Why your puppy needs pet insurance

A puppy with dog insurance chews on a toy.

Puppies can be trouble. They are curious and mischievous which means they can get into all kinds of things and cause chaos. A puppy that is left alone can do some serious damage, like chewing your favorite shoes, or even causing damage to your home. Dog insurance can cover your puppy if she gets carried away and actually ingests something she should not eat, like your shoe, a child’s toy, a favorite towel, or even your wedding ring.

Lack of puppy exercise is a major contributor to boredom, which leads to puppies chewing excessively. Puppies that chew excessively can end up destroying their toys, and if they are left for long periods of time, puppies can chew other items in the home including furniture, personal items, and even the actual walls of the house. Dog insurance helps to ensure that if your puppy does eat something, the vet bill won’t leave you financially strapped.

Eating non-food objects can lead diarrhea and other pet health conditions in puppies. A foreign object is a serious medical concern. Foreign objects can cause a blockage of the intestines, which can lead to death if not treated. If the object perforates the intestines, the situation then turns into a medical emergency. Pet insurance should be a requirement for all puppy owners in case the worst happens to your curious puppy.

To keep your puppy from chewing things they shouldn’t, keep them in an area where they can be supervised at all times. Use pet gates to keep your puppy out of rooms that are not puppy-proofed. Exercise your puppy daily to help stimulate them both mentally and physically.

Young Dog Going Gray and a Female Dog Who Marks

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page.

This one comes from Haley. She writes, “My dog is only four years old. She used to be pure black, but now her entire face and the back neck have turned gray, so much so that people think she’s 15 years old. Is it common for dogs to prematurely gray and could it be stress-induced?”

This is really common. It tends to be the darker dogs where it’s the most profound. There is thought to be a genetic link so genes can play a role in it. Labradors, for example, are a common breed where this happens. The Black Labs will go gray prematurely. It’s probably not related to any sort of underlying problem or disease and it’s probably not stress-induced. It’s probably just normal for her.

The last one comes from Christa. “Is it normal for a female dog to urine mark like a boy when we’re on walks in the park?”

This is a great question. Yes, it is normal. This can be a learned behavior. Typically it is male dogs that will mark more than female dogs but female dogs can do it, too. They’ll even lift their leg like a boy dog. If she’s squatting uncomfortably or it’s a new behavior for her, you might want to ask your veterinarian just to make sure there’s not something new like a urinary tract infection. But if it’s something she always does at the park, it’s probably normal for her.


How to make your dog behave!

A dog with dog insurance learns how to behave.

By: Judy Luther
Certified Professional Dog Trainer
For Pets Best Insurance

I’m going to share one of my favorite methods of solving behavior problems with the Pets Best Insurance pet insurance readers today. This menthod is teaching dogs an incompatible behavior in place of something they currently do. This is very effective in eliminating unwanted behaviors and teaching the dog to offer acceptable behaviors instead, therefore reinforcing what we want the dog to do.

I know this probably sounds a bit difficult, but it is really quite easy. It’s simply a different way of thinking through your dog’s behavior and a coinciding training plan. Instead of telling our dogs to stop doing something, we are going to ask him to act differently.

Let’s say you have a dog that loves to jump on people to greet them. Would you prefer, instead, to have your dog sit when someone enters your home? While there is no right or wrong answer, it’s up to you to determine what you’d like your pet to do and how he should behave.

The next step is to put the plan into action. Each time your dog jumps you will ask him to sit. You should only ask him to sit one time, and then simply wait for him to respond to your command. Ignore all other behaviors he may offer, including any additional jumping he may do. Once he sits, reward him with praise, petting and/or a yummy treat.

Initially this will take a bit of effort on your part. You are going to have to think through your dog’s behavior problem, and come up with an alternative behavior. The alternative behavior you select, should be something that is opposite and therefore incompatible with the undesired behavior. As in the example above, your dog cannot jump if he is sitting.

This method can and should be used with any unwanted behavior your dog does. So the next time your dog is chasing the cat, pulling on his leash, digging a hole in the garden, darting out the door, etc, simply ask yourself “What would I rather my dog do?” You will be surprised at how quickly your dog’s behavior will change, and how much fun you will have training him. Another benefit of this training method is that you will build a great training partnership with your dog, while solving behavior issues without force or punishment.

For more articles by Judy Luther, visit the Pets Best Insurance pet insurance blog at http://www.petsbest.com/blog/.

Pet Insurance: USA

A dog with pet health insurance waits for his owner.

Just as health, auto and homeowners insurance can vary by state, pet insurance is often different across the USA.

You will find that there are usually differences in pet insurance plans. Pet insurance policies also may be vary by state depending on any particular pet health issues that are more prevalent. For instance, the climate in southern states can affect pets health and coverage specifics might be different.

While most pet health insurance companies provide coverage, even if you move to another state and when you travel with your pet, that may be the first question you have when you begin comparing pet insurance.

What if you move or travel with your pet?
Like other insurance products, pet insurers must be licensed to sell insurance in their state. Do your research and see if the coverage/premium price would be the same or comparable if you moved to another state.

One very serious consideration regarding your pet insurance is a possible pre-existing exclusion. If you were to move with your pet to a new state where your current pet insurance carrier wasn’t licensed, you may run into this problem. A new company may see any diseases your pet has been treated for as pre-existing, even though your pet didn’t have the condition when your current insurer began coverage.

What if you are just traveling in another state with your pet? Pet insurance plans cover vet expenses that are eligible under your plan even if you’re traveling.

What if you leave the U.S., is your pet still covered if he goes with you? If this information isn’t spelled out in the policy, be sure to ask questions before deciding on that particular policy.

Underwriters are Important
Just as with your health and other insurance, pet insurance is covered and paid out by an underwriter. All reputable pet insurance companies will list information about their underwriter on their website. If you don’t see it listed, give them a call and ask.

Check out how financially viable the underwriter is by looking at their ratings. After finding the underwriter information, go to A.M. Best’s Rating Center, which will give you information about any insurance company’s rating and financial health.

My afternoon at a no-kill cat shelter

A group of cats at Simply Cats waits for loving homes and cat insurance coverage.

By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance

Here at Pets Best Insurance, we were in need of some new pet photos for our website and marketing materials. Anyone who’s browsed a stock photo site knows the pickings are slim, so we’ve been handling things ourselves. For the dog photo shoot, we scheduled a play date one evening and took pictures of pet insurance employees’ dogs running, jumping, chasing, and later snoozing in the grass.

Obviously we couldn’t do the same for cats, so we scheduled a photo shoot at Simply Cats, right here in Boise, Idaho. Lucky me, I got to spend two hours with some of the sweetest, funniest cats I’ve ever met!

Simply Cats is a no-kill shelter that houses cats together based on cat health, age and personality. There are about a dozen spacious rooms with large windows, soft blankets, scratching posts, sleeping trees, boxes, beds, food, mega-litter boxes and even kitty doors to outdoor patio areas. All the cats seemed very happy and comfortable.

As soon as I arrived, resident cat Memphis followed me to the first cat room and dutifully sniffed along every edge and corner of all my belongings. I started photographing in the special needs/FIV+ room, worked my way to the barn cats, young adults, seniors and then the kittens. I even got a behind-the scenes look at cats receiving veterinary care and three-week old kittens not yet old enough to be visited by the general public. Too cute!

Cats are generally easy to photograph, and these guys were no exception. Some struck poses when the camera came out, and some trotted to the portable lighting to check it out. Some purred loudly and climbed into my arms, and a few rascals snuck out before being scooped up by staffers and returned to their rooms. When all was said and done, I’d taken hundreds of photographs and gone through about a quart of hand sanitizer – a good dose is required between each room to maintain pet health and prevent the spread of infections and illnesses.

I’m now following Simply Cats on Facebook and it’s great to see how many cats find their forever homes each week, freeing up space for even more kitties who deserve to be in a loving, no-kill shelter. Check out the pictures above, and make sure to visit Pets Best Insurance pet insurance page to see even more cat photos in the coming weeks.

Pictures above on the right, from top to bottom: A beautiful Tortie poses dramatically for the camera; Freeida and Argonaut hanging out in the kitten room (both adopted); Oliver yawning to kick off a cat nap; Cantebury sitting with his toy; Sweetgrass receiving veterinary care (recovered fully and adopted!)

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