AAHA Life Stage Guidelines

We’re here for every stage of your pet’s life.

Proposed Definition of Life Stages

Puppy: Neonate until reproductive maturity

Junior: Reproductively mature, still growing

Adult: Finished growing, structurally and socially mature

Mature: From middle up to approximately the last 25% of expected lifespan (a window of time around half-life expectancy for the breed)

Senior: From maturity to life expectancy (approximately the last 25% of expected lifespan)

Geriatric: At life expectancy and beyond

What Does a Blood Work Test Detect?


  • Liver function
  • Kidney function
  • Electrolyte disturbances
  • Dehydration
  • Pancreatic function

Complete Blood Count

  • Red blood cell count: anemia from immune, parasitic, or toxicities
  • Platelet count: immune parasitic or metabolic disease
  • White blood cell count: infections, immunosuppression


  • Urinary tract infections: presence of bacteria and white blood cells
  • Presence of crystals: indicating need for different diet, presence of infection or bladder stones
  • Urine specific gravity: kidney function, other metabolic diseases
  • Presence of abnormal cells: inflammatory, cancerous, etc.

Specific Test

  • Thyroid disease
  • Adrenal disease (Cushing’s, Addison’s)
  • Heartworm disease
  • Heart disease
  • Bile acids (liver function testing)

What Vaccines Does My Pet Need?

Click here to use the AAHA lifestyle-based vaccine calculator for dogs.