Author Archives: Hadley Rush

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.

Cat health care: Weight loss

A cat shows symptoms of weight loss.

Weight loss in cats is often the first indication of feline health issues. Cat weight loss causes can be from a variety of illnesses and diseases.

With older cats, owners may think that weight loss is part of the aging process. Anytime a cat has weight loss, they should be examined by a veterinarian.

One of the most common causes for weight loss in cats is feline hyperthyroidism. If your cat has weight loss, this is one of the diseases that your veterinarian will check for. There are several other pet health diseases that can cause similar symptoms to hyperthyroidism.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease where weight loss is a primary symptom. Other symptoms associated with diabetes are increased thirst and urination, increased or decreased appetite, vomiting, bad breath, and possible weakness in the hind legs. Diabetes is diagnosed via blood tests and urinalysis. Because of the multitude of diagnostic tests that may be required for sick cats, it’s a good idea to have pet insurance. Cat health insurance can help pet owners keep high vet costs down, while providing the best care for their pets.

Kidney failure is another feline disease that can cause weight loss. Kidney failure can cause other symptoms including: increased thirst, increased urination, decreased appetite, poor coat condition, lethargy, vomiting, and bad breath. Kidney failure is diagnosed by blood work, urinalysis, and ultrasound or x-ray.

In addition to the above mentioned illness, there are numerous causes of weight loss in cats. If you notice that your cat is loosing wight, get them checked out as soon as possible. With most of these conditions, the sooner your cat is diagnosed the better. The longer cats are untreated, the more damage is done to other organs.

Pet health: Dog food ingredients

A dog looks at a bowl of dog food.

When choosing pet food for your dog, it is important to check the ingredients. Labels can sometimes be misleading and you may think you are buying a healthy dog food when the food is actually not healthy at all.

Checking ingredient labels and comparing ingredients will allow you to choose a truly healthy dog food for your pet, and help to ensure your pet maintains proper pet health.

The first ingredient you will want to look for is the meat or protein in the food. The meat, or the meal of the meat, should be the first ingredient on the list. Meat meals are only found in dry dog food. The ingredients are listed from greatest amount in the food to the least amount. The name of the meat should be specified in the ingredient list as beef, lamb, salmon, chicken, etc. Avoid foods that list meat, meat meal, or by product as an ingredient.

The second thing you will want to do is check for the source of fat in the food. Choose a dog food with quality fats like olive oil, flax oil, canola oil, and chicken fat. Avoid foods with fats that are not specified. These fats will be listed as meat fat, poultry fat, lard, or vegetable oil.

Grains may or may not be listed in the ingredient list. Grains are not an essential part of a dog’s diet. Avoid foods that list grains in the first few ingredients and foods that include corn of any type. Corn is cheap filler that adds no nutritional value to the food.

Other ingredients to avoid include: artificial preservatives, soy, chemical additives, artificial colors and flavors, and artificial sweeteners.

For more information about which food is right for your pet, talk with your veterinarian.

Pet owners rethink their position to spay and neuter

A puppy waits to be neutered.

Despite the barrage of messages to the public from animal welfare groups and celebrities about the benefits of pet health due to pet spaying and neutering, there are still holdouts.

Until recently, William O of Elgin, Illinois was one of them. “I used to think that spaying/neutering pets was inhumane, but my position has changed because of the practical import in having such procedures done,” said O, a lawyer who is starting an animal law practice.

In addition to the problem of pet overpopulation (6-8 million pets wait for homes in shelters annually and at least half that number are euthanized each year), O sees another side of pet neutering and spaying– a lawyer’s point of view: housing, pet behavior issues, and noise complaints between tenants, landlords, and neighbors.

“For the most part, nuisance/noise complaints are caused by female outdoor pets in heat and their noisy, persistent suitors. Many of these problems could be avoided by spaying/neutering pets,” said O.

Another pet owner recently changed her mind about spaying a neutering.

Rasheda Williams of Detroit got her first cat this year, a kitten named Domingo. She didn’t want to put her kitten through any unnecessary pain, be it cat neutering or declawing. But when her friend, who owned multiple cats, told her she should have Domingo neutered, Williams began to wonder if she was in the minority.

“I went around asking pet owners and all of them agreed. I was so focused on my cat’s rights being violated that I didn’t see the big picture,” said Williams. “Once they explained to me the preventative benefits of the procedure, I changed my mind.” Domingo was neutered six months ago, is happy and healthy, and still has his claws.

Spay and neuter clinics abound, and many pet insurance providers even cover the procedure. Getting pets fixed is easier today than ever before.

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