Author Archives: Dr. Jack Stephens

6 Boat Safety Tips for Pets

a dog standing on a boat deckBy 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.

These days you see dogs on all sorts of motorized water crafts, from sail boats, to jet boats, to house boats. The ways to enjoy our rivers, lakes and the open sea are endless. So if you plan to have your pet play on the water with you in a motorized boat, it’s important to know how to keep your pets safe on the water.

For starters, not all dogs or cats relish being boat pets. Be candid when assessing if your pet wants to cruise as much as you do. Gradually acclimate your pet to the boating life. Spend time in the boat with them without turning on the motor. The next time, turn on the motor but stay at the dock. Gradually build up their sea legs.

Heed these other tips to ensure a safe boating voyage for all:

1. School your pet

Boat pets must also heed basic obedience commands, such as sit, stay and come. They must also know nautical commands, such as “on boat” and “off boat.” Practice rescue drills to ensure your pet will paddle to safety spots – floatable doggy ramps or stairs.

2. Invest in pet life vests

Boat pets should wear lightweight pet life vests that feature hand grips on top so you can easily grab your pet. This makes it much easier to grab them whether they fell into the water or are caught in a strong current.

3. Provide a poop deck

A favorite among boats with longer-term pet guests is to designate an area of the boat to have a grass-like turf that contains a canine-beckoning scent and is easily washed with a hose. Place a litter box in the galley for your cat.

4. Don’t slip up

Provide non-skid flooring to ensure steady footing by your pet and do not let your pet venture on the deck without your supervision and without being leashed.

5. Be a stair master

Work out a plan for your dogs to reach the top deck and head back down. In the houseboat we rented, the stairs were steep and narrow, but feature slip-proof backings. We were able to easily cradle our small dog but for our 60-pound dog, we learned to have someone on the top deck and someone on the bottom deck so we could usher her carefully up one step to the next.

6. Keep them healthy

Ensure your pet is current on all necessary vaccinations to especially protect against parasites and giardia. Always rinse your pet thoroughly with clean water after each swim and always keep your Pets Best pet insurance policy current. Know the location of the nearest veterinary clinic at each harbor should a pet emergency arise.

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Pets Bring Us Together – A Great Lesson from an Autistic Girl

A little girl and Great Pyrenees dog sit on a dock together.By Coleen Ellis, founder of the Two Hearts Pet Loss Center and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency.

I know the old cliché is really very true: birds of a feather flock together.  Or, maybe better said, people who are alike can relate to others like them! Whichever way, I love the organic raw truthfulness of the nature of the comment.

When others find out that I’m in the pet industry, in particular as a pet loss professional and dealing with the very intimate topic of the death of these amazing pets that we love, I hear the most incredible stories.  Stories from the heart, stories that speak of such love and innocence.  Stories like this from a colleague of mine in the death-care profession, Faye Bonini.

Here’s Faye’s story:

My daughter Allison has some special needs (autism spectrum) and can be repetitive in her conversation. When she meets someone (waitress, cashier, person sitting near us in a restaurant), she always (and I mean always!) asks: Do you have a dog?

Allison has found this to be a great intro-statement, because everyone either has a dog or has had a dog – and everyone loves to talk about their dog. They show her pictures and sometimes even give her a picture of their dog. People absolutely light up when they tell her about their pet.

When I’ve enjoyed this most is when it’s a senior…perhaps sitting alone at a restaurant or standing next to us in a store. It is heartwarming to see the spark in their eyes when they talk about their pet – perhaps a pet who died many years ago. It brightens their day to have someone take the time to talk to them – and allow them to talk about their beloved pet.Read More…

Breed Guide: Pug

A Pug dog looks at the cameraDr. Marc is a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

About the Pug

Height (to base of neck): 10-11″

Weight: 14-18lbs

Color: Fawn, apricot, silver and black. Black or dark ears and muzzle.

Origin: Asia

Coat: Fine short double coat.

Life Expectancy: 13-15 years

Energy level: Moderate

Exercise needs: Low to moderate

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

8 Tips for Staying at Pet Friendly Hotels

dog in hotel roomBy 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.

More often than not, my business road trips include the company of my dogs, Chipper and Cleo or my therapy cat, Zeki. In the past few years, we’ve traveled to seven states inside my SUV.

Let me share eight tips to guarantee that the hotel staff will put out the welcome mat for your four-legged travel mate:

1. Hit the Internet before you hit the road

With the popularity of pets joining their people on road trips, there are more pet travel websites that offer lots of details on pet-welcoming hotels and their specific pet policies. Sites such as and include candid guest reviews and Fido Friendly Magazine’s team of roving correspondents give first-person accounts of their stays with their pets at lodgings throughout North America.

2. Heed the hotel rules

Some hotels prohibit leaving pets in your hotel room unsupervised. Other guests do not want to hear yapping dogs or howling cats who may be frightened and wondering where you are when you want to go out for dinner or sightsee. Budget to include paying for a dog walker or doggy day care for times you will be out and about without your pet.Read More…

Retention Marketing for Veterinary Practices – Part 1

A veterinarian exams a cat, ensure your clients feel like they matter to your practice.

By: Dr. Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.

Reports indicate that it is about 10 times more expensive to acquire a client than to retain those that you already have. Thus, acquisition marketing has a much higher price tag than just communicating, educating, and relationship building with the pet parents that you already have.

SO, doesn’t it make sense to do everything that you possibly can to keep, preserve, and retain that which is rightfully, dutifully and already YOURS. Therefore, shouldn’t the bulk of your advertising or marketing budget be directed towards retaining your already satisfied clients. Thus the term RETENTION MARKETING is used to describe any and all communications, promotions, marketing, etc. that is developed to maintain, keep or retain clients that are already part of your hospital family.

In a Research Project conducted a few years ago, the following reasons for leaving a business as a client were identified:

1% Death

3% Moved away

5% Buy from a friend

9% Are sold by a competitor

14% Product or service price

68% Perceived indifference

Over two thirds of clients will leave a practice because of the way they are treated, because they feel your practice is indifferent to them being a client!! Doesn’t it make sense to focus on the manner in which our clients are treated at all points during the relationship. You lose clients because they don’t have a sense of relationship with you. The goal of Retention Marketing is to strengthen that relationship.

Retention Marketing may be less expensive than acquisition marketing but that doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, sometimes the expectations that your clients have developed for your practice are so great that you actually have to perform at a higher level for your existing clients. So, although the financial outlay may not be as great, the emotional and time contributed may be greater.

What is included in Retention Marketing?Read More…

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