Senior Dog Care

Senior dog picture of a retriever in brookfield, WI  Senior dog picture of a black lab in Elm Grove, WI

We provide specialized care for your senior pet.

When a dog reaches his or her senior years, it’s important to catch and prevent health issues early on through specialized senior care exams and diagnostic testing. Biannual wellness exams are recommended for senior dogs because they help our veterinarians detect and treat any medical conditions before they progress and begin to negatively impact your dog’s quality of life.

Although natural changes will occur as your dog matures, some changes can indicate an underlying medical problem that should be addressed by one of our veterinarians right away.

Call us as soon as possible if your senior dog has symptoms including:picture of a senior dog with glasses

  • Weight loss or gain.
  • Decrease in appetite or difficulty eating.
  • Increase in appetite.
  • Increased water intake.
  • Bad breath or drooling.
  • Depression or listless behavior.
  • Changes to hair coat quality.
  • Wheezing/coughing.
  • Increased heart rate or open mouth breathing.
  • Vomiting or abnormal stools.
  • Loss of muscle tone.
  • Excess or change in urination frequency, volume, etc.
  • Signs of pain with movement or handling.
  • A new lump or growth, especially if it appears to increase in size quickly.
  • Sudden tendency to bite or jump from your lap when you brush or pet your dog.
  • Lethargy.
  • Decreased activity level or increased stiffness.


Here are some tips:

  • Schedule regular visits with your veterinarian.
  • Ask for a body condition evaluation during each vet visit.
  • Ask your veterinarian to do a geriatric blood panel on your pet. That way you have a starting point if your pet does get sick.
  • Feed your older dog a high-quality diet.
  • Use food to keep your senior dog at his ideal body weight.
  • Consider fortifying your senior dog’s diet with fatty acids such as DHA and EPA.

Senior Pet Care (FAQ)

Due to improved veterinary care and dietary habits, pets are living longer now than they ever have before. One consequence of this is that pets, along with their owners and veterinarians, are faced with a whole new set of age-related conditions. In recent years there has been extensive research on the problems facing older pets and how their owners and veterinarians can best handle their special needs.

Q: When does a pet become “old”?

A: It varies, but cats and small dogs are generally considered geriatric at the age of 7. Larger breed dogs tend to have shorter life spans and are considered geriatric when they are approximately 6 years of age. Owners tend to want to think of their pet’s age in human terms. While it is not as simple as “1 human year = X cat/dog years”, there are calculations that can help put a pet’s age in human terms.

human age equivalents for older dogs