Senior Pets

Is my pet a senior?

Generally speaking, most cats and dogs are considered to be seniors around age 7, although large breed dogs may experience age-related health issues earlier than that.

Health issues common in senior pets

As they age, pets may develop some of the same health concerns seen in aging humans, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Heart disease 
  • Cancer
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Thyroid issues
  • Behavior changes (senility)

Semi-annual veterinary care is recommended

A veterinary exam twice per year along with lab work will enable your veterinarian to diagnose and treat disease as early as possible in order to maintain your pet's quality of life. Your veterinarian can recommend the appropriate diet for your senior pet's nutritional needs as well as discuss behavior and mobility issues.

What to watch for in senior pets

Your senior pet should be seen by its veterinarian if it shows any of these symptoms:

  • Increased or decreased appetite  
  • Weight gain or loss  
  • Urination issues, such as accidents in the house  
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in grooming habits or behavior, such as disorientation  
  • New "lumps or bumps" that persist or grow  
  • Sores that do not heal  
  • Lameness or stiffness

Updated: 2015-03-18 07:00:00

Author: Oregon Veterinary Medical Association