As our pets age, they become more susceptible to the development of chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, cognitive dysfunction (senility) and dental disease as well as changes in heart, kidney and liver function. Cancers and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, thyroid disease and adrenal gland disorders become much more common. They also have changing nutritional needs compared to their younger years.
Just as in humans, early detection offers the best chance for successful treatment and longer survival times, therefore we recommend exams and screening lab work to be done yearly once a pet reaches senior status, with rechecks dependent on results.
At what age do we consider a pet a senior citizen? Well, it depends in part on their size and species. Owners tend to think of their pets age in terms of human years, but it is not as simple as 1 human year = "x" cat or dog years. Large and giant breed dogs for example age at a faster rate than small breed dogs. These charts offer a guide to help put it in perspective.