Senior Pet Care

Senior Pet Care at Bellwood Animal Hospital

Caring for Your Senior Pet

Due to advanced veterinary care and dietary habits, pets are living longer and healthier lives. Just like humans, older pets have different care requirements than younger pets. Understanding the needs and the age-related conditions of your senior pet can help your pet experience “the golden years” with happiness and good health.

Determining if Your Pet Has Become a Senior Pet

Although it varies, small dogs and cats are generally considered geriatric at the age of 7. Larger breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans and therefore are considered geriatric when they are approximately 6-years-old.  It's oftentimes easier to compare your pet’s age with a person's. Here is a quick reference guide provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association:

Age: Human Equivalents for Older Pets


Cat years Human years
7 45
10 58
15 75
20 98

The oldest recorded age of a cat is 34 years.


Dog years Human years (* dog size in lbs.)
7 Small – Medium: 44-47
Large – Very large: 50-56
10 Small – Medium: 56-60
Large – Very large: 66-78
15 Small – Medium: 76-83
Large – Very large: 93-115
20 Small – Medium: 96-105
Large: 120

*Small: 0-20 lbs; Medium: 21-50 lbs; Large: 51-90 lbs; Very large: >90 lbs

The oldest recorded age of a dog is 29 years.

Common Health Problems of Senior Pets

Health issues affecting senior pets are similar to those of senior adults. The most common problems seen in older pets include:

Keeping Your Senior Pet Healthy and Happy

You are your pet’s best friend and you know better than anyone when something is wrong. Behavioral changes can indicate that something may not be right with your pet. Some of these behavioral changes include confusion, disorientation, decreased interaction with humans, and increased irritability. If you notice any of these symptoms, or are concerned about changes in your pet's behavior, please call to schedule an appointment.

Signs of Arthritis in Pets

The AVMA offers several additional resources for pet owners, including brochures that are available online.  To find additional information regarding senior pet care, click on