Author Archives: Hadley Rush

Pet Health: Homemade treats

By: Tiffiany Gilstrap-Scott
A dog waits for a delicious treat.
Do you like to spoil your pets? I know I sure do. With the current state of the economy and the dramatic rising costs we’re seeing in everything from veterinarian bills to dog food, buying homemade dog treats or making them yourself may be the wisest choice you can make for pet health and well being.

As any canine owner can attest, dog treats can be mighty expensive when purchased at a local pet store. As a cost-effective alternative, you can make your own, or buy homemade treats for your pets.

The variety of dog treats I make for my pet has no artificial colors or preservatives, whereas commercial dog treats from the store can be loaded with ingredients your dog really doesn’t need. Next time you go to the grocery store take a look at the list of ingredients on the back of a treat box. Not only are most of the ingredients hard to pronounce, but they can be loaded with preservatives and binders that are calorie and fat dense. To ensure optimum dog health care, make sure you know what’s going into your best friend’s tummy.

One of the primary perks of preparing or buying homemade dog treats, is that you are able to control the calories and fat that your dog ingests.

My dog’s favorite homemade treats are the yummy peanut butter ones I have perfected—although the apple cinnamon drops and the carrot cake loaf are never left untouched either. You can make them at home! All you need is whole-wheat flour, baking powder, peanut butter and water.

Dr. Jack Stephens called “pet insurance guru” by Veterinary Practice News

Dr. Jack Stephens, the pioneer of pet insurance in the U.S., sits with his pets.

A recent Veterinary Practice News article paints Pets Best Insurance President Dr. Jack Stephens as an industry guru.

The article, written by Phil Zeltzman, DVM, addressed many concerns veterinarians share when faced with the idea of recommending dog or cat insurance to their clients.

The first concern Zeltzman sheds light on, is the notion that recommending pet health insurance is “inappropriate for vets.”

Dr. Stephens, who founded pet insurance in the U.S. in the early 1980’s disagrees with this stance.

“Nothing that helps clients and pets receive veterinary care is inappropriate,” Dr. Stephens told Veterinary Practice News. “Just as nutritional counseling or providing products for clients is good for the pet, advising about pet health insurance is good and very well may save the life of the patient.”

The next topic Dr. Stephens addressed was the idea that “promoting pet insurance is an unproductive activity.”

In retrospect to what some veterinarians may think, Dr. Stephens argues that promoting cat and dog insurance is productive because it increases client spending power—ultimately, helping to eliminate euthanasia due to cost of care.

“Take, for example, a client who could afford to spend $1,000 for veterinary care. If that pet is insured with an 80 percent plan, [as Pets Best Insurance does] the client can now afford nearly $5,000 with a $100 deductible” and still only pay the $1,000 out-of-pocket.

The next myth Dr. Stephens debunks is the idea that pet insurance increases veterinarians’ paperwork.

“In almost all claims filing there is no more paperwork than veterinarians provide now with a receipt,” Stephens told the source, adding that the actual claim filing is most usually entirely up to the policy holder—not the vet.

For more information on pet insurance, visit

Feline Hyperthyroidism in Aging Cats

Posted by: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
A cat eats from a dish.

Hyperthyroidism is a pet health issue that occurs in cats over the age of eight. Hyperthyroidism is caused by an overactive thyroid gland. The excessive thyroid hormone overstimulates the body causing the cat to become overactive and have an increased appetite. It is important to be diligent about cat health care, especially in aging cats. Catching diseases early can add years onto your cat’s life.

The number one symptom of feline hyperthyroidism is weight loss. This symptom is similar to those seen in other feline diseases. Other cat weight loss causes include diabetes and kidney failure. Hyperthyroidism causes the cat to lose wight even though she has a ravenous appetite. Other symptoms of feline hyperthyroidism can include increased thirst, vomiting and diarrhea. Cats with hyperthyroidism will also have an increased heart rate. This increase in heart rate can cause damage to the heart and if left untreated, can lead to heart failure and eventually death.

Once hyperthyroidism is suspected, your veterinarian will run blood tests to evaluate the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood. Blood tests will also be run to rule out other diseases with similar symptoms. The blood work will also let the veterinarian know how well the other organs of the body are functioning. Once a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism has been made, the cat can then begin treatment.

If your cat is showing symptoms like those mentioned above– a visit to your veterinarian may be necessary. For some injuries and sicknesses, cat insurance may be a good way to ease the blow of costly veterinarian bills.

Common causes of diarrhea in puppies

Posted by: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
A Lab puppy plays outside.

There are several causes of diarrhea, a common pet health issue, in puppies.

Diarrhea in puppies can be can be a sign of a serious illness. Anytime a puppy has diarrhea, he should be seen by a veterinarian to determine the cause. It may be a good idea to purchase dog insurance for your puppy, as this can help to aleviate some veterinary costs.

The puppy diarrhea treatment that is used will depend on the cause of the diarrhea. Puppies with diarrhea can become dehydrated if they are not treated in a timely manner.

One of the most common puppy problems that causes diarrhea is intestinal parasites. Intestinal parasites are commonly passed from the mother dog to her puppies via her milk. Intestinal parasites cause diarrhea and vomiting in puppies. Puppies that have these parasites will often have a bloated appearance in their stomach area. Once intestinal parasites are diagnosed, the puppy will be given a dewormer to eliminate the parasites. Puppies with diarrhea due to intestinal parasites can pass the parasites onto other pets and some parasites can be passed on to humans.

Another cause of diarrhea in puppies is a change in their diet. An abrupt change in a puppy’s diet can lead to diarrhea. A puppy should remain on the same food once your bring them home. If you want to switch the brand of food your puppy eats, change the food gradually. Start by replacing a small portion of the old food with the new food. Replace more of the old food with the new food until the puppy is only eating the new food. Along with food changes, an introduction of new treats, bones, or other chew toys can cause diarrhea.

Cat health care: Katy’s kittens

Posted by: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager

Three kittens look upwards.

I never thought I would be a mother at the age of 10. Growing up we always had dogs as pets. There are pictures of me as a toddler laying on our Great Dane.

My family was never a cat family. Now that I think of it, no one in our family has cats. My sister, 9 at the time, somehow convinced our parents to let her take in a stray cat that was hanging around our neighbor’s house. Not too long after we “adopted” Katy, we found out that she was pregnant.

Katy ended up giving birth, in our parent’s closet, to 10 tiny kittens in perfect pet health. A few days after the kittens were born, Katy went outside and never returned. We found out later that she had been fatally hit by a car. We were then left with the responsibility of feeding kittens. My mom, sister and I took on the role of mother to the kittens. We had to learn how to bottle feed the new kittens. Luckily for us our German Shepherd, Sherra, helped with their grooming and became like a big sister to them. Feeding newborn kittens in the beginning was tiring. We had to feed them every two hours, even through the night.

We ended up keeping two of the kittens. Tammy Fay, named for the markings around her eyes that resembled eyeliner, was my sister’s cat. My cat was named Purrfect due to her having the loudest purr of all of the kittens.

Even though raising the kittens was hard work, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Knowing I was responsible for seeing to the cats’ health care, is a feeling I’ll never forget.

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