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Hilton Vet Centre
O' Halloran Hill Vet Centre

Caring for your senior pet


So your pet is getting on in years, what happens now?

When your pet reaches a certain age, things start to get a little harder for them. Our job is to make things easier, and below are some ways to help your pet through their older years. Including;

  1. When my pet is 'old'
  2. How ageing affects older pets
  3. What vet care is needed for older pets
  4. What can you do at home

Most pets over the age of 6 are classed as a senior! By this age, our pets start displaying signs of ageing, and due to this, they need twice-yearly vet checks to make sure everything is going ok!



Some things we look out for in our health checks and things you can look out for at home include;

  1. Signs of heart failure; Coughing is often one of the first signs of heart problems. Reduced exercise tolerance and a swollen abdomen may also be seen with heart disease.
  2. Dental Problems; As with people, routine cleaning and dental care throughout a pet’s life will assist in preventing tooth loss, tartar build-up, periodontal disease, and mouth odour.
  3. Arthritis; All animals will develop a degree of arthritic change as the years go by, particularly in large breeds and overweight animals.
  4. Bad breath; Bad odour from your pet’s mouth will usually indicate poor dental health.
  5. Cloudy eyes; The most common old age eye problems are cataracts. These decrease your pet’s sight and particularly night vision.
  6. Weight loss; Loss of general body condition is worrying at any time. In older animals, a change in diet may be the solution. Pet’s nutritional demands change as they age, so adjusting their diet to suit their needs will ensure their best health.
  7. Lumps and bumps; As the years go by, your pet may develop lumps which should be checked by us.
  8. Drinking excessively; Excessive drinking is usually associated with increased urination and can be an indicator of many disease conditions.
  9. Long toenails; As a pet's ability to exercise decreases, less wear to toenails can become a problem. This can cause lameness, disfigurement, or ingrown toenails.


The easiest thing you can do to look after your ageing pet is to keep an eye on them. Here are our top three home care tips:

  1. Keep your eyes open for changes in behaviour, weight, appetite, thirst, and urination. The presence of a cough, a change in sleeping habits, stiff joints, a new lump, and accidents around the house can all be a sign of underlying illness. Instead of putting these changes down to 'getting old' arrange a check-up with us.

  2. Choose a premium diet suitable for a mature pet. Good nutrition helps to maintain ideal body condition and will improve longevity. Ask us for a specific recommendation for your pet.

  3. As mentioned above, a regular health check (ideally every 6 months) is essential for your ageing pet. Your pet can experience significant changes in a single year (equivalent to 6-8 human years). A veterinary examination will allow us to pick up on any issues as soon as possible and start treatment if necessary.


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Pets Health is a full service animal hospital with clinics located in Hilton and O’Halloran Hill. We are dedicated to helping you keep your best mate happy and healthy through each stage of their life with compassionate and reassuring veterinary care.

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O’Halloran Hill Vet Centre

123 Main South Road
O’Halloran Hill, SA 5158

Hilton Vet Centre

142 Sir Donald Bradman Drive
Hilton, SA 5033