By: Donna Cejalvo
Pets Best Insurance Director of Partner Programs
Now that Memorial Day has come and gone and our boat is prepped for the upcoming summer, our weekends will be spent enjoying the clear waters and warm summer sun on the lake with our dogs Piper and Dodger.
Piper, our sweet Pit Bull, must have been a fish in another life. Not only does she love to swim, but she can spend hours diving into the lake after her Water Wubba (fetch toy).
Dodger, on the other hand, (or paw) is our English Pointer mix who enjoys watching all the action from the boat, and prefers to stay dry and warm.
During boating season, there are several precautions we take to ensure the pet health and safety of our four-legged best friends while we’re on the water.
1. Personal Flotation Devices for pets
If your dog is not a natural swimmer, (and surprisingly, not all are) life jackets are a must. In the spring and early summer months, the water temperature can be quite frigid, so hypothermia and exhaustion are concerns. Although Piper is a strong swimmer, we make sure she wears her life jacket on the boat—that way we are able to rest easy knowing that if she accidentally fell overboard or jumped in to chase a duck, she would be safe. Doggy life jackets can be purchased at most major marine stores and at some local pet shops.
2. Give them time to find their sea legs
Dodger loves both car and boat rides, but not all dogs do! If your dog is prone to motion sickness in the car, boating may not be for him. However, if you do decide to bring them along, allow your pets to familiarize themselves with the boat while it’s still on land. It’s also a good idea to give them a bit of time to get used to the rocking motion and the sound of the engine before you jet off.
3. SPF Protection
Sunscreen is a must if your dog has short hair, light-colored fur, or pale skin. Dodger has all of the above and is prone to nose burns if he’s out in the sun even for a few minutes. Areas where dogs have less fur such as their abdomens and the inside of their legs are more-likely to burn. If you can’t provide your dog with ample shade while enjoying the warm summer sun, try a natural, non-toxic, non-irritating sun screen. If you can’t find sunscreen specially formulated for dogs, try sunscreens made for children and babies.
4. Fresh H20
Keep dog health care in mind when you’re on the water! Unlike humans, dogs only have sweat glands on their noses and on the pads of their paws. They’re unable to cool themselves down as efficiently as humans, so they’re at a greater risk of overheating. Dogs cool themselves off by panting and drinking water, so make sure you have plenty available. Traditional dog bowls don’t work well on bouncing boats, so we use a spill-proof travel bowl. Water bottles are also a good option to keep your pooch hydrated.
5. Bladder Relief
Give your dog the opportunity to go ashore before you jump aboard. And if your boat allows, you can train your dog to do his business in a designated spot.
We keep these tips in mind whenever we go boating to make sure our two first-mates get the best possible dog health care and supervision on the lake.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
Dr. Suzanne Phillips thinks people often treat their pets better than their spouses.
While dog and cat health care, emotional demands and physical needs are often readily met by owners—they often neglect to provide the same for their human counterpart.
In her article on PsychCentral, the psychologist argues that we can learn how to improve our human interactions by focusing on how we treat the relationships we’ve fostered with Fluffy or Fido.
According to the news provider, pets “throw up on rugs, pee in the house and steal food from the countertops. Yet we accept their flaws because we love them so much.”
When pet health needs attention, they don’t like their new food, or they badger owners for a walk, the pet owner gladly folds to meet their pet’s demands, yet The New York Times reports “people often describe pets as undemanding and giving unconditional love, when the reality is that pets require a lot of time and attention.”
In her work, Dr. Phillips told the news source, she thinks it’s remarkable how much two people can differ—but when it comes to their pets, they’re most usually on the same page.
“Although couples may vehemently disagree on most topics, they usually both soften in manner and tone to agree that the dog, cat, bird or horse is great,” Dr. Phillips wrote in her PsychCentral article.
The New York Times reported a few ways Dr. Phillips suggests we can improve our relationships with our significant others (in treating them more like the beloved pet.)
Amp up your greetings: Even after a rotten day people greet their pets with excitement. Try doing the same with your significant other.
Let go of that grudge: After wrecking the furniture or making a mess on the floor, we don’t stay mad at pets. If your wife or hubby forgets to pay a bill or get the oil changed, let it go.
Give the benefit of the doubt: When a pet does something wrong we don’t take it personally and we forgive rapidly. When your significant other seems to be out of line, try reacting with an open mind.
“The old expression ‘you get what you give’ may apply here,” writes Dr. Phillips in her article. “Maybe it has potential to enhance your relationship.”
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
Ask any pet enthusiast what they know about puppy mills and they’ll likely detail horrific images of filthy cages stuffed with puppies in poor dog health.
According to Almost Home Rescue website, a puppy mill is “a large-scale breeding operation that produces large numbers of puppies for profit.”
The site also says that most mills are terribly inhumane and treat their dogs horrifically in order to make a dime.
Often times, puppy mills are housed in large warehouses and rampant with disease. Both puppies and older dogs alike are stacked in cages—one on top of another, and dogs are forced to breed prolifically without proper pet health care or medical attention.
According to The Dog Liberator homepage, puppy mills don’t vaccinate their animals, which can pose severe threats to dogs that have been purchased, even unknowingly, from a mill.
The site advises to “never purchase a pup without visiting the premises, [and] meeting the breeders, and their dogs.”
According to websites including the No Puppy Mills, VA site, there are a few ways to detect whether that little ball of fluff you’ve been eyeing is from a puppy mill. If any of these sound familiar, steer clear!
Even “saving” one of these puppies (with good intentions) perpetuates the need for these kinds of dogs and will ultimately help the horrible industry.
1. Multiple kinds of breeds are being bred and sold. The No Puppy Mills, VA site says good breeders will stick to one or two breeds.
2. The puppies are registered with registries you’ve never heard of—or they’re not registered at all.
3. They breed more than a few litters each year. They breed females during every heat cycle or they start breeding them before they’re old enough (between 18-24 months.)
4. They create rare breeds by mixing dogs and creating odd names like “Dalimer.”
5. They want to meet you somewhere, like in a parking lot, to show you the puppies.
6. They tell you the pup hasn’t had its shots, and seem blasé about dog health in general.
7. They don’t seem too concerned about your background or what you intend to do with the puppy.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
Taking your pooch to the dog park is not only good for pet health, but it can also be entertaining for the pet owner.
Have you ever noticed all the creative pet names? Sometimes they’re not only funny, they’re downright bizarre.
“Here Nigel Butt-Sniffer, come here boy!”
These days, it seems pet owners are becoming much more comical when it comes to naming their pets.
I’ve compiled a list of the funniest names I’ve heard here at Pets Best Insurance, on the web, and though our families and friends.
1. Captain Naughty Pants- This unfortunate cat actually responded to his name when called by one of my former roommates. I always wondered if cats could be embarrassed, if so, this “captain” surely was.
2. Salvador Dagi- Pronounced “Salvador Doggie,” this Great Dane was named as an homage to the highly regarded painter (best known for his images of melting clocks.)
3. Fluffy Butt- When I began working at Pets Best Insurance, I loved hearing the hilarious, very creative names our policy holders came up with for their pets. Fluffy Butt has been my favorite, thus far.
4. Turkey Lips- I found this name on cat-dog-names.com and couldn’t help but snicker.
5. One-Hung-Lo- From the same website at above, the family who opted for this dog name explained that as a puppy, their Pekingese’s tummy dragged on the floor. The breed also originated from ancient China, and so One-Hung-Lo stuck.
6. Sir Coconut- I found this funny name on the website noted above. The owners of Sir Coconut said they call their pooch “Nutty” for short.
7. Burnt Marshmallow Crème Puff- Received his doggy name because his owners thought their black and white dog looked like a burnt marshmallow.
8. Princess Petunia Red Tipped Banana Fanny- Who also commonly goes by the alias of “Tippy” was named by the owner’s grandson.
9. Ja Lue Grum Doo- My best friend’s Schnauzer, whose actual name is Juliet (quite the stretch) started responding to the funny names my friend dubbed her, and this one stuck. She will also respond to “Gwub-ed,” and “Gwubbie.”
10. Your Mom- Also from the same website as above, Your Mom’s owner has quite a sense of humor, as you can tell. He wrote that his favorite thing to tell people is “Your Mom was licking my ears this morning.”
Does your dog or cat have a funny name? Visit us at www.facebook.com/petsbestinsurance and post it to our wall!
By: Dr. Jack Stephens, DVM
Pets Best Insurance President
The warm season will soon be upon us, and if you live somewhere with long winters (like I do) then you’ll be ready for it! However, if you often travel by vehicle with your pet, then you need to be aware that leaving your pet in a car with the windows rolled up can be very dangerous for pet health. In the summer months, cars heat up incredibly fast. Even leaving your pet in a car briefly can be deadly.
Of course we all know that cars warm up in the sun, but some pet owners do not realize just how hot it can become. As a comparison, try wearing a light coat or sweater. Roll up your windows and sit in your car. This is what it feels like for our pets when they’re left behind on a hot summer day. It becomes unbearable much more quickly than you would think.
In the summer Torrey, my miniature Chihuahua, has to stay home more often as I run daily errands to the grocery store, the hardware store and other weekend jaunts. Although Torrey is not happy about being left behind, I take comfort in knowing she will be safe upon my return.
It’s also important to remember that if you leave your dog outside during the day, you should ensure they have proper shade and plenty of cold water. Allow for sun shifting throughout the day, and plan to keep your pet in an area that always has adequate shield from the sun no matter the time of day. Pets do not perspire; they lose heat by panting and on a hot day your pet can lose a lot of body water which needs to be replenished. Long haired and large dogs are even more susceptible to the heat. Keep all these tips in mind, and your dog or cat will be in prime pet health.