Author Archives: Dr. Jack Stephens

Cat Breed Guide: Chartreux

A Chartreux cat with pet insurance from Pets Best.

By Dr. Fiona, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

About the Chartreux

Weight:  Female 7-10 lb, male 10-17 lb

Points of conformation: Broad rounded head with well developed jaw.  Short limbs with deep chest and short neck.  Small round paws.

Coat: Medium-short double hair coat is woolly, plush and soft.  Coat can take up to 5 years to fully develop.

Color: Blue gray with silver tips.

Grooming needs: Minimal, although they are heavy seasonal shedders due to double hair coat and will require more attention during these times.

Origin: France

Behavior Traits: Gentle and placid.

Is a Chartreux cat right for You?

The Chartreux is known for its ‘smiling’ expression.  While gentle, at the same time they are playful and can be good mousers.  They crave affection and will often follow their owners around the house.  They are adaptable and intelligent.

Common Illnesses, Medical Conditions and Accidents for the Chartreux

According to the number of cat insurance claims Pets Best receives

Medical Issue  Average Claim Amount 
 Ear infection  $87
 Lymphoma  $5,621
 Arthritis  $443
 Hyperthyroidism  $109


Protect Your Chartreux with Pet Insurance

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6 Reasons Cats Knead

A kitten lays on a blanket kneading its paws.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 cat insurance and dog insurance agency.

As I type this, my 10-month-old kitten, Casey, is sprawled across my lap, purring like a diesel-engine and rhythmically pushing his front paws up and down on my jeans. He sports a blissful look. But that’s expected because he is performing what feline fans affectionately refer to as “making biscuits” – the nickname for the term, kneading. The action mimics a baker kneading dough.

Animal behaviorists note that cats knead for many reasons. Since our feline friends aren’t talking, pet experts can only theorize as to why they knead laps, blankets and even the family dog.

1. First, felines are born kneaders. Nursing kittens instinctively know that by kneading on their mothers’ bellies, the paw-pushing action around their mothers’ nipples while they suckle will hasten the flow of milk.

2. Even after a kitten is weaned, he remembers the happy feeling of a full belly that came with kneading and nursing. Many continue kneading well into adulthood because the action puts them into a contented mood.

Here are other possible reasons cats knead:Read More…

4 Nutritional Tips for Senior Dogs

A senior golden retriever dog is happy because he's getting the proper nutrition.

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

As dogs enter their golden years, their nutritional needs change as well. Here are four tips to keep your young-at-heart senior dog healthy.

1. Consider Calories
Some senior dogs tend to become obese as they age due to decreased physical activity and a slower metabolism. If your senior dog is overweight, it may be time to swap to a diet dog food. On the other hand, some senior dogs tend to lose weight and become very thin because they are not digesting and absorbing food as well as they used to. These dogs may need to increase their daily calories or change to a food that is more calorie dense such as a puppy food. If your senior dog is a healthy weight, there is no need to change his food. Consult with your veterinarian for a dietary recommendation based on your dog’s specific needs.

2. Make Dental Health a Priority
Most dogs needs their teeth cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler and polisher at least once a year. As dog’s age, they may need their teeth cleaned more frequently. This is especially true in small dogs such as Chihuahuas, toy poodles and terriers. If you see any brown or grey build up at the gum line, it’s time for a dental cleaning! Often times, older dogs have periodontal disease that causes painful, loose teeth that need to be extracted (removed). If your dog has dental extractions, it is best for them to eat soft food for the week following these extractions. Contrary to popular belief, dogs can eat dry food just fine, even without any teeth! There are special diets that can help keep teeth clean between cleanings called “Dental Diets,” and your vet can recommend one for your aging canine companion.

3. Incorporate Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These oils, found primarily in fish, are very helpful in aging dogs. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to older dogs because they are natural anti-inflammatories. Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your dog’s diet can help reduce pain and inflammation from arthritis and give coats a shiny, healthy look. Consult with your veterinarian when adding in Omega-3 fatty acids to be sure that your dog is getting the right amount.Read More…

Dog Breed Guide: Shiba Inu

A Shiba Inu 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 Shiba Inu

Height (to base of neck): females 13.5-15.5″ males 14.5-16.5″

Weight:  females 17 lb, males 23 lb

Color: Black and tan, red and sesame, with specific white or cream patterns.

Origin: Japan

Coat: Double coat with thick, dense short undercoat and straight hard outer coat.

Life Expectancy: 12-13  years

Energy level: Moderate

Exercise needs: Moderate

Breed Nicknames: Shiba


Is a Shiba Inu the Right Dog Breed for You?

Read More…

The 4 Best (and Safest) Places to Pet Your Cat

A cat lays down while its owner pets its head.

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 pet health insurance agency for dogs and cats.

One of the best ways to communicate, bond with your cat is through touch. Most cats love, love, love to be petted, stroked and scratched. But there is an art to performing purposeful petting that will ignite your cat’s contented purr machine and even put you in an elevated mood.

Yes, there are definitely places on your cat that welcome pets and definitely places that are off-limits or that may trigger a hiss or even a paw swipe directed toward you. Keeping in mind that cats come in a wide-range of personalities and tolerance levels, here are the purr-fect places to pet your cat:

1. The cheeks. Cats have concentrated scent glands located on their lips and cheeks. We can’t smell the oily residue that is deposited from these glands, but other cats certainly can. Gliding your fingers across your cat’s cheeks and lips release these glands, explaining why these are welcoming petting spots for most felines.

2. The forehead and between the eyes. Some cats boldly initiate a petting session by bumping their heads against you. This is known as bunting. Your cat is conveying to you that he is in the mood for you to finger-pet the top of his head and to perform a gentle finger glide between his eyes.Read More…

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