Author Archives: Dr. Jack Stephens

5 Valentine Gift Ideas for Pets and Their Humans

A dog sits.

By Therese Pope, a freelance writer based in California. Pope writes for Pets Best who offers pet health insurance plans for dogs and cats across the U.S.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Show your love and affection by spoiling your furry or human valentines’ on February 14. These fun, heartfelt gifts will make happy tails wag and put a big smile on the face of your favorite human who loves pets.

1. Valentine-Themed Toys

A valentine-themed toy is always a great option for your dog or cat valentine.

The online store, Bark Shop has several cute options. They have heart-shaped squeaker toys that look like the candy hearts with embroidered sayings like, “sniff me.” They also have chew toy ropes in the shape of hearts. Lastly, for those emoji fans, they have a squeaker toy in the shape of the emoji smiley face with hearts for eyes. Shop online at Barkshop.com.

Ore originals is another great online store with products for pets as well as products for humans that are pet-themed. For dogs, check out the heart shaped “I Woof You” squeaky toy. And for cats, they have a pounce toy with a heart shaped toy at the end of the string that says, “Meow.” Visit their shop at oreoriginals.com.

Photos below.

2. Heart Design Collars, Clothing & AccessoriesRead More…

Books & Barks Contest

Pets Best announces Books & Barks contest to showcase therapy dogs in classrooms.

Pets Best has developed a contest to promote the benefits associated with utilizing therapy dogs to assist students in classroom and library programs across the nation. Pets Best is proud to host the third annual Books & Barks contest!

How to participate in the Books & Barks contest:

1. Simply share an inspirational story about your experience with therapy dogs in classroom or library reading programs.

2. Eight finalists will be announced and voting opens to the public on the Pets Best Facebook page.

How to enter the contest:

Our online form makes it easy for you to enter our contest. Your story doesn’t have to be long, but we want to hear about your experience with therapy dogs in schools or libraries. Whether you are a student who has personally benefited from therapy dogs, a teacher who witnessed overall class improvement, or a reading therapy dog owner, please share your stories with us! To enter the contest, go to the Pets Best website.

How are winners selected?

Once per year, a panel of Pets Best representatives will select 8 finalists. The public then votes on the Pets Best Facebook page to choose the winner.

Prizes and AwardsRead More…

7 Tips to Train Your New Dog

A puppy with Pets Best pet insurance sits for training.By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a nationwide puppy and dog health insurance agency founded in 2005.

Sit. Stay. Lie down. Come. Good puppy! What’s the secret to training your newly adopted puppy to ensure that he will master these must-know cues? Two words: positive reinforcement.

Puppies, just like us, are more eager to learn when the teacher makes the lesson fun and engaging. So, out with the word, “no” and in with the word, “yes.” Accentuate the positive in schooling your pup. And most importantly, canine class should begin on day one.

Proper doggy etiquette is within your reach. It starts with proper training. Motivate with food lures and be consistent with voice commands and hand signals. You – and your pup – can be successful in mastering the basic cues if you pay heed to these training strategies:

1. Ahem: Attention, please! Some puppies can get distracted easily. The only way to get your pup to successfully comply with your training is if you have his undivided attention.  So, when you begin any training session, pick a place and a time where distractions are kept to a minimum. When you’re ready, say your pup’s name and wait for his eyes to meet yours. Clap your hands or whistle if you have to, but make sure he is watching you and waiting for his cue to see what to do next.

2. Be a leader, not a bully. No need to shout or berate your young canine. You will win his unconditional loyalty by being an effective teacher who relies on positive reinforcement techniques. Praise your pup’s correct moves and ignore his mistakes during training sessions. Dogs learn by association and are apt to repeat an action when it is reinforced by you in a positive manner.

3. Give me a C — for consistency. Decide on what verbal and physical cues you want for the must-know canine cues of “sit,” “lie down,” “stay,” and “come.” And then, stick with them. If you use the command, “stay” in one training session and then “don’t move” in the next, you will create canine confusion. If you’re consistent with the cues, your puppy will eventually catch on.Read More…

5 Reasons Routine Care is Crucial for Dogs and Cats

Routine wellness care is crucial for dogs and cats.

By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a U.S. dog and cat insurance agency founded in 2005.

Routine preventative care is an easy way to keep your pet as healthy as possible. Annual checkups with your veterinarian allow health changes to be addressed and underlying diseases to be caught early. Here are five aspects of routine veterinary care that are crucial for the overall well-being of your pet.

1. Vaccines

Everyone is familiar with vaccines and why our pets need them. Deadly contagious diseases such as Parvo and Distemper are fully preventable in puppies with a simple vaccine. The same is true of the deadly Feline Leukemia Virus and Panleukopenia virus in cats. All puppies and kittens need to have their full series of vaccines and appropriate boosters as they age. Vaccines such as Leptospira, Lyme and Bordetella should be boostered at least yearly, as the immunity does not last as long in bacterial vaccines as it does with viral vaccines. Even older pets need to have their boosters updated to prevent deadly Lepto infections, crippling Lyme disease infections and pesky Bordetella (Kennel Cough) infections.

2. Dental Care

Just like humans, pets need their teeth cleaned too! Even if you are able to brush your pet’s teeth at home twice a day, they still need prophylactic cleaning with an ultrasonic scaler and polisher. This is the same tool your dentist uses on you at your dental cleanings and checkups every 6 months. Dogs and cats have plaque and tartar buildup that leads to dental calculus, gingivitis and tooth decay. Starting at about 1 year of age, they need their teeth cleaned at least annually. Smaller dogs and those with particularly fast tartar buildup will need dental cleanings every 4-6 months. Without these needed scaling and polishing procedures, pet develop bad breath, painful tooth decay and tooth root abscesses. In addition, severe gum disease is a source of chronic infection which can allow bacteria into the bloodstream. These bacteria can latch onto heart valves causing dangerous heart murmurs; bacteria in the blood can also cause abscesses in the liver and elsewhere in the body. It is important to start routine dental cleanings early in life to prevent the teeth from ever decaying and becoming damaged in the first place.

3. Flea and Tick PreventionRead More…

5 Common Puppy and Kitten Health Conditions

Common puppy and kitten health problems pet owners need to know.

By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a U.S. pet health insurance agency for dogs and cats founded in 2005.

There are few things cuter than puppies and kittens. But their adorable new-to-this-world state also makes them very susceptible to health issues. Here are 5 common health conditions you need to know if you have a puppy or kitten.

Puppy and Kitten Health Issues

1. Worms

Puppies and kittens often contract intestinal worms from their mothers during nursing. Hookworms, Roundworms and Whipworms are the most common types of worms in adult dogs, but Giardia and Coccidia are also seen in puppies and dogs of all ages. Cats and kittens most often carry Roundworms. Some of these parasites are transferrable to humans and as known as “zoonotic” diseases. This means that you can contract parasites from your new puppy or kitten if you come in direct contact with fecal material. This could happen if you walk in your yard barefoot, or while cleaning the litter box. Your veterinarian will diagnose which worms are present with a fecal float test, and then she will choose the appropriate dewormer. Diagnostics and medications usually costs between $50-$100.

2. Fleas

Puppies and kittens are at risk for getting fleas. Heavy flea burdens can cause anemia (low red blood cells) as the fleas literally suck all of the blood out of the small puppy or kitten. This can be fatal if left untreated. Severe cases may need a blood transfusion which can cost over $500.

Kitten-Specific Health Issues

3. Viral InfectionsRead More…

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