This Month, Celebrate Senior Pets with DCAS

A message from our Veterinarian AdministratorImage of Senior dog with the title: Celebrate Senior Pets

Each year DuPage County Animal Services receives hundreds of animals that are both senior in age and homeless. Since age is not a disease, we are excited when we improve their quality of life and incredibly thankful when they are adopted to a loving family or transferred to a rescue group, such as Young at Heart.

It’s no secret many of our animals arrive in poor condition, often due to lack of care. Being stray or relinquished by their owner, many of our senior pets have gone years without seeing a veterinarian. These animals now require extra services, both medical and surgical, to help them be their healthiest prior to leaving our shelter. For example, many of our senior animals arrive with advanced dental disease and require extensive oral care. Our veterinary team cleans and polishes the teeth but unfortunately must extract any teeth that cannot be saved. Blood work is also performed on our senior pets to give both the shelter and the adopter/rescue group confidence the pet doesn’t have major health concerns that would require special ongoing food or medications.

DuPage Animal Friends makes many of these possible by funding special diagnostic tests including senior panels. To help senior (and all) pets at DCAS, please donate to DuPage Animal Friends

Thank you to all the support we receive from the community to save our senior pets. And a special thank you to our adopters of our senior pets who are really making a difference by giving them a new leash on life and a second chance at happiness.  

Dr. Hanek Signature

Dr. Barbara Hanek,

Veterinarian Administrator

Image of white and black cat Peppermint with a cartoon thought bubble with tuna can

Senior Pet Nutrition

Sure, your pet would love to pig out on garbage (figurative or literal), but our pets rely on us to make healthy choices for their nutrition. Those needs change over time - the diet you fed your puppy will not be appropriate for the same dog nine years later. Medical conditions and changes in energy will affect what your pet needs from their food. Most pet food brands have senior formulas that cut calories, but there is no standard for the nutrients or ingredients they use. Talk to your veterinarian about choosing appropriate diets for you pet’s specific needs.

Don’t forget hydration! Senior pets are more prone to dehydration so make sure there is plenty of fresh water available and monitor the water levels. Canned food or adding healthy liquids to your pet’s food are also great ways to help keep your pet hydrated.

November 1st is National Cook for Your Pets Day, click the image of Adoptable cat Peppermint to get some healthy treat recipes your senior cat will love!

Rex, an adoptable brindle and white pit mix

Seniors Won't "Rex" Your House

Rex is the golden standard when it comes to senior pets looking for a home. This nine year old gentleman checks all the boxes: 

  • House trained
  • Excellent leash manners
  • Good with other dogs
  • Snuggle Bug
  • Loves everyone

Just like every senior (canine and human), Rex has some medical concerns, but his personality makes them super easy to handle. His foster mom is giving him regular baths to help with his skin, but Rex is the bestest boy at bath time - hopping into the tub and patiently waiting for his lather, rinse, repeat. Are you interested in giving this gentle soul the retirement home he deserves? Click his picture to apply today!

On Call With an Officer

Images of woman using sign language for common dog commands

Hearing Loss and Dog Safety

Officer Michael Exner

As we humans grow older, we may begin to suffer from hearing impairment. The same thing happens to our canine family members, and they become less responsive to us and the world around them. Senior dogs may seem to “ignore” verbal cues, confused by their surroundings, and not react to sounds that used to excite them. This can be a huge safety concern if your dog no longer comes when called or can be directed away from dangerous situations. Owners of deaf or hearing-impaired dogs rely on hand signals or other body language to visually communicate with their dogs. To be prepared for whatever life has in store for your senior, we recommend training with hand signals for all dogs. Hand signals are excellent for communicating with any dog, as dogs often pay more attention to what people do than what people say, especially at a great distance. As an owner, you can choose any signal you like for each behavior. Examples of hand signals include using traditional obedience gestures, American Sign Language, or you can make up your own. Owners need to be sure they stay consistent by always using the same signal for the same behavior. Talk to your family members and come up with a plan for what signals you’ll use. It is also important to continue speaking while doing the visual cues to help the commands come naturally.

Preparing for your dog’s retirement years can seem daunting, but there are many ways to modify their environment to help ease this transition. The important thing to remember is just like humans, dogs can rely on their other senses if one starts to fade. Instead of calling your dog to wake them up, try placing a cookie in front of their nose. The delicious smell will wake them up like a fresh cup of coffee! If you need to get their attention quickly, avoid touching your dog; a startled dog may snarl or snap out of fear. Stand away from them and stomp your feet so the vibrations in the floor can get their attention instead. With small changes, you can continue to provide your dog all that it needs.

Upcoming Webinars

Cat at computer

Join us at 7pm select Thursday nights all year long! Follow the links provided to register. 

Boredom Busters for our Canine Buds – November 3, 2022 7pm-8pm

Truth: Being bored sucks. Over the years, we’ve bred dogs to do certain jobs and even today they need the challenge of a job well done to have a fully satisfying life. Explore the options to give your dog an outlet for their natural instincts.

Registration Link:


Holiday Pet Safety - November 17, 2022 7pm-8pm

From big dinners to decorative lights, the holidays are a time to shine with family and friends. But how do we keep our furry family members safe? We’ll cover food safety, decorating tips, and advice on keeping stress levels low.

Registration Link:


Caring for Senior Pets – December 1, 2022 7pm-8pm

Has your pet become a sweet old lady or a grumpy old man? Either way, senior pets need special care from their owners. We’ll discuss behavior needs, home modifications, medical warning signs, and more.

Registration Link: