Author Archives: Hadley Rush

3 Tips to Safer Travels with Pets

By: Leigh A. Peterson
For Pets Best InsuranceA dog looks out the window of a car.

Thinking of taking Fifi the calico or Rufus the Golden Retriever to grandma’s for the holidays this year? Taking our pets with us on trips can be a joyful experience. We get to see a different side of their personalities as they explore new surroundings and meet new people. They can offer us comfort at lonely times away from home. But there are many things to keep in mind when traveling with pets. Here are a few pet health issues you may need to consider.

1. Review your pet health insurance policy.
Does it allow you to visit a different veterinarian? Will it cover your pet out of state? Out of the country? Will it cover emergencies and after-hour visits? Trusted companies, like Pets Best Insurance, that offer pet care health insurance will allow you to select any veterinary clinic of your choice.

2. Plan meals in advance.
Is there a store near where you are going that sells the food you currently feed your pet? If they are used to eating a certain brand, you’ll want to keep feeding that same food throughout the trip. Traveling can be stressful, and stress can cause everything from tummy upset to lack of appetite. Switching pet food suddenly could make matters worse.

3. Keep pets leashed or crated while on the road.
When in the car, resist the urge to let your pet roam free. Not only could this cause pet health injuries, but if heaven forbid an accident occurs, they are liable to run away in fear! A slinky cat or pushy pup could also slip out an open car door in the blink of an eye if you stop at a rest area. Buck up through the pitiful cries for attention and tell them, and yourself, that they are being contained for their own safety.

Pet health: “I didn’t know cats could get that” diseases

A healthy-looking cat sits in a cat bed.
My cat has a bizarre pet health condition– asthma. Other than a cousin I haven’t seen since childhood, he’s the only one—human or animal—I’ve ever known to have it. Yet today, I find myself knowing more about asthma than I ever thought I would.

When I tell people that I give my cat an asthma inhaler by holding a mask over his face, I get a variety of responses. Most are just surprised that you can give a cat an asthma inhaler. Others are sure I have the tamest cat in the world (I don’t), and that he must let me do whatever I want to him (he doesn’t). Then I usually hear something like, “If I tried that with my cat, my eyes would get scratched out.”

We pet lovers sometimes surprise ourselves in the lengths to which we find ourselves going to care for them. We spend hours doing pet insurance comparison shopping, we type the slightest odd behavior into search engines to see if it’s normal, and we become experts in food labels, deciphering which brands have optimum protein-to-carbohydrate ratios.

So what other human-like pet health issues can cats suffer from? How about herpes…of the eye! My co-worker and her family were recently adopted by a stray pregnant cat. After the kittens were born, the momma cat started having eye issues that were thought to be caused by a flailing newborn kitten’s claw. Imagine the surprise of my cat-owning-virgin of a co-worker to learn it was herpes.

Since her daughter had suffered from a bout of shingles just last year, this diagnoses sealed the momma cat’s permanent spot in their home!

One day soon, another condition my co-worker’s cat might share with her teenage daughter is acne. Acne in a cat often appears as a dirty chin. But try as you might, the dirt doesn’t seem to come off. This is often harmless and remedied by changing all food dishes to non-porous ones like ceramic, glass, or stainless steel.

Sometimes, however, a secondary bacteria infection or lesions can form. This could be a symptom of other underlying issues, in which case affordable pet insurance will come in handy to get some tests done to help kitty keep that gorgeous complexion and pet health vigor of its youth.

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.

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