The 4 Best (and Safest) Places to Pet Your Cat

A cat lays down while its owner pets its head.

By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a pet health insurance agency for dogs and cats.

One of the best ways to communicate, bond with your cat is through touch. Most cats love, love, love to be petted, stroked and scratched. But there is an art to performing purposeful petting that will ignite your cat’s contented purr machine and even put you in an elevated mood.

Yes, there are definitely places on your cat that welcome pets and definitely places that are off-limits or that may trigger a hiss or even a paw swipe directed toward you. Keeping in mind that cats come in a wide-range of personalities and tolerance levels, here are the purr-fect places to pet your cat:

1. The cheeks. Cats have concentrated scent glands located on their lips and cheeks. We can’t smell the oily residue that is deposited from these glands, but other cats certainly can. Gliding your fingers across your cat’s cheeks and lips release these glands, explaining why these are welcoming petting spots for most felines.

2. The forehead and between the eyes. Some cats boldly initiate a petting session by bumping their heads against you. This is known as bunting. Your cat is conveying to you that he is in the mood for you to finger-pet the top of his head and to perform a gentle finger glide between his eyes.Read More…

5 Nutritional Tips for Adult Dogs

An adult yellow Labrador dog licks a spoon. Ensure your dog is getting the right nutrition.

By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog health insurance agency.

As your puppy transitions to adulthood, their nutritional needs change as well. Here are five tips to ensure your adult dog stays healthy by getting the proper nutrition.

1. Choose a High Quality Food

There are so many options when choosing a food to feed your adult canine companion. You can feed your adult dog either canned or dry food, but dry food tends to be better for their teeth. The most expensive food isn’t always the best food, but extremely inexpensive food isn’t typically high quality. If you are unsure which food is the best to feed your dog, consult with your veterinarian. They will discuss canine nutrition with you, and they can suggest a few options that are scientifically backed to provide excellent nutrition. Is your dog a small breed? Does he or she hunt or perform agility? Is your dog mostly a couch potato? Your veterinarian can help you select the best nutrition based on your dog’s individual needs.

2. Avoid People Food

When it comes to people food, it’s typically best to avoid it in dogs. Most meats and dairy products are high in fat and can cause pancreatitis and diarrhea. Processed foods may cause upset stomach as well. Grapes and raisins are very toxic to dogs and should never be fed to your canine companion. There are a few exceptions such as green beans, carrots and apples that are safe and healthy to feed dogs as treats.

3. Portion ControlRead More…

Cat Breed Guide: California Spangled

A California Spangled cat with pet insurance from Pets Best.

By Dr. Fiona, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

About the California Spangled

Weight:  8-15lb

Points of conformation: Bred to resemble a mini leopard, this cat has a long, lean, muscular body.

Coat: Short haired coat.

Color: Bred for its spots that resemble a wild cat’s; spots can be triangular, square or oval.  Colors are varied and can include brown, red, gold, bronze, black, sliver or white.

Grooming needs: Low, weekly brushing is recommended.

Origin: United States

Behavior Traits: Playful and intelligent

Is a California Spangled right for You? 

The California Spangled cat is curious and active. They are highly athletic and energetic and have good hunting skills.  They are affectionate and social, but require one on one time with their owners to prevent boredom. This breed is outgoing and very social. They do well with change and can do well with other pets, including dogs.  They are trainable due to their high intelligence and desire to please.

 

Protect Your California Spangled Cat with Pet Insurance

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4 Indoor Games To Unleash Fun in Your Dog

A dog sits.

By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.

Neither rain nor sleet nor blizzard should prevent your dog from engaging in daily play and exercise. When the weather is anything but fetching, play indoors.

The beauty of regular playtime with your canine pal is that it can occur anytime, anywhere. And you both reap many benefits. You get to use this time to reinforce basic obedience cues in a fun setting. Your dog gets a daily dose of activities that enrich him mentally and physically. And the power of purposeful play – indoors and outdoors – bolsters your friendship bond.

Here are four of my favorite dog-people indoor games that unleash fun and fitness:

1. K9 Treasure Hunt. Introduce your dog to a fun canine treasure hunt by first putting him in a sit-stay and showing him a healthy treat. Then place the treat behind a chair while your dog watches you. Go back to him and say, “Find the treasure.” Once your dog understands the concept, pretend to stash treats in several places in a room, but leave the treasure in only one location. Then tell him to “find the treasure.” Praise him when he discovers his tasty prize.

2. I Hide You Seek. This game reinforces the all-important recall cue in your dog. Start by having your dog stay in a room. Then you leave and hide in another room. In an upbeat tone, call out his name and tell him to come and find you. Be sure to heap on praise and treats each time he finds you so he enjoys a great payoff for complying.

3. Hallway fetch. Got a fetch-focused dog? Read More…

3 Tips to Stop Kitty from Ambushing Your Ankles

A kitten with Pets Best pet insurance, leaps in the air, ready to ambush its owner's ankles.By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.

Far too often, kittens are misunderstood by people. What people may regard as a misdeed, to a fast-growing kitten is a perfectly acceptable behavior. Let’s address a far-too common kitten that can have painful consequences to you and any other person in your home–ambushing ankles. That timid kitten you may have adopted recently may have doubled in size and confidence. And, his inner, innate hunter is surfacing.

The scenario: You walk down the hallway, turn the corner, and e-owww!! Your feisty kitten has been patiently lying in wait. When he spies you approaching, he elevates his back end and wiggles quickly side to side. Then he springs from his hiding spot, wrapping his front claws around your ankle. Ouch!

In order to cease this undesired action, you need to understand your kitten’s mindset. Indoor cats need opportunities to hone their hunting skills. Their ‘prey’ is not the rodents or birds abundant in the great outdoors, but possibly, anything that moves inside the home for him to stalk and attack. Your kitten is simply redirecting the need for natural play toward lucky you. If you only have one cat, this behavior could indicate that he feels deprived of sufficient play time. He is desperately looking for ways to act out his play-prey aggression.

Here are three savvy solutions to tame that tabby tiger of yours.

1. Give him the cold shoulder. Try to ignore him during the attack and walk away. Your reactions (leaping and screaming) only reinforce his need to ambush you. When your kitten is calm, avoid overstimulation by limiting friendly pats and strokes to 10-second intervals and never engage in roughhouse play. And remember to trim the tips of his sharp claws on a regular basis, about every two weeks.

2. Invest in interactive toys like wands with feathers or low-power, low-voltage laser lights made specifically for cats. Schedule at least 5 to 10 minutes twice a day to play with your kitten. This time can also strengthen the friendship bond between you both.Read More…

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