.
    dogs paws - particularly pads - are very soft. cuts are very sore. make sure dogs avoid glass. if paw bandaged they try to bite it off- dogs may also have to have nails cut. don't let dog eat anything whilst out because it can result in tummy upset and huge vet bill. sometimes you have to be quick if dog off lead.
    if dog sick will heave (sounds horrible but natural to dog). don't let dog woof the food down because it can make them sick. if dog won't eat tablets (many won't) hide in food. make sure tablet is completely covered. some dogs will eat a bowl full of food and see and leave just a tiny tablet behind. dogs are very intelligent. don't go changing food too often- upsets dog.
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