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Show your puppy some love with home-baked biscuits

Posted on: February 23rd, 2012 by

A pet with dog insurance helps his owner bake some treats.

By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance

Animal lovers and pet insurance enthusiasts everywhere will be excited to learn that today is National Dog Biscuit Day! And while it might be easy to swing by the store on your way home from work, why not bake some dog biscuits in your own kitchen? It’s easier than you might think!

Even if you don’t consider yourself a baker, don’t worry. The best recipes only require a few easy-to-find ingredients, which won’t take a toll on pet health if given in moderation. They’re also much easier to make than people treats. And of course, we pretty much guarantee your dog will scarf them right up.

Peanut Butter Bones
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. white flour
1/2 c. natural peanut butter (no added sugar, salt, etc.)
1 c. water
2 tbsp. oil

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine oil, peanut butter and water. Add flour gradually until dough is formed. Knead it and roll it out to about 1/4″ inch thick. Cut into shapes with a bone-shaped cookie cutter and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for about 18 minutes. Keep a close eye on them because they’ll burn fast once they’re done baking!

Savory Snaps
3 c. chopped parsley
1/4 c. finely diced carrots
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 tbsp. bran
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 to 1 c. water

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a cookie sheet. Combine parsley, carrots, cheese and oil. Mix dry ingredients separately and add to the veggie/cheese mix. Add water little by little until dough forms. Knead for one minute, then roll out to 1/2″ thick. Cut into pieces with a cookie cutter. Bake for about 20 minutes until they’ve browned. They might feel soft at first, but will harden as they cool.

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Bonus Tips:
No cookie cutter? Use the top of a glass to cut out perfect circles, or a knife to cut squares.

Share the love: Double the recipe, allow the biscuits to cool and then package them up for your pup’s friends. Goodie bags and pawprint ribbon can be found at most arts-and-crafts or dollar stores.

Everything in moderation: Remember to calculate your dog’s treat intake at meal time. If it’s been a special day with lots of extra treats, you may want to cut back a bit on dinner for optimal pet health.
If you must go the store-bought route, seek out high-quality products with short ingredients lists. And be sure they were made in the United States – imported treats have been recalled after compromising pet health.

Happy baking!

For more information about pet health or to learn more about pet health insurance visit Pets Best Insurance.

Pets Best Insurance assumes no obligation or liability, and makes no warranties, with respect to these recipes.

Puppy Bites Shoes; Over-Vaccination Question

Posted on: February 21st, 2012 by

Hi. I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell, and I’m at home today answering questions from Pet’s Best Facebook page. The first question comes from William. William writes, “My German shepherd likes to bite shoes and the feet of the wearer of the shoes. What can I do about this?”

I can see how this would be an annoying habit. Obviously, a German shepherd’s a big dog, and it’s probably a behavior that should be broken, especially if he’s doing it to children or your friends. I would definitely discipline him. Make sure everyone in the family’s on the same page, that this isn’t a behavior that he’s allowed to do. So when he does it, you tell him “No,” distract him, give him a toy or something that’s appropriate for him to bite and chew on, and then praise him when he directs his attention towards that new toy.

The next question comes from Amy who says, “What is your take on the over- vaccination issue with pets?” This is a really good question, and I think that veterinarians recently have trended towards trying to not over- vaccinate pets as much. We are limited by the manufacturer’s recommendation on the vaccines though. So if the manufacturer only guarantees that that vaccine is going to work for a year, we can only guarantee for you that your pet is not going to become sick from whatever it is that you’re vaccinating within that year. So that’s usually where the numbers come from, one year, two years, three years.

I do think that especially in cats this can be a problem. Cats tend to be a little more sensitive to vaccinations.

Talk with your veterinarian about your concerns, and they can explain to you why they pick however many years it is between vaccines.

If you guys have questions for me, you can post them at Facebook.com/PetsBestInsurance.

www.petsbest.com

Kitty Can’t Decide if She Likes the Dog

Posted on: February 21st, 2012 by

Super cute orange tabby can’t decide if she wants to cuddle or smack the Carolina Dog (American Dingo).
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Anal Gland Expression and Choosing a Premium Dog Food

Posted on: February 21st, 2012 by

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell, and I’m at home today answering questions from Pets Best’s Facebook page. The first question comes from Linda who writes, “I have to take my dog into the vet every two weeks for anal gland expressions or else they leak. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?”

This can be really a frustrating problem. Anal glands are really stinky. They’re basically underdeveloped scent glands that dogs have that are normally used to kind of mark their territories. In a normal dog, a little bit should probably be expressed every time they defecate. For some reason, your dog isn’t doing that the way that it would normally happen. When dogs are really relaxed, sometimes this fluid can leak out a little bit.

Getting the dog in regularly to have the glands emptied is one way that you can keep it from happening. Some other things that you might try, there are some things that you can do to kind of bulk up the stool a little bit so that every time your dog defecates it’s more likely to do sort of some expression and squeezing on its own. Fiber is a good way to do this. Most dogs like canned pumpkin, which is a pretty good source of fiber. You could try that, depending on the size of your dog. You can talk with your veterinarian about how much is appropriate. You could also do human fiber supplements, but, again, talk with your veterinarian about what dose would be appropriate for your dog.

The next question comes from Keshla who says, “Do you recommend premium or holistic foods? Which are better?” This is a really good question. There’s a lot of dog food out there, and it can be hard to know what to buy and what brands to use. A premium dog food generally refers to a dog food that has maybe higher quality ingredients, a little bit more quality control, not as much fillers is in it, whereas a holistic dog food might be more organic, preservative free, hormone free, that type of thing.

I think both types have a great place. I think either one of them are going to be far superior to sort of your grocery store brands that are a little bit less expensive and tend to have a lot of fillers. If the price is too good to be true, it probably really is too good to be true. Whatever works best for your pet and whatever your pet does best on is probably going to be fine, either a premium food or a holistic food.

If you guys have questions for me about your pet, feel free to post them at Facebook.com/PetsBestInsurance.

www.petsbest.com

Pet health special: A Basset’s broken biter

Posted on: February 20th, 2012 by

A dog with dog insurance smiles, showing healthy teeth.

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

Now that we’re well into February, and you’re both animal lovers and pet health insurance enthusiasts, you probably know that it’s National Pet Dental Month. You might be surprised that a dog trainer, like myself, would be concerned about the dental health of animals I work with, but the health of your dogs’ teeth is important for many reasons.

Recently I was called out to work with a client whose Basset Hound, Billy, was suddenly exhibiting severe aggression. I worked with Billy as a puppy and periodically when his family wanted him to learn new behaviors. Billy had never exhibited any aggression and had always been a happy, healthy and active dog. I was curious what was causing the sudden aggression. Any time, a dog has a sudden behavior change, my first concern is that there may be a pet health issue.

Often medical issues manifest themselves as behavior issues. While discussing recent events in Billy’s life, I searched for something that may have caused him to become aggressive. One of the children sadly told me that Billy stopped playing with his toys and would not even chew his favorite bones. After thinking about this, Billy’s owner told me they had purchased a cow hoof for Billy. That day Billy chewed on the cow hoof for a while then suddenly stopped chewing. That night he would not eat his dinner and the next day he seemed sad and grumpy, even snapping at one of the kids when they wanted to play with him. That is when they called me.

I recommended the family take Billy to the vet for a dental check-up. Later that day I received a call from the family who reported that Billy had a broken tooth. The veterinarian repaired the dog’s tooth and the aggressive behavior has stopped. Billy was obviously in pain from his broken tooth and a bit grumpy.

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Your dog’s dental health is very important. I recommend you brush your dog’s teeth as recommended by your veterinarian, give your dog good safe dental chews, avoiding chews that are too hard and examine your dog’s mouth daily to make us his teeth are healthy. Since this is Pet Dental Health month, it is a good time to make and appointment to see your vet and have your dog’s teeth checked. Your vet will also help you develop a good plan to keep your dog’s teeth healthy.

For more information about pet health and dog insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance.