Lucky little Tulah

Tulah, a dog insurance enthusiast, looks at the camera.

By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell
For Pets Best Insurance

The story about how Tulah came to be a part of my family is at the same time heart-wrenching and heart-warming. She has unwavering optimism and is unconditionally loving despite her rough start. She is a huge fluff ball of fur, with a tiny little body in the center. She is likely a Pomeranian-American Eskimo mix. These days she enjoys eating, sleeping on the couch, treats, playing with her little Shih Tzu brother and, oh, did I mention eating? Her life wasn’t always so easy though.

Tulah was brought to my clinic early one morning in a box. Somebody had hit her with their car. Thankfully they stopped, but chose to put her on the nearest doorstep instead of bringing her to an emergency veterinarian. The doorstep she was placed on did not belong to her, but the family brought her to us anyway. She never cried, and despite being badly injured she licked everyone that came near her. She still does this, unfortunately…

Because the family did not own her and didn’t have dog insurance for Tulah, they could not assume financial responsibility. Nobody responded to the ads placed about a found dog. There were also no “Missing Dog” descriptions that matched hers and she didn’t have a microchip or a collar with tags and, thus, she became our clinic’s property. The decision was made to try to save her, even though nobody claimed her, or would pay for her care.

After stabilizing her and treating her for pain and shock, radiographs where taken to better diagnose her underlying injuries. She was unable to walk and xrays showed she had a fractured right femur and a badly shattered pelvis. One of the fractures in her pelvis went through the acetabulum, which is the ‘socket’ portion of the ‘ball and socket’ hip joint. This can be very tricky to fix; if alignment is a little off, the ‘ball’ will not fit into the ‘socket’ and it’s very painful. Unfortunately, the decision was made that in order to save her, she would have to lose her right hind leg. Because accidents like Tulah’s can be pricey and accidents like these can happen at any time, pet owners should sign their pets up for pet insurance. In this case, the veterinary hospital absorbed her treatment cost.

Tulah’s surgery went very well and she woke up without complaining. She would carefully wag her pom-pom tail when anyone walked by her kennel. The staff quickly fell in love with her. However, Tulah was having another potentially serious problem. As a result of the injuries to her lower spine and pelvis, she had lost the ability to control her bladder and colon; she was incontinent. If this didn’t resolve, she would not be a good candidate for re-homing and would like be euthanized. Slowly over several days this improved, and soon she was able to hold her urine and stool normally.

After about a week in the hospital Tulah went home with one of our veterinary technicians who agreed to foster her until she was healthy enough to find a permanent home. She had to be crated and confined for 6 to 8 weeks while her broken pelvis healed. She also had to re-learn to use only three legs to get around. Tulah is a quick learner though, and she displayed such amazing optimism and spunk despite her handicap. After she healed, it was time to find a more permanent home for her. She stayed in the clinic for a few days and watched me with pleading eyes, imploring me to take her home. Ok I thought, just a trial run in our house, if it doesn’t work out, she’ll go back… The rest is history. Tulah became a member of the family.

Most people don’t even realize she only has three legs. She is quick, nimble and optimistic, and also one of the happiest dogs I know. I’m not sure who is more thankful for her being a part of my family, Tulah, or me.

It’s National Dog Day!

Jayda, a dog with dog insurance, goes on a car ride to celebrate National Dog Day.

By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell
Idaho Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

August 26th is National Dog Day! This day serves as a reminder for us to take a moment to thank the many dogs that impact our daily lives. This includes working dogs that save and enhance people’s lives every day in their jobs as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and service dogs for disable people, amongst many others. It also helps us to pause to thank our furry family members for the unconditional daily love they share with us. If you don’t yet have pet insurance for your four-legged best friend, consider giving him the gift of dog insurance on this special day!

Perhaps most importantly, this day is meant to bring awareness to the millions of homeless dogs in overcrowded shelters and educate people about animal abuse. Dogs have the ability to teach us about unwavering loyalty, patience and have an amazing capacity for love. National Dog Day allows us to devote one day to show our appreciation for the ways our canine friends positively impact our existence.

There are many ways that you can help celebrate National Dog Day. Even if you don’t have a dog, you can donate to your local animal shelter, volunteer to walk the animals, or help bathe and feed them.

You can post on your social networking page about animal abuse to help raise awareness. You could also consider adopting a pet from the humane society if it’s an idea you’ve been toying with. You can call a friend with dogs and go for a hike or walk together, or take the dogs to the dog park. You could donate old towels and bedding you no longer use to the local shelter.

It is plenty easy to honor National Dog Day if you do have a dog too! How about ensuring that your pet is up to date on vaccinations or enrolling in pet health insurance? You can spend extra time doing something they love, like riding in the car, walking or chasing a ball.

You could also teach your dog a new trick, trim their toe nails or have them groomed. In honor of the day, you could also show your doggie love by purchasing a new toy or collar for them. You could even bake pet safe/healthy treats for them, take them to the dog park, or have a doggy play date with a friend with dogs!

If it’s still warm enough where you are, find a kiddie pool for your pup to wade in, or turn the sprinklers on for them to run through. If your work allows pets, consider bring them to the office with you. It might be enough to give them just a little more attention that day!

However you chose to celebrate National Dog Day this August 26th, remember to be thankful for the unconditional love and hardworking nature of our canine friends!

Dog health care extremes: Pet plastic surgery

A bloodhound without dog insurance may have plastic surgery.

Posted by: H.R.
For Pets Best Insurance

With the advancement of dog health care and online pet insurance, today’s pets are living longer, happier, healthier lives. Just like for humans, life expectancy is increasing and medical procedures are advancing.

Also just like for humans, pets are going under the knife today for cosmetic rather than medical reasons. While ear cropping and tail docking have been around for hundreds of years, the practices were developed with a purpose. Reasons included silencing and protecting the wagging tail of a hunting dog, or cropping and taping a guard dog’s ears up to help him appear more alert.

These practices became commonplace even after the necessity had waned. Some dog owners dock and crop purely for a preferred look, while others find the practice cruel and unnecessary. Many dog insurance companies consider cropping, docking and even feline declawing elective surgeries and do not cover them.

Other cosmetic surgeries that dogs are undergoing include eyelifts, facelifts and wrinkle reduction, according to an MSNBC report by Sandy Robins called More Pets Getting Nipped and Tucked: Cosmetic Surgeons Balance Medical Needs with Owners’ Egos. Excessive droolers like Mastiffs and Bloodhounds can get chin lifts to curb droopy lips that allow drool to escape the mouth. While most cat and dog insurance companies will not cover elective proceedures, some Bulldog owners opt for doggie facelifts becasue skin folds can trap bacteria. While facelifts may keep the wrinkles more sanitary and manageable, the less invasive alternative is to bathe and properly dry this breed more often.

Currently in the United States, there is no ban on cosmetic procedures for pets apart from some California cities, like San Francisco, banning feline declawing. Last year, a bill was vetoed that would have made it illegal for landlords in California to require tenants declaw or devocalize their pets. Some states are working to ban devocalization, where the vocal chords are surgically cut so that dogs cannot bark. In the United Kingdom, all elective surgeries on pets are prohibited, including docking tails, cropping ears, declawing cats and devocalizing pets.

House training your pet

A puppy with dog insurance sits on his owners lap.

Puppies are delightful. Watching their antics and enthusiasm for life is contagious. But that adorable fluff ball can grow into a problem child if not properly trained! After signing your pup up for dog insurance, house training is one of the next most important things your puppy will need. Start your puppy training program with a good potty training. It takes patience and perseverance, but training your pet is worth the ultimate goal: a house trained dog and a happy owner.

Getting Started
There are several effective methods of house or potty training your puppy.

• Paper or pad training – Newspapers used to be the only option, but now there are chemically-treated pads for your new puppy that attract them with scent. When you see signs that he needs to go, like sniffing the floor, etc., pick him up and carry him to the paper/pad and encourage him to go there. Gradually, move the pads closer to the door and then outside. Be sure and praise him every time he uses the pad.

• Crate training – The idea is that a puppy will not eliminate where he sleeps. So the size of the crate is critical. it should be roomy enough for him to comfortably stand and move around. A too-large crate may result in him using a corner to eliminate. Using the proper sized crate trains a puppy to hold it until you’re able to let him outside– but the time-frame should be reasonable.

A puppy should also be crated when he isn’t under observation. Before and after he is crated, be sure to take him outdoors. Don’t play with him on these trips outside – the objective is for him to eliminate only. Praise him when he goes. Then you can play a quick game of fetch.

• Supervised continuously – If you’re able to be with the puppy at all times, you can watch for his pre-elimination behavior and whisk him outside to go. When he goes, praise him and take him back in right away.

Most training sources agree on the two main rules that are critical to the success of your puppy’s house training:

Never punish when you didn’t see him do it. When you punish a puppy that had a previous accident, he has no ability to make the correlation between eliminating in the wrong spot and your actions. When you catch him going where he shouldn’t, pick him up calmly and sternly say “no” and take him outside.

Praise him when he does it right – Animals love to be praised and receive positive attention. Using praise appropriately will help to counterbalance the “no’s” he’s hearing when he goes in the wrong place.

For more information about training puppies and pet insurance, visit

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