10 Things I Love About Senior Labradors

My chocolate labradors, Lucy and Burt, just turned 10! In honor of their double digit birthdays, I’m sharing 10 things I love about senior labradors.

I’ve had Lucy since she was an 8 week old puppy. When I brought her home, she joined my old dog Lola who was 9 years old at the time. It was really fun to have a little lab puppy and a senior lab at the same time. Lucy gave Lola a new lease on life and they had a great time playing together. But as Lola aged, it became difficult to have such a big age difference. We had to go on two separate walks – a short, slow one for Lola, then 2 more miles with Lucy!

So when I had the chance to adopt Burt when he was 6 or 7 years old – and Lucy was 6 and a half – I thought it would be great to try having two dogs who are the same age for a change! Labradors are considered senior dogs when they turn 7, so Burt was actually a senior rescue!

It’s great to have two labs with a similar level of energy. The hard part is seeing them slow down together. But, Burt and Lucy still have a ton of energy and a thriving sense of adventure as senior labs! And now I think I love senior dogs even more than puppies!

Deciding to adopt a senior dog

10 Great Things About Senior Labradors

Maybe you already have a senior Labrador that you love, or you have a lab who will grow into a distinguished senior dog! Either way, we can all agree that older dogs deserve all our love.  Here are the top 10 things that I love about my senior labradors.

1. Senior Labs Know Things

It’s true that dogs become wiser with age. They’ve seen some things and know how to handle themselves in situations at home and out in the world (for the most part!). Labs continue to be goofy until their golden years, but that goofiness comes with a little more self-awareness. Your senior dog is familiar with your routine, your family and your friends so they just know how to act.

2. You Might Convince Your Senior Lab to Sleep In

Ok, for this one I say might! I love meeting lab puppy parents and having them ask me when their dog will sleep in or start to chill out. I think maybe at 5 years old your lab will chill out a bit! But when they get to be seniors an reach double digits like Lucy and Burt, they might be convinced to sleep in (at least until the sun comes up!).


3. Senior Labradors Are Less Destructive

While my 10 year old labs both love to rip apart stuffed toys, in general they don’t break things any more. When Lucy was a puppy she used to chew on baseboards and the occasional shoe. She grew out of that pretty quickly. But when I adopted Burt, he was brand new to my house and got into a lot of things! Now that he’s older, he’s happier and more confidant at home and doesn’t destroy anything anymore (paws crossed!).

4. Adult Labs Tell Your When They Need to Go Outside

How much puppy pee have I cleaned up? A lot! But now that my dogs are older, they know how to tell me when they need to go out side and go potty. I’ve learned how to read the dogs’ communication style better, too! That’s the best part of having senior labs – you’ve lived together for so many years, you can communicate with each other. Don’t you agree?

5. Senior Labs Love to Cuddle

As you dog gets older they might be more likely to get cold. This means you need to be careful when taking them out on a cold winter walk, But it also means they might like to cuddle with you more than they did when they were younger. Lucy was never a cuddler, but now that she’s 10 years old, she loves to snuggle (until she gets too hot and leaves me!).

Things I love about senior labradors

6. Senior Labs Are Great Stand-up Paddle Board Companions

This reason is maybe a little specific to me and Lucy, but if you’ve every tried paddle boarding with your lab then you know why senior dogs are the best for this activity! Younger labs are so tempted to jump in the water, knock you off the board and be a little wild on the water. Now that Lucy is a senior, I let her swim when we first get to the water, then she’s pretty much on the board with me, laying down and enjoying the views. I also love that stand up paddle boarding helps Lucy’s balance and muscles without being strenuous on her joints.

SUP with dog

7. Senior Labs Have the Cutest Floofy Toes

As my labs get older the fur between their toes seems to grow floofier, plus that fur it turning white which makes it look even more Dr. Suess-style! Trimming that floofy hair has become part of our regular grooming routine because it can make their paws slip on our hardwood floors. When I trim it about once a month I just think its the cutest thing! If you need a good trimmer, I have this one from Wahl. 

8. Your Senior Lab Helps You Live in the Moment

I know we all get a little sad when our dogs get older. But what if you look at aging with a positive mindset? Now it’s important to live in the moment and make the most of every day with your labrador. When the sun is out, I’m outside with Lucy and Burt doing something fun with them. If it weren’t for my senior labs I would waste a lot more time sitting inside or skipping an adventure. My senior dogs encourage me to make memories with them every day!

9. Senior Labs will Sit Still for Photos

Along with living in the moment and making the most of every day with my senior labradors, I also love to document all the fun we have together so I can look back at photos later. Taking puppy photos is not easy! But as your dog gets older they can lear to sit and stay for longer so you can grab that perfect photo. Take better photos of your senior dog with my tips (including advice from professional pet photographers I’ve interviewed on my podcast).

Blackbird Trail Dolly Sods with Dogs

10. Senior Labs Love to Learn New Tricks

I love a good mythbuster! It’s not true that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” In fact, that saying couldn’t be more wrong! Since my dogs have been seniors, they have learned so many new things. Burt has become a Barn Hunt champ, Lucy earned her AKC Novice Trick Dog Title and we play new games around the house all the time.

There’s nothing like the joy in a dog’s eyes when they learn something new. For labs, that might have something to do with the fact that teach new tricks comes with lots of treats. But they’re also such people pleasers that they will learn new things just to see how excited I get about it.

I also love to see the look on people’s faces when I tell them how old my dogs are and what kinds of things we do together. I hope you’ll join us in breaking the mold and encouraging more people to love senior labs as much as we do!

What a Senior Dog Mom Needs to Know

I think I will always love labradors of all ages! But now that I have two senior labs together and adopted Burt as a senior, I’m not sure I can go back to being a puppy mama. I just get my fix looking at these lab puppy photos! 

It’s hard to see them age and deal with lumps, bumps and arthritis. But once you raise a few healthy senior labs, you learn how to take care of them and can appreciate all the love they have to give.

I recently talked to Dr. Monica Tarantino, a vet who specializes in senior dogs, and she shared three things that she wishes every senior pet parent knew! Listen to our conversation on the Wear Wag Repeat Podcast Episode 202.

Did you enjoy this post? I have a lot more to say about labradors:
How to Treat a Hot Spot on Your Labrador
How to Safely Switch Your Labrador to a New Food
85+ Names for Chocolate Labradors
Healthy Kong Stuffing Recipes My Labradors Love



  1. Sharon

    Loved this post! Beautiful seniors!

    • Tori

      Thank you! Senior dogs are so great!

      • Kimberly

        Love looking forward to your post. I don’t have a lab but an 8 year old golden Retriever (2/14/14) she acts just like a puppy when she gets new toys.

      • Kerry Schwidde

        I ❤️ Fritzel, my 13 yr old Golden.

  2. Linda Evans

    Love my senior Eli

    • Tori

      Sending love to Eli from Burt and Lucy!

  3. Elisse

    We have been lucky enough to love our dogs well into old age- Trapper (yellow lab) made it to 16, and Lady (black lab-retriever mix) to 18… It totally breaks our hearts when we hear of people “throwing away” old dogs…

    • Tori

      16 and 18! You must have some magic going on 🙂 And I agree, it’s unbelievable that anyone can let go over their dog when they get old.

  4. Tracy Williams

    My Jack, black Golden/Lab, turned 14 last October, his mother was my Golden, Bree and his father, my choc Lab, Bo.

    • Tori

      Aww I love that Tracy! Isn’t it so amazing to have family members? Lucy’s mom and half brother live near us.

  5. Pam

    I’m just going to send a reply to the email…..so check your inbox but ya get an idea of my preference……YIKES….more complicated than puppy or senior dog!

    • Tori

      LOL I know!! For the sake of voting I had to make it simple!

  6. Sausha Wright

    Seniors are the BEST,,,we had adopted a blind senior rescue from Tennessee…EmmaSue. She was the greatest…so kind and appreciated all we could do for her! She lived out her best days with us! She passed in 2019

    I would do it all over again!

    • Tori

      That’s amazing! Thank you for sharing that story with us. The special needs seniors are really special creatures and we’re so lucky to get to be around them when we can!

  7. Pamela Schmidlin

    OK, I love them all- as you said, but I wouldn’t choose either actually- I would opt for an adult dog over 1-2 years yet not quite a senior dog. SO my answer would be an ADULT DOG!

  8. Melinda

    Happy Valentine’s Day Tori, Lucy and Burt!

    Senior dogs are GREAT. As a senior woman, 11.5 year old Maude the Newfoundland, has been a godsend. She manages her lumps and bumps, struggles to stand and walk, blindness and diminished hearing with a level of grace and dignity that is inspiring.

    Maude still enjoys going for hikes with her 3.5 year old Newfoundland nieces and romps in the house with them from time to time. She appreciates, every day, accepts her incapacities, and doesn’t seem to mourn her losses. Maude cracks my heart wide open every day. She is my very best role model for aging.

    Thank you Tori for sharing your experiences. Your website is joyful and hopeful. Dr. Buzby has been a great source of veterinary insight for Senior dogs. Both of you help navigate the challenges of seniors, you are a heart joy with all ages, and Maude is my role model for aging. Thank you all. I am ever grateful.

    • Tori

      Thank you so much for sharing about Maude with us! I’m so happy you get what I was trying to say in this post, senior dogs really teach us to appreciate what we have without stressing about the future. They are experts at living in the moment and the best inspiration! I also love following Dr. Buzby, thank you for putting me in the same category, what an honor!

  9. Sangeetha

    Happy Valentine’s Day to my favorite trio! Burt and Lucy have been so sweet to include Kalie on their lab hikes and have shown me how wonderful a senior dog can be! I love my fluff ball but I do hope to rescue one day! Thank you for always being so sweet!

    Love, Kalie & Sangeetha

    • Tori

      Awww thank YOU for being our doodle pal! Every senior dog starts as a puppy, but there’s definitely a lot to look forward to. And especially now that Kalie has to be a role model for Dublin!

  10. Helga

    I picked seniors because we’re older now and we don’t have the energy for a puppy, but also because we like the idea of rescuing or adopting an older dog. Great post!

    • Tori

      Wonderful! I agree! Adopting a senior is a great way to have a dog in your life without the crazy energy of puppies!

  11. Charlene

    Happy Valentine’s day. I love puppies, but I think a senior dog needs me more. Charlene

  12. Nan

    I prefer senior doggos, obvi! Their personalities are fully formed and they are characters with likes and dislikes of their very own.

    • Tori

      It’s true!! I swear, they are people when they get older, just in dog bodies!

  13. Karen

    I picked seniors even though we have an almost 2 year old Newfoundland/Bernese/Retriever mix. I love all dogs of all ages but seniors have a special charm about them.

    • Tori

      Newfie/Berner/Retriever sounds like such a fun and adventurous breed mix!! You can still tap into senior dog wisdom and live in the moment with your younger dog. Enjoy!

  14. Melissa

    I loved my senior lab even more when she was an old lady. All
    Of those years and adventures built a bond that was indescribable. And it was a true blessing that she didn’t really slow down until a few weeks before she passed at 14. I tell everyone, keep your dog moving for ALL the years of their lives

    • Tori

      That’s amazing and so wonderful to hear! My last dog was only really bad at the very end, too. I’m hopeful that Burt and Lucy have many years to go!

  15. Britt K

    While I love having a puppy in the house again since we brought our boy Lucifer home, I have such a special place in my heart for seniors. We have 2 senior dogs and 2 senior cats in our home and they are all so special in their own ways. Our older dogs were both adopted as adults so we wanted to do the ‘puppy thing’ once but I think we’ll be adopting adults again in the future lol I love Lucifer to death, I do, but he is A LOT lol

    • Tori

      Sounds like he has the right name! lol I call Lucy Lucifer sometimes when she’s naughty!

  16. Cris Skinner

    I love puppies and puppy breath. I love ALL dogs. BUT, I have a super soft spot for the senior dogs. They have devoted their life to loving unconditionally and always willing to walk the journey by our side. Their tender, loving, devoted soul touches me deeply.

    • Tori

      Beautifully stated and I agree!!

  17. Lindsey

    Oh how I wish my dogs knew to let me sleep in! That is definitely a senior dog benefit

    • Tori

      Even with seniors it’s a maybe!! LOL Lucy always gets up early, Burt would totally sleep in, but he’s the one we get up for to give him his medication every day!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tori Mistick Labrador Dog Mom Blog

Get To Know Tori

Pack Leader

Tori Mistick is the ultimate Dog Mom Lifestyle blogger with a passion for style, chocolate labs and the color pink. Based in Pittsburgh, PA.


Lucy and Burt Wear Wag Repeat

The Pups

Lead Lab Techs

Lucy + Burt are the chocolate labrador duo in charge of testing toys, recipes and activities.

Get to Know the Dogs