6 Reasons Cats Knead

A kitten lays on a blanket kneading its paws.By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a cat insurance and dog insurance agency.

As I type this, my 10-month-old kitten, Casey, is sprawled across my lap, purring like a diesel-engine and rhythmically pushing his front paws up and down on my jeans. He sports a blissful look. But that’s expected because he is performing what feline fans affectionately refer to as “making biscuits” – the nickname for the term, kneading. The action mimics a baker kneading dough.

Animal behaviorists note that cats knead for many reasons. Since our feline friends aren’t talking, pet experts can only theorize as to why they knead laps, blankets and even the family dog.

1. First, felines are born kneaders. Nursing kittens instinctively know that by kneading on their mothers’ bellies, the paw-pushing action around their mothers’ nipples while they suckle will hasten the flow of milk.

2. Even after a kitten is weaned, he remembers the happy feeling of a full belly that came with kneading and nursing. Many continue kneading well into adulthood because the action puts them into a contented mood.

Here are other possible reasons cats knead:Read More…

4 Nutritional Tips for Senior Dogs

A senior golden retriever dog is happy because he's getting the proper nutrition.

By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for the pet health insurance agency, Pets Best.

As dogs enter their golden years, their nutritional needs change as well. Here are four tips to keep your young-at-heart senior dog healthy.

1. Consider Calories
Some senior dogs tend to become obese as they age due to decreased physical activity and a slower metabolism. If your senior dog is overweight, it may be time to swap to a diet dog food. On the other hand, some senior dogs tend to lose weight and become very thin because they are not digesting and absorbing food as well as they used to. These dogs may need to increase their daily calories or change to a food that is more calorie dense such as a puppy food. If your senior dog is a healthy weight, there is no need to change his food. Consult with your veterinarian for a dietary recommendation based on your dog’s specific needs.

2. Make Dental Health a Priority
Most dogs needs their teeth cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler and polisher at least once a year. As dog’s age, they may need their teeth cleaned more frequently. This is especially true in small dogs such as Chihuahuas, toy poodles and terriers. If you see any brown or grey build up at the gum line, it’s time for a dental cleaning! Often times, older dogs have periodontal disease that causes painful, loose teeth that need to be extracted (removed). If your dog has dental extractions, it is best for them to eat soft food for the week following these extractions. Contrary to popular belief, dogs can eat dry food just fine, even without any teeth! There are special diets that can help keep teeth clean between cleanings called “Dental Diets,” and your vet can recommend one for your aging canine companion.

3. Incorporate Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These oils, found primarily in fish, are very helpful in aging dogs. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to older dogs because they are natural anti-inflammatories. Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your dog’s diet can help reduce pain and inflammation from arthritis and give coats a shiny, healthy look. Consult with your veterinarian when adding in Omega-3 fatty acids to be sure that your dog is getting the right amount.Read More…

Dog Breed Guide: Shiba Inu

A Shiba Inu with pet insurance from Pets Best.

Dr. Marc is a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

About the Shiba Inu

Height (to base of neck): females 13.5-15.5″ males 14.5-16.5″

Weight:  females 17 lb, males 23 lb

Color: Black and tan, red and sesame, with specific white or cream patterns.

Origin: Japan

Coat: Double coat with thick, dense short undercoat and straight hard outer coat.

Life Expectancy: 12-13  years

Energy level: Moderate

Exercise needs: Moderate

Breed Nicknames: Shiba

 

Is a Shiba Inu the Right Dog Breed for You?

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The 4 Best (and Safest) Places to Pet Your Cat

A cat lays down while its owner pets its head.

By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a pet health insurance agency for dogs and cats.

One of the best ways to communicate, bond with your cat is through touch. Most cats love, love, love to be petted, stroked and scratched. But there is an art to performing purposeful petting that will ignite your cat’s contented purr machine and even put you in an elevated mood.

Yes, there are definitely places on your cat that welcome pets and definitely places that are off-limits or that may trigger a hiss or even a paw swipe directed toward you. Keeping in mind that cats come in a wide-range of personalities and tolerance levels, here are the purr-fect places to pet your cat:

1. The cheeks. Cats have concentrated scent glands located on their lips and cheeks. We can’t smell the oily residue that is deposited from these glands, but other cats certainly can. Gliding your fingers across your cat’s cheeks and lips release these glands, explaining why these are welcoming petting spots for most felines.

2. The forehead and between the eyes. Some cats boldly initiate a petting session by bumping their heads against you. This is known as bunting. Your cat is conveying to you that he is in the mood for you to finger-pet the top of his head and to perform a gentle finger glide between his eyes.Read More…

5 Nutritional Tips for Adult Dogs

An adult yellow Labrador dog licks a spoon. Ensure your dog is getting the right nutrition.

By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog health insurance agency.

As your puppy transitions to adulthood, their nutritional needs change as well. Here are five tips to ensure your adult dog stays healthy by getting the proper nutrition.

1. Choose a High Quality Food

There are so many options when choosing a food to feed your adult canine companion. You can feed your adult dog either canned or dry food, but dry food tends to be better for their teeth. The most expensive food isn’t always the best food, but extremely inexpensive food isn’t typically high quality. If you are unsure which food is the best to feed your dog, consult with your veterinarian. They will discuss canine nutrition with you, and they can suggest a few options that are scientifically backed to provide excellent nutrition. Is your dog a small breed? Does he or she hunt or perform agility? Is your dog mostly a couch potato? Your veterinarian can help you select the best nutrition based on your dog’s individual needs.

2. Avoid People Food

When it comes to people food, it’s typically best to avoid it in dogs. Most meats and dairy products are high in fat and can cause pancreatitis and diarrhea. Processed foods may cause upset stomach as well. Grapes and raisins are very toxic to dogs and should never be fed to your canine companion. There are a few exceptions such as green beans, carrots and apples that are safe and healthy to feed dogs as treats.

3. Portion ControlRead More…

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