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Senior Dog & Cat Tips

Kitty Grimace? Your Feline May Be In Pain!

September 1st, 2021 by Ima Admin

Internet sensation “Grumpy Cat” is legendary for his grimace. Who knew that pulling a face is actually a clue for pet parents who are trying to assess their kitty’s comfort level? A team of researchers at the University of Montreal’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital has developed a pain assessment tool called the Feline Grimace Scale (FGS). It’s a good topic to explore in September, which is IVAPM’s Pet Pain Awareness month.

Pain management is often overlooked in cats and they are prescribed fewer analgesic drugs compared to dogs, according to the study. Read the rest of this entry »


Ten Ways to Prepare for Your Dog’s Golden Years

July 29th, 2021 by Ima Admin

The Heaven at Home team regularly sees families and their canine companions struggle through the Golden Years. There are many incremental improvements you can make over time to make sure your companion enjoys his or her golden years to their fullest:

  1. Increase Accessibility – throughout your home through aids like dog ramps, stairs, and padded flooring.
  2. Regular Exercise – stimulates appetite, improves mood, reduces anxiety and helps maintain strength and mobility.
  3. Increase comfort – with orthopedic bedding and protection from extreme cold or extreme heat.
  4. Supportive therapy – such as cold laser, acupuncture, chiropractic and hydrotherapy can help keep your senior pet moving.
  5. Supplement nutrition – to stave off arthritis and canine cognitive dysfunction with Fish oil, or feed oily fish such as sardines, mackerel or cooked salmon. Talk to your vet about glucosamine and chondroitin supplements formulated specifically for canines to improve joints.
  6. Weight Management – Address obesity early, or better yet, never let it develop, as it will exacerbate other conditions that crop up with aging (such as arthritis or diabetes). You may need to reduce caloric intake but also supplement to compensate – discuss this with your veterinarian. In general, more protein and fewer carbohydrates have been shown to improve canine health. Consider adding moisture to dry foods, switching to wet foods, and warming foods to increase palatability.
  7. Specialized grooming – Pay special attention to nails for walking comfort. Aim for shorter, possibly more frequent grooming sessions to reduce discomfort and stress. Check for new lumps and bumps for early diagnosis of problems.
  8. Behavioral enrichment – Research shows that dogs who are engaged and using their cognitive abilities can stave off cognitive dysfunction. Puzzles, games, scent work and novel experiences are great.
  9. Canine Companionship – Don’t wait until later-stages of decline to introduce a new companion if you’re inclined to grow your fur family. Puppies can give old dogs a new lease on life.
  10. Hospice & End-of-Life planning – Make sure you have a plan for how you want to handle palliative care and your pet’s end of life to give your pet the peaceful, pain-free passing they deserve.

If you need help planning for your pet’s sunset years, talk to the Heaven at Home team. Another great resource is Whole Dog Journal’s digital book: “Taking Care of Your Senior Dog,” available at www.WholeDogJournal.com.


New Tools to Solve Potty Problems for Senior Pets

July 1st, 2021 by Ima Admin

Dog and cat incontinence is one of the most-searched senior pet problems in Google, and is a key reason pet parents of senior cats and dogs struggle to keep their pets comfortable. Incontinence also frequently triggers pet parents to question their pet’s quality of life.

“For many companion animals, incontinence can inadvertently become a death sentence. But the good news is there are a number of things pet parents can do to mitigate the situation, improving the companion animal’s comfort while lightening their own load as caregiver,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice. Read the rest of this entry »


When an Old Dog Meets a New Pup

May 26th, 2021 by Ima Admin


Many pet owners have a tough time deciding whether to add a new puppy to the household when the resident senior dog is in decline. If you have the time and energy to manage encounters and meet the needs of each, it can be rewarding not only to you but to your old dog too.

“The majority of time the addition of a new puppy can rejuvenate an old dog, giving him or her a new lease on life and improving their quality of life. But it requires some time and management to work well,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice. Read the rest of this entry »


Acupuncture and Chiropractic for Geriatric Pets in Pain

April 26th, 2021 by Ima Admin

The Heaven at Home Pet Hospice team sees aging pets in pain every day. With the right combination of care, they can often help those pets enjoy many more months – or years – with their families. Multimodal treatment may include medication, environmental modifications, nutritional supplements, and a variety of therapies from electro-magnetic loops to cold laser. Now Heaven at Home can offer an even wider range of pain-management options by tag-teaming with Dr. Molly Doyle of Resilience Integrative Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Doyle opened her mobile service in 2020. Read the rest of this entry »


Heartworm Prevention is Vital for Dogs – And Cats Too!

March 1st, 2021 by Laurie Brush

It’s tempting to skip heartworm medication during winters in Michigan when infectious mosquitoes seem a distant memory. It’s also hard to remember to restart preventative treatment before our wily weather teases us with unseasonal warmth.

Foregoing year-round prevention is like playing Russian roulette with your canine companion’s heart.

Read the rest of this entry »


Helping Your Senior Cat with Kidney Disease

February 1st, 2021 by Laurie Brush

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a leading cause of death in more than half of cats over 15 years old.

“A diagnosis of kidney disease sounds ominous, but can be managed. With the right diet, supplements, hydration and new medications being developed, it’s possible to keep senior kitties comfortable and extend their lives,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice. Read the rest of this entry »


Space Age Pet Pain & Mood Management

January 1st, 2021 by Laurie Brush

Throughout the ages, the mysterious forces of electricity and magnetism have been thought to possess healing powers. While it might sound a little “Sci-Fido,” current research in targeted Pulse Electro Magnetic Fields (tPEMF) is producing new treatment options with promising results for cats and dogs.

“tPEMF, when administered correctly, is a great way to give an senior cat or dog non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical pain relief through the reduction of inflammation,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice. Read the rest of this entry »


Life-Enriching Gifts for Your Senior Pet

December 1st, 2020 by Laurie Brush

The holiday season is upon us in this year “like no other” and there’s a good chance your bond with your fur-friend has been strengthened from all the quality time you’ve spent together. Pay it back with holiday gifts that will improve the quality of your senior pet’s life. Read the rest of this entry »


Holiday Manners for Pets Who’ve Gone “Wild”

November 11th, 2020 by Laurie Brush

After months of working in your pajamas, it’s easy to forget “fashion BC” (Before COVID). It might be just as hard for your pet to remember his or her “manners BC” for the holidays.

Joyous Jumpers

Let’s face it – your heart is jumping for joy to see a long-lost loved one. Will Fido remember them too? Behavior research suggests yes. While dogs don’t excel at traditional long-term memory, they do possess “associative” memory. A pro-social dog with a fond association of your guests might forget the “no jumping” rule.

“A behavior has to be a very well rehearsed with broad contextual understanding in order for your dog to recall it in moments of excitement,” said Kristi Swan, Certified Professional Trainer and owner of A Dog’s Life. “Dogs don’t generalize well.” Read the rest of this entry »