Pet Insurance Blog – Pets Best Insurance
Get a Pet Insurance Quoteor call 877-738-7237

The Bernese Mountain Dog

Posted on: April 18th, 2011 by

A Bernese Mountain Dog with pet insurance sits on the lawn.

The Bernese Mountain Dog breed originated in the mountains of Switzerland where they were working dogs that pulled carts and drove cattle. This is a wonderful breed that has recently been prone to health problems. So if you are considering this, or any dog, you may want to look into pet insurance.

This large breed dog is good with children and other pets, as well as being an excellent watchdog. While they are protective of their family, they aren’t overly aggressive or dominant.

Appearance
The Bernese is a large, strong, but agile dog. His head is broad and flat on top. Their ears are medium, triangular, and set high. They has a bushy tail and his coat is a gorgeous, distinctive tricolor of black, rust and white. Their coat is rather long, is weather-resistant, and needs regular grooming, as it is quite thick.

Disposition
This breed is very intelligent and will respond well if his owner has the leadership role in the relationship. He likes knowing the rules and does best with structure. If socialized well as a puppy, they are tolerant of strangers and bond well with their family or owner.

Size
The male Bernese stands 24 to 28 inches high and weighs between 85 and 110 lbs. Females are 23 to 27 inches in height and weigh between 80 and 105 lbs.

Pet Health Issues
Unfortunately, this breed has recently developed a rather high occurrence of cancer at a relatively young age. This has decreased the average lifespan from 10 to 12 years down to 6 to 8 years. Like other large dogs, they are also prone to pet health conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia.

Pet insurance special: Why growling is good

Posted on: April 18th, 2011 by

A dog with pet insurance gives a warning growl.

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

As funny as it may sound, as a dog trainer, I like it when a dog knows how and when to growl.

Growling is a very important form of communication that is used by dogs in many instances. You will often hear dogs growl during play with other dogs, while playing with their toys, and even when playing with humans.

You will also hear new born puppies and older puppies make a growling sound before they learn to bark. Dogs also growl when they are frightened, threatened, confronted, in pain, injured, sleeping, protecting something or someone or needing to convey to us that they want us to back off and get out of their space.

Growling is simply a vocalization. Just because a dog growls it does not mean he is aggressive or mean, it just means he has something to communicate.

One very important type of growl is the warning growl. I am thrilled when a dog gives a warning growl. This type of growl is done by the dog to tell you he is not happy, or does not want to be bothered. This growl is done by dogs before a snap or bite. If we listen to our dogs growl, we can understand they are telling us they want us to change what we are doing.

As a dog trainer, I often meet dogs who have been taught not to growl. Either by owners who feel this is the start of aggressive behavior, or by other trainers who do not understand the importance of this very valuable form of communication.

A dog who has been taught not to growl, is unable to give a warning before snapping or biting. The growl is a warning, which says, “I feel threatened. I am not happy and I need you to stop what you are doing!” If you do not heed the warning, the dog may resort to a bite.

Now let’s consider the dog who has been taught not to growl, he does not have a warning signal and resorts to snapping or biting to get his point across. Dogs that do not growl can be dangerous. Without a growl it is difficult to determine if they are about to bite. As a wise old dog once said “a dog will never bite, when a simple growl will do.” I don’ t know about you, but I would rather have a dog that growls.

One final thought on growling. If your dog suddenly growls at situations that normally would not bother him, or if you see a sudden behavior change, my first recommendation is make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out a pet health problem. Your dog could be experiencing a medical problem, causing him to be uncomfortable, and grumpy.

National Pet ID Week – April 18-24

Posted on: April 18th, 2011 by

A Chihuahua with pet insurance wears a pet ID tag.

As a pet insurance company, we’re taking part in April’s month-long observation of “National Pet Month.”

The week of April 18-24 is “National Pet ID Week.” Which is why this is an important time to note that only about 2% of cats and 15% of dogs who are lost are reunited with their owners.

Here’s another scary statistic—one in three pets will get lost at some time in their lives! If you love your pet, wouldn’t you do anything to prevent that from happening? Aside from ensuring your pet has the best pet insurance, making sure that your pet has adequate identification can be very helpful in the event that he is lost, and is also part of good pet health care.

Means of Identification
• I. D. tags on collars: It’s probably true that more people put IDs on dog’s collars and many cats aren’t wearing collars. People mistakenly think that a cat will not tolerate a collar, but they will once they’ve adapted and the fit is correct.

• Tattoos: Horses have been tattooed for years on their inside upper lip as a form of ID. Some people opt to have their pets tattooed with ID. These are usually on the tip of the ear or groin area.

• Microchipping: This is a more recent form of putting IDs on pets. A tiny microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, is implanted under your pet’s skin. Each chip has a unique number that is registered to the animal and entered into a national database. While most pet health insurance companies won’t cover microchipping, most vets and animal shelters now use a wand that can read the microchips, and consider it an important part of pet ownership. Many shelters now provide chipping before a pet is adopted.

What Else Can I Do?
Here are some things you can do to help if your pet is lost, even if he has ID:

•Have a recent photo of your pet. This will help if you need to create a lost pet flyer.
• Make sure your dog’s license is current.
• Include your cell phone number on your pet’s ID tag.
• Have a list of people who know your pet. They will be good candidates to be on the lookout if your pet is lost.
• Always keep pet safety in mind when walking or running with your dog.

Pet health: Dog nutrition

Posted on: April 14th, 2011 by

A dog with pet insurance maintains proper pet health with a balanced diet.

Much like with cats, overfeeding has resulted in obesity in dogs and is currently one of the worst pet health problems. Before trying any new diet for your pet, be sure and talk to your veterinarian about her recommendations.

If you’re considering dog health insurance, another way you can contribute to keeping vet costs down is by providing your pet with the best pet insurance paired with the right nutrition.

What are the best dog food choices?
According to www.pets.webmd.com, the ingredients in dog foods must meet standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and includes protein (amino acids), fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. So check the dog food’s label to see its nutritional contents. There are no brands that are necessarily better than others, it’s an individual choice. Your vet may advise you on your dog’s specific pet health needs.

How often and how much?
A good staring point is the dog food label’s recommendations, but adjust the amounts to your dog’s weight, age, and activity level. Puppies, whether they’re new born puppies or a bit older, will have different needs, but it is best to feed adult dogs twice a day.

What if my dog is finicky?
Sometimes, pets will stop eating a food that they previously liked. It could be that they’re just bored with it, but it can also be a sign of illness. If you offer them something else and they show interest, it might just be time to switch food.

Some guidelines for switching a pet’s food:

•Good dog health care: Keep an eye on their eating behavior. Vomiting or refusing to eat means you should see your vet.
•Allow six to seven days to switch to a new food: This gives your dog time to adjust. Mix one-quarter of the new food in with three-quarters old food for the first two days. Gradually increase the new food by quarters.

Pet health: Heartworm Disease

Posted on: April 14th, 2011 by

A veterinarian gives heartworm medication to a dog with pet insurance.

By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell
For Pets Best Insurance

Heartworm disease is a pet health condition that is becoming increasingly more prevalent in the United States. It has currently been documented in all 50 states and is most common in the Mississippi valley and southern US. Even if you and your dog don’t live in the south, heartworm prevention is very important anywhere to avert this serious pet health disease. Many pet insurance companies even offer limited coverage for testing and prevention with their wellness coverage.

Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal disease characterized by parasitic worms that live in the heart and arteries in the lungs. The worms are a type of roundworm or nematode called filarids, and any age or breed of dog can be susceptible.

Filarids require an intermediate host to spread the worm from animal to animal. This intermediate host is the mosquito. This means that dogs can’t catch heartworm from causal contact with an infected dog, rather, they have to be bitten by an infected mosquito. Regions with the most mosquitoes tend to have the most incidences of heartworm disease.

Heartworms have a very interesting lifecycle. Like most parasites, they have a larval phase and an adult worm phase, but they also have a phase called microfilaria. The complete life cycle cannot take place in the dog’s body, but has to occur in the mosquito. This means dogs can’t ‘re-infect’ themselves, once the microfilaria turn into adults, the adults can’t replicate without using a mosquito as an intermediate host.

The larva is the infective phase of heartworm disease and is carried by the mosquitoes. The larva matures into adult worms, which in turn, produce millions of microfilaria that travel through the blood stream. Microfilaria cannot turn into the infective larval phase unless a mosquito takes a blood meal that has microfilaria in it. The microfilaria requires 10 to 30 days to turn into the infective larval phase. When the mosquito bites another dog, it can transmit the infective larval phase that once again turns into mature adult heartworms.

Treatment for this disease is costly and difficult. There are medications available that will kill the worms, but the heartworms have nowhere to safely go in the body after dying. Dead worms in the arteries of the lungs and in the heart pose a serious risk for the patient. The best method to keep your dog healthy is focus on preventing this disease. Most veterinarians agree that monthly heartworm preventatives are important for any pet that spends time outside and could be bitten by a mosquito.

Heartworm preventative generally takes the form of a monthly product that either is poured on the skin, or a tablet taken orally. Heartworm preventatives should be in prescription form, and therefore must be purchased at or through a veterinarian’s office, or certified veterinary pharmacy. If you are considering keeping your pet on a heartworm preventative, contact your veterinarian with any additional questions.