February 1st, 2022 by Ima Admin
Does your dog “grin” when he or she pulls a fast one, like trotting out a pair of your dirty underwear? Do you wonder what they’re thinking when they gaze into your soul, rub their head on you or bring you the sock they destroyed?
Dog cognition research paints an emerging picture of something more complex than a manipulative and conditioned quest for food. But is it love?
In his latest book, “Survival of the Friendliest – from Dogs to Democracy,” Dr. Brian Hare suggests that not only are dogs the closest to humans in their capacity for what he calls “cooperative communication,” but that they’ve become wired that way through natural selection, not human intervention. Read the rest of this entry »
January 3rd, 2022 by Ima Admin
Pet parents who’ve had to make the difficult decision to euthanize a beloved animal companion are especially vulnerable to grief during the darker days of winter. What may complicate the situation further is witnessing the grief of companion animals left behind.
“Research suggests dogs and cats do experience behavior changes after the death of a fellow companion animal,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice and Aftercare Center.
“A great advantage of home euthanasia is that it gives companion animals left behind a chance to process and understand what’s happened.”
In dogs, which are highly social animals, studies have shown that grief can last two to six months if they were closely bonded with their fellow pup. While less social generally, some cats do also grieve – and vocalize loudly – typically if they’ve lost a relative in particular. Read the rest of this entry »
December 1st, 2021 by Ima Admin
The holiday season can be bittersweet for people who’ve lost – or are getting ready to say goodbye – to a loyal companion animal. Coping with pet loss grief during a season that’s purportedly “jolly” can be especially challenging.
“Pet loss grief is especially difficult during the holidays because it’s “disenfranchised grief” – grief that cannot be easily publicly mourned – and households generally become busier with holiday prep stress and guests. At the same time, people often face making the difficult euthanasia decision during the holidays because they’re home to see the decline in their pet’s quality of life,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice.
If you have a pet with a life-limiting disease or who is in rapid decline, there are things you can do in preparation for euthanasia to promote healthy grief and healing. Read the rest of this entry »
November 1st, 2021 by Ima Admin
The season of gratitude is just around the corner and the Heaven at Home team would just like to remind everyone of the wonderful dimension that companion animals add to our lives. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), research shows that pet ownership improves mental health and wellbeing in a number of ways. Read the rest of this entry »
October 1st, 2021 by Ima Admin
Owners of companion animals the world over know the joy, loyalty and love their fur friends can bring. They also know the heartbreak of watching their beloved pets decline in old age or through life-limiting disease. Caring for an aging pet can involve pain management, potty problems, and a host of things now made difficult – like getting up onto the bed. But the real angst people wrestle with is knowing when, and whether, to ease their pet’s suffering through euthanasia.
Enter the best free tool for pet parents with aging companion animals: the Quality of Life Scale. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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:
- Increase Accessibility – throughout your home through aids like dog ramps, stairs, and padded flooring.
- Regular Exercise – stimulates appetite, improves mood, reduces anxiety and helps maintain strength and mobility.
- Increase comfort – with orthopedic bedding and protection from extreme cold or extreme heat.
- Supportive therapy – such as cold laser, acupuncture, chiropractic and hydrotherapy can help keep your senior pet moving.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
July 1st, 2021 by Ima Admin
Whether your senior pet crosses the “Rainbow Bridge” naturally, or with a peaceful and compassionate euthanasia at home, there is always the question of aftercare. In the past, there were two choices: burial or cremation.
Soon the purveyors of compassionate home pet hospice and euthanasia will be giving their clients – and other pet parents – a third and more environmentally-friendly option called aquamation. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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 »