As Your Pet's Age

Your Pet's Life's Stages

Puppy/Kitten stage - ranges from newborn thru reproductive maturity

Junior - pets are reproductively mature, still growing

Adult - finished growing

Mature - from adult up to the last 25% of expected lifespan (depends on the breed)

Senior - from maturity to life expectancy (depends on the breed0

Geriatric - at life expectancy and beyond

Getting Older

As pets age they may develop new risk factors to their health.  When a pet is about 7-8 years old, or middle aged, it is time to start "Senior" wellness testing and preventative care.  We establish baseline values and check for any clinically silent health issues.  Retesting yearly helps us to monitor for any abnormalities.  Some of the issues that may face senior pets may be weight issues, osteoarthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, thyroid problems, diabetes, incontinence, vision and hearing disorders, renal or kidney failure and more. 

If you have a pet reaching "middle age" please take the opportunity to  talk with the Dr. on your next visit about testing and starting a preventative care plan.

Unfortunately, no matter how health conscious we are and what good, loving care we provide, at some point our pet's bodies decline, just as we do as humans.  Sometimes, when we can see the pain, discomfort or inability for our pet to have any quality of life, as an owner one may feel compelled to make the choice of euthanasia.  Whether your pet passes away on their own or the choice of euthanasia is made, we are here to help you.  We work with Saint Francis Group to provide cremation options if you are not planning to bury at home.  We also offer making a Clay Paw Memory keepsake of your pet's paw print if you chose.

It is natural to grieve for our pets and there are some books about pet loss if you feel you need support in coping.

For children

  • When a Pet Dies                                              by Fred Rogers
  • I Will Always Love You                                    by Hans Wilhelm
  • Saying Good-bye to Your Pet                          by Marge Eaton Heegard
  • The Legend of Rainbow Bridge                       by William Britton

For teens/adults

  • Lifetimes                                                          by Bryan Mellonie
  • Goodbye Friend                                               by Gary Kowalski
  • Paw Prints in the Stars                                    by Warren Hanson
  • Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul            by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hanson,                                                                               Marty Becker, DVM, Carol Kline



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  • "We value our clients' experience at Blackhawk Veterinary Service. If your pet or animal is currently a patient, please feel free to complete the following Client Experience Questionnaire. The Questionnaire is in Adobe Acrobat format and requires the free Acrobat Reader to view."
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