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Pet supplies for your new pet

Posted on: February 11th, 2011 by

A seven-week-old kitten with pet health insurance drinks from a bottle.
Being a first time pet owner can be overwhelming. If you do your research before getting your new pet you will be prepared and better equipped to start on the right foot. Once you have done your research on which veterinarian and pet health insurance you are going to use, it is time to get the pet supplies that your pet will need.

The most important pet supply that you will need is food. If possible, find out which brand of food your new pet has been eating and buy the same. If you are unable to find out what food your pet has been eating, you will want to buy a quality food that fits your pet’s life stage. For example, if you are getting a new born puppy or kitten you will want to get puppy or kitten food.

If you are getting a puppy or dog you will need a few basic supplies. Purchase the appropriate sized collar and leash for your new dog. In addition to a collar, get an identification tag with your contact information. It is recommended that you get an appropriate sized crate for your new dog as well. You will also need food and water bowls. You may want to pick up a few toys, as well.

For your new cat you will need a litter box and litter, food and water bowls, and a few toys. Being prepared with pet health insurance and all the right supplies will help you be the best pet owner you can be.

Pets Best Insurance reminds it’s National Cat Health Month

Posted on: February 10th, 2011 by

La La the Chihuahua watch dog looks out the window.

February is National Cat Health Month and Pets Best Insurance wants pet owners to celebrate the month by taking steps to keep your cat safe and healthy.

If your cat is not covered by cat insurance, now is the time to get your cat insurance coverage—it can help cover the cost of pet illness or injury. But there are other steps you can take to ensure proper pet health.

Preventative care is a great way to help your cat stay healthy. Cats should visit the veterinarian at least once a year for a wellness and routine care check up. If you have an older cat, a check-up every 6 months is a good idea. Check-ups allow your veterinarian to examine your cat and catch any problems early on. In addition to annual exams, have your cat vaccinated. Vaccinations help to protect your cat from potentially deadly illnesses.

Keep your cat parasite free by protecting them against fleas. Because they can ingest them, cats that have fleas can be infected with tapeworms. Keep your cat on a flea preventative to help them stay flea free.

Help control the pet overpopulation problem in the U.S. by spaying and neutering your cats. This can prevent them from getting testicular cancer, mammary tumors, and other pet health issues.

Grooming your cat regularly can help identify pet health concerns early. Brushing will not only cut down on the amount of hair they shed, it will also help reduce hairballs. Cats should also have their toenails trimmed regularly. With regular brushing and trimming, you can spot signs of pet health illness as a change in their coat can warrant a trip to the veterinarian.

Pet health: Heartworm in dogs can be fatal

Posted on: February 9th, 2011 by

A dog with pet insurance is tested for Heartworms.

One of the most common preventable diseases in dogs is Heartworm, which is potentially fatal and expensive to treat. Heartworm is caused by bites from infected mosquitoes.

After six months, adult worms infiltrate the dog’s heart and/or lungs. Blood tests can detect the disease, but not until the dog has been infected for about seven months, according to the American Heartworm Society.

Dogs who develop Heartworm disease do not show symptoms in the early stages of their infection. Later, symptoms may include coughing, loss of energy, and weight loss. If left untreated, dogs infected with Heartworm will die.

The American Heartworm Society recommends annual Heartworm testing, which may be covered by some pet insurance companies. Testing for the disease is required before a dog may begin Heartworm preventative. Such preventatives include chewable tablets, topical and injectable treatments, and the costs of these medicines can also be offset with pet insurance.

Heartworm prevention is important because some sources believe this potentially fatal disease may be on the rise in the Eastern half of the United States and the Gulf Coast. Treatment for the disease is costly, usually requires hospitalization, and recovery can take up to two months. Since Heartworm is preventable, many pet insurance companies do not cover treatment costs.

The American Heartworm Society reports that nearly 100% of dogs bitten by infected mosquitoes will develop Heartworm. Dogs can catch Heartworm on their daily walk or from a mosquito inside the home. Dog owners should not skip giving Heartworm preventative treatment to their dogs, which is safe and very effective, especially since it can be covered by pet insurance.

Do cats dream?

Posted on: February 9th, 2011 by

Arden Moore's book cover.

Oh Behave!
Q&A with Pet Expert Arden Moore

Q. I love watching my cat sleep. He moves a lot and even makes little squeaking sounds at times. His legs quiver and his whiskers move. Is he dreaming?

A. Cats do dream, but we can only speculate on the subject matter. It might be that your cat is reliving the brilliant capture of a wayward fly buzzing near a sunny window or a particularly speedy spring down the hallway. Perhaps he is recalling with amusement how he charmed that final piece of broiled tuna off your dinner plate and into his own bowl.

We do have scientific evidence that cats dream. As with humans, feline sleep falls into two types – REM (rapid eye movement, which is when dreams happen), and non-REM (deep sleep). You will know your cat is in REM sleep because he is apt to twitch his legs, wiggle his whiskers, and subtly move his eyes behind his closed eyelids.

Studies using electroencephalograms (EEGs) to read brain activity in sleeping cats have indicated that cats are in the REM sleep stage for about 30 percent of their sleeping time and that their brain wave patterns during REM are similar to ours. In comparison, we spend about 20 percent of our sleep time in the REM stage (although human babies spend up to 80 percent in REM).

When cats are not dreaming, they are in the deep sleep phase. This is the time when the body goes to work repairing and regenerating bones and muscles and bolstering the immune system to fend off disease. The only movement you can detect during this sleep stage is the quiet up and down of breathing.

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!”

Pet expert Arden Moore spends time with her pets.

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 Arden Moore, who also hosts a weekly radio show called “Oh Behave!” on Pet Life Radio ( by visiting her Four Legged Life website (

Dog Skin Conditions and Reverse Sneezing

Posted on: February 8th, 2011 by

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. Today I’d like to take a chance to answer some questions from our Facebook page.

The first question is, “My dog has dark brown staining on the insides of her legs that’s been there since I adopted her. Now there’s a small dark patch developing in the middle of her belly. The skin is discolored and the fur has a strange texture. She doesn’t lick it and the area is never damp. She isn’t in pain and it doesn’t itch. What could be causing it?”

This is a great question. It’s really a common change on skin and fur of dogs and it’s generally related to moisture on the skin. Places that this can accumulate are between the toes, in facial folds, in the center of the belly where there’s a kind of belly button. The moisture, just normal moisture from your dog’s skin, can create an environment that a very non- harmful yeast organism, a fungal organism, can actually live there.

It’s cosmetic and it usually doesn’t cause a problem. If it’s itchy or if it’s bothering your dog, it could be related to something else and you might want to bring it up with your veterinarian.

This question says, “My Chihuahua reverse sneezes frequently. I know it’s not a cause for too much concern but it sure sounds awful when she’s doing it. What causes this and is there anything I can do to help her?” This is great question. If you’ve never heard a reverse sneeze, the first time you do it sure does look terrifying. The majority of the time it’s not related to any sort of problem. It doesn’t mean your dog is gasping for air and it’s not an asthma attack.

There are a couple of things that can sometimes predispose dogs to it. One is size, so smaller breed dogs tend to do it more than bigger dogs. Occasionally it can be caused by allergies, so you may find that in the spring or in the fall when there’s a lot of pollens, your pet might do this more frequently. In certain areas of the nation, nasal mites can actually cause this. Another common cause of reverse sneezing is excitement, so oftentimes feeding a treat or a meal can predispose them to having these attacks.

If this is happening suddenly and your pet has never done it before, you might want to contact your veterinarian.