Author Archives: Hadley Rush

Cat health care: Litterbox training

Posted by: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
Two kittens play play with each other.

Once you’ve brought your new little ball of fluff home, you should introduce your kitten to the litter box—ideally cat box training should begin the very first day you have your cat.

According to the Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, kittens are born with the instinct to dig in loose material and this instinct is used when training kittens to use a litter box. Letting your kitten know where the litter box is will hopefully cut down on any pet health problems or future accidents.

Place kitty litter boxes in quiet areas of the house. Clumping litter is the preferred type of litter to use in the box because it tends to be easier for cleanup. When training a kitten, leave a small amount of urine and feces in the litter box so that the kitten can smell it and associate the box with going potty. Once the kitten is trained you can fully clean the litter box as necessary.

To ensure proper cat health care and limit accidents, it’s a good idea to put the kitten in the litter box after it has been sleeping, eating or playing. If you notice your kitten scratching the floor, or displaying other signs that it may need to relieve itself, place them in the litter box immediately.

Keep placing them in the box until they begin to use the litter box on their own. In the beginning, you may want to confine the kitten to one room until they get used to using the litter box before giving them free reign of the house.

Put a litter box on each level of the house. This will ensure that the kitten can get to a litter box in a timely manner. It is also recommended that you have one litter box per cat to ensure that a box is available at all times.

If you have trouble getting your kitten to use its litter box, talk to your veterinarian to ensure your cat is in good pet health.

Homeless pet health: A volunteer crusade

A puppy in dire pet health waits for a meal.
As many as 25% of homeless people in the U.S. own pets—and local activists want to lend a helping hand.

According to the Telegram.com news site, it’s often difficult for homeless people with pets to find shelter—simply because many shelters don’t allow animals inside. Not only does this deter the homeless from getting food, but it may impact pet health.

“Often the homeless choose to stay on the streets or live in cars to avoid having to give up a beloved dog or cat. It is difficult to find food for themselves, and feeding their pets adds to the challenge,” the news provider reports.

Local activist Dorothea Cassady contacted Ginny White of Ginny’s Helping Hands to help collect and distribute supplies to the pet-owning homeless.

“These people have been sleeping in their car since the beginning of March with their two dogs,” White told the Telegram.com of a homeless family. “They have a shepherd and a Chihuahua. That’s their kids. They will not give up their kids.”

White told the news provider she joined forces with Cassady because she also saw a need for this volunteer service and was worried about homeless pet health.

Genevieve Frederick, director of Feeding Pets of the Homeless, told the news provider that they’ve increased the number of distribution sites where the homeless can get food for their pets.

“We have distribution sites at food banks and places where homeless congregate,” Frederick told the news source.

Aside from getting help from Ginny’s Helping Hands, Cassady plans to reach out to veterinarians and other food drive services to join Feeding Pets of the Homeless.

The activists told the news provider that they will continue to do what they can to ensure good pet health, even for those without roofs over their heads.

Shopping for the best pet insurance rates

By: Chryssa Rich
Pets Best Insurance Marketing Associate
Jayda relaxes in the grass after a game of Frisbee.
I first heard about pet insurance almost six years ago when I saw a magazine ad which directed me to a website for a quote.

I can’t remember which company it was for, but I remember the pet insurance rates listed were about $20 per month, per pet. Being a broke graduate student at the time, I didn’t make the purchase.

It surprises me today how many pet owners have faced daunting vet bills, yet how few have heard of pet health insurance. And now that I work for Pets Best Insurance, people always ask “How much would it be for my 8 year-old Great Dane?” or “Would your plans cover my cat’s urinary tract problems?” I can’t provide pet insurance rates off the top of my head, of course, but I do always let them know they can get an instant quote any time at www.petsbest.com.

There are a few things to consider when shopping for a pet health insurance company. While excellent customer service, fast payment and easy online account maintenance is a plus (Pets Best Insurance offers all of these), for many of us, it comes down to monthly pet insurance rates. When I adopted my dog Jayda last spring, I was pleased to discover I would’ve chosen Pets Best Insurance even if I didn’t work here. Because Jayda was a shelter dog, one company gave us 45 days of coverage included with her adoption fee, and offered a discount for the first month after that. However, after doing a little research, switching to Pets Best Insurance was a no-brainer.

For me, it was important to have a variety of deductibles to choose from, in order to get the perfect monthly pet insurance rates. I also didn’t want to be nickled-and-dimed to death with things like extra cancer coverage. (Pets Best Insurance plans cover cancer, so long as the cancer isn’t pre-existing.)

I was surprised to see some companies require a full 30-day waiting period, so you’re paying for an entire month with no coverage—which didn’t seem very fair to me, and didn’t seem to make sense for my dog’s health care.

Other factors in my search included age limits and continuous care. Some companies won’t insure older pets. Still others start their policies fresh every year, meaning that anything previously covered can be regarded as a pre-existing condition. That defeats the entire purpose of dog health care insurance, if you ask me. And what if my dog were to get sick just before our policy renewed? We wouldn’t have much coverage at all. Thankfully with Pets Best Insurance, we don’t have to worry about any of that.

When you’re comparing pet insurance rates, make sure you consider all the above. It’s also important to determine what you can afford each month, and how much you can comfortably part with as a deductible. All Pets Best Insurance plans cover 80% of covered expenses after a deductible is subtracted. Additionally my company’s pet insurance rates are all inclusive and include some of the highest payout limits in the industry.

Upscale cat and dog health care at new hotel

A fancy dog sits on a plush pink pillow.
A new hotel is opening in Fort Worth, Texas later this month that will boast custom beds, satin blankets, and flat screen TVs—but the hotel isn’t for humans, it’s for pets.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the $4.4 million hotel, called the Spa Paws Hotel, will offer pet facials, turn-down service and bottles of Evian water.

“There isn’t another hotel like this. It’s a hotel like you and I would stay in,” hotel owner Janice Ford Grimes told the source, adding that pet health will also be a primary focus.

Ford Grimes told the news provider that pets will be able to enjoy a wellness center that will offer Eastern medicine to ensure exquisite cat and dog health care.

While many people consider dog and cat insurance to be the up-and-coming pet trend, Ford Grimes wants to push the envelope even more.

The hotel owner plans to host pet weddings and birthday parties and guests will even be able to sit for a portrait by a professional photographer.

Ford Grimes told the news provider that the part of the hotel she’s most passionate about is the wellness center, which is inspired by Ford Grime’s cat Dakota, who died of a serious pet health condition—a brain tumor.

With rooms costing around $200 per night, Ford Grimes thinks animal lovers will see her pet hotel is worth every penny.

“Ford Grimes is prepared to subsidize the clinic with earnings from the hotel,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Her business plan has her making money within the first six months with occupancy at the hotel and salon.”

With Ford Grimes’ pet hotel opening its doors—pet health and luxury will never be regarded the same.

Five tips for introducing pets to new people

By: Chryssa Rich
Pets Best Insurance Marketing Associate
A dog waits at the door as someone approaches.
Before I returned to my hometown about three years ago, I moved every 18 months or so, cats in tow. There was never a shortage of new people for my cats to meet. Luisa always did well, but her daughter Monica, a shy orange tabby, is typically afraid of new people. My dad commented that in a week of cat-sitting, he didn’t see her once. This type of fear and anxiety in a pet isn’t good for pet health or the overall happiness of a home.

Adding to the mix, I adopted my dog last spring. She’s presented a new set of issues when it comes to meeting new people, namely fear-based aggression. If anything she’s helped me understand and develop numerous dog health care and behavioral tactics.

The following tips have helped us welcome new people into our lives, and they just might help you too:

1. Stay calm and act natural
Before someone comes over, many of us tend to rush around the house cleaning with weird-smelling chemicals and big scary vacuums. This behavior sends the message that something new is about to happen and it can create anxiety. Keep your routine as normal as possible before your guests arrive to ensure pet health and happiness.

2. Don’t tolerate aggressive behavior
If you’re dealing with a dog, under no circumstances should you accept aggressive behavior. Growling, barking, lunging and jumping up are all dominance behaviors dogs can show. You may need to keep Fido on-leash at first to ensure a calm, happy meeting. If that doesn’t work, keep him in a crate or in another room, and only let him out when he’s quiet.

Special note for owners of small dogs: Resist the urge to pick up your dog when it growls, barks, lunges or jumps. This rewards the behavior with your attention and tells your little dog that it’s okay to behave aggressively. Instead, invest in a tiny prong collar or harness and leash, and use the same obedience commands you’d use with a large dog. This may seem mean to the average person, but asserting your dominance as pack leader will garner respect from your dog and guarantee proper dog health care and obedience.

3. Let the pet decide when to say hi
If your pet prefers to hide when someone new arrives, let her. Once your friend has arrived and settled in, see if you can coax your pet to come out using a soothing voice and maybe a treat or a favorite toy.

4. Use lots of praise
If I sit and chat with a new friend, my scaredy-cat Monica will usually come out from hiding within a few minutes. As long as I praise her and pet her, she’ll stick around. Most pets have amazing memories and will remember friends when they come back next time. So, if someone comes to visit and your pet doesn’t hide, recognize the progress and use lots of praise.

5. Keep treats by the front door
This works especially well for dogs. Keep a few treats near the front door, and if a guest is willing, ask him or her to tell your dog to sit before accepting the treat. This way, your dog has something to focus on (the “sit” command) and will be rewarded by the new friend. Having positive activities to focus on can prevent the nervous growling and barking seen in some dogs.

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