A Veterinarian holding a cat

Senior Pet Care

Senior Pet Care

As your pet gracefully enters their senior or golden years, our goal is to provide comprehensive and compassionate senior pet care. From specialized nutrition and regular health check-ups to personalized exercise routines, we take a holistic approach to senior pet care. Our dedicated veterinarians work with you to tailor a wellness program that considers your pet’s individual health history, lifestyle, and any age-related concerns.

Senior pet wellness is a crucial aspect of caring for older dogs and cats. As pets age, their needs change, and they may require additional care and attention to maintain their health and quality of life. That’s why our senior wellness exams include thorough screenings for common conditions such as arthritis, dental problems, and age-related illnesses. With advanced diagnostic tools and a commitment to staying current with the latest in veterinary medicine, we strive to detect and address any potential health issues before they become more serious.

Join us in prioritizing the well-being of your senior pet. Whether it’s providing nutritional guidance, pain management, or simply a comforting touch, our team is here to support both you and your aging companion.

What is considered a senior pet?

The classification of a pet as a senior can vary depending on factors such as species, breed, and size. In general, dogs and cats are often considered seniors around the age of 7 or 8, but this can vary.

It's important to note that these are general guidelines, and individual pets may age differently based on genetics, overall health, and lifestyle. Some smaller breeds may have longer lifespans and may not be considered seniors until later in life. On the other hand, larger breeds may be considered seniors at an earlier age.

What do senior pets need to lead happy and healthy lives as long as possible?

Ensuring that senior pets lead happy and healthy lives involves addressing their changing needs and providing them with the care and attention required in their golden years. Here are key aspects to consider for the well-being of senior pets:

  • Regular Veterinary Check-ups
  • Balanced Nutrition
  • Weight Management
  • Regular Exercise
  • Dental Care
  • Joint Care
  • Mental Stimulation
  • Comfortable Living Environment:
  • Regular Grooming
  • Hydration
  • Regular Bloodwork Screening

What health problems are common in senior pets?

Senior pets, like their human counterparts, are more prone to certain health issues as they age. While individual animals may age differently, here are some common health problems that often affect senior dogs and cats:

  • Arthritis or osteoarthritis:
    Joint problems, including arthritis, are common in older pets. This can lead to stiffness, reduced mobility, and discomfort.
  • Dental Issues:
    Dental problems such as gum disease and tooth loss can be more prevalent in senior pets. Regular dental care is important to prevent these issues.
  • Vision and Hearing Loss:
    Older pets may experience a decline in vision and hearing. Regular veterinary check-ups can help monitor these changes.
  • Cognitive Dysfunction:
    Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (similar to dementia in humans) can affect older pets, leading to disorientation, changes in behavior, and altered sleep patterns.
  • Kidney Disease:
    Chronic kidney disease is more common in senior pets and may result in increased thirst, changes in appetite, and weight loss.
  • Liver Disease:
    Liver function may decline with age, leading to conditions such as liver disease. Regular blood tests can help monitor liver health.
  • Heart Disease:
    Older pets may be at an increased risk of heart disease, which can manifest as coughing, difficulty breathing, or lethargy.
  • Diabetes:
    Diabetes mellitus can occur in senior pets, resulting in symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, and weight loss.
  • Cancer:
    The risk of cancer increases with age. Regular veterinary check-ups and early detection are crucial for managing and treating cancer.
  • Obesity:
    Senior pets are more prone to weight gain due to reduced activity levels and changes in metabolism. Obesity can exacerbate other health issues.
  • Incontinence:
    Loss of bladder or bowel control may occur in older pets. This can be due to various factors, including weakened muscles or underlying medical conditions.
  • Skin Issues:
    Skin problems, such as dryness, thinning, or the development of lumps and bumps, may be more common in senior pets.
  • Respiratory Issues:
    Respiratory problems, such as chronic bronchitis, may become more prevalent in senior pets.

What is canine osteoarthritis?

Canine osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD) or simply arthritis, is a common condition in dogs that involves the progressive deterioration of the articular cartilage in a joint. Articular cartilage is the smooth, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint, allowing them to move smoothly against each other.

Osteoarthritis (OA) can develop as a result of various factors, including aging, genetics, joint instability, trauma, or underlying joint conditions. As the cartilage breaks down, the bones can rub against each other, causing pain, inflammation, and reduced joint function. Over time, the surrounding tissues may also be affected, leading to further discomfort.

Common signs of canine osteoarthritis include:

  1. Limping or favoring one leg: Dogs with osteoarthritis often show signs of lameness or may avoid using a particular limb.
  2. Stiffness: Dogs may exhibit stiffness, especially after resting or during cold weather.
  3. Difficulty in getting up or lying down: Arthritic dogs may struggle with basic movements, such as standing up or lying down.
  4. Reduced activity level: Dogs may become less active and may be less willing to engage in physical activities they once enjoyed.
  5. Swelling or enlargement of the joints: In some cases, the affected joints may appear swollen or larger than normal.
  6. Pain or discomfort: Dogs may show signs of pain, such as vocalizing, panting, or licking at the affected joints.

Management of canine osteoarthritis often involves a combination of medical and lifestyle interventions. This may include:

  • Pain medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other pain relievers may be prescribed by a veterinarian to manage pain and inflammation.
  • Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to reducing stress on the joints.
  • Physical therapy: Certain exercises and physical therapies can help improve joint mobility and reduce stiffness.
  • Joint supplements: Some dogs may benefit from supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which can support joint health.
  • Anti-inflammatory diets: Specialized diets with anti-inflammatory properties may be recommended.

It's important for owners to work closely with their veterinarian to develop a comprehensive management plan tailored to the individual needs of their arthritic dog. Early detection and intervention can help improve the quality of life for dogs with osteoarthritis.

If your pet is exhibiting any of these signs, please contact us.

What is feline osteoarthritis?

Feline osteoarthritis, also known as cat arthritis, is a degenerative joint disease (DJD) that affects cats. Osteoarthritis is a common condition in older cats, but it can also affect younger cats, especially if they have joint abnormalities or a history of joint injuries.

Osteoarthritis (OA) occurs when the cartilage in the joints wears down over time, leading to pain, inflammation, and reduced joint mobility. Cartilage is a smooth, protective tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint, allowing them to move smoothly against each other. When this cartilage breaks down, it can result in friction between the bones, causing discomfort for the cat.

Common signs of feline osteoarthritis include:

  1. Limping or favoring one leg: Cats with arthritis may exhibit lameness or stiffness, particularly when they first get up or after a period of rest.
  2. Reduced activity: Cats with arthritis may become less active and spend more time resting. They may be less likely to engage in activities they once enjoyed.
  3. Difficulty jumping or climbing: Arthritic cats may find it challenging to jump onto elevated surfaces or navigate stairs.
  4. Changes in grooming habits: Cats may groom less, especially in areas that are painful or difficult to reach due to arthritis.
  5. Behavioral changes: Cats in pain may exhibit changes in behavior, such as increased irritability, aggression, or avoidance of human or animal companionship.

If you suspect your cat has osteoarthritis, it's essential to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. The vet may perform a physical examination, review the cat's medical history, and possibly conduct X-rays to assess the extent of joint damage. Treatment options may include pain management, anti-inflammatory medications, joint supplements, and lifestyle modifications to make the cat more comfortable.

It's important to note that arthritis in cats is a chronic condition, and managing it involves ongoing care and monitoring of the cat's well-being. Early detection and intervention can help improve the quality of life for cats with osteoarthritis.

The management of feline osteoarthritis involves a combination of medical treatments, lifestyle modifications, and supportive care to improve the cat's comfort and mobility. Here are some common approaches:

  • Veterinary Consultation: Schedule regular check-ups with a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and monitoring of the cat's condition.
  • Pain Management: Pain relief is a crucial aspect of managing feline osteoarthritis. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other pain relievers may be prescribed by a veterinarian to manage pain and inflammation. Contact us today to discuss pain management options.
  • Joint Supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine/chondroitin supplements may be recommended to support joint health and reduce inflammation. These supplements are often available over the counter or prescribed by a veterinarian.
  • Weight Management: Maintaining an ideal body weight is essential for cats with osteoarthritis. Excess weight puts additional stress on joints, worsening the condition. A controlled and balanced diet, along with portion control, can help manage the cat's weight.
  • Comfortable Environment: Create a comfortable living environment for the cat. Provide soft bedding and ensure easy access to essential areas like the litter box and food bowls. Consider ramps or steps to help the cat access elevated surfaces more easily.
  • Adaptations for Senior Cats: As cats age, their needs may change. Provide accommodations such as a litter box with lower sides for easier access, warm bedding, and easily accessible food and water bowls.
  • Regular Monitoring: Keep a close eye on your cat's condition and report any changes to the veterinarian promptly. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to assess the progression of osteoarthritis and adjust the treatment plan accordingly.

If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact us.

Gailor Animal Hospital Logo

Connect With Us or Leave a Review

Facebook Link
Google Link


  • Monday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Tuesday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Wednesday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Thursday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Friday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Saturday: 9:00am - 2:00pm
  • Sunday: Closed

© 2024 Gailor Animal Hospital. All Rights Reserved

Schedule Appointment