At what age do pets usually start experiencing health issues?

The age at which your pet is likely to start experiencing health issues can vary depending on a number of factors. Their breed and weight can both impact their health as they age. Whilst some things cannot be helped, there are ways that you can prevent health issues in your cat or dog as they become older, such as encouraging them to be active and providing them with a suitable diet. The following information aims to raise awareness of health issues in older animals. This is so that you can spot problems early and seek veterinary help if needed.


Compared to breeds of cat, there are noticeably bigger differences between many dog breeds. On average, dogs range between 3.2 kg and 48 kg (Purina, 2022). This statistic highlights just how different dogs can be and why there is consequently so much variation between breeds in terms of health as they age. Larger breeds of dog have a shorter life span than smaller breeds, which means that they tend to display signs of health issues a lot earlier. A dog being classed as senior due to their age can range from 11 years old for smaller dogs to 7 years old for bigger dogs.

Both big and small dogs have an increased risk of suffering from cancer, joint problems, and hearing or vision loss as they become seniors. Bigger breeds are at an additional increased risk of arthritis and hip problems.


Different breeds of cat generally share more similarities, which makes it easier to predict when they might start suffering from age-related health issues. A cat is considered senior when they are between the ages of 11 and 14. At this time, like dogs, they are highly likely to experience joint problems, cancers, and loss of hearing or vision. Loss of hearing or vision in cats as they get older can have more of an impact on their abilities and quality of life than it does for dogs. This is because cats require greater agility and peripheral vision when reaching high-up places and balancing on unsteady objects.

Managing weight

The weight of your animal will have a big impact on whether they start experiencing health issues earlier or later than expected. A dog or cat considered to be overweight is more likely to suffer from health problems as a result. Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are some of the health conditions that come with being overweight. It is estimated that 51% of dogs and 44% of cats are overweight, which is why it’s important to ensure you are keeping your pet healthy as they age. This could make all the difference in avoiding preventable health conditions.

As your pet ages, it is expected that they will require more visits to the vet. Unlike many other types of pet insurance, Petsure doesn’t discriminate based on age. This means that you and your pet can always get the support you need.

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