Pet Insurance Blog – Pets Best Insurance
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Is your pet limping? It could be deadly

Posted on: June 7th, 2012 by

A dog without dog insurance awaits treatment for bone cancer.

By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell
Idaho Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

‘Mack’ is a 4 year old Newfoundland with a sweet, goofy disposition and a whole LOT of hair. He tops the scales at over 160 pounds, but wouldn’t harm a fly. He came to my vet hospital recently for evaluation of a progressive lameness over several weeks. By the time he came into the clinic he wasn’t bearing any weight on his left hind leg. When I examined him, I could see is lower shin bone was swollen, hot and very painful. Concerned, I convinced the owners to let me do some diagnostic testing of the affected area. This confirmed my fears. Mack had bone cancer.

It is estimated that up to 50% of dogs and 30 to 35% of cats will be affected with some type of cancer in their lifetimes. This is one of the reasons pet insurance agency, Pets Best Insurance has just launched a new “Cancer Only” pet insurance policy– which may significantly help make cancer treatment more affordable for pet owners. Purebred dogs can be at an increased risk, and there are certain breeds that tend to be over-represented, such as Golden Retrievers and Boxers. It is postulated that the documented increase in cancer cases in our companion pets is likely related to the fact that pets are living longer. Many people are keeping their pets in their homes and feeding high quality diets, which is translating to longer life spans.

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Adopt a shelter cat this month!

Posted on: June 4th, 2012 by

A shelter cat with pet health insurance waits to be adopted.
By: Dr. Jane Matheys
Associate Veterinarian
The Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

Just think, your next lovable, huggable, furry feline friend could be waiting for you at your local animal shelter right now! June is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat month, and it’s no coincidence that this special month falls right at the height of kitten season (when kittens are being born in large numbers.) Each spring, shelters across the country are inundated with thousands of newborn kittens that join the millions of cats already in the shelters. This means that your local shelter has lots of cute, cuddly kittens in addition to adult cats of all shapes, sizes, ages, energy levels and temperaments. There’s never been a better time to add a feline to your family than right now!

Shelter cats can be a “purrfect” addition to your family for several reasons. Many shelters will be promoting adoption through a variety of special adoption deals such as free older cats and reduced adoption fees for younger cats and kittens. Shelter cats are often already spayed or neutered, dewormed, vaccinated, treated for fleas or ear mites, microchipped and checked for feline leukemia.

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Top 10 things to do with your pet this summer

Posted on: May 31st, 2012 by

A dog with pet health insurance runs on the beach with his master.

By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell
Idaho Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

The sun is out and your sunscreen is on (don’t forget sunscreen for Fido too– Melanoma is a pet health issue pets have to be wary of too!) Summer is the perfect time to squeeze in some adventure and relaxation.

Here are ten ideas for summertime pet-friendly activities that are guaranteed to please both you and your four-legged best friend.

1. Buy a kiddie pool and invite friends over for a pooch pool party and barbecue for the humans.

2. Find a restaurant with a dog friendly patio and bring a book and order a summer drink. You’ll be amazed at all the people who will stop to say hello and pet Fluffy; it’s a great way to meet people!

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3. Organize a trial hike appropriate for your dog’s fitness level and breed. Be cautious not to go in the heat of the day, and be sure to bring a doggie water receptacle for breaks. Check out www.furrytravelers.com for products.

4. Take your dog camping with you, bonus points for letting them sleep in the tent!

5. Go to a lake or other safe body of water for an afternoon of swimming. Many breeds other than retrievers love the water, see if your dog is one of them! Consider a canine lifejacket for the if you’re boating with your dog.

6. Look into local canine dog shows, contests, or field trials that you and your best friend could enter. You might train with a frisbee or for agility, or even just regular obedience training. This is a great way to bond with your pet and teach them some impressive new tricks.

7. If you have a mild mannered and gentle dog, look into local hospitals or nursing homes to see if there is a need for a therapy dog. A visit from a friendly furry pet is sure to bring a smile to less fortunate or ill people.

8. For small dogs, a bike pull trailer meant for children can be easily converted to accommodate dogs, allowing you to take the littlest members along for leisurely summer bike rides. Be sure your pets is safely harnessed in so that he or she can’t leap out and always avoid roadways with dogs.

9. Check out the local dog park. Most cities have some designated parks where dogs are allowed to roam off leash. Always ensure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations when frequenting high dog-trafficked areas.

10. Take a scenic car ride with the windows (partially) down. If your dog loves to stick her head out the window, consider getting her “doggles,” which are canine goggles designed to protect eyes and shield from the sun as well. Look into www.doggles.com for more product information.

It has been proven that people who include their dogs in their everyday lives tend to forge better bonds and longer lasting friendships with them. Dogs that are exposed to a variety of situations tend to have less anxiety and can be less timid. By getting outdoors and including your furry ‘children’ in family outings this summer you’ll be sure to make lasting memories while also helping your dog to be the best companion possible.

Home cookin': The do’s and don’ts for your pet

Posted on: May 29th, 2012 by

By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell
Idaho Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

A dog with pet health insurance watches as his master prepares a meal.

We all want our pets to be as healthy as possible, this is why many people purchase a pet health insurance policy for their pets and take them to the vet for routine visits. Obviously your pet’s diet is an important part of staying healthy. If you want to treat your furry family member to a feast for a special occasion, or if you prefer a daily home-cooked diet, here are some tips to ensure whatever you whip up in the kitchen is alright to share with your pet.

Vitamins!
If you are exclusively cooking for your dog or cat, it is crucial that you make it a balanced diet. Cats, for example, cannot synthesize Taurine, and a diet deficient in this will cause heart disease. Commercial pet foods are nutritionally balanced to meet the meets of your pet, if you plan on foregoing commercial pet food completely, talk with your veterinarian about supplements you will need to add to meals you cook to create a balanced diet. This can be hard work, and is important that it is done right.

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Dogs are Omnivores
Dogs are actually not obligate carnivores like cats are. A healthy canine diet should consist of a variety of foods, including vegetables and grains, in addition to meat.

Cook Meats the Same as You Would for Yourself
Raw food diets are controversial in the veterinary world. The bottom line for feeding raw foods is that uncooked meat can carry harmful bacteria, such as salmonella and E. Coli or even internal parasites. Ideally meat and egg type ingredients should be cooked to prevent potential GI disease.

Foods to Avoid
Almost everyone knows that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but did you know you should also avoid grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, onions and garlic?

Be Wary About Enticing with Human Foods
Dogs are smart! If you whip up a fried egg every time they refuse their kibbles, they will quickly learn to turn up their nose to dog food. In a sense, Fido is training you! Most dogs will eat when they are hungry, and refusing a meal might just be due to being full. Of course, if your dog is generally an enthusiastic eater and suddenly starts to refuse food, this could be a sign that something is wrong and you should consult with your veterinarian. Having a dog or cat insurance policy may help with diagnostic and treatment costs.

Be Cautious About Portions
Pet obesity is unfortunately a pretty common problem. Some estimates suggest up to a third of cats and dogs in the US suffer from being overweight. Obesity can cause a slew of health problems and can ultimately short your pet’s life. Visit www.petfit.com or www.petobesityprevention.com for tools to help you determine the right amount of food for your pet. Your veterinarian should also be able to calculate the right daily caloric requirements; the amount may surprise you!

Cooking for your cat or dog is a nice way to show them you care. If you are planning to cook every day, be sure to do your research, it can be fairly involved to ensure a balanced diet. If you are just interested in a special feast for a birthday or to celebrate graduating puppy classes, using these tips can help ensure a safe and yummy meal that is guaranteed to bring a smile.

Learn more about pet health and the benefits of cat and dog insurance today.

Dogs in the military: Life saving companions

Posted on: May 24th, 2012 by

Soldier Dogs book cover.

By: Ryan Vasso
For Pets Best Insurance

Maria Goodavage is a longtime blogger and recent author of the New York Times Best Seller, Soldier Dogs. In her book, she explores the life of dogs in the military, including a Belgian Malinois attack dog and a Jack Russell bomb sniffer. Pets Best Insurance sat down with Maria to ask a few questions:

PBI: Where does your passion to write about military dogs come from?

MG: My dad served in WWII as a young soldier. He would always tell us stories of how these military dogs would save peoples’ lives during the day and then come back to the camp at night and just be dogs. Since then, I have always thought military dogs are great.

PBI: What inspired you to write Soldier Dogs?

MG: Last year, when the Navy Seals raided Osama Bin Laden’s compound, it was leaked that a dog was with them. Everyone was a little surprised that dogs were still used in the military. I had already been writing about dogs in the military with Dogster, but now this was a chance to do something more – to give these dogs recognition.

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PBI: What did you learn after writing Soldier Dogs?

MG: I have even more respect for the dogs. I didn’t realize the incredible bonds the dogs form with their handlers. Currently, the U.S. military officially considers their dogs as equipment. We are working on legislation called Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act – it will classify them as canine members of the armed forces instead of equipment.
A soldier dogs stands guard.
PBI: What are your favorite moments while writing Soldier Dogs?

MG: Besides watching so many handlers be emotionally connected to their dogs, I was able to participate with the training of a Belgian Malinois. I was standing there with this bite sleeve on my arm, waving it, and waiting for this dog who has this, “I’m going to get you look” in her eye. It was something I will never forget. The handlers do it all the time. But for me, as a reporter, it was really fun. It also made me realize the power of these dogs. My training dog was not big, or super young, but it still came barreling in on me.

Another moment was when I followed Lars, a tiny Jack Russell Terrier into a nuclear submarine. People don’t realize military dogs don’t have to be big and tough. Some dogs are in the military just to sniff and not to attack. Lars was originally supposed to sniff narcotics, but there was a mix-up in training school, and ended up being a bomb dog. So they had to figure out what to do with this one-foot tall bomb dog – so they used him on submarines. It was great to learn the military uses all sorts of dogs, not just the big guys.

PBI: Where can people go to purchase Soldier Dogs?

MG: They can go to my website soldierdogs.com, as well as online and local book stores. There is also an audio book version. In addition, people can go to my website to follow my Facebook page where I am constantly updating photos taken for the book.
A soldier dog gets in a submarine.

PBI: Do you have any tips or suggestions on creating a successful blog?

MG: I know what it’s like to start from scratch and build an audience. There is emptiness and it’s hard. It helps to reach out to other bloggers. Find blogs or articles you like and make meaningful comments and try to connect with it. People are hungry for content – and that will help you get on the map. It’s a lot of work but it eventually pays off.