Old Golden RetrieverUnfortunately, our pets' lifespans are much too short. In the blink of an eye, your pet can be considered a senior.

By eight years of age, dogs and cats are entering their senior years. Small dogs and cats tend to live longer than large and giant breed dogs.

Older pets tend to get the same problems as older people. Their hearing and vision start to deteriorate and they may develop arthritis or have trouble walking. Diabetes, kidney, thyroid issues, and dental disease are common in older pets and some may develop anxiety problems and dementia.

Many of the ailments of older pets can be treated medically and can result in a markedly improved quality of life. We recommend starting annual senior blood testing at eight years of age. Senior blood testing may help to diagnose certain diseases in their early stages.

When we run senior blood tests, we check the red and white blood cell counts to assess bone marrow function and check for infections. Blood chemistries are run to check kidney, liver, pancreatic function, blood glucose, and electrolytes.

Please be on the lookout for signs of aging in your pet; don’t just assume that they are just slowing down. Let’s make sure that their golden years are great!

Howard Rothenberg, DVM, is the Chief of Staff at Goosepond Animal Hospital. Learn more about him here.