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Top 4 tips for good cat parenting

Posted on: May 30th, 2011 by

A kitten with pet insurance sits in a food dish.

Posted by: H.M.
For Pets Best Insurance

In the U.S., there are 16 million more pet cats than pet dogs, according to the Humane Society of the United States. While 39% of households have dogs and only 33% of households have cats, most cat owners have two or more cats while most dog owners have just one dog. Less than 1% of all all cats and dogs in the US have pet insurance.

Cats are popular pets for many reasons. For many, it’s their ease of care. Their independence means owners needn’t worry when away from home. Most cats are just as content with company as without most of the day. As long as they have all the necessary cat essentials within paw’s reach, cats are mostly self sufficient. More and more cat owners are also starting to see the benefit of pet health insurance for their cats– and with pet health insurance cat owners can ensure their cats are in best possible health they can be in.

Attention and Affection
May 30 is Hug Your Cat Day, but that doesn’t mean you should refrain any other day of the year. While many cats are independent, many are not, and almost all cats love affection sometimes. Like a child, any pet can become destructive out of boredom if not paid attention and shown appreciation.

Toys, Toys, Toys
Cats have a deep-seeded desire to hunt, which equals play and exercise inside the home. According to a publication by the University of Maine, “Even when fed regularly by people, a cat’s urge to hunt remains strong.” Cats instinctively chase almost anything that moves, be it a real or play mouse, a fly, or their owner’s shoestrings and feather dusters. While almost anything can be used as a cat toy, from a sock to an empty paper towel roll, pet safety should always be of concern. Like dogs, cats often ingest things they are attracted to, and this can lead to an emergency vet visit or worse.

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Proper Pet Health Care
The fact that cats have an easy-care reputation doesn’t mean they are a “get it and forget it” pet. Annual vet visits and pet health insurance can help with the plethora of health concerns that can arise for cats, from spaying and neutering, to that emergency visit for an ingested piece of string, to potential issues like diabetes or periodontal disease. Pet insurance cost is also at its lowest if attained early in the cat’s life.

Perches and Scratching Posts
Cats love to scratch; it’s another instinctive and natural behavior. According to a video by the veterinary experts at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, cats scratch to mark their territory, groom their claws, and to stretch and build their muscles. Declawing is an elective surgery that is not covered by pet plan insurance, and diverting scratching to posts is a more humane and cost-effective solution. Scratching posts that are also perches—cat trees and condos—offer exercise and a place where cats can climb to and feel safe.

To Fix or Not to Fix?

Posted on: May 26th, 2011 by

A cat is attended to by a veterinarian.

It’s estimated that one dog or cat is put down every eight seconds in U.S. shelters, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

When Leigh Peterson of Ohio found herself posting ads trying to find homes for four puppies, she struggled with guilt.

“I felt like I was killing a dog in the pound every time someone came to see our puppies rather than go to a shelter,” said Leigh.

In the past, she had always preached how important spaying and neutering, vaccinating and investing in pet health insurance was. She volunteered at an animal shelter and considered herself fairly knowledgeable on pet health. “But when I started dating my boyfriend,” Leigh said, “he refused to get his dogs fixed.”

One day, when her boyfriend was out of town, he called and asked how everyone was. Leigh started to say how the dogs were fine and playing in the back yard, which was completely fenced-in. When she went to the window to look outside, she was shocked to find a strange male dog in the yard with their dog Abby. The two were mating.

“I stood there watching, telling him over the phone what was happening and resisting the urge to say I told you so,” said Leigh. “Even I had started to believe it was OK not to spay because I knew we were responsible pet owners. But this stray dog wanted in to our yard and found a way in.”

Sure enough, puppies were soon on the way. Leigh had to swallow her guilt and take control. She was releived they had purchased dog health insurance for their own dog, but now she had to focus on finding the best homes for the new pups.

The only thing in Leigh’s control now was making sure that these puppies didn’t further contribute to pet overpopulation. All the puppies were spayed and neutered before leaving her care. Although spaying females and neutering male dogs does not come without risk, it does offer some pet health benefits and reduces the urge to roam, like the male dog who found his way into Leigh’s fenced-in yard.

To help ensure that the puppies found good homes, the ads stated that the puppies would be fixed and an adoption fee was set at $50 per puppy. She screened all adopters and was able to keep in touch with them all, receiving pictures as the puppies grew.

When her boyfriend’s older dog developed a large tumor on her uterus, she was spayed, too. It was then his turn to feel guilt, as he could see that the surgery was much harder on a senior dog to recover from than it was for the puppies. From then on, he became a proponent of spaying and neutering, as well.

California pet insurance and your pet

Posted on: May 26th, 2011 by

Posted by: H.M.
For Pets Best Insurance

La La the Chihuahua watch dog looks out the window.

California has strict laws for bringing pets into the state. So if you will be traveling to California or moving to there with your pet in tow, you should familiarize yourself with the entry requirements. It’s also a good idea to become familiar with pet insurance– and if you will be moving, it may be a good idea to tell your pet health insurance company that you need to be transitioned to California Pet Insurace.

The reason for this is because some pet insurance companies base their premiums on the age of the pet, the breed of the pet and where the pet is located.

Cats and Dogs
Cats: All domestic cats must be healthy, with no sign of communicable diseases. A certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CV), which is a pet health certificate, is recommended. Cats entering California are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination, but must be vaccinated against rabies in the California.

Dogs: All dogs must be healthy, with no signs of disease. All dogs over four months of age must have a pet health certificate of current rabies vaccination. A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection is recommended.

Exotic Pets
California is rather strict on the private possession of exotic animals. Certain animals require a permit. The laws “cover importing, transporting and possessing ‘Live Restricted Animals’ as well as listing animals that are restricted species in the State of California. This list includes birds, mammals, amphibians, fish, reptiles, crustaceans, slugs, snails and mussels. According to this State Code, anyone wishing to possess, transport or import live restricted animals, as defined in this code, must have a permit to do so, issued by the California Department of Fish and Game.”

Remebering all these things when traveling or moving to California with your pets will help to ensure a smooth transition into The Golden State.

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.