Author Archives: Hadley Rush

How to stop your dog’s excessive barking

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

Jayda the dog learns to contol her barking in a doggie class.An occasional bark from a dog can be a bit annoying in itself, but a dog that is constantly barking can bring on a whole new level of annoyance, especially when all you want is the dog to stop barking.

According to the dog health care expert and self proclaimed Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, continuous, excessive barking is your dog’s manner of sending you a distress signal and occurs if the dog’s needs are not being met.

Excessive barking often stems from boredom. When dogs aren’t stimulated daily, both mentally and physically, they can become mentally frustrated. A dog will communicate this frustration with barking. Being in control of your dog will stop his barking.

Some dog health care advice Cesar Milan offers to stop a dog from barking, is to use a physical correction or a sound correction. Once the dog stops barking, you need to make sure the dog is still not caught up in the moment before you step away. If the dog’s brain is still on alert he will begin barking as soon as you are not around him.

Remain calm when correcting the dog. Excessive barking will make you frustrated and will cause you to want to yell at your dog to stop barking. Dogs pick up on the energy of their owner. If you are agitated, the dog will pick up on it and will not calm down. A calm energy will help the dog become calm and stop barking.

Getting your dog out of the habit of barking will take time on your part to make sure his needs are being met. If you have exhausted all of your options, and you still have excessive barking, consult a behaviorist to help with the issue.

Pet health worry: Heartworm in cats

A cat sits in a bed.
Most dog owners are aware of pet health needs and the necessity of heartworm preventatives, but it’s also a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about cat heartworm prevention too.

Heartworms are becoming more and more prevalent in cats. The increase is likely due to the fact that testing for heartworm is not necessarily done as part of a routine annual visit. Because of this, the definitive number of cats with heartworm is widely unknown. Giving your cat a heartworm preventative should be a part of your cat pet care regimen.

Heartworms are transmitted to cats when an infected mosquito bites the cat. The mosquito injects the heartworm larvae into the cat, which eventually ends up in the cat’s heart. Approximately 6 months later, the larvae become adult worms and begin to release microfilaria, or immature heartworms.

Indoor cats are not immune to the disease. Approximately 25% of the cats diagnosed with heartworm are indoor cats. The cat illness symptoms of feline heartworms are inconsistent, which makes diagnosing the disease difficult. The most common signs that pet health has been compromised are rapid breathing and coughing. These symptoms are also common in other feline diseases.

Feline heartworms are diagnosed via blood tests. Currently there are no safe treatment options for feline heartworms. Any symptoms caused by the disease are treated to keep the animal comfortable until the heartworms die. The lifecycle of the heartworms is approximately 2 years. Cat health issues, like feline heartworms, can be avoided by giving your cat heartworm prevention.

Pets Best Insurance has a limited benefit for the testing of heartworms with its BestWellness plan—which can be added on to any illness and accident cat insurance policy for $22 per month.

For more information on what is covered under the BestWellness plan, or general information about health insurance for cats, visit

Cat health care: How to prevent hairballs in your cat

Posted by: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
A cat ensures proper pet health with grooming.
Having a cat means you have your fair share of cat hair. It’s not only a nuisance; it can cause cat health care issues. Dealing with cat hair can seem like a never-ending battle. Keeping the amount of hair that your cat sheds at a minimum will help control the cat health care issue and cut down on their chance of developing hairballs.

Cat hair balls are a common pet health problem in cats with longhair cats being more susceptible to them. According to Dr. Guglielmino, of the Cornell Feline Health Center, it’s normal for cats to vomit a hairball once every one to two weeks.

Hairballs occur from a build-up of hair in the cat’s stomach caused from habitual grooming. Most of the hair will pass through the stomach and intestines and will eventually leave the body when the cat relieves itself.

A hairball will form when some of the hair remains in the stomach. Over time the hair will become a ball-like shape. The cat will usually vomit to get rid of the hairball. The hairball can leave the stomach and travel through the intestines and cause pet health problems like intestinal blockage. When this occurs, surgery must be performed to remove the obstruction.

You can help your cat avoid hairballs by brushing your cat daily. This will help remove most of the excess hair, which will cut down on the amount of hair the cat will ingest. Another option for longhair cats is to have their hair cut to a shorter length. If your cat is prone to hairballs, discuss options with your veterinarian to keep your cat in the best pet health possible.

Cat insurance can mean longer, healthier lives

Sophia, a cat with pet insurance, looks into the distance.

By: Chryssa Rich
Pets Best Insurance Marketing Associate

A few years ago, my parents adopted a beautiful Ragdoll cat from a local shelter and instantly fell in love with her. Just a couple of months later, however, they noticed she wasn’t eating or drinking normally.

X-rays revealed Sophia had an intestinal blockage. Surgery would’ve cost around $2,500 – not an amount most pet owners are prepared to shell out for a cat they’d just recently adopted. At the time, I had just returned from living outside the U.S. and none of us had heard of health insurance for cats.

My parents decided the price was too high, especially when there was no guarantee Sophia would be cured. So the vet helped us keep her hydrated with injections of fluids while we tried alternative methods to move the obstruction. We gave her little blobs of petroleum jelly and massaged her abdomen daily, and we fed her liquid food with a syringe. Sadly, her health continued to decline dramatically, the obstruction didn’t budge. Finally, my parents made the decision to have Sophia euthanized.

Every spring when the snow melts, my dad prunes the bushes around Sophia’s little grave and straightens the pink bow on the wooden cross over her. They acknowledge now that pet insurance could’ve meant a different path for Sophia. Even if her intestinal blockage had turned out to be genetic and incurable, they wouldn’t be left wondering, “What if?”

Cat Insurance Makes a Difference for Cats
Every day, more and more cat owners are realizing that cat insurance is a good idea. They learn that cat vet bills are just as expensive as dog vet bills, that cats get into trouble just like dogs do, and that pet insurance can offer real financial protection.

Brenda B. from Wisconsin has a story like Sophia’s, only with a happy ending. Brenda has cat insurance with Pets Best Insurance and that’s what likely saved his life. She writes: “My Ragdoll, Furby, needed surgery that would cost between $2,500 and $4,100. It would have broken my heart to have to put him down because I could not afford the surgery he needed.”

On our Facebook page, we often hear from cat owners about the benefits of cat insurance. Lisa O. of Missouri has two cats insured with Pets Best Insurance, one of which is a senior pet she couldn’t insure elsewhere. She writes: “Our kitty Felix is 15 and has ongoing kidney issues. Not only did Pets Best insure him when he was 14….they have covered over $3000 in medical bills….and never any hassle or worry for us.”

Lisa P. from California wrote on our Facebook Reviews page: “We just lost our 17 year old kitty. Having the insurance on her let us afford the medications she needed and any procedures to keep her going for many extra years.”

Pet health issues: Common cancers found in dogs

By: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
A nurse tends to a sick dog.
Before I began working for a pet insurance company, I had no idea that animals could develop cancer. But I’ve recently learned that dog cancer is the cause of almost half of the deaths of dogs aged 10 years and older.

Much like cancer in humans, dog cancer symptoms will vary depending on the type of cancer that has developed in the dog. Cancer can cause a rapid decline in pet health and pets that show any unusual symptoms should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Although there are numerous types of dog cancers, there are four types that seem to affect pet health the most.

One of the most common is dog lymphoma. Lymphoma accounts for 10-20% of all cancer found in dogs and causes swelling of the lymph nodes. The most noticeable lymph nodes are located on the sides of the neck and inside the armpit area. When the lymph nodes are swollen, owners usually notice that something doesn’t look right on their pet.

Another common cancer found in dogs is skin cancer. Malignant (cancerous) tumors tend to grow fast and usually have an irregular shape. Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to skin cancer, as well as dogs that have light colored hair and spend a lot of time in the sun. If your dog is lighter in color, ask your veterinarian if he or she might be at risk for skin cancer.

Bone cancer is another form of cancer that can affect pet health in dogs. Bone cancer accounts for 5% of all cancers found in dogs. This type of cancer occurs in the limbs of dogs 75-85% of the time. Bone cancer is most common in older giant breed dogs. Limping is usually the first sign of bone cancer.

Breast cancer is another common cancer in dogs. Breast cancer is a unique pet health problem that it is almost 100% preventable. Spaying a dog before her first heat cycle can nearly eliminate her risk of getting breast cancer. One in four un-spayed dogs over the age of 4 years will develop breast cancer. Dog health insurance will help cover the cost of having your dog spayed, which can keep her from developing this devastating disease.

Dr. Jack Stephens, the pioneer of the pet insurance industry in the US and the president of Pets Best Insurance thinks the reason more pets are developing cancer is because they are living longer thanks to new developments in technology.

“Early detection and identifying the exact type of cancer is critical to determining which course of treatment should be taken,” Dr. Stephens said.

Dr. Stephens suggests giving special attention to dog health care and finding out which cancers are most common in your pet’s breed so you will know what to look for.

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