AAHA Releases New 2023 AAHA Senior Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats

Lakewood, Colo. (January 3, 2023)—Senior pets represent a large number of animals seen in veterinary practice, and these treasured elder pets often require specialized care and monitoring to ensure their senior years are comfortable and enjoyable.  Differences in species, breed, size, and lifespan mean that senior plans cannot be one-size-fits-all. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has created the 2023 AAHA Senior Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats to support veterinary teams in their care for each unique senior patient.

Happy senior dog

Lakewood, Colo. (January 3, 2023)—Senior pets represent a large number of animals seen in veterinary practice, and these treasured elder pets often require specialized care and monitoring to ensure their senior years are comfortable and enjoyable.  Differences in species, breed, size, and lifespan mean that senior plans cannot be one-size-fits-all. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has created the 2023 AAHA Senior Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats to support veterinary teams in their care for each unique senior patient.

“At the core of these guidelines is the understanding that aging is not a disease, but a  that family members can embrace, love, and enjoy with their senior pets,” says Ravinder Dhaliwal, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology), DABVP (Canine and Feline), chair of the 2023 Senior Care Guidelines task force.

Senior dogs and cats make up 44% of the pet population, and their families place high value on how their senior pet is treated. By prioritizing senior-friendly care and taking a holistic approach to the senior patient, the veterinary team nurtures the precious human-animal bond and ultimately helps to keep aging pets with their families.  These new guidelines offer actionable strategies that veterinary teams can adopt to create senior-friendly environments that welcome senior pets, including modification of physical environments, prioritizing care to keep families together, and taking different approaches to healthy and unhealthy senior patients.  Senior pets have a lot of love left to give, and as champions for senior care, the veterinary team can support pet owners in creating the high quality of life senior pets deserve.

“AAHA is thrilled to present the 2023 Senior Care Guidelines to the profession. Every veterinary team member has a story of a sweet senior who made an impact on their heart and motivates them to be a Senior Pet Champion. This important guideline helps teams provide the right medical care, the right environment, and the right family support to be truly senior friendly,” says Jessica Vogelsang, DVM, AAHA’s Chief Medical Officer.

The 2023 AAHA Senior Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats are generously supported by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, CareCredit, IDEXX, and Zoetis. 

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About the American Animal Hospital Association

Since 1933, the American Animal Hospital Association has been the only organization to accredit veterinary hospitals throughout the United States and Canada based on standards directly correlated to high-quality medicine and compassionate care. Accreditation in veterinary medicine is voluntary. The AAHA-accredited logo is the best way to know a practice has been evaluated by a third party. Look for the AAHA logo or visit aaha.org.

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