Why Cats Eat Wool, and How to Help

A cat sucks on wool yarn.

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.

Oriental cat breeds, particularly Siamese cats, are genetically at an increased risk for mouthing, sucking and chewing on wool clothing and other materials. Some also salivate and knead with their forepaws.

Sucking on wool as well as chewing and eating shoelaces, newspaper and plastic, are forms of a feline compulsive disorder known as pica, or the eating of inedible objects. This behavior can start as early as when a kitten is four months of age, but generally surfaces after age 1.

Besides the destruction of perhaps your favorite wool sweater or unread section of the daily newspaper, pica can be extremely dangerous for the health of your cat. Ingesting wool can lead to intestinal obstruction that can have fatal consequences if not treated immediately by a veterinarian who may need to perform abdominal surgery.

The primary two-prong treatment for this obsessive-compulsive disorder involves specific medications and behavior modification. In addition, some cats seem to benefit by being switched to high-fiber diets recommended by your veterinarian.

Medical treatment may call for giving the cat Prozac® with the goal of eventually weaning the cat off of this drug. Behavior modification strategies that work best include stepping up the cat’s activity level by exercising him or her with moving toys and flashlights as well as treat balls that they can paw at to release kibble.Read More…

Midas Cares Veteran’s Day Donation Match

United States Marine Sgt. Juan Valdez and Dogs on Deployment mascot, Midas.

Our friends at Dogs on Deployment are the experts at finding foster homes for the pets of military members who are fulfilling service commitments. Dogs on Deployment has added a new initiative, Midas Cares, bringing awareness to the benefits of using service dogs to treat military members and veterans with post-traumatic stress (PTS), traumatic brain injuries, and military sexual trauma victims.

Midas is the 2014 Dogs on Deployment mascot and military pet of the year. In May, we announced Midas was protected with Pets Best, and has accident and illness coverage with his pet insurance plan. The Midas Cares initiative was created by Sgt. Juan Valdez, who credits Midas with saving his life while coping with PTS, after serving four tours in Iraq as a Marine.

With the help of Dogs on Deployment, Sgt. Valdez and Midas are able to fulfill their dreams and goals to improve the veteran service dog community. From helping veterans locate service dog programs in their area, to advocating for more holistic treatment and awareness for veterans everywhere, Midas Cares is a worthy cause.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Pets Best will match donations made to the Midas Cares initiative for the month of November. To make a donation, visit Dogs on Deployment and select ‘Support Midas Cares’ from the dropdown menu. Get a pet insurance quote from Pets Best and receive a 5% discount.

2nd Annual Dog Paws & Santa Claus Photos Event

Dogs insured with Pets Best pose with Santa.

Be sure to join us for the 2nd annual Pets Best “Dog Paws & Santa Claus” Photos. Santa photos make great holiday cards and you’ll be supporting two animal shelters in our Boise and Meridian, Idaho communities!

Bring your family, furry ones included, and get holiday photos with Santa! The photo event will be Tuesday, Nov. 18th, 2014 from 5:30pm-8:30pm at the Pets Best office located at 2323 S. Vista Ave., Suite 100, Boise, 83705.

The cost is a $10 cash donation. All donations go to The Idaho Humane Society (Boise, Idaho) and The Meridian Valley Humane Society (Meridian, Idaho). Photos will be taken on a first come, first serve basis.

Be sure to spread the word! Share our Pets Best Facebook posts about the “Dog Paws & Santa Claus” Photos event!

We look forward to seeing you and your family on the evening of Tuesday, November 18th!

An RSVP is encouraged for planning purposes, but not mandatory. You can let us know you’re coming here: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1328231/Pets-Best-Photo-Shoot

Should Dogs Wear Coats?

A golden retriever puppy wears a coat in the snow.

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

It’s that time of the year again. The weather is getting colder! Our furry friends still like to spend time outside, but do they need protective clothing such as sweaters and coats? In most cases, the answer is no. Most dogs have enough fur to keep them warm outside during the winter. When making the decision on whether to put warm winter clothing on your dog, you should consider your dog’s size, breed and the outside temperature.

Very small dogs have a harder time retaining body heat, so they may need a sweater or coat when outside for extended periods of time during the winter. If your dog is a short haired breed or a breed that is originally from a warm climate, they may also need cold weather wear.

These breeds include dogs such as the Chinese Crested, Chihuahua and Italian Greyhound. Dogs that have long hair such as the Pomeranian, Chow Chow, Husky and Great Pyrenees do not need additional clothing during the winter. Additionally, the outside temperature and length of time outside should also be considered when deciding whether or not your dog needs to wear a coat. Dogs in temperatures greater than 45 degrees typically do not need protective clothing. If your dog will only be outside for 10 minutes or less, they typically do not need any clothing except in extremely cold climates.Read More…

Ebola in Dogs & Cats – What You Need to Know

Bentley the dog was released from Ebola quarantine on Nov 1 2014.

Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who survived Ebola was reunited with her dog, Bentley, on Saturday Nov. 1 after he was released from quarantine. (Photo Credit: City of Dallas)

By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.

As the global Ebola virus outbreak worsens, pet owners are starting to wonder how their animals could be affected by the virus. Recently, a dog belonging to a Spanish healthcare worker was euthanized by Spanish health officials because of fears that the dog could transmit the deadly virus. The Dallas nurse, Nina Pham, who recently became the first person to contract Ebola in the United States is also a pet owner. The local authorities in Dallas quarantined her dog, but Pham is now an Ebola survivor and her dog was released from quarantine on Nov. 1st after being cleared of not having Ebola. With conflicting views on pets in the Ebola crisis, should we be concerned about our pets contracting or transmitting Ebola?

Ebola is a zoonotic disease, which means that it can be transmitted to humans from other species. It is well known that Ebola can be contracted in humans from certain animals such as fruit bats and non-human primates such as apes and monkeys. The virus is spread through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids from an infected person or animal such as bats or monkeys. Animal to human transmission typically occurs from eating bush meat from infected animals. Dogs and cats that have been exposed to Ebola will form antibodies which tell us that their immune system is responding to the presence of the virus. However, there is no evidence that they become sick or show any symptoms from the virus. Additionally, there is currently no proof that dogs and cats can pass on the Ebola virus to humans.Read More…

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