6 Steps to Teach Your Cat to High Five

A cat gives a child a high five.

By Arden Moore, a dog and cat behavior expert and author of 26 best-selling pet books. She hosts the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio and is a writer for Pets Best, a kitten and cat health insurance agency.

When it comes to greeting houseguests, dogs don’t have a monopoly on shaking paws to say hello. If you have a social cat, you can train him to be an official feline greeter to all who enter your home. He can learn to lightly raise one of his front paws and touch it against the extended palm of the guest.

For cats who love interacting with people – like my orange tabby named Casey – this paw-to-palm exchange does the trick. Casey is known as the Pet Safety Cat and he teams up with me and Chipper, my Husky-golden retriever mix, each time we give pet behavior talks to classrooms filled with kids and when we conduct hands-on, veterinarian-approved pet first aid classes.

I started training Casey when I adopted him from the San Diego Humane Society. He was four months old. Today, he is 15 months old and has perfected the art of sitting on cue and raising a front paw to touch when greeting people of all ages during our pet talks.

Let me share with you the six steps to follow to get your friendly feline to meet and greet:

1. Bring out the cat currency. Start with a handful of treats that your cat craves. Sit on the floor with your cat in a quiet room, free of distractions. Hold the treats in one hand.

2. Reinforce the “sit, please” cue. Ask your cat to sit (do this by moving a treat over his head to get him to plop his butt on the ground). As soon as his rump touches the ground, say, “Good, sit!” and immediately reward him with a treat.Read More…

7 Steps to Teach Your Cat to Stroller Ride

Teach your indoor cat to ride in a stroller for safe outdoor exploring.

By Arden Moore, a dog and cat behavior expert and author of 26 best-selling pet books. She hosts the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio and is a writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.

If you are fortunate to share your home with a confident indoor cat who is pining to investigate the great (but sometimes, scary) outdoors, a safe option is to train your feline friend to ride in a pet stroller you push.

Some senior dogs and canines with mobility issues have been enjoying sidewalk trips while cruising inside comfy strollers, so why not fine felines? You are giving your cat a chance to expand his world beyond inside your home and what he can see from a window perch or cat furniture tree. Being outdoors stimulates his mental muscles and hones his senses of smell, sight and sound. And, I guarantee that after your neighborhood jaunt, your cat will be ready for a cat nap!

In order to make this a win-win for you and your cat, heed these seven safety tips:

1. Size matters. Select a pet stroller that accommodates your cat’s size. He should be able to easily turn around inside it.

2. Tap your cat’s curiosity. Bring the stroller inside your home and allow your cat to investigate it on his own terms for a few days. Make the stroller more appealing by placing treats on the wheels and in the seat for your cat to sniff, find and enjoy.Read More…

Dog Breed Guide: Belgian Malinois

A Belgian Malinois dog with pet insurance from Pets Best.

Dr. Marc is a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

About the Belgian Malinois

Height (to base of neck): female 22 – 24″, male 24 – 26″

Weight:  62 – 75 lb

Color: Distinct black markings on ears, muzzle and mask with a tan base.

Origin: Belgium

Coat: Weather resistant coat is short with hard textured hairs and dense short under coat..

Life Expectancy: 12 – 14 years

Energy level: High

Exercise needs: High

Breed Nicknames: Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog

Is a Belgian Malinois the Right Dog Breed for You?
Read More…

What to Expect at My Pet’s First Veterinary Visit

Learn what to expect when you take your dog or cat to the veterinarian’s office for the first time.

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What to expect at your pet's first veterinarian visit.

5 Common Diseases in Small & Medium Dogs

Small and medium dogs sit in a row. Learn common diseases for small and medium dogs.

By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best Pet Health Insurance for dogs and cats.

As our pets age, they become more susceptible to disease. While most diseases can happen in any size or breed of dog, the following are most common in small and medium sized breeds. Small breeds tend to be less than 25lbs, examples of small breeds include Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, Rat Terriers, Boston Terriers, and Pugs. Medium breed dogs tend to be less than 50lbs, examples of medium breeds include Beagles, English Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels, Corgis, Whippets, and Shelties.

If your dog falls into this category, she may be at risk for any of the following diseases as he or she ages.

1. Heart Disease

Most senior aged small dogs have a heart murmur. Heart murmurs are a very common aging change that is most often related to mitral valve degeneration. This means that the valve separating the top and bottom chambers of the heart on the left side becomes diseased and doesn’t close like it should normally. This allows for a backflow of blood into the upper chamber of the heart. A murmur can be diagnosed with a stethoscope by your veterinarian, and often times it will not cause a problem. In some pets, this murmur can get so severe that it actually causes congestive heart failure. If this happens, you may notice shortness of breath, increased respiratory rate and effort, coughing, difficulty and discomfort when sleeping or laying down and exercise intolerance. If you note any of these issues, your dog should be seen by a veterinarian immediately, as congestive heart failure is quickly progressive and fatal if left untreated. Fortunately, there are medications that can help the heart pump blood better if your pet is diagnosed with heart failure, and these can extend quality and quantity of life. Heart murmurs are often associated and worsened by severe dental disease. Bacteria from the mouth enters the bloodstream and sticks to the heart valves where it grows and causes the valves to malfunction. This is one reason why it is very important to have your pet’s teeth cleaned regularly to prevent plaque and tartar buildup as well as gum disease!

2. Collapsing TracheaRead More…

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