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No more nipping

Posted on: March 22nd, 2011 by

A book cover. For information on dog insurance visit Pets Best Insurance.
Oh Behave!
Q&A with Pet Expert Arden Moore
For Pets Best Insurance

Q. After my husband of 59 years died, I decided to adopt a new born puppy. Buddy fills my house with joy and happiness. He makes me laugh and I feel safer having him here. Unfortunately, Buddy likes to nip my hands and arms to get my attention. He isn’t biting aggressively, but his playful nips cause bruises and occasionally, his teeth break my skin. My hands and arms are sore. I tried spraying Bitter Apple on my hands and arms, but Buddy actually likes the taste! What can I do to stop him from being so mouthy?

A. Sounds like you have one spirited and loyal puppy. Mouthing is a very common behavior for puppies, who have very sharp baby teeth that are falling out to make room for adult teeth. Depending on the breed, this teething period and the desperate need to chew to soothe the gums can last up to a year. I’m not sure what type of dog Buddy is, but a lot of herding dogs, such as Border collies, tend to use their mouths when they’re playing. They have been bred to herd cattle and sheep by nipping at their heels. Some hunting dogs, like Labrador retrievers, are also particularly mouthy.

Whatever breed he is, the nipping and mouthing is still painful. Bitter Apple spray is usually effective because most dogs can’t stand the taste. But there are always exceptions like your Buddy. An effective alternative is breath freshener spray. The minty taste is far from being a canine favorite. You might also try dabbing your hands and arms with pickle juice. The juice contains a very sour additive called alum, which keeps the pickles crisp but is also a good dog deterrent – if you can stand the smell yourself!

It is more important, however, to train Buddy not to nip than to rely on repellents. He is bonding with you and needs to know that his nipping hurts. Around eight to 10 weeks of age, puppies in litters learn about bite inhibition. When one puppy bites too hard, and his sibling helps, he learns to soften his play bite. So, when Buddy mouths you too roughly, you need to yelp loudly. In addition, you need to stand up, turn your back on him, and walk slowly away. The message is: “You are not fun right now, and playtime is over.” Buddy wants to play with you and when you walk away, he will learn that mouthing ends good times.

That said, Buddy is at an age when he needs to chew. When he gets in a mouthy mood, offer him some suitable chew toys as substitutes for your hands and arms. When you play with him, use thick rope toys or rubber tugs that provide something safe for Buddy to put his mouth around while protecting your hands and arms. Please resist smacking his muzzle or holding his mouth closed, as these punitive tactics can backfire and cause him to bite more, and harder.

Confounded by your canine? Frustrated by your feline? Relax. Pet expert Arden Moore is here to deliver the real truth about cats, dogs…and you with her column appropriately called, “Oh Behave!”
Dog insurance enthusiast, Arden Moore, is seated with her four legged friends.

On a regular basis, Arden will unleash excerpts from her two award-winning books, The Dog Behavior Answer Book (named the top training and behavior book by the Dog Writers Association of America) and The Cat Behavior Answer Book (named the top training and behavior book by the Cat Writers Association). Learn more about Moore, who hosts the “Oh Behave!” show on Pet Life Radio (www.petliferadio.com) – the No. 1 pet podcast in the world — by visiting her Four Legged Life website (www.fourleggedlife.com).

Popular dog breeds: The German Shepherd

Posted on: March 21st, 2011 by

A German Shepherd with dog insurance sits on the ground.

“And this year’s runner up is…the German Shepherd!” Although the Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever edge him out by a nose, the German Shepherd is another popular dog breed. Like the top winners, this dog has very desirable traits – he’s family-friendly, fearless, alert and intelligent. Many German Shepherd owners know that having pet insurance for theirs, is an important peice of the pet health puzzle.

Description and Size
German Shepherds are well-muscled and strong. The head is chiseled and in proportion to its body. The eyes are almond-shaped and dark. Their ears are pointed and erect. German Shepherds have a medium length double coat and the colors vary from a lighter tan to black. Male Shepherds are between 24 and 26 inches high and weigh between 70 and 85 pounds. Females are 22 to 24 inches high and weigh between 60 to 85 pounds.

Character and Temperament
German Shepherds are very attached to their families, but can tend to be overly protective, especially around strangers. This is a trait that responds well to good training. Active socialization from birth will make him more open to others. They are great with children and usually good around other pets.

When a German Shepherd exhibits aggressive behavior, this is due to poor breeding and lack of training. They are excellent workers and thrive on hard exercise.
Health Issues

Like other large dogs, German Shepherds are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. If possible, potential owners should check into the hip health of both parents. Another concern is that they are prone to bloat and shouldn’t be allowed to consume large amounts of food and water at once. Bloat can be deadly.

Because pet health can be an issue for any breed, investing in the best pet insurance is a wise decision.

Pet insurance protects pets and budgets

Posted on: March 21st, 2011 by

Posted by: HR
For Pets Best Insurance
A dog with pet insurance is protected from high vet bills.

While the joy of owning a dog is far beyond the value of the dollar, the expenses of doing so certainly are not. Between food, toys, and medical expenses, our pets can be expensive members of the family.

There are some great ways, however, to be a proactive pet owner and cut down some of these expenses. In some cases one may be required to get a little creative and in others make an investment in the future—but however the costs are cut, it will be better for dog owner and dog in the long run.

Prevention and preparation are two very valuable tools when it comes to cutting down the cost of owning a pet. Purchasing quality food may seem expensive now, but will decrease the likelihood of digestive problems and allergies—which means less trips to the vet and less of the bills that come with it. Similarly, checking out pet insurance companies for the best pet insurance plans will help buffer the costs of diagnostic tests, accidents, surgeries, prescriptions, and a host of other procedures.

Getting pets fixed will also trim down costs. According to Spay USA, spaying or neutering pets will reduce their likelihood to roam as well as unwanted puppies or kittens. Wandering goes beyond surprised litters, also increasing the likelihood of dogs being hit by a car or otherwise injured. Many pet health insurance policies cover neutering and spaying within wellness packages, as well as surgeries that could result from an accident.

Obviously our pets can’t tell the difference between a Gucci collar and one purchased at the local dollar store—and cats will likely take more enthusiastically to a bath loofah than the $20 toy purchased from PetSmart. These extra costs can easily be avoided. When it comes to health coverage, however, obtaining pet insurance information could be a lifesaver, or at least a budget saver.

Pet insurance vs. saving for pet health costs

Posted on: March 17th, 2011 by

A puppy with pet health insurance sits on a pile of money.

Anyone who has owned a dog or cat understands vet bills can be pretty hefty. Between routine check-ups, vaccinations and tests, the costs can really add up.

When an emergency arises, however, the prices of testing and treatment become incredible— sometimes reaching the thousands! When it comes to handling the costs of the unknown future, it is important to weigh whether pet insurance policies or putting away savings is best for your dog, and your bank account.

According to an article published on Investopedia.com concerning the economics of pet ownership, “Diagnostic testing can easily top the $1,000 mark and can be as high as $5,000 – this does not include surgical care or long-term treatments and medications.” For this reason, saving may not be so practical.

What happens if you have only just begun saving and your pet requires a $5,000 test or surgical procedure? It would seem that you would either have to scrape together the money or borrow it—because we all know what when it comes down to it, our pets are worth it. Dog and cat insurance companies make this unknown a much easier bite to chew. In all cases there will certainly be a limit to the amount that will be covered in an emergency. Regardless, if the surgery your pet needs is $5,000, a $7,000 limit will be more than enough—and a $250 deductible is certainly much easier to handle. Visit pets best insurance to learn about plan options.

The other factor to take into consideration is whether pet health insurance will cover prescriptions and tests. Routine care could also be covered under certain policies or packages, which could lighten the blow of vet bills all around. In all cases, it is a great idea to read dog and cat insurance information to understand what coverage is available for a particular company. Saving may seem cost effective in the long run, but when you realize the wide range of services that are included in many policies, you may think twice.

Dandruff on Black Dogs and Kennel Cough Vaccines

Posted on: March 16th, 2011 by

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

The first question is, “My black dog seems to have more dandruff than other dogs. It’s especially noticeable after I give her a bath. Is there anything I can do to get rid of it?”

Black dogs do seem to have more noticeable dandruff just because of the contrast between their black fur and the whiter flakes of skin. If you are noticing it right after a bath, you might actually be drying the skin out a little bit. You might try using either a leave-in conditioner or a conditioning rinse, or a shampoo that’s meant to condition the skin. There are some supplements that can help as well, like fish oil or omega fatty acids. These can sometimes improve the quality of the skin health.

The next question is, “My dog caught kennel cough at doggy daycare just as she was due for her six month vaccination for kennel cough. I understand she didn’t need to be vaccinated again since she caught it, but the daycare manager won’t allow her back until she’s vaccinated. What would you recommend?”

Kennel cough is a tricky thing to vaccinate for because it can be caused by a number of different organisms and the vaccine only protects against one. If your daycare center requires a kennel cough vaccine, I would get her vaccinated. There is no harm in getting her re-vaccinated even if she already caught it. Obviously you wouldn’t want to do it while she’s sick, but once she’s feeling better, go ahead and schedule an appointment to get her vaccinated again.
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