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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.

Allergy sufferers give the Yorkie two paws up

Posted on: May 3rd, 2011 by

Posted by: H.R
For Pets Best Insurance

A Yorkie with pet insurance sits in a crate.

For dog lovers who also happen to suffer from dog allergies, there’s good news. The number three most popular dog in the US also happens to be a favorite among allergy sufferers: The Yorkshire Terrier.

This little bundle of fuzzy fun jumped from the seventh spot on 2009’s popular pooch list to the top three, according to the American Kennel Club. Why? Maybe because these dogs are small—a member of the Toy Group—and their long, fine coats do not shed, perfect for those with pet allergies. Many owners opt to purchase pet insurance for this breed because of their small size and the possibility of accidents and illnesses.

The Yorkie dog weighs in at four to seven pounds and requires little exercise. But they do need daily grooming, could benefit from pet health insurance and regular vet visits, and of course a lot of love!

Although once a favored companion of high society families in Europe, these little furballs are feisty. Yorkies were originally used in the 19th century as a sort of working dog—they would catch rats in clothing mills so the staff could work in peace. So, while they are certainly compact and cute, they are also brave and brisk. The ego of the Yorkie may not match his outward appearance. The AKC describes the breed’s temperament as determined, investigative, and energetic, as they are indeed a terrier dog.

According to the AKC, dogs that belong to the terrier group tend to have a distinctive personality. Often, this may mean a dislike of other animals, including dogs, and an argumentative attitude. Of course, many dog lovers long for a pooch with some spunk. If you’re looking for a big personality in a small, sneeze-free package, the Yorkie may be the dog for you. Once you’ve decided to make this little guy a part of your family, do a pet insurance comparison to determine what level of care and coverage your Yorkie will need.

Dog Dewclaws and Fast-Growing Toenails

Posted on: May 3rd, 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 Hadley who asks, “Why to dogs have dewclaws and is removal necessary?”

Dewclaws probably don’t really have a purpose anymore. It’s probably just left over as an evolutionary trait when there were five fingers. Some dogs are born without them and some dogs have them. There’s not really a problem with leaving them there. The biggest problem that I see is that because of their location they often don’t wear down appropriately and therefore need to be trimmed more frequently.

Occasionally I’ve seen them kind of get snagged on things, especially the really active dogs that are outside a lot. If your dog is an adult and it has a dewclaw I wouldn’t recommend removing them. If you have a litter of puppies who are days old, that’s when removal happens. If you’re planning on breeding dogs and want to prevent the dewclaws from occurring you would want to do this when they’re first born.

The next question comes from Chrissa. She asks, “My dog has eight black toenails and two white ones, and one of the white ones grows insanely fast. It’s always at least half an inch longer than the rest. Any idea why?”

I’m not sure. There’s a possibility that this could be an outside toe that’s not wearing down as quickly as the others. It probably doesn’t have anything to do with the color. Dogs sometimes have a combination of black and white nails. It’s possible that there was an injury at one point and that caused the nail to grow abnormally. It’s not likely to be related to a problem; it just probably means that you have to trim it a little more frequently.
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