Pet Insurance Blog – Pets Best Insurance
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Top four ways to get kitty some exercise

Posted on: May 20th, 2011 by

La La the Chihuahua watch dog looks out the window.

Posted by: H.M.
For Pets Best Insurance

Just because cats are independent doesn’t mean they wouldn’t prefer interactive play with their owner over pawing at a ball on the floor by themselves. Cats are intelligent animals who love challenges, mental stimulation and bonding with their humans—whether it be over cuddle time or play time.

A large part of pet health is attributed to exercise to promote healthy weight and joints. Just like with humans, mental stimulation is also important for improved mood and cat health care.

There are more exciting ways to play with a cat other than sitting on the couch and making the cat do all the work at the other end of a laser pointer. Together with pet insurance, these unique exercise enrichments will keep even indoor cats in top shape.

Teach an Old (or Young) Cat New Tricks
Just like dogs, cats can be taught to perform tricks. A simple search will bring up free demonstrations on how to teach cats to shake paws, sit up, high five and lay down for treats and praise. All that’s needed is patience and some healthy treats. Clicker training is also as effective for cats as it is for dogs.

Scientific Explorer, a company that creates fun experiment kits for kids, made one called Fun With Your Cat Kit, available online. This simple but fun kit includes toys, a taste test experiment and educational information on cat behaviors. The booklet also includes instructions to teach cats to sit and jump through a hoop.

Make Them Work For It
When it’s treat time, don’t just hand kitty the treats. Toss them on the floor so they have to run and get it. Toss them up the stairs (if they’re carpeted) to give kitty some exercise. You can even put them on top of the cat tree so kitty has to climb her way up to the treat.

Pet stores also sell balls with holes in them that cats can bat around until the treats fall out. Before you go to work in the morning, leave treats around the house and let kitty go on a scavenger hunt.

Stroll Around the Neighborhood
Imagine passing a fellow walker in the neighborhood who is pushing a stroller. You stop to take a peek at the adorable bundle of joy, when surprisingly, the baby is actually a cat! Cat strollers are fully enclosed and screened so that cats can get out and see the world from a safe environment. There are even double-decker strollers for multiple pets and sporty strollers for cat mommas who want to go for a jog rather than a stroll.

Walk the Cat
Cats who get used to a collar can get used to a harness and leash and be taken on walks. Harnesses must be used for cat safety, not collars. To preserve cat health care, any cat that is allowed outside should be treated with flea preventative.

Americans pamper pets even with prices rising

Posted on: May 19th, 2011 by

La La the Chihuahua watch dog looks out the window.

According the the website, Petweek.org, one of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Auxiliary to the AVMA’s primary messages is to “promote responsible pet ownership, celebrate the human-animal bond, and promote public awareness of veterinary medicine.”

The organization hopes to help educate children and adults alike that as animal rescues and shelters work to save homeless animals, families can save lives by offering a home to a pet in need.

When pets are adopted, they are innocent, voiceless, and rely on their owners for everything from food to pet insurance and care. Pets give their owners years of love and joy, and shouldn’t have to suffer when they are sick because of high treatment costs. This is where pet health insurance comes in.

Obtaining pet insurance coverage is a wonderful way to ensure that pets get all the help they need from puppy and kittenhood into their senior years.

An April 2011 Reuters report on an American Pet Products Association (APPA) poll revealed that in spite of an economic downturn, pet owners are spending more every year on their pets, including a projected $4 billion more in 2011 than five years earlier.

“Sixteen percent of dog owners and 13 percent of cat owners said their animal’s medical treatment would take priority over their own,” according to the Reuters report. The report also revealed that the number of yearly vet visits and surgery costs are both on the rise, particularly for cats.

Because there’s no guarantee to goodIt w pet health, pet insurance offers pet owners some control over both the expected—yearly check-ups—and the unexpected—accidental injury or surprise illness. Pet insurance cost varies, with pet coverage plans ranging from emergency-only to wellness policies. Researching pet plan insurance may prove one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to see the AVMA’s hope of saved lives and veterinary medicine awareness realized.

Florida pet insurance

Posted on: May 19th, 2011 by

A dog with pet health insurance strolls near the water.

Pet owners all over the US have discovered the benefit of pet insurance.

While companies like Pets Best Insurance offer coverage for pets located in every state in the nation, pet owners are likely to need to see their vet for a variety of reasons. And some of these reasons can be because of where they’re located.

Florida pet insurance, for example, might be a good idea for those in the Sunshine State because the climate can add to potential pet ailments or injuries.

Hotter Climate
If you live in a warmer climate, that means your pets’ bodies have to adjust to those temperatures. When walking or exercising your pet, keep in mind that the heat and humidity will take a toll on them faster.

It’s also important to not leave them outside in the hottest part of the day without a shady area to cool off. Access to water is even more critical in Florida’s hot weather.

Parasites
Being out more in warmer temperatures means that pets have more exposure to internal parasites like heartworms, which are very serious. Heartworms are caused through contact with mosquitos and Florida has the perfect climate for mosquitoes. Owners need to be more aware of the threat and take preventative measures like giving your pet medication and ensuring they are seen by their vet at least annually.

For more information about pet insurance, or to learn about how pet insurance can benefit your pet, visit www.petsbest.com.

Being kind to animals

Posted on: May 18th, 2011 by

A dog with pet health insurance waits for a treat.

The American Humane Association advocates protection and humane treatment of the voiceless, and among the voiceless are animals. This organization offers a few tips on its website outlining how you can speak out and provide care for animals.

Appreciate Wildlife
Wildlife is part of our Earth’s delicate lifecycle. American Humane Association suggests creating an inviting area in your yard for birds, butterflies, and other local animals. Avoid inhumane traps and poisons, which can harm animals that aren’t being targeted, like stray cats and loose dogs.

Adopt a Pet From a Shelter or Rescue
According to the American Humane Association, every year “an estimated 3.7 million animals must be euthanized at our nation’s shelters because they could not be adopted into loving homes.” Save these animals by offering them a home rather than buying from a neighbor who failed to spay and neuter. Spaying and neutering dogs and cats offers pet health benefits, can help decrease pet overpopulation, and may be subsidized with pet insurance coverage.

Take Care of Your Pet
Pets rely on their owners to keep them safe and in good pet health. Annual vet check-ups aren’t just for vaccinations. These exams can also detect potential pet health issues early, when they can still be successfully treated. Pets should also be protected from getting lost with proper identification. Vaccinations, preventative visits and treatment are often covered by pet health insurance. Visit Pets Best Insurance for more information.

Does your dog have separation anxiety?

Posted on: May 18th, 2011 by

A dog with pet health insurance waits for his owner to return.

By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell
For Pets Best Insurance

Nobody likes coming home to a mess their dog has created while they were away. Sometimes destructive behavior is due to boredom, but occasionally it goes deeper than that. It is estimated one in six dogs suffers from separation anxiety, a disorder causing dogs to panic when left alone, often vocalizing, destroying areas of escape, such as doors or windows, and house soiling. Some pet insurance companies, like Pets Best Insurance, offer limited benefits for behavioral conditions, like separation anxiety.

Dogs are under great stress with separation anxiety, and can even injure themselves while trying to escape. Recognizing this disorder is the first step to helping your dog overcome this, in addition to protecting your home and belongings.

What is separation anxiety?
Dogs are pack animals; it isn’t surprising being alone can trigger anxiety. True separation anxiety driven behaviors will occur shortly after the owner has left and classically will involve some type of ‘escape attempt,’ or destruction around exits. A severely affected dog may create a large amount of destruction by chewing, clawing or digging, whereas a mildly affected dog may only pant excessively, pace, whine or excessively groom.

House soiling generally occurs shortly after the owner leaves and should be distinguished from house soiling that occurs from being left for long periods of time. Often dogs suffering from separation anxiety are hyperattached to their owner and will follow them around or beg to be held. Many pets with separation anxiety will also have noise phobias as well and become fearful or even destructive during thunderstorms or fireworks on the Fourth of July.

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What causes it?
Separation anxiety can occur anytime, at any age. It tends to start after a stressful event, like a move to a new home, or after a change in the owner’s schedule. Dogs in single person households versus having more than one owner are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from separation anxiety. Sometimes there are no known triggers.

Can I prevent it?
Ideally, preventing separation anxiety begins in puppyhood. Crating can be a wonderful way to create a safe and comfortable routine for your new puppy. Dogs like small ‘den-like’places, and crates can instill a sense of security and assurance. It is important to NEVER use a crate as a source of punishment. Pets that are crated and enjoy their crate are far less likely to have destructive behaviors.

Never leave your dog in a crate for an inhumane period of time. A general rule of thumb for puppies is the maximum amount of time they should spend in a crate should equal their age in months plus one hour. For example, 3 hours for a 2 month old, 5 hours for a 6 month old. Never exceed 8 hours, even in an adult dog.

Can separation anxiety be treated?
Separation anxiety can’t be ‘cured.’ It can be successfully managed, and generally takes behavior modification on your part, and for your pet as well. Occasionally pharmaceutical intervention can be helpful as well. Some pet insurance companies will offer limited coverage for these kinds of medications.

What should I do?
Never punish your dog if you come home to a mess. This will only add to their anxiety and will not prevent them from doing it again. A ‘guilty’ looking dog is likely picking up on the fact that you are angry and is trying to appease you, versus feeling actual remorse.

Figure out which ‘cues’ your dog perceives that indicate you are leaving, such as picking your phone or keys, packing a lunch, etc. Try doing these cues without leaving, or perform these cues and then reward your dog with a treat. Try doing your departure routine, then leave for just a few minutes and return. Praise good behavior.

Enrich your dog’s environment. Provide interactive toys, like Kongs with the inside pre-filled with canned food and placed in the freezer first.

Crating a dog that has never been crated and has separation anxiety can be tricky, but done right can help in some occasions. Sometimes being confined can ‘fuel the fire’ and make your dog more anxious. Go slowly with introduction to a new crating situation. Feed your dog in the crate, keep his or her toys in it, have it out in the common area where you spend most of your time. Close the door to the crate with the dog in it when you are home with him or her first. Gradually increase the amount of time they stay in it, provide lots of praise and rewards.

Try to downplay your comings and goings. Try to be unemotional when you are leaving, do not coddle or give excessive attention as you are leaving. Try to be aloof when you come home. It can be very hard to resist your dog’s excitement and joy when you have returned, but try to ignore them until the excitement passes, then lavish them with praise.

Spend more time with your pet. Make sure you are allowing them regular exercise. Create a day-to-day routine and try to stick to it.

When should I try medication and what is available?
If you have worked with your veterinarian with a behavior modification program and haven’t reached your goals, adding medication in the mix may be helpful. Medication is NOT a substitute for behavioral modifying techniques and must be used in conjunction.

Most medication is aimed at reducing anxiety levels, currently clomipramine and fluoxetine are the only FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of separation anxiety in the dog; however, other human anti-anxiety medications have a long history of use for this purpose.

Pet health insurance can cover behavioral treatment at limited amounts, and is generally a good idea to consider regardless of whether your pet has separation anxiety.