Wellness Care & Veterinary Diagnostics
for Your Pet’s Healthy Golden Years

senior pet care

Pets age faster than people and can be considered “seniors” at around seven years of age. Just as human health care needs change with age, pet needs also change. Nutritional requirements, exercise habits, and daily routine may all be affected over time.

Normal Aging vs. Veterinary Problems

Health issues affecting older pets can begin with very subtle changes. These may go unnoticed until the problem has become serious.

Some typical changes seen in seniors include a slower sensory response due to deteriorating vision, hearing, or sense of smell; cognitive impairment that causes confusion or behavioral changes; and diminished desire for physical activity or play. Always alert your veterinarian to these or any other changes you have seen in your pet since your last wellness visit.

Some likely signs of a problem in your aging pet include:

  • Changes in activity, sleep, or elimination
  • Noticeable decrease in vision
  • Sudden weight loss or gain, increase or decrease in appetite
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty in passing stool or urine
  • Hair loss, scratching, or open sores or scabs on the skin
  • Foul mouth odor or drooling
  • Increasing size of the abdomen
  • Breathing heavily or rapidly at rest

Other obvious signs of a potential problem include persistent coughing, gagging, seizures, weakness, collapse, and blood in stools or urine. If you notice any of these changes, contact our veterinarians for guidance.

Senior Wellness Care

Regular wellness visits are important for every stage of your pet’s life. Your senior pet’s wellness visit allows us to conduct a thorough exam with diagnostic testing, as well as address any of your questions or concerns. To support overall health, track and treat chronic conditions, and to identify developing problems, we recommend wellness exams be performed every six months for all senior pets.

Routine wellness blood work and other routine diagnostic tests are important for senior pets because they allow us to evaluate how your pet’s health is either responding to current management strategies or changing with age. Some common tests for seniors include a CBC, chemistry profile, urinalysis, and a T4 thyroid test. We may also perform X-rays or ultrasound tests to view the internal organs, heart, and possible growths or tumors.

Even if your senior pet is already being treated for a chronic or age-related condition, treatment recommendations can change as the condition progresses. Sometimes medication dosages need to be adjusted or changed and the addition of other types of treatments may be helpful. Our ultimate goal is to keep your companion comfortable and healthy throughout the golden years, providing a longer life and more rewarding experience for pets and their families.

Visit the AAHA Healthy Pet website to read more about Senior Pet Care.