Author Archives: Dr. Jack Stephens

Dogs on Deployment Mascot is Protected by Pets Best

Sgt Valdez hugging his dog Midas

Sgt. Valdez and his dog Midas. Photo courtesy of Dogs on Deployment

Together with Dogs on Deployment, Pets Best is pleased to announce that the 2014 Dogs on Deployment mascot, Midas, is now protected with pet insurance from Pets Best Insurance Services, a Dogs on Deployment “Silver Star” Sponsor.

Dogs on Deployment is a non-profit organization providing a central network for military members and volunteers willing to board their pets, to connect. Their mission is to give military members peace of mind concerning their pets during deployment or other service commitments by providing them with the ability to find people and resources available to help them.

Midas, the 2014 Military Pet of the Year and new Mascot for Dogs on Deployment, is owned by a United States Marine Corps veteran and is a Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) Service Dog. Midas’ owner, Sgt. Valdez is a returned wounded Marine who served four tours in Iraq and credits his life to Midas. Midas has also touched the lives of many other military members returning as civilians and coping with PTS.

Leaving a pet when deployed is always difficult for military members. They’re left wondering how their pets will be cared for while they’re away and unexpected veterinary bills can add up quickly. Pet insurance helps make veterinary care more affordable and helps provide peace of mind to deployed military members and the families fostering their pets.

You can help support our troops by making a donation to Dogs on Deployment or signing up to foster a deployed pet. To learn more about Dogs on Deployment, please visit

Pets Best is proud to offer a 5% discount to friends of Dogs on Deployment and an additional $40 donation to Dogs on Deployment for each completed pet insurance application through the Dogs on Deployment page on the Pets Best website (or use the referral code DOGSOND).

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Breed Guide: Cocker Spaniel

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

About the Cocker Spaniel

Height (to base of neck): female 14″, male 15″

Weight: female 24-26lbs, male 26-28lbs

Color: Black, cream, red, brown, part-colored and tan pointed.

Origin: England

Coat: Long, silky, and fine coat is straight to slightly wavy.

Life Expectancy: 13-16 years

Energy level: Moderate to high

Exercise needs: Moderate

Breed Nicknames: Cockers

Is a Cocker Spaniel the Right Dog Breed for You?Read More…

5 Reasons Dogs Expose Their Belly

puppy showing his bellyBy 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 dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

When it comes to communicating, canine “talk” is always clear and consistent whether they are communicating with people or other dogs. They “speak” by using postures, tail positions, tail movements, eyes and expressions.

One of the most common canine postures a dog displays is to flop on his back with all four legs hoisted up and swaying in the air. It is vital to consider the circumstances as well as to check the whole body first to really deduce the silent message being conveyed by a dog going belly up.

Here are the five main reasons dogs expose their bellies:

1) To garner love and attention from you. Happy dogs who go belly up at your feet when you return home may be doing their best to let you know that they adore you. The entire body is relaxed.

2) To seek assistance to scratch a hard-to-reach itch. Dogs are very flexible, but they lack opposable thumbs and may count on you to scratch an itch for them. This is a sign of trust in you.

3.) To convey a sense of feeling secure in his surroundings. Confident adult dogs in their own homes roll on their backs and get into a relaxed posture when taking naps – usually on the sofa or your bed.

4.) To catch a cool breeze on hot days. Although dogs attempt to regulate their body temperature by panting, some may park themselves next to circulating fans or air conditioner vents on hot days to catch the cool breeze on their bellies where there tends to be less hair in an attempt to cool down.

5.) To show respect to a higher-ranking dog or a person. Hierarchy is important in the canine world. A lesser-ranking dog may drop, plop upside down and avoid making any eye contact with a dog who is deemed to rank higher. By purposely exposing his vulnerable underbelly, this dog is communicating to the dominant dog that he comes in peace and has no intention of challenging his authority. Resist petting the bellies of a fearful dog as this action may unintentionally trigger a fear-bite response. Instead, speak to the fearful dog in an upbeat tone and reward him with a healthy treat or praise when he pops into the safer “sit” position.

One caution: Beware of dogs who make direct, hard stares and display tense bodies when exposing their bellies. Some cunning canines use this belly-up posture to lure a person or another dog closer to demonstrate dominance by growling or snapping or worse, biting. These are not relaxed dogs waiting for TLC. They are setting a trap. These dogs need to be reschooled in the basic cues of “sit,” “stay,” “watch me” and “down” to demote their status below that of you. Consider enrolling in an obedience class taught by a professional dog trainer certified in positive reinforcement training techniques.

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8 Tips for Taking a Road Trip with Your Pet

dog sitting in carBy 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 insurance agency for dogs and cats.

Imagine driving for three days, staying at two hotels and covering 1,383 miles with a 60-pound dog and a meow-happy cat. And, then a week later, repeating this trek to return home. Does that sound like your dream road trip? Surprisingly, it was for me!

Latest national pet surveys indicate more than 70 percent of people take their dogs – and yes, even some travel-savvy cats – on road trips.

To keep your sanity and to keep your pets safe during those long hours of drive, here are 8 tried-and-tested tips:

1) Pack with a purpose

Keep pet travel essentials in your vehicle. My must-have list include a water bowl, bottled water, extra leash and collar with identification tags, poop bags, an old towel, pre-moistened wipes, a basic first-aid kit, necessary medications, a copy of health records, bedding, treats, one or two favorite toys and at least a 3-day supply of food inside resealable plastic bags or containers.Read More…

Breed Guide: English Springer Spaniel

English Spinger SpanielDr. Marc is a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

About the English Springer Spaniel

Height (to base of neck): female 19″, male 20″

Weight: female 40lbs, male 50lbs

Color: Liver and white, black and white, tricolor, blue and liver roan.

Origin: England

Coat: Double coated with medium length hair that is flat to wavy. They have feathering on limbs and chest.

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Energy level: High

Exercise needs: High

Breed Nicknames: Springers

Is an English Springer Spaniel the Right Dog Breed for You?Read More…

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