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Senior Dog Care Vet in St Cloud MN

Caring for Your Senior Dog: 5 Important Things to Know

As pets age, organs often begin to fail due to factors such as genetics, environment, weight, etc. There are many common disease states that can occur in our older pets. Many can be effectively treated and monitored with early diagnosis.

Pets age more rapidly than people do. There is a variation dependent on the adult size of the dog. Environment and nutrition also play a role.

In general, the larger breed has a reduced life span compared to smaller dogs. For example, a five year old dog under twenty pounds is the approximately the same as 36 human years. A dog that is over ninety pounds is the approximate the same as 42 human years.

At ten years of age, the smaller dog would be similar to 56 human years, whereas the over ninety pound dog would approximate 78 human years.

On an average, the expected life span of a small dog is 14-15 years. A large breed dog is considered long lived if it reaches 12 years of age.

Regular veterinary check-ups, good nutrition, healthy weight, and exercise all contribute to your pet’s quality and length of life.

Since aging of our pets can seem to sneak up on us as pet owners it is important to consider these factors in order to help your pet feel the best it can as aging occurs.

Senior Canine diseases which can be effectively treated when monitored include:

Affordable Wellness

Blood chemistry and hematology blood tests can provide a detailed look at your pet's health from the inside. While a physical exam is important, many internal conditions cannot be determined by looking, listening and touching. Many of today's blood tests are fast, affordable and provide very useful indicators the doctor needs to effectively diagnose and treat conditions related to aging.

Hematology blood tests provide a detailed look at blood cells. Red blood cells (RBC's) provide information regarding oxygen-carrying ability while White Blood Cells (WBCs) provide information about your pet's immune system and overall health. Platelets play an important role in controlling the rate of blood clotting.

We use state of the art, in-clinic blood analysis devices which provide blood cell analysis as well as blood chemistry which helps document protein, enzymes, minerals, etc., in blood which levels indicate proper or abnormal functioning of vital organs.

There is much you can do to prolong your pet's health including:


The amount of fat in the body can affect the ageing process. A pet that appears overweight on the outside also has accumulated fat around the abdominal organs which can add stress on the cardiovascular system and liver.

The added pounds also are putting more stress on your pet’s joints. Monitor your pet’s weight regularly. As you pet ages he/she may not require as much food to maintain a good weight. On the other hand, a sudden drop in weight or in muscle mass over any area is a red flag that there is some underlying health problem developing.


Continue to feed a high quality pet food. Ask your veterinarian when to switch over to a senior diet.

Prescription dog foods are available for specific problems that may occur in pets, such as kidney, liver, allergy, heart, urinary tract and dental diets. Nutritional requirements in senior pets do vary from those of younger animals.

Any supplements should only be given under a veterinarian’s instruction. Click here for more Senior Dog Diet.


Your dog should have a preventive health exam every six months. Routine CBCs (blood counts) and chemistry profiles can help catch any changes with your pet early. Routine urinalysis is evaluated along with the blood work to give a more complete picture of your pet’s health.

As your dog ages decreased thyroid function occurs commonly and an annual thyroid screen is recommended.

Dental Care

Chronic infection of any type can adversely affect your pet’s overall health and diminish his quality of life. Broken teeth can be a source of discomfort and tooth root infection.

A dental cleaning also enables the veterinarian to perform a thorough examination of your pets mouth and thereby detect any potentially serious problems early.


The pet populations most susceptible to disease are the young and the old. It is very important to maintain your dog’s vaccination schedule. Some people are tempted because the dog has been healthy all of its life to discontinue vaccines. This will put your pet at serious risk.


Be sure to maintain your pet’s de-worming schedule. Both for intestinal parasites and heartworms. We recommend fecal exams twice a year along with routine intestinal de-worming. Heartworm prevention given year round and annual heartworm testing are recommended.

Spay and Neuter

At Advanced Care Pet Hospital our goal is to help your senior pet feel better and have the longest life possible.

We frequently admit senior female dogs for emergency spays when they come in with and infected uterus. Uterine infections are common in older un-spayed females. Not only does it put your dog at great risk, but can result in costly emergency operations.

If the dog is not to be used for breeding purposes, we recommend spaying or neutering at an early age.

If your pet has not yet been spayed or neutered, it's not too late. Female dogs if spayed before their first heat cycle have dramatically reduced chances of developing mammary cancer.

Spaying at any age, however, will be removing the ovaries and chances of problems developing with them as well as uterine infections.

Un-neutered male dogs are at higher risk of developing testicular cancer, perianal tumors, and perineal hernias.

Spaying or neutering your pet has not been shown to change his or her personality or energy level. It can result in a lower energy requirement, so one needs to monitor the pet’s weight and make feeding changes as needed.

We realize it can be stressful for the pet owner as their pet ages and they perceive that changes are occurring with the pet’s appearance, attitude, or abilities. We are here to answer any questions and thoroughly explain all options to you.

On-site Pharmacy For Quick Refills

When your pet needs a prescription refill, we're here to fill them, you don't have to go on-line to order. We have most commonly prescribed medications on-hand.

We take care of your pet's medications personally and accurately. Learn More About Our Pet Pharmacy

Call for an Appointment Today! 320.257.0911

Advanced Care Pet Hospital, "Caring For People Who Care For Their Pets"