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Poochie Pilates

Posted on: February 17th, 2012 by

A dog that would benefit from dog insurance stretches.

By: Kristie Sullens
Save-An-Angel Founder
For Pets Best Insurance

1 in 3 dogs is diagnosed with cancer each year, making it the leading cause of death for our canine companions. As with humans, EARLY DETECTION is critical and saves many lives every year. In the case of a cancer diagnosis, it’s also very helpful to have had a pet insurance policy in place for your pet.

Poochie Pilates is a fun way to check your dog for lumps! Performing monthly sessions could be the difference between life and death for your best friend. Poochie Pilates is for people and dogs of all ages and fitness levels. Not only can it be good for pet health, but it’s fun too! No medical degree or fancy machinery required! It’s simple, easy and fun. The next time your dog nudges you for affection, take that moment as an opportunity to be their voice. Let’s get started.

What you will need

• A positive attitude and a pooch
• A piece of paper and a pen to track any changes. You will use the same piece of paper every time so make sure it’s accessible.
• A calm, quiet environment. Pick a place where you and your dog feel comfortable and relaxed.
• Treats! Giving treats is a great way to distract hyper active or nervous dogs and puppies.

Pilate Techniques
Poochie Pilates is a great way to keep older dogs limber, and it helps young dogs become accustomed to being touched all over. The more comfortable your dog is with being handled, the easier it will be to tell if something is off. It is especially important for pet health to be sure you check inside the mouth and ears.

Bring your dog to a special place and lay them down on a towel, blanket or even your bed. Let them get used to you petting them while they are in this special place, so they will build a positive association with the Poochie Pilates environment.

When it comes to petting your dog, you can’t do it wrong enough or long enough! Here are some tips to get you started. Hold your hand out in front of you and spread your fingers (like you’re showing the #5) Place your hands flat on your dog’s back end with your fingers spread and gently squeeze. Continue the motion by moving your thumbs toward one another and work your way up. We always massage from the tail to head, or belly to chest to make the dogs more comfortable. Imagine how you would want a massage, and then give it to your pooch.

Make sure to check all over your dog’s body including the tail; back legs, belly, inside the legs, paws, chest, neck, back of neck, entire back, ears and even private parts. Remember to check inside of the mouth, because oral cancers are also a threat. We recommend brushing your dog’s teeth and giving heart worm preventatives on the same day you perform the monthly Poochie Pilates session.

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When you get to the legs, give your dog a nice long stretch and muscle massage. It might be difficult for older dogs at first; however it’s impressive to see how much they improve over time. Just like humans, dogs need to stretch in order to stay limber, so try to incorporate this portion of Poochie Pilates into your routine. Your dog will thank you for it!!

Now it’s time to create a baseline that will help you determine what is normal for your dog. It’s not uncommon for dogs to get lumps and bumps, however not all lumps are cancerous. Write the date, location of the lump, if the lump is hard or soft and the size and color of your findings on the sheet. This will help you track any changes that arise in the future. It’s important to note if the lump is hard or soft.

If you discover anything on your dog’s body, it’ It’s important to know if any existing lumps are benign (non-cancerous), and it will also help you to keep an eye on them if they grow.

Warning signs of cancer

• Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
• Sores that do not heal
• Weight loss
• Loss of appetite
• Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
• Offensive odor
• Difficulty eating or swallowing
• Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
• Persistent lameness or stiffness
• Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

When to call the doctor
Save-An-Angel recommends monthly “Poochie Pilates” sessions with your dog to check for unusual lumps, bumps and other warning signs. If you discover something on your dog, have it checked out by your vet right away! While Lymphoma is one of the most common types of cancer in dogs, it is just one of many that can occur. As with humans, EARLY DETECTION is critical and saves many lives every year.

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

I Love You, Snoofy Face

Posted on: February 14th, 2012 by

A dog with pet health insurance is dressed up.

By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance

Happy Valentine’s Day fellow pet insurance enthusiasts! There’s something about human nature that makes us give nicknames to the ones we love most.

Think about it: You wouldn’t call your boss Boo-Boo, nor would you call your neighbor Captain Fuzzypants. That would just be weird. But when it comes to our pets, almost nothing can stop the cute and silly nicknames we shower upon them.

We recently asked our Facebook friends which nicknames they have for their pets, and quickly discovered that most fall into one of five loving categories.

1. Inspired by the Pet’s Actual Name
Some of our favorites were Miss Maddy Mayhem for Madison and Magga Dagga Doo for Maggie. And we love Cokie Dokie for Coco! It’s also pretty popular to create the diminutive version of the name: Panchito, Bandito, Coopie, Hunty.

2. Inspired by the Pet’s Vocal Abilities
My dog Jayda’s nicknames are Miss Barky Pants and Woofie. We also heard about a Barky McBarkerson and a Meow Meow Kittycat.

3. Inspired by Random Thoughts
Lots of pet owners admitted they have no idea where their pets nicknames came from. Some of the most random included Boo Boo, Baby, Puppy (for a cat), Tatty Pants, JJ Ruggles, Bows-a-Roo, Zubie, Da Doots, Donkey and Bun Bun.

4. Inspired by the Pet’s Body Parts
There’s no room for being politically correct here! Big bellies and floppy skin are too adorable to go ignored. Hence nicknames like Li’l Boobers, Chunk Butt, Wiggle Butt, Fat Boy, Smushie Face and Fatty Fatty 2×4.

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5. Inspired by the Pet’s Bodily Functions – Voluntary or Otherwise
From kissing and licking to active digestive systems, we got a laugh out of these nicknames! Smoochy, Stinkybutt, Snifferdoodle, FruityToot, Wiggle Butt and Farty Pants are just a few of the names you’ll hear our friends call out.

This Valentine’s Day, give your pets plenty of hugs and kisses. And if they’re not already insured, treat them to a pet insurance plan from Pets Best Insurance. Nothing says “I Love You” quite like insuring them for a lifetime of good health.

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

Cat insurance special: National Cat Health Month

Posted on: February 13th, 2012 by

A cat with cat insurance is held by her owner.

By: Dr. Jane Matheys
Associate Veterinarian
The Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

February is National Cat Health Month! It’s time to honor and celebrate the cats that you love so much, and to make sure that you are taking the necessary steps to keep them healthy. If you’re like many cat owners who are lax about regular check ups for their feline companions, it’s time to get them in for a veterinary visit.

Americans love cats! According to the 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey, there are approximately 86 million cats in the United States, compared to approximately 78 million dogs. That makes cats the most popular pet here in the US– which is one of the reasons why cat insurance is so important. Despite the fact that cats are such a popular pet, many cats are not getting the veterinary care they deserve and need. A survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association revealed that cats don’t visit veterinarians as often as dogs. The average dog sees a veterinarian 1.5 times a year, whereas cats average less than once a year. This is especially bad news for cats because they tend to hide pain and illness so they often don’t see a doctor until they are seriously sick.

Prevention and early detection of medical problems are the keys to a healthy lifestyle for your cat. Cats need routine veterinary care just like dogs do. Your cat should be seen by a veterinarian at least once a year, even if he or she is an indoor pet. While an indoor cat is less likely to hit by a car or get a cat bite abscess from fighting, it’s just as likely to get kidney disease, cancer, diabetes or another serious ailment. Because cats age much more quickly than humans, older cats or cats with chronic illnesses benefit even more by visiting the veterinarian twice a year.

The cornerstone of each visit is the physical examination that the veterinarian performs. The doctor will then develop an individual wellness plan, including vaccinations and parasite prevention, that is based on your cat’s specific lifestyle. Regular medical check ups for your cat can help to identify pet health conditions before they become costly to treat and possibly even life-threatening.

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Pet health insurance is a cost effective way to provide your cat with the necessary veterinary care. Pet health plans are available that cover both preventative care and unexpected illness or emergency medical treatment. It’s always best to enroll in cat insurance while your cat is young and healthy with no pre-existing medical conditions.

Annual exams are the best way to prevent future medical problems, provide a longer life for your cat, and have a happier, healthier cat now. Take time this month to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for your feline friend.

Pet health special: Top 5 doggy tips

Posted on: February 8th, 2012 by

A dog with pet health insurance is ready to play

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

By now, unfortunately, most people have given up on their new year resolutions. But this is a great time to focus on pet health instead! Here are some good habits to develop and keep for your dog.

# 1 Resolve to keep up with your dogs’ veterinary care
Regular visits to the veterinarian are incredibly important to help your dog live a long healthy life and having pet health insurance may help you afford the best care. Some pets are not so keen on going to the vet. You can help your pet enjoy it by showing your dog the vet office is a fun place to visit. Take plenty of yummy treats and ask the vet staff to give them to your dog. This will help your pet make a good association with their vet. Take your dog to the vet just to visit, have him hop on the scale for a quick weigh in, get a treat from the receptionist, etc. Make these trips short and stress free for our pet.

#2 Establish a daily exercise plan for your dog or puppy
Take your dog for daily walks to ensure great pet health! You can play ball and use interactive toys. Set aside some time each day to spend quality time with your pet. Just letting your dog hang out in the yard doesn’t count. You and your dog need to spend time having fun together. And you will also benefit from extra exercise! Playing with your dog not only build a great bond between you and your pet, but it also mentally stimulates your dog.

# 3 Train your dog
Regular training sessions help to keep your dog mentally stimulated. Dogs can learn at any age, so whether you have a puppy, an adult or a senior dog, keep up the training. Many trainers offer fun, unique classes, including canine good citizen, tricks, frisbee, agility and K9 nose work just to name a few. Remember always use positive, force-free training methods.

#4 Educate yourself about dog food
Feed your dog the best quality food you can. High quality food will help extend your dogs’ life and keep him healthy. Visit www.wholedogjournal.com to learn more about pet foods and treats.

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# 5 Adopt your next pet from a shelter or rescue group
There are many wonderful pets waiting for a family to adopt them. If you are not ready to adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue, consider fostering a pet. Giving a pet a warm happy home while they await their permanent home, will help it adjust to a new home easier and reduce shelter-induced stress and anxiety.

These a simple tips should continue for the life of your pet. Your dog will thank you because you will give him a great life, and you will have a happy family pet.

For more information about pet health or to learn more about cat and dog insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance.

Pet health special: Cat bite abscesses

Posted on: February 6th, 2012 by

Cat bites are a pet health concern for these two fighting kittens.

By: Dr. Jane Matheys
Associate Veterinarian
The Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

As a veterinarian, there’s no pet health condition I love treating more than cat bite abscesses, and we see a lot of these in our practice. In fact, it’s a standing joke around our clinic that every Saturday that I work I seem to end the day by treating an abscess!

Many of these abscesses are fairly superficial and easy to cure, but in other cases the cat can become seriously ill and may need extensive surgery to clean up the abscess. Here are some things you need to know about cat bite abscesses.

Cats are highly territorial and often fight when they encounter other cats outdoors. When a tooth from another cat punctures the skin, it injects bacteria deep into the underlying tissues. A cat’s skin has the ability to heal very quickly, so the bacteria become trapped under the skin in a warm, moist environment where they thrive and multiply. The body sends out many white blood cells to help fight this infection, and the white blood cells and bacteria accumulate to form a painful pocket of pus just beneath the skin. This collection of pus is an abscess, and it generally appears about two to five days after the initial bite.

Cat bite wounds are almost always sustained when cats face off or when they run. Consequently, puncture wounds and abscesses are commonly found on the face, neck and forelimbs, or on the tail, rump and backside. Detecting bites can be difficult because cats often appear to look fine after a fight, and their fur often hides the bite wounds.

Apart from local soreness, your cat may not show ill effects from the bite wound for several days. However, as the cat health condition worsens, fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy may be noticeable as the bite becomes infected. Many cats are taken to the veterinarian at this stage, where the abscess typically appears as a soft, painful swelling. In most of these cases, lancing and flushing the abscess plus antibiotics may be all that is required.

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If not discovered in this early stage, the abscess will continue to swell and the infection can begin to do significant damage to the tissue beneath the skin. The abscess may spontaneously rupture, leaking foul-smelling pus onto the fur. These types of wounds almost always need surgical management in addition to antibiotics. Under anesthesia, the wound is trimmed of the dead flesh (debrided), and the infection is flushed out with copious amounts if disinfectant solution. If the wound is large, sutures may be required to partially close it. Typically, a small portion of the wound is left open to allow continued drainage for a couple of days. In the most severe cases, a temporary drain needs to be placed at the bottom part of the wound to allow any future pus or fluid to escape. Drains are removed after 2 or 3 days and the wound is allowed to continue healing on its own. Surgeries like this can cost around $400-$500, so investing in pet health insurance while your cat is young and healthy can help you afford excellent medical and surgical care for your cat with these unexpected emergencies.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and rabies can all be spread by bites. If your cat goes outside, he or she should be vaccinated against FeLV and Rabies. Follow-up testing for FeLV and FIV should be done about 8 weeks following a bite to be sure transmission has not taken place.

The best prevention of cat bite abscesses is to keep cats indoors and prevent them from roaming and fighting. Supervise outdoor access by teaching cats to tolerate a harness and walk on a leash or provide them with a safe and sturdy outdoor enclosure. If cats insist on going outside, make sure they’re back in the house before nightfall since so many more fights seem to take place after dark. Neutering will also reduce a male cat’s desire to roam and get into fights.

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