Top Eight Tips for Putting a New Face on Old Dog Adoption Ads

All dogs, no matter how old, deserve a warm place to live and someone who can share their golden years. I found my two most recent canine companions on the Internet and cringe when I think of how tough it must have been before we were able to search for them online.

If you're creating an ad for an adoptable senior dog, consider this list help your friend put their best paw forward:

  1. Lead with a name - It seems simple, but I've seen ads that only include a pet shelter ID (ie, Reference Pet 23456A236312-353, Shelter: 346-AB). A name allows people to make a personal connection more easily. More often than not the shelter volunteers will give the pet a name, if it doesn't have one already, pick one that best suits it's personality.
  2. Be descriptive - Try to include as much knowledge that you have on the pet as possible, including any personal and medical history. The more information that you provide, the better chance that someone looking for a pet with those attributes will recognize it. Being descriptive on the Internet has the additional benefit of getting your ad more accurately identified by the search engines. Better search engine placement equals more eyes on the pet.
  3. Update with the latest information - Did the dog do something funny while in the shelter or in its foster home? Include these to show how much kick the old boy or girl still has in them. Can't update the main posting for your pet? Does the site that you're posting to allow comments? If so, try there, otherwise it can't hurt to send a note to the site administrator to ask if you can edit your ad.
  4. Include some good pictures - Most people do a great job on this point. For me, I like when the pictures match the story of the dog:
    • Does the dog like walks? Take it for a walk and snap a few action shots. 
    • Good with people? With other pets? Show the dog interacting with others. 
  5. Check your spelling – And your grammar while you're at it. I don't know that anyone would nix a pet because of spelling mistake, but as the person adopting, you don't want anyone misinterpreting how great the pet is.
  6. Provide accurate contact information - Recently I came across pet, whose only contact information was an email address that was deactivated. Provide as many ways of contacting you as you have and monitor them regularly.
  7. Cross post, cross post, cross post (and then cross post again) - Think your elder buddy has what it takes to make someone happy? Share it with as many sources as you can. is one source, but many local rescue organizations may also allow courtesy postings from outside parties.
  8. Be honest - You've created your ad. You've posted it. You have adopters lining up for the dog. The last thing that you want at this point is for some hidden detail to bite you on the tail. Older dogs have their challenges, medical and otherwise, but there are people out there looking to take them in and keep them for the rest of their days as long as they know what they're getting themselves into.
Following these eight steps should help improve the odds that your dog will find their forever home. In the meantime, be patient, and make sure that the pet knows how lucky you are to have him or her in your life for as long as you're working to match them with their forever parents.

Photo by rikkis_refuge
licensed under Creative Commons

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