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Parvo Virus: Bad for puppies, bank accounts

Posted on: May 5th, 2011 by

A dog with pet insurance looks up.

Dog owners generally purchase pet insurance because they know dogs will likely go through various bouts of illness and upset tummies throughout their lives.

But for puppies, such an incident can be very serious– as it often means the dog has Canine Parvovirus, otherwise known as Parvo. Parvo is a very dangerous pet health disease for puppies and elderly dogs that can turn deadly quickly.

Parvo virus infects the intestine and destroys the lining, causing severe bloody diarrhea and vomiting. What’s worse, the virus can live on surfaces for months and can spread very easily on clothing and shoes, infecting puppies that have had no contact with other dogs at all.

Treatment means hospitalization for at least three nights, and anyone whose pet has stayed overnight at the vet knows this is very costly without dog insurance.

According to Dr. Michael Dill, a veterinarian at Bienville Animal Medical Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, treatment for Parvo can even require ten days of non-stop hospitalization, which, without pet health insurance, could cost a pet owner hundreds or even thousands of dollars. But, “with appropriate treatment, parvo infected dogs have about 85 to 90 percent survival rates,” the veterinarian wrote in an article for the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald.

Fortunately, routine puppy vaccinations, which can be covered with dog insurance plans include vaccinations for Parvo. These shots require multiple booster shots and return vet visits, so puppy owners should compare pet insurance to find a policy that will cover this routine.

The extra preparation is well worth it for your puppy’s health and your bank account. According to Dr. Dill, “At my clinic, a full set of puppy visits (four visits including examination, vaccines and fecal examination) is less costly than a single day of parvo treatment.”

Paws for the Heart Promotes Owner and Pet Health

Posted on: May 5th, 2011 by

By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance

Pets Best Insurance participates in Paws for the Heart.

Idaho residents now have a new reason to be out and about with their four-legged friends: Paws for the Heart. Vicki Stephens, wife of our founder and president Jack Stephens, recently participated on behalf of Pets Best Insurance.

Paws for the Heart was organized to promote pet owners walking their dogs for stronger hearts and improved overall human and pet health, something we have long supported here at Pets Best Insurance. After all, the evidence is clear that owning a pet can help a person be more active.

Despite the breezy and cool weather, the first-time event was very well attended with hundreds of pet owners and around 200 dogs of every size and shape. Attendees enjoyed a two-mile walk through a beautiful course surrounding a local medical center. One local shelter walked dogs available for adoption – their doggie vests let everyone know they were looking for forever homes.

Special guests included former Governor of Idaho Cecil Andrus, and “Lady 89”, the event’s most senior participant. Her age hasn’t slowed her down – she used her walker to walk the full two miles with her dog!

Vicki and her therapy dog Schotzie, who uses a wheelchair, hosted a Pets Best Insurance booth in order to educate other pet owners about pet insurance. One customer and his three Pets Best-insured Collies stopped by to rave about our coverage and service, and many stopped by to pick up brochures and learn how they can get pet insurance quotes themselves.

Now that the weather is nicer, we encourage you to seek out new opportunities to get moving with your pets! You’ll both be healthier and happier for it.

Pet Insurance Special: Gardening and Your Dog

Posted on: May 4th, 2011 by

A dog with pet insurance helps in the garden.

By: Judy Luther
Certified Professional Dog Trainer
For Pets Best Insurance

Originally this article was going to be titled “Gardening with your Dog”, but as I started to write, I realized, I don’t actually garden with my dog. For the most part gardening and dogs don’t mix well. There are several reasons why, but the main reason is that dogs tend to mimic. Dogs are extremely observant and often mimic or copy movements and behaviors they observe.

Have you ever planted a beautiful flower bed, only to later seen your dog or puppy proudly running through your yard carrying the geranium, you just planted? Well, he just saw his owner digging a hole and planting a flower, so why can’t he do the same?

Since this is not the type of gardening help I prefer, I keep my dogs safely away from the gardening activities and dangerous gardening tools. It is a good idea to consider pet insurance if your pet will be spending a lot of time outdoors with you. Once I am finished planting, my dogs are welcome to join me as I relax and enjoy my garden.

Even though I take precautions to avoid digging and planting in my dogs presence, they are still dogs and occasionally like to dig in my yard. Dogs just like to dig, and it is a normal part of being a dog. So how do you stop this unwanted behavior? I give my dogs a digging area. This is a place where my dogs are allowed and encouraged to dig. A digging pit is easy to make. You can use a small child’s swimming pool or sand box, or simply designate a small area of your yard to dig in. Fill with potting soil ( use a basic potting soil without added chemicals) and a small bit if sand to keep the soil from clumping up. Hide tennis balls, chew toys, rope toys, Kong toys, and anything else your dog may be interested in finding.

When I catch my dogs digging, I simply direct them to their own digging pit. After several times of redirecting them to their digging pit, they stop digging in the yard and go directly to their digging pit. And since their are fun toys in the digging pit, your dog will happily dig there.

Another gardening tip is to make sure the plants you include in your garden are safe for dogs. There are several sources on the internet that list plants that are toxic to dogs. Avoid these plants to keep your dog safe and healthy. If your dog does come in contact with toxic plants, take them immediately to the veterinarian for a pet health evaluation.

Keeping your pets out of the garden may also be an issue to you. The easiest way to handle this is with management, you can put up boundary fencing around all of your gardens. There is another option. Teach your dog to stay out of the flower beds by using boundary training.

My final suggestion regarding gardening, is to be very aware of the pesticides and weed killers you use. There are many pet friendly options to control pests in your garden Your local garden center is a great source of information. They can help you find good safe options to keep your garden looking great and your pets happy and safe.

Even with the best safe guards in place, I always feel confident that Pets Best Insurance is there to back me and my pet up. Whether it is a puppy getting tangled in a thorny rose bush or my older dog getting mixed up with a swamp of bumble bees, I can depend on Pets Best Insurance.

The beautiful Ocicat

Posted on: May 4th, 2011 by

A group of Ocicats with cat insurance play with one another.

Although there are now cat breeds that look wild, like the Bengal and Savannah, the Ocicat was the first breed to look like a wild animal. In 1964, the Ocicat was the accidental result of breeding an Abyssinian (which has a solid-looking coat but each hair is actually ticked with three colors like a deer) and a Siamese cat. Although the breed is somewhat rate, many pet insurance companies will still cover it.

The kitten has small dark spots on their body, making them look like a leopard or ocelot. The Ocicat has a distinctive spotting pattern with thumb-print sized spots in a classic “tabby” configuration. They look wild, but are domestic and have a gentle temperament. They have none of the issues that arise from exotic breeds that have wild blood, which is one of the reasons that many pet insurance companies will provide coverage for this kind of cat.

Description
As the breed developed, so did a variety of coat colors. The color descriptions are tawny, chocolate, cinnamon blue, fawn, lavender and silver. Ocicats are medium to large cats with athletic, muscular bodies. Females weigh between 6 and 9 lbs., and males weigh between 9 and 14 lbs.

Temperament
Ocicats are extremely intelligent, sometimes capable of opening their own cages. They are ideal companions with a sweet temperament, and they like to be with their owners, responding more like a dog. They enjoy vigorous play and will become bored if not “entertained” by the owners regularly. It is good to invest in a pet health insurance plan for this breed because of their curiosity.

Pet Health Issues
Fortunately, Ocicats are not prone to any genetic diseases or issues. Since 2005, the breed has been outcrossed with Abyssinians and no pet health problems have arisen yet. But if you are thinking of getting an Ocicat, it’s a good idea to check carefully with a breeder. Even though they are very healthy, you should consider cat insurance for typical cat illness coverage.

The Doberman Pinscher

Posted on: May 3rd, 2011 by

A Doberman Pinscher with dog insurance waits to play fetch.

Doberman Pinschers are majestic dogs with a very distinctive look. Loyal, protective, and friendly, they unfortunately have the reputation of being aggressive. In fact, owners of Dobermans are sometimes required to carry dangerous dog insurance policies. But they are not dangerous dogs by nature.

Description
The Doberman, although lean and tall in appearance, has a compact muscular body with a long head. Their almond-shaped eyes are various shades of brown, depending on coat color. Their ears used to be routinely cropped at about 12 weeks, but because some consider it to be inhumane, and many pet health insurance companies won’t cover these costs, some Doberman owners allow the dogs’ ears to grow naturally, and flop over. Tails are often still docked. Usually within three days of birth.

The Doberman has a broad chest and straight, long legs. Coat colors can range from black, black and tan, bluish-grey, red, fawn, or white. Some dogs have markings over the eye, throat, legs, feet, and tail.

Size
Because they have long legs, Dobermans are often thought to be very large. But males are 26 to 28 inches tall, and females are 24 to 26 inches tall. Both sexes weigh between 66 and 88 lbs.

Temperament
Dobermans are very energetic, loyal, and affectionate. Hardworking and very easy to train after owner pack leadership has been established, every member of the family must be firm and confident when handling the Doberman. This lets them know their place in the pack and provides security. It is also a good idea to consider dog insurance for this breed, considering its energy level and size.

This breed needs lots of stimulation and exercise. Despite the unearned reputation as a dangerous dog, Dobermans make excellent therapy dogs and are gentle with children.

Pet Health Issues
Dobermans are prone to a condition called cervical spondylitis (wobbler syndrome) from fusion of neck vertebrae. Like other larger dogs, they also often get hip dysplasia. Albinism does occur and the gene can cause pet health issues such as deafness.