Author Archives: Dr. Jack Stephens

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…

5 Tips for Socializing Your Puppy

A black Labrador puppy needs to be socialized for best behavior.

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.

Congratulations on adopting a puppy! The quicker you instill a clear, concise and consistent training regimen, the faster the chance that your overly energetic puppy develops into a mature, well-behaved dog.

Think of your fast-growing puppy as a sponge, soaking up all experiences inside your home and outside during walks and outings. Experiences – fun and frightening – are being downloaded by your pup. He needs and depends on you for guidance on how not to panic.

Set your puppy up for success by socializing him properly and teaching him how to play with a purpose. The sooner you can introduce fun and positive learning to your puppy, the less likely it is you’ll have to deal with serious behavior problems when he reaches adulthood.

Looking for fun ways to socialize your puppy? Once your puppy has completed his set of puppy vaccines to bolster its immune system, consider these five outings:

1. Spend 15 minutes once a week in front of your supermarket with your puppy. This busy place provides the perfect place for your puppy to meet all types of people, including hat-wearers, those with beards, little children, and individuals in wheelchairs. Make sure your puppy is sporting a harness and is leashed.

2. Bring your puppy with you to an outdoor café. Sip your favorite beverage while your puppy takes in all the sights, sounds and smells. Be sure to bring a portable bowl, a plastic bottle of water, and a few tasty treats for your puppy. Treat him to a brisk 30-minute walk or run right before entering the eatery to provide a suitable outlet for his puppy energy.Read More…

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…

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