Senior pet care advice

The older your pet gets, the more their day-to-day care will need to adjust to keep them comfortable.

Daventry Vets recommends regular senior pet check-ups so we can ensure they are not developing any underlying health conditions. Have a read of the following advice from our experienced team of vets and nurses.

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Top tips for keeping your senior pet comfortable

  1. Older animals may struggle to jump up onto furniture, into the car or onto raised platforms so invest in some pet ramps or something to step up on to help them reach their favourite spots.
  2. Using raised feeding bowls will help your pet drink and eat a little bit easier.
  3. If you have laminate or tile floors in your home, your senior pet may struggle. Invest in some rugs or runner mats to help them navigate your home more comfortably – make sure they are anti-slip rugs or get anti-slip tape to put under them.
  4. Invest in beds and litter trays with a low side so your pet can comfortably get in and out.
  5. Senior pets may struggle to groom themselves so it’s important you take extra time to clean and groom them. With small furries, pay special attention to their hind end as unclean bottoms can lead to harmful conditions, such as flystrike. Their fur may also become matted and their claws may remain longer due to a reduction in their exercise. Our nursing team can clip claws and advise further on how best to groom your pet.
  6. All of numbers 1-5 are signs of osteoarthritis. If you are seeing any of them please book an appointment
  7. Keeping their brain stimulated will help keep your pet happy and active as they start to age. Food puzzle games or hide-and-seek with toys or treats are good ways to keep your pet enthusiastic about playtime.
  8. Regular exercise is important as pets age, it helps keep them fit and slows muscle wastage helping to support their joints. If your pet is slowing down, don’t assume it’s old age – it may be a sign of osteoarthritis or another disease.

What conditions can affect older pets?

A senior pet is usually classified as one over 7 years of age. However, their species, breed, size and health status will affect this general rule. The following list of conditions are what our team at Daventry Vets most commonly see diagnosed in senior pets. To discuss any of these with a veterinary surgeon, book an appointment with our team.

Your pet’s joints may start to cause them pain due osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis, but there are many treatment options available to help manage your pet’s pain and maintain their mobility. Talk to our team about how we can help. Daventry Veterinary Clinic is a member of the Veterinary Oesteoarthritis Alliance.


Your senior pet’s oral health may start to decline after years of wear and tear. Tartar build-up, plaque, wobbly or missing teeth can all affect your senior pet’s ability to eat. Keeping on top of their dental care at home will help ensure your pet’s mouth stays comfortable. However, if your pet does require dental attention, Daventry Vets has a dedicated pet dental service.

Contact us if you are concerned about your senior pet’s teeth.


This is most common in spayed female dogs as the bladder sphincter is weaker. It can result  in incontinence, especially leakage, when they are lying down. Accidents in the house may become more common. However, this can also be a sign of an underlying health condition. Booking an appointment for your senior pet will allow us to examine them and, if necessary, determine the best cause of treatment.


Your senior pet’s kidneys will start to lose their function the older they get. Kidney health is essential so we may perform regular blood tests on your pet if we suspect they could be affected.


Weight loss or weight gain can both impact your senior pet’s health and put them at risk of different illnesses and health conditions. Our team will advise on the correct diet for your pet and also if you need to make any adjustments to their exercise or feeding schedule. Significant weight loss may require further investigations.


If your elderly pet seems lethargic, struggling to breath or has difficulty walking, contact Daventry Vets immediately. These are all signs of problems with your pet’s heart and early treatment will provide your senior pet with the best outcome. Heart disease is common in older dogs and can be hard to detect in the early stages without veterinary checks.


Older pets can develop sensory loss, similar to humans. If your pet suddenly loses their sight book an immediate appointment, you will usually notice them bumping into things although with cats they may just stop jumping up and their pupils may look very big. Book an appointment.


Elderly pets may start to lose cognitive function. If your pet has started using their voice for no obvious reason, become confused or disorientated easily or if they have started having more toilet accidents in the house, book an appointment with one of our vets. They will perform an examination and then advice on how best to manage the condition moving forward.


Our Dental Care at Home and Food and Nutrition advice pages would be other useful sources of information for senior pet owners to read. If you need further advice, contact our team and book them in for a senior pet check-up.

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