Busselton Vet Hospital

Senior Pet Health

Learn more about our senior pet health services below!

Senior Pet Health At Busselton Vet

(Special thank you to Brandy, Sherry, Ben, and Dukes owners for letting us use their pictures)

At Busselton Vet we take the senior years of our patient’s lives very seriously. We consider it the most important life stage that we can help our patients with. After many years of loyal friendship, it is important that we take care of our oldies. We consider it a great privilege to repay the debt to our animals. Helping you and your pet transition into this time is part of the service that we offer.

Sometimes the signs and symptoms of an ageing pet can go unnoticed until they start to cause a real problem. There are a few signs that you may potentially notice at home, which may be an indicator that your beloved pet is starting to slow down.

Have you noticed any of the following signs in your pet?

  • Getting a bit slower on a walk or not being that enthusiatic about going?
  • Having a bit of trouble getting up after sleeping?
  • Looking a bit stiff and sore or perhaps favouring a leg every now and then?
  • Has your dog started to cough when exercising?
  • Have they been having trouble with the plumbing, either having accidents or wetting their bed when asleep?
  • Do they sometimes seem confused? (Bronte, our clinic cat’s is guilty of this, she forgets that we have fed her)
  • Have you noticed they no longer come when called or can’t seem to find you in the house?
  • Has your old dog suddenly started snatching at treats when they were so gentle before?
  • Do they seem to be drinking a lot more or perhaps going to the toilet more often?

The answers to the questions can lead us to discover many of the problems an older animal may have like:

  • Arthritis
  • Heart Disease
  • Incontinence
  • Urinary Tract Problems
  • Dementia
  • Deafness
  • Blindness
  • Renal (Kidney) Disease
  • Hormonal Diseases – diabetes, thyroid disease, cushings

Of course there are many things we can do to treat and support your pets should they develop these signs or diseases, sometimes just a little bit of time and money spent can go along way to improving your pets quality of life.

HOWEVER – there are many things you can do at home to help. Simple things like:


Make sure your pet has a warm, soft and supportive bed off of cold flooring and in a draft free area. If possible, in the colder months let your pets inside or into the laundry or shed where they can get a bit of protection from the cold. In the summer, make sure your pets bed is in a cool area and they have somewhere they can escape the heat.


Ensure your pet has regular, light exercise. We need to stress this point. Pets age on average 7 years to our 1 human year, so if you have a 10 year old dog then it is about 70 human years. Would you ask your 70 year old grandparent to go for a long run on the bitumen next to your bike, or chase a tennis ball around for hours? I think not. Swimming is great for dogs or letting your dog off the lead to exercise at their own pace. It is just as important for cats to get exercise so play games with them or hide food for them to find. Jumping is one of the worst things for an old dog, try to lift them up and down (if possible) into the car or onto your bed.


Make sure your senior pet is getting good quality age-appropriate food. You need to feed a balanced diet, so we would encourage you to base their diet on a super premium brand of dog biscuit and if you wish to add in a few other bits and pieces you can. Most food companies offer a wide range of senior products. Remember to always follow the feeding instructions so that your pets don’t become over or under weight. A little bit of extra pudding on your dog can make a HUGE difference to the pain levels in their joints.

Dental Health

Dental Health is something we are very passionate about in our vet hospital, and this is very important for our oldies. Having a mouth full of infected or broken teeth can really drag your pet down, making it difficult for them to eat their food and leak awful bacteria into their bloodstream making them feel sick. We offer Free Dental Examinations to all of our patients and if you come in for a Free Nurse Senior Pet Consultation it will be performed as part of that visit.

Take the time to observe your pets behaviours. Keep track of how much they are drinking and urinating. Do they seem to get confused or forget what they were doing? Some people report that their old dogs just sit in the backyard barking at nothing or that their cat asks to go out the front door, walks around the house and comes in the back door, then goes back to the front door again having forgotten that they just went out 5 minutes ago. Take note of how your pets cope with exercise or if their appetite isn’t what it used to be. Make sure you check when they do number 2’s to make sure it looks like it should.
Physical Touch

Make a point once a week to run your hands over your pet
Feel how their coat is. Is it dry and harsh or soft and smooth?

  • Do they have any lumps or bumps that weren’t there before?
  • Look in their ears for yucky stuff and smell them for odour. Is there any discharge down there?
  • Check in their mouth that their colour is good and that their teeth aren’t broken or dirty and that they don’t have smelly breath.
  • Check their feet to see if their toenails have broken or their pads are worn. Older dogs will need their nails trimmed more often because they don’t wear them down as much.
  • Look in their eyes to make sure they aren’t cloudy or have a discharge.
Give them a cuddle!

You never know how long they have. This weekly routine is a fantastic way to bond with your pet and they will love you even more for it.

These things are some great starting points for you, we also offer Free Nurse Senior Consultation to anyone with an senior pet (over 8yrs). These are a 30 minute appointment with our trained nurses for you to discuss your pets specifically. Give us a call on (08) 9752 1433 if you would like to book one of these. We wish you many happy years ahead with your beloved senior pet. At our hospital, we want to make sure that your pet is a Healthy Pet 4 Life.