Author Archives: Dr. Jack Stephens

What is the Iditarod?

A dog sled race.By Dr. Fiona, a veterinarian and writer for the Pets Best pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.

The Iditarod is an annual sled dog race that travels nearly 1,000 miles between Anchorage, in southern Alaska and Nome, Alaska. It is held each spring, this year’s race will begin with a ceremony in Anchorage on March 7th, 2015. The race route follows the western Bering sea coast through harsh tundra, over rivers, hills and mountain passes.

Historically, portions of the Iditarod trail, now known as the Nation Historic trail were used as a mail and supply route from coastal towns to the interior mining towns which become completely ice bound during winter months.  Sled dogs delivered mail, food, and supplies and were the only means of communication. The invention of snowmobiles reduced the need for sled dogs and the tradition of “mushing” almost died out. The Iditarod race began in 1973 as a way to preserve sled dog culture and the Iditarod trail and has grown into the competitive race it is today.

Teams average 16 dogs, and there are usually close to 1,000 dogs in the race and 50 to 60 mushers. The race usually lasts between 9 and 15 days, with the quickest record being 8 days and 13 hours, and the longest lasting 32 days and 15 hours.Read More…

Dog Breed Guide: Saint Bernard

A Saint Bernard with pet insurance from Pets Best.

Dr. Marc is a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

About the Saint Bernard

Height (to base of neck): females 25.5″ males 27.5″

Weight:  110-200 lb

Color: Dark mask and ears are favored. Red with white markings, white with red markings and brindle with white are accepted.

Origin: Switzerland

Coat: Very dense with hairs that lie smoothly and is slightly wavy.

Life Expectancy: 8-9  years

Energy level: Low to moderate

Exercise needs: Low to moderate

Is a Saint Bernard the Right Dog Breed for You?

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Show your puppy some love with home-baked biscuits

A pet with dog insurance helps his owner bake some treats.Animal lovers and pet insurance enthusiasts everywhere will be excited to learn that today is National Dog Biscuit Day! And while it might be easy to swing by the store on your way home from work, why not bake some dog biscuits in your own kitchen? It’s easier than you might think!

Even if you don’t consider yourself a baker, don’t worry. The best recipes only require a few easy-to-find ingredients, which won’t take a toll on pet health if given in moderation. They’re also much easier to make than people treats. And of course, we pretty much guarantee your dog will scarf them right up.

Peanut Butter Bones
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. white flour
1/2 c. natural peanut butter (no added sugar, salt, etc.)
1 c. water
2 tbsp. oil

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine oil, peanut butter and water. Add flour gradually until dough is formed. Knead it and roll it out to about 1/4″ inch thick. Cut into shapes with a bone-shaped cookie cutter and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for about 18 minutes. Keep a close eye on them because they’ll burn fast once they’re done baking!

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Why is My Pet’s Nose Wet or Dry?

A dog with a cold, wet nose.

By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a pet health insurance agency for dogs and cats.

There is an old wives’ tale that a dog or cat’s health can be assessed by the state of their nose. Typically, cat and dog noses are wet and cold, but why? What does it mean if they are warm and dry?

Often times, pet owners think that if their pet’s nose is dry, then the pet must be sick. Conversely, many people think that if a pet’s nose is wet and cold, then the pet is healthy. The truth is that a wet, cold nose has no bearing on your pet’s health, and it is not a reliable way to gage if your pet is sick or healthy.

One reason that cat and dog noses are typically wet is because pets like to lick their noses often. This moistens the nose and keeps that wet feeling. Sometimes, dogs and cats can have a warm, dry nose naturally. However, it can sometimes be a sign of dehydration. Pets that are dehydrated may have dry noses, but a dry nose doesn’t always mean your pet is sick. The humidity and temperature of the air also contributes to how wet or dry your pet’s nose will be.

If you notice a wet, runny nose with clear or colored discharge, then your pet may have an infection or other nasal disease and should be seen by your veterinarian for proper treatment. Some pets will always have dry, cracked noses even when they are healthy otherwise. This is especially true of senior pets.

The best way to assess your pet’s health is to monitor for decreased appetite, lethargy or abnormal behavior. Read More…

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