By: Chryssa Rich
Pets Best Insurance Marketing Associate
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.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
As much as I hate to admit it, summer is coming to a swift end. And with the cooler temperatures and the start of football season, pets across the nation are beginning to adjust to their owners’ schedules for work or back to school.
Instead of spending warm days playing Frisbee in the park, your pet is getting back into the routine of patiently waiting for you by the front door, or hoping you might swing by at lunchtime for a potty break. And although many well-trained pets often do just fine, some will display increased anxiety and pet health can even be at risk.
Before I began working for a pet insurance company, my Chihuahua La La grew accustomed to spending most days with me. Upon heading back to work, I noticed my tiny dog was not happy. Although La La cannot speak her mind in plain English, she let me know she had an, ahem, bone to pick with me by leaving me a little brown present my first day back at work.
Similarly to humans, some pets may have adjustment issues with new schedules. It’s not all that uncommon for pets to act out if they’re unhappy with the new day-to-day activities just like La La did. With less interaction from their owner who is now elbow deep in text books, or leaving the house earlier in the morning and coming home later at night, pets are looking for an alternate means of entertainment.
Common signs that your pooch or kitty may not be happy with the end of summertime fun might include these pet health and pet behavioral issues:
• Urinating and defecating in the house
• Barking, howling or whimpering
• Digging in the yard or chewing off-limit items
• Pacing back and forth
• Eating more or less
• Sleeping more
• Increased anxiety or excitement when you try to leave
If you know your schedule will be changing, it’s a good idea to introduce the change slowly to your pet. You can do this by implementing shorter periods of separation and then gradually increasing the time you are away.
You can also reward your pet with a treat or play fetch a few times before departing for the morning. This can help your pet associate you leaving with something positive.
The most important thing to remember is that change can be hard for your pet, so attempt to work with your pooch or kitty until it feels comfortable with your new schedule.
If you notice increased anxiety or other pet health issues in your pet, talk to your veterinarian about options for treatment or medications that can help.
Hartz Mountain Corp. has issued a voluntary recall of nearly 75,000 bags of dog treats due to possible salmonella contamination, CNN reports.
According to the source, some 8-ounce bags of Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs were randomly tested for the presence of salmonella by the FDA, and the results indicated they might be contaminated.
“The company, based in Secaucus, New Jersey, has not received any reports of animals or people becoming ill as a result of contact with the treats,” the news provider reports.
According to the source, the recalled treats are stamped with the lot code BZ0969101E and could jeopardize pet health if eaten.
Hartz advises pet owners who have purchased the potentially-contaminated treats to dispose of them immediately.
The FDA suggests that pet owners whose dogs display symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain and nausea take their pets in for immediate dog health care.
Consumers who have additional questions can contact Hartz at 1-800-275-1414.
By: Jacqueline White
My family recently lost our wonderful Rottweiler, Maddox, to dog lymphoma. We were saddened by the sudden loss. He had been to the veterinarian’s office in March for his annual check-up and was deemed to be in good health. Just three short months later we noticed the lymph nodes in his neck were swollen.
We took him into the vet the next day and our worst fears became a reality. The cancer had already spread to his other lymph nodes. We knew that his time here with us was going to be cut short. We tried to make him as comfortable as possible. Even though we provided him prompt dog health care, in just four short weeks his health had declined to the point where euthanasia was our only option.
After Maddox passed away, we knew that we wanted to get another Rottweiler. We searched online and found a puppy that had been an “owner surrender” at the local animal control office. With our three girls in tow, we headed to meet the puppy face-to-face. Although initially the little ball of fluff was very scared– my husband and I determined that we would adopt it.
We had our new puppy, Duke, checked out by our veterinarian the day we picked him up from animal control to ensure he received the best possible dog health care. Soon, however, he became very ill.
We took little Duke back to the veterinarian’s office and he was diagnosed with parvo virus, which can be life threatening to dogs. The estimate, a whopping $600 for treatment was startling, but luckily for us the puppy came with a three-month membership of pet dog insurance.
The insurance ended up paying for most of Duke’s treatment. If it wasn’t for Duke having dog insurance I don’t know what we would have done.
Having pet health insurance kept our family from suffering another loss. After our experience with both
Maddox and Duke, I would never own another pet without getting pet insurance—you never know when you might need it.
For more information about pet insurance visit www.petsbest.com.
Dr. Andrew Ward wishes more people would buy pet insurance for their pets, The Observer website reports.
According to the source, the vet feels that insuring pets allows their owners to provide tip top treatment.
“It is a great idea that gives financial backing to us as vets that an animal’s treatment isn’t limited,” Ward told the Observer.
“Quite often people can’t afford things such as tests or surgery.”
Ward told the news provider that he makes it a point to discuss the benefits of a pet care insurance plan with each of his clients—because too often, the only other option is euthanasia.
“Sometimes we have no choice but to euthanize an animal for financial reasons because their owners can’t afford treatment which wouldn’t happen if they had pet insurance,” Ward told the source.
Ward told the provider that when his clients opt to buy insurance for dogs and cats, there are more methods of treatment available.
“I really do hope it is a trend that will catch on.”