Book Online

Senior Pets

150 150 PVC

Different breeds of dogs and cats age at different rates. Generally, small or medium-sized dogs are seniors when they reach seven years old, while large and giant breed dogs will enter their senior years earlier as they age faster. Our animals cannot talk to us, but they will show us signs to suggest they are struggling. Frequent check-ups and providing a comfortable environment will help the longevity of your animal. Check out our video discussing senior pets, what to expect, and what to do as they age.

  • Is your dog eating well and still enthusiastic about food? A loss of appetite can be a sign of many different illnesses.
  • Is your dog drinking more water than usual? Hormone imbalances, infections, diabetes and kidney disease, can all impact your dog’s drinking habits.
  • Is your dog losing weight? As your dog ages, their metabolism will change, and their food requirements may need to be adjusted.
  • Is your dog’s activity level changing? Arthritis is very common in older dogs. You may notice a reluctance to play, reduced energy and a slow gait especially when your dog first gets up after resting. Arthritis is not the only possible cause of slowing down, other conditions such as heart disease will reduce your dog’s ability to exercise. There are options to manage arthritic pain, please call us or ask when seeing your Peninsula Vet Care veterinarian.
  • Is your dog’s coat still shiny and full? A dry coat or hair loss can be a sign of illness.
  • Is your dog having accidents inside? A loss of toilet training may indicate underlying illness, a weakness in your dog’s bladder control (a common condition of older, female dogs), or dementia.
  • Does your dog get lost or stuck in corners? Dementia or canine cognitive disorder is common in older dogs. Signs include disorientation, changes in how they play or interact with you, loss of toilet training and staying awake at night. Blindness is also common in older dogs and the onset can be quite insidious. Many people do not realise their dog has gone blind until they move furniture around, and the dog struggles to get used to the change.
  • Transition onto a high-quality senior pet food. This food is good for maintaining healthy joints and brain function while keeping a nice lean weight.
  • Try to make your house ‘senior-dog friendly’ with ramps in place of stairs, grip mats on slippery floors, and assist your dog in and out of the car.
  • Ensure your dog has soft bedding to reduce pressure on his or her joints when they sleep. An electric-heated bed or a warm coat can also help keep your dog’s joints comfortable.
  • If you have boisterous dogs or children at home, make sure to spend some quality alone time with your senior dog.
  • Have your dog checked by a vet every 6-12 months. We may also recommend regular blood and urine testing. The earlier we can diagnose a problem, the better chance we have of successful treatment or good long-term management.
  • Enjoy every day with your dog. No one wants to think about their dog passing away, but with all this focus on monitoring for disease, don’t forget to spend some quality time with your dog and create lasting memories.

Your cat has been a loyal companion over the last few years. As he or she reaches their senior years, it is nice to provide them with extra care and attention to ensure they grow old gracefully and comfortably. While each cat is different, we start to call them ‘seniors’ from 7 years of age. Although many cats at this age still look young and spritely, this is the time to start monitoring for any changes to their lifestyle so they can be investigated and addressed promptly. In particular:

  • Is your cat eating more or less than usual? Both increased or decreased appetite can be a sign of illness.
  • Is your cat drinking more water than usual? Chronic kidney disease is very common in older cats and drinking more water is one of the first signs your cat may be suffering from reduced kidney function.
  • Is your cat losing weight? Weight loss can be a sign of many diseases. One common condition called hyperthyroidism causes weight loss with a ravenous appetite. It is easily diagnosed on a blood test and easy to treat. It is best to start treatment early as it can cause kidney disease and heart disease in the long-term if left untreated.
  • Can your cat jump as high as it used to? Cats are clever creatures and will often hide signs of arthritis until they are severe. Some of the early signs are sleeping more, slower movements, reluctance to play and jumping in stages (i.e. jumping onto a chair then onto a table instead of jumping straight onto the table). More information about arthritis in cats and some helpful videos can be found here.
  • Is your cat grooming normally? Many cats who have maintained their coats as kittens and adults start to get matted hair as they become seniors. This can be a sign of arthritis or other pain-reducing their flexibility.
  • Transition onto a high-quality senior pet food. This food is easier to digest and higher in omega-three fatty acids and antioxidants to support your cat’s joints and kidneys.
  • Ensure your cat has plenty of access to water and provide multiple water points. This is important at all ages but especially important for older cats that may have underlying kidney disease.
  • Try to make your house ‘senior-cat friendly’ with ramps or steps to help your cat get up to his or her favourite hide-outs without jumping too far.
  • If you have younger cats, boisterous dogs or children, make sure to spend some quality alone time with your senior cat.
  • Have your cat checked by a vet every 6-12 months. We may also recommend regular blood and urine testing. The earlier we can diagnose a problem, the better chance we have of successful treatment or good long-term management.

Other Resources

Lameness

Animals are very good at hiding injuries and illness, so if your pet starts to limp, you can be sure they are…

read more