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Keeping Your Senior Pet Warm This Winter

January 3rd, 2019 by Laurie Brush

Few topics inspire as much controversy as (faux?) fashion for our furry friends. Do they really need coats and booties, or is this a classic case of anthropomorphism? Inquiring minds want to know!

In actual fact, the suitability of pet outerwear depends on a number of variables, including your dog’s breed, coat, age and body condition, plus outdoor temperature and duration of exposure.

“Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice.

Outerwear:

  • As a general rule, if your dog will only be outside for 10 minutes or less, they typically do not need any clothing.
  • Once temperatures drop under 20° F, all owners need to be aware that their dogs could potentially develop cold-associated health problems like hypothermia and frostbite. Watch for signs, including shivering, anxiety, and slowing down. Beware of the wind chill factor.
  • Double-coated dogs such as Siberian Huskies and Newfoundlanders are very unlikely to need clothing.
  • Shorter-haired breeds, senior dogs, puppies and dogs with medical conditions do benefit from the additional warmth.

Paw Protection:

One of the biggest threats to healthy paw pads is the salt used to melt ice on driveways, roads and sidewalks. Prolonged contact with deicers can lead to chemical burns on dog paws. Use pet-friendly salt, and cover your dog’s paws when out on walks with paw wax or booties.

  • Booties offer the best protection: Options include rubber-sole styles with double Velcro straps, waterproof nylon socks, and disposable rubbers.
  • For elderly dogs who are more prone to slipping and falling on ice, you may wish to try booties with a grip.

 

Bed Warmers for Arthritic Dogs and Cats

If your feline friend or canine companion is elderly and/or suffers from arthritis you may wish to offer a heated orthopedic bed. Styles range from simple heating pads to luxurious heated lounges. Use caution with external heat sources, ensuring your pet is able to get up and move off the heat source if he/she becomes too warm. You may wish to discuss the type of heat source you should use with your veterinarian.


Tips to Avoid Stressing Your Elderly Dog or Cat During the Holidays

December 19th, 2018 by Laurie Brush


You might think holiday stress is confined to last-minute-shopping humans, over-burdened hosts or folks with in-laws they secretly refer to as “outlaws.” If the holidays are stressful for you, imagine how your aging pet feels. Your own stress plus the bustle of the holiday season compounds pet stress, and it takes elderly animals longer to bounce back. Follow these tips to help your pets have a stress-free, happy holiday.

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Books for Adults on Grieving Pet Loss

December 18th, 2018 by Laurie Brush


Whether you recently experienced the passing of a pet or are having trouble letting go after some time has passed, The Heaven at Home team has resources that may help you through this difficult time. Books can be an invaluable part of your support system, and we’ve curated a few below that we feel will really help a pet parent navigate the loss. Read the rest of this entry »


Books for Children on Grieving Pet Loss

December 7th, 2018 by Laurie Brush


The Heaven at Home team knows that grieving the passing of your fur-baby is difficult and requires all the support you can get. On top of dealing with your own loss, if you have children, you also have to help them navigate what might be their first experience of losing a loved one. Books can play a helpful role in helping your child through the process.

The following are a few of the “gold standard” books written for children that are designed to help grieve a pet who has passed. Read the rest of this entry »


Dr. Laurie Brush & Ginny Mikita Speaking at WMVMA Nov. 27th

November 20th, 2018 by Laurie Brush

Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice, and Ginny Makita are delighted to be speaking at the West Michigan Veterinarian Medical Association dinner on Tues., Nov. 27 at John Ball Zoo to help local vets improve the euthanasia experience for clients and support bereaved pet parents.

In “The Client’s Perspective on Euthanasia and How You Can Improve the In-Hospital Euthanasia Experience,” Dr. Brush will share information and stories of her experience helping pet parents give their fur-babies peaceful passings.

Ginny Makita, Facilitator of the West Michigan Pet Loss Support Group, will share tips for helping people who are Grieving Pet Loss During the Holidays. Together, they hope to raise awareness of options available for compassionate end-of-life care for animals and the benefits of grief support for bereaved pet parents. Read the rest of this entry »


Heaven at Home Honors National Animal Hospice Day November 3rd

November 2nd, 2018 by Laurie Brush

HAHHospiceDay2018Heaven at Home joins hospice veterinarians across the nation Saturday in honoring National Hospice day. In America, 68% of households have companion animals, with 89.7 Million dogs, and 94.2 Million cats. It is estimated that between 44-48% of these pets are currently over the age of 7, meaning they are entering their senior years. Depending on species and breed, many will be preparing to cross the rainbow bridge. The quality of their end of life has become a focal point for geriatric specialists within the veterinarian community and the population at large.

“For too long, pet parents have not had the resources available to provide the highest quality of end-of-life and palliative care to their fur babies in their sunset years,” says Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home and Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Vet. Read the rest of this entry »


Dr. Laurie Brush Among First to Achieve Hospice Certification

October 30th, 2018 by Laurie Brush

DrLaurie_certDr. Laurie Brush received more than a dose of warm sunshine in Arizona during her visit to the annual conference for the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) earlier this month. She became one of the first graduates to receive a new advanced Certification as a Hospice & Palliative Care Veterinarian. 

The IAAHPC founded the continuing education program in 2016 to advance the study in hospice and palliative care for licensed veterinarians and credentialed veterinary technicians. The 100-hour AHPC Certification Program standardizes and defines the skills and knowledge required of animal hospice and palliative care providers, and establishes a standard of care that reflects excellence.

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Drs. Laurie and Amy Attending the IAAHPC in Arizona

October 4th, 2018 by Laurie Brush

Dr. Laurie Brush and Dr. Amy Hoss attend the IAAHPC conference in Tempe Arizona

Dr. Laurie Brush and Dr. Amy Hoss are headed for Arizona to attend the 8th annual IAAHPC conference in Tempe Arizona on Oct. 5th. The International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care promotes comfort care that addresses the physical, psychological, and social needs of animals with chronic and/or life-limiting disease. The organization educates professionals and advances research in the field of animal hospice and palliative care. Read the rest of this entry »


Heaven at Home Featured on eightWest

October 3rd, 2018 by Laurie Brush

Special thanks to the team at eightWest for featuring the services of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice! If you missed the show, click on the photo below to watch the video on the eightWest website! Hami, a gorgeous 12-year-old collie with arthritis, stole the show. In this segment, Dr. Laurie Brush discusses ways to help arthritic animals be more comfortable in their sunset years with things like mats, helper-harnesses, and more. If you have a pet who can’t get around like they used to, Contact Us to request an appointment.

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The Conundrum of Feeding Your Senior Pet

September 18th, 2018 by Laurie Brush

SrPetillus_580x300Many pet parents are confounded by conflicting advice on pet food in general, whether it’s commercial, grain-free, biologically appropriate and/or raw. This confusion can be compounded as your pet ages and is faced with medical conditions that require special consideration when it comes to diet. Many diseases that are common in older dogs and cats may be nutrient-sensitive, meaning that diet can play an important role in the management of the condition. As a general rule, dogs and cats 7 years of age or older are at risk of age-related diseases, though specific breed size, genetics, and physical condition influence the aging process.

Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice, says senior pet nutrition can be a complicated issue but that conscientious pet parents can help their senior pets enormously by dialing in their pet’s diet to prevent obesity. Read the rest of this entry »