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



Featured Links

Click to find out more

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Byron Office Hours


7:00 AM

5:00 PM


7:00 AM

5:00 PM


7:00 AM

5:00 pm


7:00 am

5:00 pm


7:00 am

5:00 PM


7:00 am






Find us on the map


Read What Our Clients Say

  • "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."
    Dr. Julia Dr. Kevin Sugden

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • Skunks

    Home and Veterinary Care for Pet Skunks If you're an adventurous pet owner, you may love exotic animals such as skunks. You'll be happy to learn that skunks can indeed make excellent domestic pets, but only if they receive the proper care to enjoy a happy, healthy life. Your veterinary team can help ...

    Read More
  • Sugar Gliders

    Thinking of getting a sugar glider? These tiny marsupials are energetic and friendly, making them popular choices as pets. Though they weigh less than a half-pound, they're more closely related to kangaroos than they are flying squirrels. If you think a sugar glider would make an ideal pet for your family, ...

    Read More
  • Flying Squirrels

    Much like sugar gliders, flying squirrels make affectionate pets when purchased young and raised by their owner. Unlike sugar gliders, however, flying squirrels are rodents that need veterinary care specific to the species. Your veterinary team can help with the care and treatment of flying squirrels. ...

    Read More
  • Rats

    Did you know rats make surprisingly affectionate pets? If you're thinking of bringing home a pet rat, here's what you need to know. Health Rats that are bred especially as pets are safe to keep and should be free of disease. But common conditions may affect your rats from time to time. Your veterinarian ...

    Read More
  • Chinchillas

    Chinchillas are playful, loveable, and amusing pets. If you want yours to remain in your family for long, you should ensure that it has a good diet. Chinchillas require a lot of attention due to their playful nature; therefore, it is best to have supervised playtime with yours if you want to create a ...

    Read More
  • Fennec Foxes

    Fennec Fox Care Guide With oversized ears and mischievous faces, fennec foxes are cute as can be. But these exotic pets require a lot of care to stay healthy and happy. Health At just three pounds, fennec foxes are the smallest member of the fox family. Native to the Sahara desert, fennec foxes are ...

    Read More
  • Guinea Pigs

    Curious and inquisitive by nature, guinea pigs make great pets. These little bundles of fur are quite social and enjoy spending time with the people who handle, feed, and groom them. As a pet, guinea pigs are relatively low maintenance, rarely aggressive, and fun to own. How to Care Guinea pigs are playful, ...

    Read More
  • Prairie Dogs

    Prairie dogs are cute, affable creatures. But before taking one on as a pet, check your local laws. In some states, such as Colorado, it's illegal to keep prairie dogs as pets. Mostly, this is because they may spread monkeypox. If you live in a state that welcomes pet prairie dogs, be sure to buy from ...

    Read More
  • Gerbils

    Gerbils are great little pets for pet owners who don't have room for a dog or cat. They're friendly and fun to watch, but they do take a moderate level of care and investment. If you're thinking of getting a gerbil, here's what you'll need to know to keep him happy and healthy, including giving him a ...

    Read More
  • Hedgehogs

    Shy animals that roll into a ball when scared, hedgehogs are covered with spiky quills. They're small, clean, and fun to watch so they're quite popular as pets. Even so, these little guys need lots of activity to stay healthy. Health Hedgehogs can have health problems, including dental diseases, skin ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles