There are a lot more cool tools out there for pets and their miscellaneous healthcare needs, but these are the ones I tend to recommend most frequently.(With a new one thrown in at the end because I could not resist!)
1-E-collars, T-shirts, onesies and other avoidance devices: Cats and dogs need these to protect the head, face and ears, after surgery, and when licking/biting damage otherwise gets done to the rest of their bodies. But one size does not fit all. A combination of these approaches may be necessary and there are zillions of them on the market. Sometimes, trying out several types (especially if you live with a Doberman) is a necessity.
2-K-9 Carts: Few home-care products have been as kindly received by the veterinary community as this one. When your dog can’t walk on his back legs (whether it’s because you can’t afford his surgery or because it’s been unsuccessful or unavailable for his condition) this is he way to go. Dogs (and cats on occasion) can do very well with these “wheelchairs for pets.”
3-Booties: I adore booties! Several varieties are available on the market and they serve varying purposes. Here in Miami where we have no snow, the main objective is to protect dogs’ pads from asphalt heat and to keep them from slipping as they age and lose strength and coordination due to osteoarthritis. I recommend two kinds of booties:
Both are no-slip. The Drs. Fosters and Smith are the somewhat heavy-duty cold-weather variety and the Integrated Pet Care seem lighter. Either way, I recommend socks and night-time removal for safe skincare.
Anyone who uses booties on their dogs needs to look out for blisters and ulcers. Though I strongly recommend them for older dogs who slip on our ubiquitous Floridian marble and tile floors, I’m very careful to make sure their owners don’t leave them on 24/7.
4-Front-clip halters for dogs: I’m a convert. After the uncomfortable head halter boom of the last 15 years, we were due an easier model for canine tractability. Dogs respond amazingly—without the pinch collar pain or head halter whiplash. It’s not for everyone but it’s worth looking into.
5- The Furminator: No, I do not own stock in this company nor am I a secret admirer of its VP of Marketing. It just so happens I adore this product for its hairball eliminability. See my post on this.
6-The Littlest Angel Vest (“the white cane for blind dogs”): It keeps blind dogs from bumping into things with their heads. It’s a small market, for sure, but what a great idea!
The manufacturer, a Dolittler reader (whom I contacted about this product not knowing she was a devotee) makes these cool contraptions by hand. I’ve never seen anything like it and it really impresses me to know she devised this for her own dog’s comfort—even more so that she offers them (handmade!) for under $35 (because she knows how much people have already spent on vet bills). I told her to change her prices to a sliding scale (low end for those who can’t afford it and up to $100 for those who can) to reflect the amount of hard work and care she puts into this project.
Beware: She’s got a waiting list and she hates to disappoint. So be prepared to cool your heels while she works her magic.
I know there are many more but these are my top picks for now. It’s now your job to convince me that your choices deserve better billing. What do you use?