(616) 498-1316

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.

For example, it often takes a month for a new and old dog to acclimatize to one another. If your senior pup is in rapid decline and might pass in a month, it might be best to wait. However, a pet’s sunset era can cover many months, if not years, in which case, the sooner the better.

“Having a pup around can be a form of enrichment for your senior,” Dr. Brush said.

The temperament of your senior dog should be evaluated when choosing a new puppy, with consideration given to size and breed characteristics of each. Senior dogs are also creatures of habit who crave routine. Disruption may cause anxiety or envy if not mediated. For this reason, it’s important to give each pet time and space, and to honor the pack order.

  • Focus your attention on your older dog before greeting your younger dog
  • Feed your older dog first
  • Put the leash on your older dog first
  • Ensure your senior dog feels like their belongings – toys, chews, etc. – still belong to them and not the new puppy.

What’s the best way to get senior and junior off to a good start?

Remember the importance of territory to your resident senior during the introduction phase, and:

  • Introduce on neutral ground off leash, through a fence OR
  • Walk the dogs parallel before introduction
  • Offer brief sniffing opportunities
  • And/Or Let the resident elder find the new dog already in the house.

With a bit of patience, a new pup can bring new life and new love to you and your old dog.

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.

“We’re so excited to be able to partner with Dr. Doyle to offer our clients at-home chiropractic and acupuncture therapy as part of our hospice and palliative care planning. This will be a game-changer for many of our senior companion animals,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice.

Continuing research has shown that animal acupuncture and chiropractic improves pain management and mobility in senior pets. Helping animals feel better through the release of endorphins, helping their medication work better, and in some cases, even reversing the ravages of age or injury are all things that inspired Dr. Doyle’s integrative practice.

“With these modalities, research shows you’re triggering the release of endorphins, improving lymphatic flow, increasing circulation, even building new stem cells,” she said.

The science behind both acupuncture and chiropractic involves increasing the circulation of neurotransmitters, which then increase the interaction between the nervous system and the endocrine system. In the case of chiropractic treatment, abnormal joint mobility interferes with blood flow and proper nerve signals. Adjustments restore muscle function and neurological reflexes to mitigate pain, reduce inflammation and help restore proper mechanics.

Dr. Doyle saw first-hand the powerful impact of chiropractic adjustments combined with acupuncture while working at a gold-standard equine surgical hospital near Kansas City. Next, she witnessed a profound recovery in a paralyzed dog. The results inspired her to specialize in integrative pain management and rehabilitation for animals at either end of the health spectrum – high-performing animal athletes and pets suffering from chronic illness or old age.

It was a perfect trifecta for the animal-loving equestrian, dog trainer, and handler who’s spent time in the competitive ring.

“Being with animals is my happy place,” she said.

For coordinated geriatric care, contact us today. To connect with Dr. Doyle directly regarding younger animals or athletes, visit ResilienceVetMed.com.

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 »

Fear-Free Care for Cats and Dogs

September 28th, 2020 by Laurie Brush

Your pet’s life can be improved by understanding the elements of fear-free handling. Many pet parents are unfamiliar with the science that has led to the relatively new understanding of the permanent emotional damage, behavioral issues, and lack of quality of life that fear and stress may impart on our pets.

A growing body of evidence shows that animals have heightened memory of handling when fearful, which creates a cycle of increased anxiety, and sometimes aggression. Fear and anxiety cause autonomic arousal of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and accompanying release of stress hormones, leading to increased susceptibility to disease secondary to suppression of the immune system. Read the rest of this entry »

Signs of Pain in Cats & Dogs from the IVAPM

August 31st, 2020 by Laurie Brush

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, during which time the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management educates pet parents on signs of pain in their companion animals. As providers of pet hospice at home, Heaven at Home would like to take this opportunity to help pet parents ensure that their cats and dogs do not suffer needlessly as they age. Our hospice veterinarians are available for Quality of Life telemedicine consultations to help pet parents evaluate pain in their senior pets.

Can you imagine not being able to tell your doctor that you were in pain? Animals suffer from pain just like we do. Pain comes in many forms: surgical pain, arthritis, and cancer, just to name a few. Acute pain is obvious and distressing. Chronic pain can be subtle, and masked as “getting old” or “slowing down.” Age is not a disease, but pain is. There are many options to treat the various causes of pain in animals including pain medications, physical rehabilitation, and acupuncture. In addition, there are many environmental strategies that can help reduce pain, such as slip-proof and padded flooring, altered-height feeding, ramps, and other supports. Read the rest of this entry »

Managing Pet Incontinence In Cats and Dogs

August 30th, 2020 by Laurie Brush


For many pet owners, the cause of incontinence in their fur family member can be as simple as a highly treatable UTI (urinary tract infection) or the harbinger of serious disease.

“Many pet parents struggle with incontinence issues, especially with senior dogs and cats. But there are a number of simple things that can be done to help manage incontinence,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice.

In Younger Dogs & Cats

Uncharacteristic bouts of incontinence in young companion animals can signal a wide range of ailments, from urinary tract infections to hormone imbalances. Sometimes incontinence can be caused by endocrine disorders (such as Cushing’s and Addison’s disease) diabetes, kidney or liver disease, polyps or cancerous growths in the urinary tract or prostate and bladder stones. Read the rest of this entry »