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11 Ways to Protect Pets from Wildfires

Posted on: July 9th, 2014 by

Wildfires spread fast and can threaten homes and the humans and pets inside.

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.

It doesn’t take much to create a wildfire: a cigarette, a camp fire not properly extinguished or even a lightning strike. No matter the cause, you need to act quickly to protect you and your pets. You may only have minutes to evacuate from these fast-spreading flames.

For the past 15 years, I’ve lived in wildfire country – San Diego. And, I share my home with two dogs and two cats. Let me share with you ways I do my best to keep my pets safe from the dangers of wildfires:

1. Stay informed. Sign up for reverse 911, if it is available in your area. Emergency officials will call or text you if your property falls into a voluntary or mandatory evacuation area.

2. Create a mutual pet-buddy system. Provide a set of house keys to a trusted neighbor who is willing to rescue your pets in case a wildfire strikes when you are not at home. And promise to do the same for their pets.

3. Have fire-dousing tools within reach. Keep a fire extinguisher in your home and learn how to use it properly. Keep a garden hose that can water down all sides and roof of your home.

4. Create three pet disaster preparedness bags: one stored at all times in your vehicle; one near the front door and one near the backdoor. If a wildfire flares up quickly, you can access at least one or more of these bags with your pets. These bags should contain a few days’ worth of food and pet medication as well as inexpensive slip leads you can use to restrain your dog if she becomes stressed or fearful by the smoke-filled sky.

5. Pack items to treat fire-related conditions. Make sure your pet first aid kit in your vehicle and pet disaster bag contains a pet-safe eye wash, burn ointment, antiseptic wipes and socks (or doggy booties) so you can wash out soot and debris from your pet’s eyes and treat paws that may step on embers or shattered glass during the evacuation.

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Breed Guide: Newfoundland

Posted on: July 7th, 2014 by

A Newfoundland dogDr. Fiona is a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

About the Newfoundland

Height (to base of neck): female 26″, male 28″

Weight: female 100-120lbs, male 130-150lbs

Color: White, grey, black, black and white and brown

Origin: Canadian providence of Newfoundland

Coat: Dense, double coat with coarse wavy outer hairs and soft dense undercoat. The coat is slightly oily and thus waterproof.

Life Expectancy: 8-10 years

Energy level: Low to moderate

Exercise needs: Moderate

Breed Nicknames: Newfie, Newf

Is a the Newfoundland Right Dog Breed for You?

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4 Reasons Cats Purr

Posted on: July 4th, 2014 by

a black cat relaxes on the floorBy 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 cat insurance and dog insurance agency.

The phenomenon of purring has fascinated humans for ages. A lot of research has been conducted to figure out this magical feline motoring sound, but no one knows for certain why cats purr, though it is believed to be a voluntary act initiated by the central nervous system. In other words, cats purr on purpose, not just as an instinctive response.

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Breed Guide: Collie

Posted on: June 30th, 2014 by

A collieDr. Fiona is a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

About the Collie

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

Weight: female 50-65lbs, male 60-75lbs

Color: Tri-color, blue merle, white and sable, and white.

Origin: Scotland and England

Coat: Thick, double coat with harsh straight outercoat and soft wooly undercoat is the standard for the rough coated Collie.  A thick undercoat and short dense flat outercoat is standard for the smooth coated Collie.

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

Energy level: Moderate

Exercise needs: Moderate

Breed Nicknames:

Is a Collie the Right Dog Breed for You?

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5 Ways to Nip Your Puppy’s Mouthy Manners

Posted on: June 27th, 2014 by

Belgian shepherd puppy biting and pulling legBy 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 dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

When it comes to your fast-growing puppy, do not dismiss his playful nips as merely love bites. Sure, your pup is darn cute and exudes plenty of canine charm, but ouch! His sharp, pointed teeth can hurt and even break skin.

Play mouthing develops in puppies by four weeks of age and accelerates between 4 and 14 weeks of age. It is a normal behavior, but unchecked, it could evolve into a more serious behavior issue: play aggression.

Once you bring home your adorable puppy, immediately start training him that hands, forearms, legs and other human body parts are not canine chew toys. Follow these steps:

1. Make your skin far less tempting to your mouthy pup. Spritz your exposed limbs with Bitter Apple spray or a mint-flavored breath freshener spray. Be creative and dab your hands and arms with pickle juice. The juice contains a very sour additive called alum, which keeps the pickles crisp but also serves as a good dog deterrent.

2. Speak up and yip loudly. Some puppies are adopted before they can properly learn bite inhibition from their littermates and their moms. So, when your puppy nips or mouths you, yelp loudly. Stand up, turn your back on him and walk slowly away. Your actions convey to your pup is, “You’re not fun right now, and playtime is over.” Your pup will learn that nipping ends good times.

3. Bring on the suitable chewables.

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