Pet Insurance Blog – Pets Best Insurance
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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.

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.

Siberian Husky

Posted on: May 23rd, 2011 by

A Husky with dog insurance sits for the camera.

The Siberian Husky is one of several arctic breeds, which also includes the Malamute. The Siberian is a compact, strong dog in the working group that is gentle and intelligent. A popular breed, especially for families, he can be a handful if not properly trained. It’s also a good idea to consider pet insurance for this breed.

The Siberian Husky has a medium-sized head that is proportionate to the body. His ears are erect and triangular in shape. Like other dogs who must withstand extreme cold, the Husky has a thick double coat that can tolerate temperatures as low as minus 76 degrees. The coat can be gray, silver, sand, red and black and white. Often there are characteristic, striking markings on the head.

The Siberian’s distinctive eyes can be half brown, half blue or one blue and one brown eye. His coat has two heavy shedding seasons a year and the hair should be combed out. The Husky’s tail curves up over his back when he is alert or running. Another adaption to the cold weather is his large snow shoe feet which have hair between the toes to keep warm and to grip well on the ice.

The Siberian Husky ranges from 21 to 23 ½ inches tall for males and 20 to 22 inches for females. Weights are males—45 to 60 pounds and females—35 to 50.

Although this is a very relaxed breed of dog, he is also very high energy. He likes to howl and gets bored very easily. Like most working dogs, he needs a “job” and short of that, lots of exercise or he can become destructive. Researching pet insurance and finding the best pet insurance plan for this breed is a good idea. Training Siberian Huskies can be tricky because they must be sure that their pack leader is strong and in charge. This is not the dog for a first-time owner.

This breed is very good with children and they are attached to their families. Not a good candidate for a watch dog, the Husky is friendly to strangers. He is compatible and safe with other pets in the household if he is raised with them.

Pet Health Concerns
Like many dogs this size, the Husky is prone to hip dysplasia. Also, this breed can have eye issues like corneal dystrophy. Yearly screenings for these problems is recommended from a canine ophthalmologist. It’s always a good idea to have dog insurance with this breed. Pet insurance coverage can help defray the costs of vet care for any breed you choose.

Top three benefits: Cat spaying

Posted on: May 20th, 2011 by

A cat with cat insurance sits in a plush bed.

Cat spaying and neutering offers many benefits not just to fixed cats themselves, but also to shelters, homeless animals and overpopulation.

Pet Health Benefits of Cat Spaying and Neutering
According to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center, spayed cats have reduced risk for developing breast cancer and life-threatening pyometra, an infection of the uterus. Neutered male cats may be better pets, as 90 percent show decreased incidents of spraying, fighting and roaming.

Pet health insurance can help make spaying and neutering more affordable, and many discount spay and neuter programs are available across the country.

Other Benefits
Residents who keep their pets indoors and vaccinate may spay and neuter their pets for the sake of their neighbors. A howling cat in heat can be annoying even to cat lovers, but especially so to neighbors who don’t own pets and don’t find incessant cat meowing “charming.” And while it might be nice to lessen your litter scooping duties, try telling that to the neighbor who just planted their garden or laid down fresh mulch who had to scoop it for you.

Ask anyone who has ever lived among a colony of feral cats how they feel about strays. Just one litter of kittens can turn into 100 kittens in seven years, according to a 2006 Wall Street Journal article, “Trying to Herd a Cat Stat.”

If the kittens of just one cat receive no human interaction in the first few weeks of life, a feral colony could be born, made even worse by other non-fixed neighborhood cats. Feral and stray cats kill local wildlife, increase the risk diseases like rabies, and can be a loud, unsightly nuisance.

Cat Spaying and Neutering Benefits to Animals & Shelters
For every cute, new kitten that is born due to failure to spay or neuter, a homeless cat waiting for a home stays locked in a cage or is euthanized. These shelter cats were also once cute, new kittens. Many were once someone’s beloved pet before ending up in a shelter due to a job loss, a move, allergies, a new baby, or even the cost of vet bills, despite the fact that affordable cat insurance is increasingly available. Every spring, shelters burst at the seams with kittens who need foster homes, take up precious limited space and resources, and steal homes away from older cats, who continue to sit and wait for a new family.