Author Archives: Hadley Rush

Pet health: Winter diet needs

A dog sits with some healthy veggies.

It is important that your pet be fed a high quality diet throughout the year. This will provide them the nutrients they need to live a healthier life.

In addition to providing a healthy pet food, you should consider providing your pet quality health care, too, including pet insurance.

According to Richard Pitcairn, DVM, author of “The Complete Guide to Natural Health For Dogs And Cats,” exposure to cold weather demands increased calories to keep them warm. He suggests these calories are best supplied by a high-fat diet. Some examples of foods that provide a balanced protein to fat content include lean hamburger or roasted chicken. Never give your dog bones to eat. Make sure any meat you give your dog is fully cooked to avoid any illnesses due to bacteria.

The amount of food that indoor pets are fed should be monitored as well. During the cold winter months, indoor pets are often less active. This can cause them to gain weight even though they are eating the same amount of food they eat when they are active. To prevent weight gain this winter, engage in daily physical activity with your pet. This can mean a few short walks throughout the day or a game of fetch in the backyard.

Pet health: Keep outdoor cats safe and warm

An old cat keeps warm during the winter.
Posted by: H.R.
For Pets Best Insurance

While our beloved pets are safest inside the home, especially in the winter and if they are aging or ill, cats that are found as strays are sometimes hard to break of their outdoor habits and roots.

There’s something to be said for cats that have spent some time “on the street.” They’ve learned extra skills and know how to adapt to their environment. But that doesn’t mean an outdoor cats health won’t benefit from their owner practicing some cold weather safety tips. Having cat insurance for your pet can also help to be prepared for any accidents or illnesses that occur during the winter months. Companies like Pets Best Insurance can help to cover a portion of vet bills.

As winter approaches, a cat who spends time outdoors will grow a thicker coat and shed less often to stay warm. However, they burn more calories to stay warm as well. According to the Oregon Humane Society, outdoor kitties can be fed more during the winter so that they get extra calories. They will burn off those calories staying warm and getting extra exercise.

Only plastic or heated bowls should be used outside, as opposed to metal. While metal is the best bowl for indoor use, as it promotes pet health because it is non-porous and resists bacterial overgrowth, metal will freeze outdoors in the winter.

Supply safe outdoor cat shelter that is covered, insulated with straw, and is turned away from the direction of the wind. The organization Alley Cat Advocates put a simple idea for a homemade cat shelter on their site, made from a styrofoam cooler. Heated beds specifically for outdoor use are also available for purchase at pet stores and online.

Pet insurance options increase as pet health care advances

A dog with pet insurance waits for pet health care.

Nancy Keates, an author for The Wall Street Journal, has a theory for the reason behind the 8.5% increase in veterinary costs in 2010 (double the cost from 2000).

She wrote in the article, “The $20,000 Pet,” that advanced treatment options, new technology, and “an increasingly sophisticated cadre of veterinarians” are treating conditions that weren’t even being diagnosed a few years ago.

“With some of the advances in human health care spreading to the animal kingdom, pet owners have many more options for treatment—and many more chances to fork over money to cure their pets or at least prolong their pets’ lives,” wrote Keates.

As veterinary costs continue to rise, so does interest in pet health insurance.

“Once considered an afterthought at best and a joke at worst, insurance for dogs and cats is appealing to more consumers as a way to ease the financial bite of pet care,” wrote Keates.

The number of pet insurance companies is rising as more pet owners realize just what the love of a dog or a cat means to them.

Pets can now be treated for illnesses for which veterinarians were simply prescribing euthanization a few years ago. Dog health care is becoming as specialized and sophisticated as care for humans thanks to MRIs, radiation and CAT scans.

One benefit all this advancement in care may be having: as dogs and cats are now cured and living longer than expected, they are seen increasingly more as loving, cherished creatures for millions of pet loving households.

Pet health: Wet food or dry food

A white dog with pet insurance looks at a bowl of food.

When it comes to caring for your pets there are many important decisions to make, such as selecting the best pet insurance and choosing food for your pet.

Deciding whether to feed them wet or dry food can be as difficult as choosing the brand. When deciding if you are going to be feeding your pet wet food, dry food, or a combination of both, you should make sure that you choose a high quality healthy dog food or a healthy cat food.

When it comes to choosing pet food, there are several reasons that wet food is an ideal choice. Wet dog food and cat food tends to have higher nutritional value than dry food and contains higher amounts of protein, vitamins and moisture.

It is also more appealing to picky eaters due to the variety of flavors available and the overall texture. Due to the way it is packaged, wet food is less processed than dry food and fewer preservatives are needed. Additionally, wet food is easier to chew, which makes it a good choice for very young and senior-aged pets. The downside to wet food is that it spoils quickly after opening and it is more expensive than dry food. Some people also have a hard time with the scent.

Dry dog food and cat food is a better choice when it comes to exercising your pet’s jaw muscles. Other advantages of dry food are that it is cost efficient and has a longer shelf life once it has been opened. The downside to dry food is its reduced nutritional value due to the baking process. To keep its shelf stability, dry food has more preservatives than wet food.

Pets Best Insurance’s tips to take the chill out of winter pet danger

A woman who has Pets Best Insurance for her dog plays with her pet in the snow.

Posted by: H.R.
For Pets Best Insurance

Colder weather means harsher conditions for dogs and cats, as well as added pet stress. Pets Best Insurance offers complete pet health insurance for dogs and cats with the freedom to choose veterinarians. Although they will be there to help out if a pet has an accident or illness, the company recommends taking precautions to ensure that pets stay healthy all winter long.

Frostbite and hypothermia are among the most common dog and cat dangers that require veterinarian treatment during winter months. Severe frostbite can result in amputations, and hypothermia can occur in any pet that is not properly acclimated to cold outdoor air.

According to Jennifer Hennessey, DVM, an emergency veterinarian in Dallas, Texas, “the biggest risks of cold weather illness are with the pets that are not adjusted to spending lots of time outdoors; pets less adapted to the elements—the same problem we face in pets in summer.”

Hennessey recommends building outdoor shelters for both dogs and cats. Covered, insulated shelters, with openings that face away from the wind, offer safe, warm hideouts. Adequate shelter may reduce the chances that cats will seek warmth in dangerous locations, such as under car hoods.

“I’ve seen the results of a cat that was sleeping under a hood and near a fan blade when a car was started,” said John Van Zante of the Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego, California. “Some live through it but that usually involves the loss of a tail, paw, ear, or some other body parts.”

Banging on the hood while approaching the car and honking the horn before starting the engine can help scare away any animals that may be perched under the hood.

Antifreeze is both tempting and toxic to pets. Some companies now include a bitterant in their coolant and have developed “pet-friendly” antifreeze, less toxic blends that are more environmentally friendly.

Winter is harder on elderly and ill pets. Pets Best Insurance offers routine wellness cat and dog health care coverage, and recommends having a pets health evaluated by a veterinarian before any strenuous winter activities or trips.

According to Justine Lee, DVM, an emergency critical care veterinary specialist in Minnesota who also works with sled dogs in Alaska, time spent in non-running cars should be limited, and running cars must be well-ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Pets in unheated cars should also have extra warmth protection such as jackets and blankets, but “if a dog has underlying hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) or a medical condition where he can’t regulate his temperature normally, I wouldn’t recommend [leaving the pet in the car] at all,” said Lee

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