GOLPP dogs are very susceptible to developing aspiration pneumonia, and therefore have previously been discouraged from going into the water. But we realize that our dogs, especially the Labradors, LOVE to swim! Dr. Ruth Barthel was able to design a life vest that can protect the dog’s airway from the water. She has graciously allowed us to post her designs so that other GOLPP dog owners can reproduce the vest and enjoy its benefits!
An important adjustment to life after your dog has been diagnosed with GOLPP is modifying the way that they are fed in order to best prevent aspiration pneumonia. As part of the condition, the GOLPP research team at Michigan State has found that there is concurrent progressive degeneration of esophageal function, attributing to the increased instance of aspiration pneumonia. In order to help prevent aspiration after eating and drinking, some dogs may benefit from feeding on an inclined plane. As opposed to standing flat, where the dog’s esophagus is horizontal with the ground, standing on a 45° inclined plane while eating and drinking recruits the force of gravity to help move material through the esophagus more smoothly and quickly. Some of our GOLPP dog owners have noticed that this method of feeding has decreased their dog’s incidence of coughing after meals.
One way to feed on an incline is to put their food and water dishes on the stairs so that your dog can stand with 2-3 steps between their front and back paws, effectively elevating their front end above their hind end.