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?
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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…

Cat Breed Guide: Korat

A Korat 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 Korat

Weight:  6-10lb

Points of conformation: Small to medium sized semi-cobby (compact) body with heart shaped head and a downward turned nose. Large rounded ears, medium length tail may have a kink palpable.

Coat: Single short coat that lies close and is silky in texture.

Color: Hairs are dark grey in the center and the ends are tipped with silver. (Termed silver-blue)

Grooming needs: Minimal, weekly brushing.

Origin: Thailand (then was Siam)

Behavior Traits: Gentle and affectionate

Is a Korat cat right for You?Read More…

Reasons Dogs Spin In Circles

A Jack Russell Terrier dog spins in circles. Learn reasons dogs spin around.

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 Pet Health Insurance, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

Okay, time for a little canine potty talk disclosure. I can predict with 100-percent accuracy when Chipper, my Husky-golden retriever mix, is about to poop. Seconds before, she circles a few times clockwise and may do a couple short hops before getting into the parked position to defecate.

And, when she is really tired or investigating a new doggy bed, I’ve noticed that she also circles her bed before unleashing a sigh and plopping down for a snooze.

All this circling action displayed by our dogs is enough to make a person dizzy watching – and a bit bewildered.

We don’t know for sure, but here are two leading explanations regarding the circle-before-pooping ritual. Your modern-day dog still retains this 360-degree movement that prevailed in her ancestors who lived in the wild. Circling before squatting down was a smart way to survey the surroundings and sniff for possible predators to prevent any surprise attacks while in a vulnerable posture. The second reasonable explanation is that your dog needs to kick start the bowel movement, and circling helps accomplish this.

Now, let’s address the circle-pawing ritual performed by some dogs about to nap. Your dog is cleverly circling to release her scent that serves as an aromatic alert to other dogs that this bed belongs to her, and her alone. And, even though she enjoys a pampered indoor life, she may methodically circle and paw the bed before plopping down to sleep because this behavior has also been passed down for generators. Her ancestors living in the wild would circle and paw at twigs and leaves to create just the right bowl shape to fit their bodies to sleep. This also made them a little harder for potential predators to see.Read More…

Are There Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds?

A Balinese cat, which is one of the hypoallergenic breeds.

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

When it comes to cats, allergies can be a real problem! Many American households do not own a cat because one or more of the household members is allergic to cats. With the hype of “hypoallergenic dog breeds,” are there similar breeds of cats?

While dander and hair can be a source of allergens, saliva is the most common allergen for people that are allergic to cats. Cats that are low in the protein Fel D1, will shed fewer allergens into the environment. When cats groom themselves, their saliva, which contains this Fel D1 protein, sticks to the hair. Then, the hair falls out with normal shedding and can create symptomatic problems such as red, watery eyes and itchy skin in humans with a Fel DI protein allergy.

The important thing to remember when it comes to hypoallergenic breeds, is that this term refers to “low allergen” and not “zero allergen” which means that all felines will shed some allergens. However, some breeds are less allergenic than others.Read More…

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