Senior Health

dogs with senior or geriatric health issues

Senior Pet Care—Because Old Friends Deserve the Best

Puppies and kittens are fun and adorable, but older pets are truly special—they have earned their place in your heart and family, know the rules and routines of your home, and are a stable, calming presence in your busy life. The friendship you have with your adult dog or cat can last for many years, so make the most of it with geriatric pet care from Pewaukee Veterinary Service. We have veterinarians and staff who are trained specifically to address the special needs of senior pets.

How Age Affects Your Pet’s Health & Behavior

Many pet parents struggle with seeing a beloved dog or cat grow older—it can be challenging, but few things are more rewarding than repaying their years of loyalty and friendship with the extra care they need later in life. Start by knowing the signs of aging, but remember that animals often hide pain or other symptoms. Watch for:
• Slowing down
• Sleeping more
• Changes in vision, hearing, or appetite
• Frequent illnesses
• Anxiety
• Behavior changes

Keeping a vigilant eye on your senior pet can help you adjust their routine or your home to accommodate changes. It can also help catch problems early for more effective treatment of common concerns like dietary changes, arthritis, diabetes, liver or kidney disease, and cancer.

Care Tips for Helping an Older Pet

Preventive Care

Scheduling regular visits with your PVS vet is the most important thing you can do to keep senior pets healthy and happy. Biannual wellness exams, including lab work, can help ensure more years of loyal friendship.


Engaging in regular physical activity is essential for your senior pets and will help keep them lean and better able to maintain healthy joints and muscles. Adjust the duration and intensity of exercise as needed, but keep moving!


Mental agility is important, too—teach your old dog new tricks and provide plenty of toys to keep your senior pet’s mind engaged.

Weight Management

Always feed dogs and cats high-quality, nutrient-dense food, but remember that their metabolic rate can slow by up to 30 percent with age. To maintain a healthy, joint-friendly weight, follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for senior feeding.

Pain Management

Pets who suffer from arthritis or degenerative diseases can benefit greatly from our pain management options. From joint health supplements like glucosamine to anti-inflammatory prescriptions like Rimadyl, ongoing treatment is easier at PVS, thanks to our drive-up window and online pet pharmacy.

Dental Care

Dental care is an important part of your senior pet’s healthy lifestyle. Bacteria from dental disease can get into the blood stream, causing serious organ health issues such as kidney infections, liver disease, and heart disorders. It can also lead to pain that prevents your dog or cat from eating all he or she needs to stay strong.

Comfort Care

Simple accommodations can help pets age gracefully—move beds to quiet, draft-free areas, add an extra blanket for softness and warmth, put non-slip rugs on hard floors, and invest in a ramp for easier access to cars or stairs.

Pet Age Is More Than a Number

It’s understood that animals age very differently from us, but the difference varies wildly, depending on size and breed. For example, cats commonly live well into their late teens while very large dogs may be fortunate to reach their tenth birthday. A simple number doesn’t define a senior pet, but simple steps can help one live better. Good nutrition, frequent exercise, and of course expert veterinary care, all add years to their lives and help protect your special relationship.