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To Fix or Not to Fix?

Posted on: May 26th, 2011 by

A cat is attended to by a veterinarian.

It’s estimated that one dog or cat is put down every eight seconds in U.S. shelters, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

When Leigh Peterson of Ohio found herself posting ads trying to find homes for four puppies, she struggled with guilt.

“I felt like I was killing a dog in the pound every time someone came to see our puppies rather than go to a shelter,” said Leigh.

In the past, she had always preached how important spaying and neutering, vaccinating and investing in pet health insurance was. She volunteered at an animal shelter and considered herself fairly knowledgeable on pet health. “But when I started dating my boyfriend,” Leigh said, “he refused to get his dogs fixed.”

One day, when her boyfriend was out of town, he called and asked how everyone was. Leigh started to say how the dogs were fine and playing in the back yard, which was completely fenced-in. When she went to the window to look outside, she was shocked to find a strange male dog in the yard with their dog Abby. The two were mating.

“I stood there watching, telling him over the phone what was happening and resisting the urge to say I told you so,” said Leigh. “Even I had started to believe it was OK not to spay because I knew we were responsible pet owners. But this stray dog wanted in to our yard and found a way in.”

Sure enough, puppies were soon on the way. Leigh had to swallow her guilt and take control. She was releived they had purchased dog health insurance for their own dog, but now she had to focus on finding the best homes for the new pups.

The only thing in Leigh’s control now was making sure that these puppies didn’t further contribute to pet overpopulation. All the puppies were spayed and neutered before leaving her care. Although spaying females and neutering male dogs does not come without risk, it does offer some pet health benefits and reduces the urge to roam, like the male dog who found his way into Leigh’s fenced-in yard.

To help ensure that the puppies found good homes, the ads stated that the puppies would be fixed and an adoption fee was set at $50 per puppy. She screened all adopters and was able to keep in touch with them all, receiving pictures as the puppies grew.

When her boyfriend’s older dog developed a large tumor on her uterus, she was spayed, too. It was then his turn to feel guilt, as he could see that the surgery was much harder on a senior dog to recover from than it was for the puppies. From then on, he became a proponent of spaying and neutering, as well.

California pet insurance and your pet

Posted on: May 26th, 2011 by

Posted by: H.M.
For Pets Best Insurance

La La the Chihuahua watch dog looks out the window.

California has strict laws for bringing pets into the state. So if you will be traveling to California or moving to there with your pet in tow, you should familiarize yourself with the entry requirements. It’s also a good idea to become familiar with pet insurance– and if you will be moving, it may be a good idea to tell your pet health insurance company that you need to be transitioned to California Pet Insurace.

The reason for this is because some pet insurance companies base their premiums on the age of the pet, the breed of the pet and where the pet is located.

Cats and Dogs
Cats: All domestic cats must be healthy, with no sign of communicable diseases. A certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CV), which is a pet health certificate, is recommended. Cats entering California are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination, but must be vaccinated against rabies in the California.

Dogs: All dogs must be healthy, with no signs of disease. All dogs over four months of age must have a pet health certificate of current rabies vaccination. A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection is recommended.

Exotic Pets
California is rather strict on the private possession of exotic animals. Certain animals require a permit. The laws “cover importing, transporting and possessing ‘Live Restricted Animals’ as well as listing animals that are restricted species in the State of California. This list includes birds, mammals, amphibians, fish, reptiles, crustaceans, slugs, snails and mussels. According to this State Code, anyone wishing to possess, transport or import live restricted animals, as defined in this code, must have a permit to do so, issued by the California Department of Fish and Game.”

Remebering all these things when traveling or moving to California with your pets will help to ensure a smooth transition into The Golden State.

Tear Stains on White Dogs and Dog Food Refusal

Posted on: May 24th, 2011 by


Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. I’m answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page today.

The first question comes from Jennifer. “Any recommendations to help clear up tear stains?” Tear staining is really common in the small, white breed dogs. More of the tears actually spill out from the eyes and cause a rust-colored stain on their white fur. Using a product that’s meant for tear staining can be effective, something like Angel Eyes, which has an antibiotic in it. It’s a mild antibiotic call Tylosin that can be used somewhat long-term and sometimes provides some relief from this.

If you’re really careful you can use a really small toothbrush and actually brush the hair. Protecting the fur from the tears would be another thing you can try. If you spray a little hairspray on that toothbrush and then use that to coat the hair, sometimes that can help. Obviously, be sure to avoid getting any products in your pet’s eyes.

There is an old wives’ tales of using parsley. You could try it. It might not work but it certainly isn’t going hurt. You want to use either dried or fresh parsley, probably about a half-teaspoon or so, sprinkled on the food. Some people say that works really well.

The next question comes from Pam, who says, “I have a very spoiled 1½-year-old Border Collie/Lab mix that was diagnosed with a knee problem which resolved, but the anti-inflammatory medications messed up her appetite. I made her human meals using hamburger and grilled chicken to get her to eat and now she refuses her dog food. I’ve tried several different kinds, wet and dry. Any suggestions?”

This is really common. Dogs are smart, especially Border Collie-type dogs. These guys are really smart and they know that if they refuse their dog food, eventually you’re going to cave in and give them people food. What I would I have you do is get your resolve together. She’s not going to starve herself. I would put her dog food down and if she doesn’t eat, pick it up and feed it to her for dinner. I would do this for at least 48 hours. If she doesn’t eat anything in 48 hours, you might contact your veterinarian about what to do next and to make sure that there isn’t something else going on with her medication that’s causing a serious problem. Most dogs will eat when they’re hungry.
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Wild animals and pet safety

Posted on: May 24th, 2011 by

A dog with pet insurance is safe outdoors on a leash.

If you have a pet, it’s a safe bet that you love animals in general and enjoy seeing wildlife. But pets and wildlife can be a lethal combination.

It’s important for you to keep your pets safe from dangers they might encounter from wild animals. Injuries and bites from wildlife have a serious impact on pet health care. Most pet health insurance includes coverage for those injuries, but it’s best to prevent them.

Dangers From Wild Animals
Many wild animals present a danger to our pets. As humans are increasingly encroaching upon wild animals’ natural habitats, wildlife has become more adapted to living in populated areas. Because of this, wild animals, especially predators, come into contact with domestic animals more frequently. There are a number of things you can do to protect your pets from harm by wild animals.

• Don’t leave you pet outside unattended – This is dangerous to pets on many levels. They can get lost, ingest things that make them ill, get hit by cars or injured and killed by wild animals. Many predators and even animals that aren’t considered predators, like raccoons, are nocturnal. So be careful, even when letting your dog out at night while you’re with him.

• Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies – While cases of humans getting rabies are now rarer, animals continue to be bitten by rabid wild animals. Some pet health insurance companies will even provide limited coverage for vaccines.

• Take measures to ensure that wild animals don’t have access to your home. Pets can be bitten by bats and other animals that come into your home. Be sure to look around your foundation, chimney and attic for areas that might allow an animal in.

• Do not leave pet food outside – Your pets’ food is like a buffet for wildlife. Keep their food bags in covered containers inside. Be sure that your garbage cans are closed and in an area that is inaccessible to wild animals.

• Notify local wildlife extension service agents – If you see a dangerous wild animal in your yard, notify the authorities.

• Clear debris and tree limbs from near your house – Snakes pose a very real threat to pets because they hide in woodpiles and underbrush. Pets will often not have any warning before being bitten. Clear the vegetation around your house. Keep tree limbs from your roofline to prevent tree-climbing animals from access to your home.

But no matter how conscientious you are about protecting your pet from wild animals, it’s a good idea to have pet insurance in case of unforseen attacks.

Pet insurance comes to the rescue

Posted on: May 23rd, 2011 by

A Yellow Lab with vet insurance gets checked out by a vet.

Posted by: H.M.
For Pets Best Insurance

One of the many lessons Heidi Drafall has learned from her angelic Yellow Lab, Halo, is that dogs don’t need to be doing something risky in order to suffer from accidents and injury. During a routine vacation at their summer cabin in Northern Wisconsin, Halo decided to go outside for a swim. She knew that the outward-swinging screen door was usually left unlatched so that she could go outside as she pleased. This time, however, Halo didn’t run out of the doorway fast enough. The screen door shut on her tail as it closed, breaking it.

“It had a 90 degree bend,” said Drafall. “It just hung limply at the break. It was so sad!”

Luckily, Drafall didn’t have to think twice about getting help for Halo, as she was covered with vet insurance. The vet told her a broken tail was much like a broken nose, and although brining Halo into the hospital was a good thing to have done, her tail would need to heal on its own.

“It was very painful for her for a couple days,” recalled Drafall. “Especially since she is a Lab and wags her tail (and whole back end) all the time!” Thankfully, Halo is still wagging her now-straight tail.

Drafall’s story is a perfect example of why insurance for dogs is so important. Many pet owners think they won’t need to take their pets to the vet until they become sick or old. But even a happy, carefree summer day can turn scary in the blink of an eye.

Another example is the story of two Golden Retrievers in Clackamas, Oregon. In April, the two dogs were in the safety of their back yard with their owner, who was repairing the fence at the back of his property. The fence was behind a tree and at the edge of a 200-foot drop down to a river. When a storm knocked down the tree, this caused a gap between the fence and the edge of the cliff. As John Grady worked to repair the fence, his two dogs curiously walked over to see what he was doing and fell 175 feet down the embankment.

Astonishingly, the two dogs, ages 8 and 10, survived and were rescued from the edge of the river by authorities and Grady’s neighbor.

Those who compare pet insurance in advance of scary incidents like these quickly learn the benefits of having peace of mind. Not only are accidents impossible to predict, neither are events like job loss, pay cuts, and health care bills for the humans in the household. Just like insurance for humans, vet pet insurance is a welcome blessing when it’s needed most.