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The Chihuahua

Posted on: May 13th, 2011 by

A Chihuahua with pet insurance licks food.

A great companion dog, the Chihuahua breed is not without some challenges – one being a number of pet health issues. If you consider this breed, researching and purchasing pet insurance is a good idea.

We often see celebrities carrying Chihuahuas around as if they were fashion accessories. This has likely contributed to the breed’s current popularity, but hasn’t been the best PR for this small, sweet-tempered dog.

Description
In the toy class, the Chihuahua is tiny with a rounded head, short muzzle and large round eyes. Their ears are large and look almost disproportionate to the head. Their coats are short or longer and wavy. The coat colors include white, fawn, silver, chestnut, sand, sable, steel blue, black, black and tan and parti-color.

They are great companion dogs who enjoy affection. They are also very lively and adventurous. This breed ranges in height from 6 to 9 inches and 2 to 6 pounds in weight.

Temperament
For such a little dog, the Chihuahua can be very strong-willed without the proper pack leadership from his owner. But they are intelligent, quick learners who respond to training. They are very loyal and attached to their owners. Wary of strangers, they will remain close to their owner.

The breed is not recommended for children, especially if the dog has assumed a dominant role. Many of the issues with this breed’s temperament are a direct result of people treating them like babies. Because of this “cute, little dog” approach, their bad behavior will often not be addressed by the owner.

Chihuahuas tend to not be walked as often because they are seen as so active. But they need exercise just like larger dogs and walks also provide socialization and mental stimulation. If not getting sufficient exercise, they tend to be snappy, yappy and untrustworthy around kids and adults they don’t know.

Pet Health Issues
Chihuahuas are prone to rheumatism, colds, gum problems, and eye issues due to their protruding eyes. Because they are so small, toxic products that are ingested are even more dangerous. This breed can gain weight very easily. Having pet health insurance if you have this breed may come in handy. The Chihuahua is also very susceptible to stress, especially when owners treat them like babies. The dog needs to know that the pack leader is in charge.

Avoid perpetuating the stereotype if you are considering this breed. Don’t get a Chihuahua because you want a cute, tiny, “baby” dog. Choose them because they are wonderful, loyal companions, and be sure to investigate pet insurance as well.

Puppy “Pre-School”

Posted on: May 12th, 2011 by

A puppy with pet insurance chews a toy.

Posted by: H.M.
For Pets Best Insurance

While newborn puppies don’t typically start out with behavioral problems, it’s an unfortunate reality that many pets are abandoned or euthanized because of their behavior. But research in the field of veterinary behavioral medicine has assisted pet owners and their dogs with problematic behaviors.

Behavioral Medicine
Because of these advances in animal behavioral science and with early intervention, dogs and cats are now being helped. Often, biology causes certain actions, but other times, it’s a neurological or psychological issue. Some vet hospitals even offer special clinics for puppies, dogs, cats, and kittens. And some pet insurance companies, like Pets Best Insurance, offer limited coverage for behavioral issues.

Some behaviors that are addressed include:

• Phobias
• Separation anxiety
• Improper elimination
• Aggression towards humans and/or other pets
• Compulsive behaviors

Interventions
Behavioral intervention programs differ from taking your pet to obedience school. Those programs are great for socialization and teaching owners and puppies basic training. Most true specialty behavioral clinics are run by veterinary hospitals, a vet specialist in behavioral science or a skilled animal behavioralist.

The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Medical Center has such a program that includes “problem prevention consultations” with pet owners. The program includes detailed interviews with owners, and evaluations of results are used to create a pet health treatment plan. These programs work with puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats, but also focus on newly rescued animals.

“Head Start”
OSU’s program includes a “Head Start” consultation, which is an early intervention by the behaviorist. This type of consult is not meant to treat behavioral problems, but is focused on “problem prevention.” Topics like socialization, normal canine and feline development, and crate training are addressed.

Check with your vet to see if these kinds of programs are offered in your area. Good pet health care starts with you!

Aging Gracefully and Pet Insurance Plans

Posted on: May 12th, 2011 by

An older dog with a pet insurance plan sits by his owner.

It is common knowledge that as pets age, more pet health issues are likely to arise. Many pet insurance companies counter this fact by putting age limits on their pet insurance plans. This puts the owners of many healthy older dogs and cats at a disadvantage, and could increase the likelihood of further pet health complications.

According to an article written for the Cherokee Chronicle Times, an estimated 75 percent of U.S. households own aging pets. These numbers are startling, considering older pets need proper preventative care, just as young pet do– but may be unable to receive it because some pet insurance companies won’t cover them.

Routine tests and services are essential to keeping dogs and cats in great health. Routine care can also prevent more serious problems from arising in the later stages of a pet’s life. Simple pet health care services such as teeth cleaning, heartworm testing, or urinalysis could improve the quality of a pet’s life, and ultimately leave more money in an owner’s pocket.

Luckily, there are pet insurance plans out there, like those offered by Pets Best Insurance, that do not have upper age limitations. Though usual limitations apply (such as pre-existing conditions and preventable diseases), no pet is turned away based on its age, so long as the pet enrolling is at least seven weeks old.

Just as you would take the necessary steps to ensure proper pet health care for anyone in your family, securing the proper pet insurance plan for your four-legged friend is equally important—at any age

Cat Health Issues: Limping and Hair Loss

Posted on: May 11th, 2011 by


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

The first question is from Crystal who asks, “My 13-year-old male cat, Jake, is limping and holding his paw in the air. It’s a little sensitive to the touch but he doesn’t like to be touched anyway. Any ideas, and what do I need to look for? Thank you.”

You’re going to have to go to a veterinarian for this one. There are a lot of things that could cause a paw to be sensitive. It could be something serious, like a broken bone, or a thorn in there or an infected nail bed. If it’s sensitive and he’s limping on it, it probably needs to be evaluated.

The next question comes from Tannan [SP] who asks, “I have a 6-year-old Persian cat that I adopted last December. She has recently, since I came back from a long vacation, been losing hair around her neck. What could be causing this?”

There are some stress-related conditions in cats that can make them lose their hair. For example, we leave for awhile and come back, or something changes in their routine. Usually they don’t really lose the hair. Instead, they’re licking that area and causing the hair to come out.

This is generally cosmetic and goes away when the stressful situation goes away. There are some other things that can cause hair loss, like ringworm or parasites, or you put flea medication on there and it’s causing a reaction. These would need to be diagnosed by your veterinarian.
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The Dos and Don’ts of Breaking Up a Cat Fight

Posted on: May 11th, 2011 by

A cat with pet insurance prepares to fight.

By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance

One evening last spring as I was leaving the house, my dog barked and scared my indoor cat Luisa outside where she came face-to-face with the neighbor’s cat. They both frizzed out and started yowling, and I knew I needed to stop the fight before it started.

I grabbed Luisa by the scruff with my right hand and planned to put her back into the house, but before I could, she turned her head and chomped down on my left hand. The next morning, I found myself in urgent care with a painfully swollen hand and a doctor who wanted me to go to the ER for intravenous antibiotics.

Most cat owners know the feeling: you find your cat face-to-face with a strange feline and the fur is about to fly. While having cat insurance can help alleviate vet bills if your cat is injured, in that crucial moment, you need to know what to do and what not to do in order to avoid a serious cat fight with potentially dire cat health implications.

DO remember that cats will make lots of noise before they’re actually fighting. All that caterwauling serves as a warning to get the other cat to back off before a physical fight starts. This phase will usually buy you some time to follow the tips below.

DO get all other pets and kids out of the area and prevent them from coming to see the action. If you have a dog, make sure it’s safely inside and close the doors so other pets can’t come out to investigate.

DON’T reach for the cats – not even your own. You absolutely will not be successful trying to swat them or break up a fight with your bare hands.

DO grab the nearest squirt bottle, water gun, watering can or hose. A good dose of water will separate most cats within a few seconds. Even if you have to run back into the house to get a pot of water, it’s probably the most surefire way to stop a cat fight.

DON’T hit the animals. Cat health can be seriously jeopardized with even the slightest whap of a stick or broom.

DON’T try to pick up your cat even when you think the fight is over – your cat will still be agitated and feeling defensive. If you absolutely must move her, grab a thick blanket, gently toss it over your cat and calmly carry her back into your house. The familiar scent and darkness created by the blanket will help calm her down.

DO check your cat carefully once she’s calmed down, and seek veterinary care if any contact was made between the two cats or if you see any injuries. Pet insurance for cats can help defray the costs of veterinary expenses due to cat fights.

DO consider spaying or neutering your cat if you haven’t already. Altered cats are less likely to be territorial and are less likely to roam and get into fights on other cats’ turf. Routine care coverage added to your pet insurance plan can often help pay for spaying and neutering.

Most cat fights only last a few seconds, yet can feel like an eternity when you’re standing there helpless. Keep these tips in mind and you could help avert disaster the next time your cat comes face-to-face with another.