4 products I love for old pets
Mary Gardner, DVM
There is nothing better to Dr. Gardner than a dog with a grey muzzle or skinny old cat! Her professional goal is to increase awareness and medical care for the geriatric veterinary patient and to help make the final life stage to be as peaceful as possible, surrounded with dignity and support for all involved. A University of Florida graduate, she discovered her niche in end of life care and is the co-founder and CTO of Lap of Love, which has more than 130 veterinarians around the country dedicated to veterinary hospice and euthanasia in the home. Dr. Gardner and Lap of Love have been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, The New York Times, the Associated Press, The Doctors and numerous professional veterinary publications. You can usually find Dr. Gardner wherever the party isor the golf course!
These items help my older patients live more comfortable, pain-free lives. How many do you already use or recommend?
(Shutterstock.com)Sliding is only fun when you're a kid
Most homes have tile or wood floor that's like an ice rink to pets, especially older dogs who are struggling with mobility. Any yoga mat works great for traction around the house. A yoga mat is light and easy to move, and you can cut them to fit particular locations. A bathmat with a rubber back is also good.
A helping hand
The Help 'Em Up Harness is my favorite harness for dogs with mobility issues. They have "girl" and "boy" versions with a handle in the front that supports the dog's chest.
Do you adequately Adequan?
I love Adequan injections as far as medications go, especially as part of a multimodal approach that can include an NSAID, pain control and amantadine.
Relaaaaaax, man ...
Here's a product you might not expect from me in the discussion-Adaptil. A lot of these bigger dogs with mobility issues also have a bit of anxiety, whether if it's from the pain, the lack of mobility or cognition issues. Adaptil spray can really help lower some stress.
When it comes to pet owner recommendations for making life easier on older dogs, I think it's important to start with manageable items that owners will actually try. We can scare off pet owners if we throw the book at them with diagnostics and long drug lists. I start with yoga mats and Adaptil as first steps that lead them to continue to try more.
Dr. Gardner is a co-founder of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, a network of veterinarians around the country whose goal is to empower every owner to care for their geriatric pets. She is also co-editor and contributing author of the textbook Treatment and Care of the Geriatric Veterinary Patient available August 2017.