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When is your pet considered a “senior citizen”?

With the recent advancements in veterinary care and nutrition, our pets are living longer, happier lives. Most pet owners understand the importance of early veterinary care & feeding a quality diet to their puppy or kitten. However, less attention is given to their aging dog or cat. In fact when asked if their pet is a “senior citizen”, most owners don’t even know at what age their pet is considered “senior”?

At what age is my cat or dog considered a “senior citizen”?

In general, cats & small to medium dogs (up to 25kg) are considered senior from 7 years old, whereas your large and giant breeds (from 25kg) are considered senior from as early as 6 years old.

What health changes can I expect with my senior pet?

As our pets enter their golden years, they are at greater risk of a number of health issues. Some of these issues are preventable while others are not. However, when caught at an early stage many health problems are highly treatable. Common senior ailments include:

  • cancer
  • heart disease
  • kidney/urinary tract disease
  • liver disease
  • diabetes
  • degenerative joint disease & osteoarthritis
  • periodontal disease
  • dementia

Caring for your senior pet

With all of these potential health issues to be aware of, it is important that senior pet owners become proactive in their pet’s health care.

  1. Increased veterinary care – it is recommended that your senior pet visits the vet at least twice yearly for a general checkup. This not only ensures that their vaccinations are up to date but your veterinarian can perform a thorough examination. In doing so any potential health problems can be diagnosed & treated earlier rather than later.
  2. Age-appropriate diet – as your pet ages, so his or her nutritional needs change. Veterinary developed senior diets have different caloric & protein levels. Additionally, if your pet has been diagnosed with a specific health condition, your veterinarian can recommend a prescription diet clinically proven to alleviate your pet’s health concerns.
  3. Weighty issue – Maintaining a healthy body condition is recommended throughout your pet’s life. However, as your pet ages, he or she is at higher risk of developing degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis. Animals who are overweight or obese place extra pressure on joints, causing more wear and tear. This causes a degeneration leading to stiff and painful joints.
  4. Dental Care – Unlike humans, dogs and cats can’t brush their own teeth, leaving the responsibility to their owners to maintain oral care. Dental disease is not just about your pet’s smelly breath. The build-up of tartar and plaque in your pet’s mouth if left untreated can lead to infection which will not only require your pet to have major dental surgery (and possible extractions) but can cause infection to spread to other areas in the body. Daily brushing and providing dental diet/treats to promote chewing can help reduce tartar and plaque build-up, leaving your pet’s teeth pearly white & smiling!
  5. Preventative care – Prevention is better than cure and with our older pets, the more proactive you can be with their health, diet, and lifestyle, the longer and healthier their lives will be! This equates to regular vet visits, feeding age-appropriate nutrition, regular exercise to maintain an ideal body condition, and daily dental care. Other ideas to help your pet is to provide comfortable warm bedding for aging joints and doggy jerseys during the cool winter months!

The month of June is dedicated to senior pets!

Book a visit for pets over 7 years (cat and small/medium dog breeds) or 6 years in large and giant breed dogs and SAVE 20% on a consultation.

Should your pet need a comprehensive check-up, SAVE 15% on a full geriatric profile which includes the following: Full Blood Count, Kidney Enzymes/SDMA, Protein Levels, Macroscopic Urine Examination, Liver Enzymes, Glucose Levels, Collection & Interpretation, Blood Pressure.

Lastly, should our vet recommend, save 15% on dental scaling for your pet!

For more information or to book contact us at (011)728-1371 or email