Author Archives: Hadley Rush

The Most Costly Pet Insurance Claims for Dogs

A white Shih Tzu waits for a command.

With advancements in veterinary medicine, pets are now living healthier and longer lives. Pets can now be treated for numerous aliments that were not treatable just a few years ago. Having dog insurance can help you afford to keep pet health a top priority.

Medical conditions that require surgery are some of the most costly medical insurance claims that pet insurance companies receive. Most surgeries can easily cost several thousand dollars. This means owners without pet insurance would be forced to cover these expenses. For many families, spending thousands of dollars on their pet is not financially possible. For those families that have pet insurance for their pets, surgical treatment is an affordable option.

Pet health insurance isn’t just for times when your pet has a major medical emergency. Some of the most common dog health care problems that require treatment include: ear infections, arthritis, eye infections, and skin allergies. Even though these illnesses don’t pose huge financial threats to owners, their treatment costs can still add up. Having pet insurance can help cover an array of medical issues.

When choosing pet health insurance, make sure you compare pet insurance plans from a variety of companies. Choose the plan that gives you the coverage that best suits the needs of you and your pet. Give Pets Best Insurance a call today at 866-440-2020 to get a quote on a pet insurance plan for your pet.

Why you should avoid giving pets holiday treats

A pug begs for a delicious holiday treat.
Posted by: H.R.
For Pets Best Insurance

According to the American Veterinary Association, table scraps and extra treats should not be given to pets this holiday season. Table food can expose pets to an increased risk of pancreatitis, among other pet health problems. Pancreatitis is caused when the pancreas becomes inflamed from the consumption of rich fatty foods.

Dog pancreatitis is more common during the holiday season due to giving dogs people food. Another reason dogs are more at risk this time of year is due to the fact that they are more prone to get into the garbage to get leftovers. Pancreatitis symptoms can include lethargy, abdominal pain, depression, and lack of appetite.

Pancreatitis is diagnosed via patient history and blood work. Once a diagnosis of pancreatitis is made, your pet will be given medications for the pain and fluid therapy. Keeping your pet adequately hydrated is essential for their recovery. Their blood work will be repeated to monitor that the pancreatic levels are returning to normal.

Being prepared for pet health issues is especially important during the holidays. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a pet health insurance policy for your pet.

Pet health insurance can help pay for emergencies and other illnesses and also provides peace of mind, in knowing you will be prepared if your pet does become ill or injured.

Pancreatitis is a very serious illness that can be easily avoided. Take precautions to ensure that your pet is not fed any table food this holiday season. Make sure to tell any guests to refrain from feeding your pet scraps. If your dog is prone to stealing food or getting into the garbage, it may be a good idea to keep them out certain areas of the house where they have access to the food.

Do animals grieve the loss of another pet?

A dog mourns after losing a canine friendBy: Dr. Fiona, DVM
For Pets Best Insurance

Losing a pet is one of the hardest parts about having one. The furry animals become part of the family and take up a piece of your heart. After a loved one is gone, life can change drastically, not only for you, but also for other pets in the house.

Scientists are still uncertain exactly how pets perceive emotions, and if they are aware of emotions. Certainly simple emotions such as fear, pleasure and hunger are well documented in animals, but more complex emotions, such as grief are the subject of debate. In addition, we are uncertain how much dogs and cats understand about death.

Regardless of how animals actually perceive emotions, it is well documented that the sudden loss of a companion pet can be difficult for the remaining animal, causing some behavioral changes along the way. Obviously the loss of a pet is difficult for people too, and it is possible that animals may perceive their owner’s sadness, in addition to their own.

Signs Your Pet is Grieving

1) One of the most drastic changes when one animal in a multi-animal household dies is the change in the structure of the ‘pack’ hierarchy. Dogs and cats have very well defined social roles, with leaders and followers. Without the companion, your remaining pet’s role may be ill-defined. A normally more submissive dog may suddenly have no one to follow, and a leader may have no one to lead. This can manifest as behavioral changes; your pet isn’t sure how to act any longer.

2) You may notice a decrease in social interaction, such as hiding or segregating from the family. A decrease or increase in appetite, which can lead to weight loss or gain, can also occur. Some dogs may pace or even look like they are ‘searching’ for their lost loved one. Vocalizing excessively may occur in dogs; urination and grooming habits may change in cats.

How to Help Your Grieving Pet

1) Helping your pet adjust to the loss may have the added benefit of helping you cope as well. It is important not to ‘reward’ sulking or brooding behavior, but rather engage the pet in a new activity. Positive training is a beneficial way to help your pet learn its new position in the family and move on from loss. It can create a bond between you the handler and your dog. It also creates clear communication between you; this bond and communication make it easy for the pet to look to you for leadership. In fact, sometimes in this situation, a dog’s personality will actually blossom after the loss of another dog, allowing them to recognize a different more confident role.

2) A training class that uses positive methods or private lessons from a trainer may help you to learn the skills you’ll need. Dogs can keep learning for their entire lives, this new knowledge can make a grieving dog more confident and sure of itself. A confident dog that knows it’s ‘role’ is generally happier and easier to be with.

3) Another thing that is important to helping a grieving dog cope is increasing the activities it loves to do. For example, a dog that loves to play fetch at the park might benefit from a few more fetch sessions than you normally do. It could be simple things like extra brushing, or getting to ride in the car while you run errands, or maybe a new squeaky toy. Even just a few more minutes of play time can help a dog adjust to life without its companion, and may make you feel better too!

Should You Get a Second Pet to Fill Void?

Getting another dog is controversial and if it’s not the right time for you in terms of your grieving, free time, or finances, don’t do it. Dogs can adjust to being without canine companions in time, and some will even blossom. Just like people, pets will deal with loss in their own way. If you feel your dog needs other canine companions, but aren’t ready for a new dog, try the dog park, a doggy play date with a friend that has dogs or a training class. This will give you, your family, and your other pet time to grieve and rediscover their place, and eventually, open your hearts to love again.

If you are concerned that your pet’s health is suffering from their loss, call your veterinarian.

 

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What’s wrong with black dogs?

A sad black dog waits to be adopted.
By: Liz Blackman
Founder of TheBlackDogMission.org
For Pets Best Insurance

Would it surprise you to know that black dogs have a harder time getting adopted than dogs of any other color? The news shocked me. My childhood was spent in the company of one black dog after another, sometimes more than one at a time. All adopted. Some big, some small. Some smart, some not. But all of them great dogs. It wasn’t intentional. The ones who came our way just happened to all be black. They were lovely, loving, lovable dogs, every one of them in their own way.

So when I heard that black dogs have a tough time getting adopted, often lingering in shelters long after other dogs go off to a new home, sometimes never to be adopted, I couldn’t believe it. Why? I knew that shelters were overcrowded with dogs who need a good home. I knew that the problem worsened in a bad economy. But I didn’t know that black dogs in particular have it tougher than the rest and that the bigger or older the black dog, the slimmer are his chances of being adopted.

The problem is so big and so real that shelter workers have a name for it: Black Dog Syndrome. And there are several theories as to its cause. Some think the problem is that black dogs are hard to photograph and don’t show well on online adoption sites like AdoptAPet.com and PetFinder.com.

Well, I can attest to that. I have hundreds of horrible photos of all the black dogs in my life. Big black blobs in the middle of the photos with a hint of some white teeth and the certainty that there must be eyes in there somewhere. They are hard to photograph. Without the proper lighting and good equipment, it’s almost impossible to capture their soulful brown eyes, their smile or their expressive brows. I finally gave up and took our dog, Willhe, to a professional photographer recently in hopes of capturing even a little of his winsome, wonderful ways.

Another thought is that the problem lies in the dimly lit shelters. How is a little black dog, even a big black dog, supposed to make a good impression and catch the attention of someone shopping the rows of countless cages at a shelter when you can’t even see them because the lighting is so poor?

A third possible explanation is the most difficult to explain. Some people mistakenly think that black dogs just aren’t friendly. Ask anyone who has ever loved a black dog and they’ll surely tell you otherwise.

So what can you do? Well, this is what we did. My husband and I went online and looked for the oldest, biggest, blackest dog we could find. What we found was an 84-pound, 9-year old, purebred English Labrador Retriever who had been at our local shelter for nearly a month and whose time was running out. The only thing she had to her name was her name, Connie.

Day after day, week after week, Connie was passed up. The shelter staff described her as a love of a dog who played well with others and loved to fetch. Why was she there? Her family was moving and couldn’t take her with them. What was wrong with her? Nothing. At least nothing that a good, new home couldn’t fix.

She would have been a perfect choice for an active family with kids. She’s patient and she loves them. She would have been a great match for someone older or disabled. She’s happy to sit quietly at your feet. She knows how to sit and to shake and to use the bathroom outside. And she’s got plenty of good years left in her. Instead she wound up with us. But she could just as easily have wound up being put to sleep because not enough people choose to adopt. And of the ones who do, not enough choose a black dog.

So, give a black dog a chance. Behind those awful photos, the poor lighting and the misconceptions may be the dog of your dreams, waiting for the chance they deserve to be someone’s companion, confidant and kindred spirit. Maybe yours.

Note: Liz Blackman is the founder and president of 1-800-HELP-4-PETS (www.Help4Pets.com), a 24-hour, nationwide pet identification system, and the driving force behind The Black Dog Mission (www.TheBlackDogMission.org), a grassroots effort to improve the number of black dog adoptions.

Shelter pets from cold, frost, and other winter dangers

A woman and her dog play in the snow.
Don’t let your pet’s fur coat or weathered paw pads fool you. He gets cold, too. For pet health and safety, dogs and cats should remain mostly indoors during winter months; especially young pets, senior pets, and those that have pet health issues of any kind. Below are some important precautions to consider for pets during the winter months.

Keep Pets Warm
A fur coat can only do so much. One of the reasons pets enjoy cuddling close to owners, and each other, is to keep warm. Although not recommended, pets kept outside for any lengths of time need shelter from the elements in a draft-free doghouse. They need extra calories and fresh water in a plastic bowl. Metal bowls could freeze and thirsty tongues can get stuck to them.

Prolonged exposure to cold and wind can cause frostbite on their ears, nose, tail and paws. According to the article “How to Recognize, Prevent and Treat Hypothermia and Frostbite in Our Pets” by Veterinarian Elisa M. Mazzaferro, frostbite requires an immediate visit to the vet because cat and dog health issues can result, including infections, amputations, and even death.

“Some animals can be left with permanent disfiguring injuries,” wrote Mazzaferro, Director of Emergency Services at Wheat Ridge Veterinary Specialists in Colorado.

While walking, small and short-haired dogs may benefit from a sweater and paw wax to protect their paws from ice, snow, and salt.

Indoors, pets can benefit from heated pet beds and blankets. Many upscale models are designed for pet safety—they warm only with the pet’s body heat, saving on electric bills and avoiding overheating the pet.

Supervise Pets
Chilly months bring new dangers and more opportunities to pet proof the home. Pets should not be left unsupervised near space heaters, fireplaces, or candles.

On their website, The Humane Society of the United States warns that sweet-tasting antifreeze is attractive but deadly to pets. The organization advises using “antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol, which is less toxic in small amounts than traditional ethylene glycol antifreeze.”

Because there are so many possibilities for wintertime dangers, pet owners may want to consider purchasing pet insurance for their pets. Not only can pet insurance help with pet health bills at the veterinarian, but dog and cat insurance also provide pet owners with peace of mind.

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