Village Vets Centre Liverpool 0151 428 8600 0151 428 8600
Village Vets  Centre Liverpool   0151 428 8600   0151 428 8600

The Twilight Years.....

As our pets age they become more prone to a whole variety of different problems meaning that it becomes even more important that they attend regular health checks. Doing so means that problems can be spotted and treated earlier to get the best outcome for your pet.

When is my pet classified as 'senior' and what are they at risk from?

Larger dog breeds tend to age faster than smaller breeds and cats tend to live longer than dogs. Lifespan is influenced by a number of things and each pet will be different so it is hard to predict exactly when they are 'senior.' In general large dog breeds are considered 'senior' at 8 years of age, for smaller dogs this is extended to 10-13 years. Cats are considered to be aged above 10 years.



Common age-related diseases include diabetes mellitus, Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism), hypothyroidism, osteoarthritis, heart disease and tumours.



Older cats commonly suffer from kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, heart disease and tumours.

What signs can I expect to see?

Behavioural Signs

Like humans, pets tend to become slower with age and may become less responsive as their senses dull. Owners often notice that pets become deaf or develop cataracts over time. It is very important to ensure that they have a good quality of life by encouraging them to play and execise so that they maintain an interest in daily activities.

Aging pets can also become more forgetful and some owners describe this as being 'senile.' There are some medications specifically targeted to helping affected pets.


Physical Changes

These tend to be easier to spot and can include a whole range of things:

  • Reduced ability to fight infections or slower wound healing
  • Changes to toileting habits or loss of housetraining
  • Changes in body shape and condition

Whilst some of these may be a normal side-effect of aging, they can also indicate disease and it is important to have these signs checked by a vet.


Signs that may indicate a problem

More severe or sudden changes to your pet's condition or behaviour should always be investigated. Things to watch out for include:

  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Decreased appetite or not eating
  • Recurrent vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Constipation or an inability to urinate
  • Lameness that lasts for more than 5 days or affects more than one leg
  • Loss of vision
  • Decreased activity or sleeping more
  • Collapsing, weakness or seizures
  • Coughing or gagging
  • Heavy breathing at rest or excessive panting
  • Changes to the shape or size of the abdomen
  • Hair loss or itching
  • Wounds that do not appear to be healing

If you are in any way concerned about your pet, please don't hesitate to contact our practice.

What can I do to help my pet?

Older pets may benefit from food tailored to their specific needs such as joint support, liver support or kidney support. It is a good idea to feed them a senior diet as this contains lower calories and can prevent them from becoming overweight as their activity levels are reduced. See our nutrition section for more information.


Exercise is as important in older pets as it is for younger ones. It helps to maintain muscle function and can have benefits for the heart and lungs. Gentle exercise can also help to maintain joint mobility in arthritic pets.

Older Pets and Senile Problems

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (or CDS) is an age-related condition affecting dogs and cats which is similar to Alzheimer's disease in humans. It is caused by physical changes in the brain including disruption in normal levels of chemicals and loss of brain cells. It is NOT a normal part of aging and should not be ignored. The condition affects your pet's memory and thinking ability and can cause behavioural changes that disrupt daily life.


Symptoms of the condition include:


  • House soiling and loss of housetraining behaviour
  • Absentmindednedss, staring blankly at walls or into space
  • Sleeping more during the day and less at night
  • Less interest in petting or interaction with owners or becoming withdrawn and quiet
  • Wandering, pacing or circling aimlessly
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Difficulty learning new commands, routes or tasks
  • Ignoring commands that they previously responded to or not responding to their name
  • Not recognising family members of familiar people - this may present as aggression or barking excessively
  • Seeming to get lost in familiar places such as home
  • Geting 'stuck' in corners or behind furniture
  • Finding it difficult to recognise doorways and standing at the hinged side of the door


If your pet seems to be affected by these symptoms, contact us to have them checked over. We can perform a variety of tests to rule out underlying problems with their liver, kidneys and other organs or check for hearing and vision loss. Treatment involves medication and lifestyle changes and they can be back to their normal self within a short while.


Opening Hours

Monday        09.00 - 18.00

Tuesday       09.00 - 18.00

Wednesday   09.00 - 18.00

Thursday      09.00 - 18.00

Friday           09.00 - 18.00

Saturday       Closed 

Village Vets Centre Ltd

65 Quarry St  


L25 6EZ

Tel.: 0151 428 8600


In case of emergency, please call:

Tel.: 0151 428 8600

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