Author Archives: Hadley Rush

How to find the best shelter dog for your family

Posted by: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manger
A shelter dog sits in a cage waiting to be adopted.

Once you have decided that your family is ready to take on the responsibility of a new dog, the next step is deciding what type of dog will be the best fit.

According to Liam Crowe, CEO of Bark Busters and a master dog behavioral therapist, “A dog’s breed and temperament, combined with your lifestyle and personality, all play an important role in determining what kind of dog is the best fit for you.”

Finding a dog that matches the personality and lifestyle of a family will allow the dog to thrive in his new home. Before heading to your local shelters, research the different dog breeds and educate yourself on the characteristic of the breeds.

It’s also important to begin researching pet insurance and determining which coverage will be the best option for your new dog. Some dog insurance companies may have age or breed limitations, so it is important to find the best pet insurance for the dog you select.

The type of dog you adopt should match up with your own lifestyle and activity level. Do you live in a house or an apartment? Do you like to jog or go hiking or do you prefer less physical activities? Choose a dog breed that has a similar activity level as you and your family.

If you have a family with children, then you will want to choose a dog breed that is known to be good with kids. Some breeds are better suited than others for a house with children. The size, temperament and age of a dog should be taken into consideration in this case.

Once you have decided on the type of dog that would be the best fit for your family, visit your local shelters to find the dog that meets this description. If there aren’t any shelter dogs that meet your requirements, check other shelters in the area. It is better to wait on the perfect dog than to get a dog that isn’t the perfect match.

Don’t just adopt a cat– find the right one for you

Two kittens wait to be adopted at a shelter.
When I worked at my local humane society, I witnessed as many different styles of adopting a cat as I saw different personalities and types of cats.

Some adopters left it up to fate. They would come in, look around for ten minutes, lock eyes with a certain kitty, and take it home. Others treated it more like buying a car. They would visit multiple cat rescue shelters, ask lots of questions about pet health and needs, and take a handful of cats out of their cages for a play or cuddle test drive.

The selection would only be made after inquiring about the return or exchange policy and cat insurance. Some ran a cat adoption like a beauty contest, picking the cutest cat they saw no matter what they were told about the cat.

My favorite adopters were the ones who had an idea of the type of cat that would best fit in their home. One young couple came in and seemed interested in a certain adolescent cat named Bruce. We made sure to inform the couple that Bruce was not of the laze-around, lap cat variety—he had a wild side. “That’s ok,” the woman assured me. “We like them with a little piss and vinegar.”

Keep your home in mind when adopting your next shelter cat. If you have very small children, an older, gentler cat who has experience with families might be a better match than a kitten. If you prefer solitude and quiet nights, there may be a shy cat hiding in the back of her cage, just waiting to be rescued by a kind soul. If your home sees a lot of visitors, a spunky tomcat might enjoy meeting all your friends.

Describe your home life to the shelter workers or volunteers and let them share with you the knowledge they have of the cats they work with every day. As much as they would love all the cats to find homes, it’s more important that each cat find the right home, so they don’t end up back where they started.

After selecting the perfect cat for you, it will be a good time to look into finding the best pet insurance for your cat. Cat insurance can be complex– so be sure to ask as many questions as you can about pet insurance plans and how they work. By doing this, you’re ensuring your kitty will be a healthy, happy new member of the family.

Pet health: Common foods that are toxic to dogs

A dog licks his chops.

Foods that people love to eat can be extremely toxic to dogs and can compromise pet health if left untreated.

With the holidays approaching, it’s important to keep an eye out for these toxic foods and make sure that your dog does not have access to them.

It’s also a good idea to have a pet insurance plan for your dog, should any unexpected emergency situations arise. Having dog insurance can diminish the costs of expenses pet owners are unprepared for.

According to Ahna Brutlag, DVM, assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline, chocolate is one of the most problematic toxins. Dogs and cats cannot metabolize it as well as humans. Keep all types of chocolate—especially baking chocolate and other toxic foods—out of your dog’s reach. It can save you and your dog an emergency trip to the vet.

Chocolate poses a risk to dogs due the chemical theobromide. Symptoms associated with the ingestion of chocolate can include hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea, pancreatitis, abnormal heart rhythm, and seizures. If a dog ingests any amount of chocolate, you should call your vet immediately.

Grapes and raisins are other foods that people love, but can also be toxic to dogs. Although unusual, ingesting these foods can cause kidney damage that may lead to kidney failure. Symptoms of raisin or grape poisoning include vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, changes in the amount of urine passed or not passing any urine.

Schotzie, a special therapy dog

Schotzie and some other therapy dogs work their magic at a retirement home.
By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Pets Best Insurance President

Our dog Schotzie has been paralyzed for nearly a decade due to a ruptured disc in his back. This condition is common to the Daschund breed and if left untreated, can cause permanent paralysis. In Schotzie’s case, it caused sudden paralysis of the rear legs that required surgery to remove the disk material that was pressing on the spinal cord.

With quick treatment and surgery he could have been restored to normal. However, because his previous owners did not have the financial means to do so, he was not treated. This is just another example of how pet insurance could have easily changed Schotzie’s fate. As a result of not receiving proper treatment, he became permanently paralyzed and was schedule for euthanasia had not my wife adopted him. We flew him across the country and had a special cart made for him that allows him to be ambulatory. Of course as you can see by the photo, he must wear a diaper because he does not have normal control of his bladder or bowels.

He is a happy, patient and a wonderful therapy pet. He loves everyone and everyone loves to see him ambulate around in his doggy wheelchair. Though some humans, in a similar situation, might feel sorry for themselves, Schotzie behaves as if there is no physical problem.

One Halloween, he and Cooper (another one of our therapy dogs) visited a local nursing home with my wife, Vicki and our granddaughter Bradie.

As usual, Schotzie was especially inspirational for the seniors in wheelchairs. It was inspiring for them to see his outgoing and can-do disposition. Schotzie is also an inspiration when he visits children’s hospital wards. During these visits, he motivates the children to forget their own misfortune and gets them laughing, interacting and following him around.

There is nothing as gratifying as seeing therapy pets at work in society. Although most therapy pets are dogs, other pets, such as horses, cats, birds and rabbits do well also. My wife also has several miniature therapy horses for reading classes in grade schools. Therapy pets play the necessary role of relieving tension, reducing pain and depression and causing an increase in endorphins (warm feeling), oxytocin (happy hormone), prolactin (bonding hormone) and decreasing cortisol (stress hormone).

Visits at senior care facilities help to relieve boredom, entertain and create a warm atmosphere for patients and nursing staff. Therapy pets can also be used for detention facilities, special education students in high schools and rehabilitation facilities—many with great success stories.

Having worked with animals all my life, and now working in the pet insurance industry, I know better than most that special pets like Schotzie are not for everyone. They require more work, patience and time than normal pets. But the reward for those with the skills and patience is worth the effort because of their special attitude and zeal for life. Three of our therapy dogs; Schotzie, JP and Cooper were “throw away” pets that I can attest are now giving back so much to those they visit.

Consider adopting your next pet from a shelter or local rescue organization – you will receive more back from them than you can imagine!

Keep your pet safe when traveling by air

Posted by: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
A small dog gets ready to travel by air.
With the holiday season upon us, more pet owners will be traveling with their pets in tow. Aside from knowing the safety basics and ensuring your have pet insurance “just in case,” the following are some tips that can help when traveling with pets by air.

When traveling by car is not an option, you may choose to fly with your pet. Check with the the airline that you plan to fly with and get the rules and regulations they have concerning pets traveling. Pet travel by air can be a pleasant experience for you and your pet if you take the proper precautions when planning your trip.

Before your flight you will want to have your pet checked out by your veterinarian to make sure he is healthy enough to fly. Your veterinarian will also check to make sure that your pet is up-to-date on any vaccines that are needed to fly. Airlines require a health certificate from your vet stating that your pet is up-to-date on his vaccines and is healthy enough to fly.

When traveling by air, your pet will have to stay in a pet crate for the duration of the flight. Small dog carriers are available in an array of styles to keep your dog safe. If your dog is too large to ride in the plane with you, he will have to ride in the cargo area. When choosing large dog crates for flying, be sure that they are certified for air travel.

Make sure that your dog has a collar and identification tags prior to travel. It is also a good idea to put identification information on the crates themselves.

Always keep a leash with you so that you are able to safely walk your dog before and after the flight. In addition to keeping a leash with you, it is a good idea to have a picture of your dog with you in case he gets lost during your travels.

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