Issue 121 – Grooming for Senior Pets

Tasha / 16 YO / F / IG: @cmleung

Grooming for Senior Pets

You might not think that older pets require any special attention when it comes to grooming – it’s no different to grooming them when they were younger right? Wrong!

Similar to humans, our pet’s physique and energy levels start to deteriorate as they age, and they may become more prone to illnesses than before. 

This may result in a change of behaviour and an entirely different body composition which requires special attention when it comes to bath time and other aspects of grooming.

Here are a few top tips from our Grooming Supervisor at SPCA Hair Force One, Kathy Lai.


Grooming is a great opportunity to check your pet’s body and test their joint mobility, as senior pets may start to grow skin tags, lumps and experience stiffness or weaker joints.
If you notice that your pet is encountering difficulties in moving, it’s important to learn how to massage these areas properly and gently move their limbs to keep them limber and comfortable.

These areas creating discomfort should also be taken into consideration when bathing and drying your pets, to ensure you don’t hurt them.

Brushing & Bath-time

When it comes to cleansing, senior cats may no longer groom themselves as frequently as they used to, so owners may need to brush their cat’s fur more frequently to get rid of dead fur.
It’s worth noting that cats also become thinner as they age which means that their skin may become loose and saggy. Regular cleaning and grooming of the belly area is required to prevent tangling. Also, we advise seeking the help of a professional if needing to cut any matted hair on a cat’s belly or under the armpit as these areas may be easily damaged due to the thin covering of skin. It is not recommended for owners to use scissors and cut the hair by themselves.

As mentioned above, senior pets may start to develop more lumps and bumps on their body as they age. As we bathe our pets and cleanse their skin, we should take extra care to feel if there are any lumps or bumps that might need to be checked by a vet. Also ask your groomer if they feel anything unusual on your pet’s body. Sometimes these are just part of the ageing process and nothing to worry about. However, other times these can signal an underlying condition – particularly if you see redness, an opening or pus and fast growth, so it’s important to monitor these closely.


Well-manicured paws are not just about keeping up appearances, but also ensuring that your pet’s gait is not affected.
Dogs will require more frequent trimming of the nails the older and less active they become, as less walkies mean that their nails don’t get filed down naturally or as often.
Nails that are too long can affect the way they walk and add pressure and stress on their paws and joints.

Bodily fluids

As dogs get older, they may encounter issues with their eyes – not just weepy eyes, but also dry eyes, producing sticky tears – particularly flat-faced cats and dogs. These may require wiping more often with either lukewarm water or saline, and cotton wool to remove tears and prevent staining or moisture from accumulating.  

Some pets may become incontinent as they age, and we would advise against the use of diapers if possible. These areas must be kept as clean and dry as possible and may require the occasional trim to prevent staining.

Use gentle vet recommended cleaning products for the area to prevent irritation or infection and use pee pads at night or in their beds to help soak up leakages. 

If your pet starts showing signs of incontinence, we would recommend you speak to your vet, as there are medications available that could help.

Dental Care

Good dental care is vital for a healthy senior pet, as it can lead to a series of other health issues if left untreated, not to mention chronic pain and inappetence.
It is important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine such as the use of vet approved dental products for teeth cleaning at home to prevent rotten teeth – which would then need to be removed under general anaesthesia – a riskier procedure for older pets.
Regular dental checks can be done by owners by flipping the lip to look for inflammation, infection and or loose teeth and can save a lot of pain and suffering. If in doubt, please consult your vets if your pets have dental problems.

Need assistance? Our team at Hair Force are fully certified with professional grooming qualifications from Hong Kong and Japan.

Kathy Lai – Grooming Supervisor who has been working with SPCA’s Hair Force grooming salon since 2007 and is a Certified Professional Groomer.

Our pet grooming services are available to both cats and dogs of non-members, though SPCA members can enjoy a 10% discount, and earn Hair Miles loyalty points.

Click here to find out more about our grooming service and call 2232 5532 to make an appointment.