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How to Care for a Senior Pet in Their Golden Years

How to Care for a Senior Pet in Their Golden Years

As pets age, they start slowing down as those first gray hairs start appearing around their face. Ultimately, we need to ensure that our older pets can continue to enjoy life. To help seniors, make sure they stay healthy and active, and help them adjust to any problems they face. If you’d like to know how to increase your senior pet’s quality of life and extend their lifespan, keep on reading.

What’s Considered a Senior Dog or Cat?

If you're wondering at what age your dog or cat is considered a senior, there isn't a straightforward answer. Multiple factors contribute to determining this. Keep in mind that your pet's current health, lifestyle, and genetic predispositions can greatly affect their lifespan. For example, overweight animals have a lower lifespan than their fit counterparts.


Typically, their breed and size determine what is considered a senior dog. Great Danes live about 8-10 years, making them seniors at 6 years old. Chihuahuas live 12-18 years, giving them a longer lifespan compared to Great Danes. This often puts their senior years starting at about 10-12 years old. 


Cats have the potential for a long lifespan at the average of 13-17 years with some living to be 20 or even older. The oldest living cat even reached 38 years! Cats usually enter their senior years around 11-14 years old.

Health and Wellness Changes

Older pets should visit the vet often. Some health issues can arise quickly and greatly affect their quality of life. Their bodies may struggle to cope with these problems.

Their bodies may not be able to handle these problems well. Senior pets are likely to develop any of the following conditions or health issues:

  • Arthritis and joint pain

  • Reduced motor and/or cognitive skills

  • Sight loss

  • Hearing loss

  • Balance problems

  • Dental disease

  • Heart conditions

  • Urinary incontinence

  • Muscle loss

  • Coat issues

  • Weight gain

  • Fatigue

Helping Your Pet In Their Senior Years

As our pets age, it's crucial to provide support during their senior years. This is especially important as they face new health issues that can impact their mental well-being. We can support our senior pets by ensuring they have a comfortable, pain-free life.

Safety Environment Adaptations

Older dogs and cats require certain changes within your and their lifestyle and environment. Here are some options to increase your senior pet’s safety within your home:

  • To keep your older pet safe on smooth floors, use non-slip rugs or yoga mats. These can also lessen joint discomfort and pain.

  • Dogs who struggle to walk in your home may benefit from traction socks, booties or stick-on pads to help them walk.

  • Block areas with baby gates to keep them out of areas where they could get injured such as the stairs.

  • Add ramps or steps next to couches and beds to assist your senior pet up with so they can easily access their favorite spots without struggling or injuring themselves.

Mobility and Exercise Changes

Senior pets shouldn’t spend their day lying around doing nothing. Helping older pets stay active can prevent their joints from getting stiff. It can also reduce the risk of obesity, which is more challenging for older pets.

Even if they are not as active as before, you can still help them stay healthy by giving them gentle exercise. This can include short walks, swimming, and modified playtime.

Assist with Grooming and Dental Care

Older dogs and cats often have dental problems, leading to tooth loss and trouble grooming. They may also struggle with grooming because of joint pain. Proper dental care and regular grooming can improve the well-being of senior pets.

  • Dental disease not only affects the teeth, but it can affect organs like the liver and kidneys. As dogs age, their teeth often become worse. Simplify dental care with HICC Pet® dental finger wipes if brushing is hard and use a hypochlorous acid oral care spray.

  • Remember to regularly brush your senior dog or cat to prevent painful matting. Even a few passes with a slicker brush each week can make a significant impact. Some people choose to shave their long-haired senior cat for simplicity.

  • Regular baths can be more stressful on senior pets. As they age, they may have some potty accidents that necessitate more frequent cleaning. You can easily clean up accidents with grooming wipes like HICC Pet® coconut oil glove wipes or anal gland wipes.

  • Help senior pets with grooming since they may struggle to reach all areas. Regular brushing and grooming wipes can improve their comfort and prevent coat and skin issues.

Keeping Senior Pets Comfortable

As pets age, they require more effort for their comfortability which also prevent current health conditions from becoming worse.

  • Ensure your older dogs or cats have easy access to comfortable bedding.

  • Provide safe spaces to allow pets to escape from activity in the home or when you have guests or other animals over.

  • Give senior pets access to comfortable temperatures. Just like people, their joints can ache from cold temperatures.

  • Use raised food bowls for taller pets to help with back and neck pain.

  • Use litter boxes with low entry points for senior cats.


Caring for an older pet involves making adjustments to their environment. This includes providing them with regular exercise. It also involves keeping up with their grooming and dental care.

Pet owners can help their older pets by understanding their needs and ensuring their health. This will allow their furry friends to have a happy and comfortable life as they age.

Please note that the information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. We are not veterinarians, and the content shared here should not be considered professional veterinary advice.

If you have any questions regarding copyrights or the use of materials in this article, please contact us for clarification.



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