Author Archives: Hadley Rush

Pet health: Taking care of your dog’s aching bones

A small dog is bundled up for the winter.

Few things are sadder than when a once-spunky pup starts slowing down and stops jumping up to join you on the couch or bed. Hip dysplasia and arthritis are commonly found in older dogs, especially larger dogs.

Winter months do little to help dog health care or stiff joints to feel any better, as cold air zaps energy and robs us of outdoor playtime and exercise.

According to Texas A&M Veterinary Medicine, some dogs develop hip dysplasia before one year old. Some dogs even undergo surgeries and hip replacements. However, many dogs can see improvement with conservative therapy including joint supplements, pain medication, and rehabilitation, including aqua therapy like swimming and walking on underwater treadmills.

For winter arthritis management, keep these tips in mind:
• Continue walking your dog even in the winter. Drs. Fosters and Smith recommend “moderate exercise that strengthens the gluteal muscles, such as running and swimming.”

• Provide a heated bed that can offer soothing comfort.

• Look into joint supplements. Texas A&M recommends Adequan and Cosequin.

• Talk to your veterinarian about pain medication. According to Drs. Fosters and Smith, Rimadyl, Metacam, EtoGesic, Deramaxx, and Previcox are effective pain killers that assist with inflammation.

• Consider holistic treatments like acupuncture. Many pet insurance companies now cover this type of treatment.

Trained dogs are safe dogs during the holidays

Posted by: H.R.
For Pets Best Insurance
An untrained puppy gets into mischief.

When cooking for the holidays, the smells of turkey and pie will surely appeal to your pets’ nose just as it does your own. Sometimes the tantalizing draw is too much, and even well-mannered dogs sneak a snack when everyone’s back is turned. This could be dangerous to pet health if he grabs the wrong food, or races to clean off the floor after food has been inadvertently dropped.

Fatty foods like turkey skin and nuts, and toxic foods like chocolate and Xylitol, are very dangerous to a dog health care. Because the Holidays often see more pets taken to the veterinarian’s office with digestive upset, which can potentially become a serious pet health condition, it’s the perfect time to take extra precautions. Start with finding the best pet insurance and proper training.

“If your dog has already eaten the hors d’oeuvre tray and has a cheese-eating grin spread across his muzzle, it’s too late for a reprimand,” says dog trainer Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz. “Far more effective than a reprimand is to catch him in the act and use the ‘off’ cue, which tells him drop the contraband or back away, and then redirect him to what you want (including a reward),” said Sylvia-Stasiewicz, trainer for Bo Obama, the First Family’s Portuguese Water Dog.

In her book, The Love That Dog Training Program, Sylvia-Stasiewicz and co-author Larry Kay go into detail about teaching your dog the “off” command using positive reinforcement. Start today—you may save a potential trip to the vet.

First, teach your dog that he must sit before he is rewarded, given attention, a treat, or fed.

“It should become your dog’s verbal language of asking please,’ said Sylvia-Stasiewicz.

Then, show your dog one of his favorite treats, and teach him to wait for your queue before he takes it. When he learns “take it,” start teaching “off” by interrupting his lunge for the treat loudly and sharply with the word.

“When your dog backs off and looks at you (often with some puzzlement or concern), then say ‘good, take it’ in a happy voice,” said Sylvia-Stasiewicz. “Repeat this lesson until your dog becomes fluent with both ‘off’ and ‘take it.'”

Part of positive reinforcement is showing your dog that it’s fun to do what you ask. Whenever you give the “off” command, trade what he wanted for something he can have, like a safe treat or a filled Kong toy. With trades, your dog is always rewarded for obeying you, and everyone is happy.

Teach these commands for a safe, happy dinner, and you won’t need to use that dog insurance—just one more thing to be thankful for this year.

Keep pets safe this holiday season

A festive dog prepares for the holidays

There is nothing better than a present wrapped in beautiful wrapping paper with a big ribbon on top. Whether you are giving or receiving presents, be sure that you keep pet’s safety in mind. Beautifully wrapped presents may be exciting to humans, but they can be dangerous to pet health.

Ribbon, string, and yarn are all potential dangers to pets. Cats are more prone to play with string and ribbon, but all pets could ingest these items. Ingesting ribbon and string can cause intestinal blockages, which will often need to be removed surgically.

Refrain from placing wrapped food where your pet can access it. Chewing on wrapping paper or food packaging can also lead to intestinal blockages.

If you are giving your pet treats or toys this holiday season, it is best to wait to display these items or your pet will most likely get into their gifts early. Be sure to remove any packaging or tags before giving them their gift.

Other items to keep out of your pet’s reach include batteries and perfumes or colognes, which contain alcohols that are toxic to pets.

Close the doors to rooms where presents are to help keep pets from getting into them. Pet safety gates can also be used to block off rooms. Pet gates can also be used to restrict their access to the Christmas tree and keep them away from presents.

For more information about pet health and safety, or to learn more about pet insurance, visit

Facebook Q&A with Dr. Fiona Caldwell

A dog and a cat rest their paws on a white wall.

Pets Best Insurance solicited questions from our Facebook page fans relating to pet health, happiness and everything in between. Dr. Fiona Caldwell, a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital weighs in! Read on to see if your question was answered:

Question: So many vets recommend multiple vaccines. Is there a standard of what vaccine my pet should get and how often?

Dr. Caldwell: This is a great question without a great answer! Each veterinarian might have different recommendations based on the region you live in, or your dog’s lifestyle or activities. In general all veterinarians will recommend a rabies vaccine and a distemper/parvo/adenovirus/parainfluenza combination vaccine. If you kennel or board your dog, or go to heavily dog trafficked areas, such as the dog park or the groomers, a kennel cough vaccine (bordetella) is generally indicated as well. Other vaccines are available and might be recommended depending on where you live, such as the rattlesnake vaccine, lymes or leptospirosis vaccine. Adults generally need vaccines every 1 to 3 years, and puppies need them monthly until the age of 4 months.

Question: Are pet supplements ok to give to my dog? I’ve been thinking of putting my dog on supplements but I am not sure what supplements are best or even if they’re necessary.

Dr. Caldwell: If you’re feeding a good quality dog food, you shouldn’t need vitamin supplements for the average healthy dog. In fact, vitamin supplementation can be dangerous for some animals, for example large breed puppies can develop orthopedic problems if fed supplements high in calcium. Other herbal or homeopathic remedies for various diseases often haven’t been thoroughly research in pets, and therefore generally aren’t recommended.

*The views expressed above belong solely to the practitioner and should not be construed as describing the coverage or benefits of Pets Best Insurance.

Cesar’s rules to train a dog

Posted by: H.R.
For Pets Best Insurance
A dog is trained with a treat.
The newest book from National Geographic Channel’s Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan, Cesar’s Rules: Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog, teaches readers how to effectively communicate with their dog. The book focuses on the importance of balance as the foundation for a healthy relationship between you and your dog.

Although Cesar has written many best sellers, this is his first book that is dedicated to dog training.
The book offers dog training advice from an array of professionals including Cesar himself. The chapters allow you to learn about various dog training techniques you can use when training your dog. The trainers offer practical advice, trouble-shooting techniques, and dog training tips to help your dog become well-balanced and well-behaved.

The book covers popular dog training techniques from positive reinforcement to clicker training. The book also shows ways to teach basic commands like sit and stay, and other more advanced commands. There is also a discussion on why a well-trained dog does not necessarily mean a well-balanced dog. The book also covers how to use your dog’s natural instincts to create better behavior.

The book is a great resource because it offers several different approaches to training. You can try different methods until you find the right one for you and your dog. This makes the book a must read for new dog owners.

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