Author Archives: Hadley Rush

Give your pet the gift of pet insurance this holiday season

A Yorkie gets pet insurance for Christmas.

If you are getting a new pet this holiday season, be sure to give your family the gift of peace-of-mind by getting pet insurance.

Pet insurance is a great way to ensure that your pet is covered in the case of an accident or illness. Not only is pet insurance a great gift for the holidays, it makes a great gift any time of the year.

It doesn’t matter if your new pet is pure bred or a mix, pet insurance makes sense. No dog is immune to accidents or illnesses. Pet health insurance is great to have when your new puppy decides to eat a sock and has an intestinal blockage that requires surgery. It’s also handy to have when your new kitten jumps off the couch and breaks its leg. Pet insurance is there for you and your pet when you need it most.

Pet insurance companies, like Pets Best Insurance, let you choose the pet insurance plan that meets the needs of you and your pet. You choose the deductible that fits your budget. You can also choose how much coverage you want your pet to have. It’s a customizable plan that covers what you need without breaking the bank.

Ease some of the stress that can come with owning a new pet by having them covered under a pet insurance plan. Call Pets Best Insurance today for a free quote at 866-440-2020 or visit them at

*Please note: If you’d like to purchase a pet insurance plan as a gift, please make sure the pet’s owner reads and completes the application. It may take away some of the surprise of gift-giving, but it’s a legal requirement.

Overview of 101 Dog Tricks: Step By Step Activities To Engage, Challenge And Bond With Your Dog

A girl teaches a dog how to do a trick.
Posted by: H.R.
For Pets Best Insurance

The book 101 Dog Tricks: Step By Step Activities To Engage, Challenge, and Bond With Your Dog is one of the largest pet books targeted at teaching dog tricks.

The book offers step-by-step instructions with a difficulty rating for each trick. Along with detailed instructions, the book offers beautiful full-color photos of each trick. Learning new tricks will mentally stimulate your dog and at the same time strengthen your bond with your dog. This is a book every pet owner should have!

Each trick has trouble-shooting advice as well as dog training tips to help your dog learn. The book also offers “build-on” ideas which allow you to teach more complicated tricks using the simple skills your dog has already acquired.

The tricks are broken down and categorized by their skill level. The levels include easy, intermediate, advanced, and expert. The tricks taught in the book range from sit and stay to bring me the newspaper.

If you are looking for a book to help you teach your new puppy basic commands, this is probably not the book for you. However, if you are looking for a book that builds on your dog’s basic knowledge and can help you teach them to do more advanced tricks, this is definitely the book for you. The tricks are easy to teach and can be taught to a dog no matter what previous dog training techniques have been used.

How to introduce your pet to a new baby

A baby sits with a large black dog.

By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell
For Pets Best Insurance

By taking the right steps in the beginning, the relationship between pets and children can become a lifelong bond. Pets can be an important part of childhood, but introducing a new baby into a household that already has pets can require a little planning and foresight. Planning prior to your new arrival can ensure the smoothest possible transition to a larger family.

It is best to start preparing your dog before the new baby comes home. Make sure your dog is comfortable being independent, as you will have your hands full. If you have a dog that is used to following you from room to room, you might start placing baby gates to confine the dog to the areas of the house that will be separate from the baby.

You should also ensure your dog is used to sleeping on its own, either in a crate or a separate bedroom, and not in your bed or your children’s bed. You’ll also want to ensure you have a way to separate your pet from the baby in the car, either by purchasing a barrier, considering a harness and seatbelt, or confining a smaller dog to a crate. Start using these prior to having a baby in the car seat.

You might see how your dog reacts to a stroller. Some dogs might be scared of the wheels, or try to jump on it. Getting used to walks with a stroller before there is a baby in it will be easier. You might try walking with another adult, someone to push the stroller and another adult to manage the dog. Be sure to make this fun, and reward with treats for well mannered leash walks with a stroller!

Some dogs are very sensitive to or scared of loud sounds. It sounds silly, but playing a recording of crying might help you to see how your dog will react. If s/he is scared or anxious of the sounds, you can start the recording low at first, and then slowly increase to volume over time, all while playing, grooming or petting him/her to desensitize from the sound. Reward for good behavior. Shorter noise sessions frequently will be more successful.

For the baby’s actual homecoming, make sure you have at least two adults available, one that can tend to the dog and another that can tend to the baby. Put your dog on a leash, even if the leash is just dragging on the ground, this will make it easier control, especially a larger dog, if needed. Don’t force the introduction; just allow the pet to be around the new baby. Allow your pet to politely sniff the baby, but if s/he becomes overly interested, or wants to lick, distract with a squeaky toy and divert their attention. If the pet becomes fearful, tucks its tail, or snarls, have the extra adult calmly pick up the leash without scolding and walk the dog away from the baby. It is extremely important that pets that exhibit untrustworthy signs be kept separately from young children.

Having animals in the family while kids are young can be very rewarding, and help teach many life lessons, in addition to providing friendship. Contact your veterinarian with additional or specific questions.

Try a change in diet for dog skin allergies

A dog takes a bit of food from his owner.

Allergies in dogs often consist of pesky irritations that see the dog returning to the vet time and time again for creams, ointment, pills and shots.

Dog allergy symptoms include hair loss, ear infections, hot spots, inflammation, and itchy, flaking skin.

Although Dog Insurance would help keep vet costs for dog allergies treatment more manageable, often all that is required is a change in diet. Having dog and cat insurance for pets helps ensure they get the treatment they need as soon as they needs it.

According to Carol S. Foil, DVM, MS, a Board-certified specialist through the American College of Veterinary Dermatology, dog allergy symptoms develop due to hypersensitivity to one more ingredients found in their diet, even if they’ve been eating the same diet for years.

“The allergen usually is a major protein or carbohydrate ingredient such as beef, chicken, pork, corn, wheat, or soy,” wrote Foil in Itching and Allergy in Dogs, an article published by the Veterinary Information Network Library. Foil continued, “Minor ingredients such as preservatives or dyes are also potential allergens.”

Veterinarians carry prescription diets comprised of limited ingredients, which can help alleviate dog skin allergies. There are also many similar diets available in pet stores, namely those labeled “grain-free.” Many pet owners are relieved when a change in diet offers quick relief after numerous tests and medicines fail to eliminate the allergy symptoms.

As skin problems in dogs, such as mange, can be caused by fleas and parasites, always take your dog to the vet to rule out more dangerous ailments. Pet insurance can help diminish the costs assocaited with your pet’s health. But a change in diet can be one step to a happier, healthier dog that enjoys a variety of meals at dinner time.

Feline Geriatric Health Care

Posted by Arnold Plotnick, DVM on 12/18/2007 in Scratching Post Articles

Cats are living longer and better quality lives than ever before, thanks to improved nutrition, veterinary care and educated owners. This increased longevity means that more owners will be faced with the special demands and problems that become apparent with geriatric cats. Understanding aging is the first step in providing the best possible care to your cat in her golden years.

First, realize that aging itself is not a disease – it is simply a stage of life. Increasing age causes a gradual decline in the body’s ability to repair itself, maintain normal body functions and adapt to the stresses and changes in the environment. Many changes occur. For example, metabolism changes, so less food is required. Older cats, in general, have a more sedentary life style, so weight gain and obesity are common problems.

Changes in a cat’s environment or routine may actually contribute to behavioral changes or even illness. With time, cats begin to have a gradual decline in their hearing, sense of smell, vision and taste. Older cats tend to sleep more and have more difficulty being roused. Metabolic and endocrine problems, organ dysfunction and cancer are all seen with increased frequency in the elderly cat.

Proper care, nutrition, medical attention and a safe, stimulating environment are important factors that can improve a cat’s quality of life and longevity dramatically. Genetics also plays a part. Siamese tend to have longer life expectancies, but Persians usually have shorter life expectancies.

Cats reach senior status by age 7 or 8 – the perfect time to begin a geriatric health plan so that disorders can be detected early enough to provide medical or surgical intervention.

A complete geriatric health plan includes these eight veterinary procedures and tests:

A complete medical history. Some veterinarians have specific geriatric health history questionnaires that can be filled out by the owner. Any problems or concerns that owners have about their pet should be discussed.
A complete physical examination. Eyes and ears are examined for signs of infection or allergies. The mouth, gums and teeth are evaluated, with dental disease and gingivitis being common findings. Lymph nodes and the thyroid gland are evaluated for enlargement. The skin and quality of the hair coat are observed. Skin tumors or swellings are noted. A poor hair coat or a lack of grooming may be signs of allergies, parasites, infections or systemic illness. The heart and lungs are evaluated with the stethoscope and any abnormalities or murmurs are noted. The abdomen is palpated for any masses or organ enlargements. Finally, the general body condition and weight are recorded.
Complete blood count. In geriatric cats, anemia is common. It may be necessary to determine if the anemia is acute, chronic or related to a cancer.
Biochemical profile. Information about the liver, kidneys, blood sugar, and electrolytes is obtained through this important test.
Thyroid testing. Hyperthyroidism is a very common problem in older cats. The most common signs of hyperthyroidism are increased appetite and weight loss. The disorder is very treatable, and in most cases is easily diagnosed through this simple blood test.
Urinalysis. Analysis of the urine can help detect underlying urinary tract infection, kidney problems and diabetes. If necessary, a urine culture may be recommended.
Fecal examination. Since gastrointestinal parasites may be more debilitating in geriatric animals, a yearly fecal exam is recommended.
FIV and FeLV (feline leukemia virus) testing. Both of these viral diseases may cause suppression of the immune system and can contribute to many other systemic illnesses. Cats who have previously tested negative and have had no possible exposure to other cats may not need this test.
The proper diet is very important in the care of a geriatric cat. There is no “best” food to feed a geriatric cat as the choice depends on the specific problems or nutritional requirements of the particular cat. Consult your veterinarian.

Final senior strategy: enroll your cat in a geriatric wellness program at your veterinary clinic so you can maximize the chances of detecting disorders early, allow for appropriate treatment and promote the health and longevity of your cat.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM, board-certified in feline medicine and internal medicine. He operates the Manhattan Cat Specialists practice in New York City and can be reached through his website:

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