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Top 7 Halloween dog tips

Posted on: October 27th, 2011 by

Two puppies with dog insurance sniff Halloween candy.

By: Liam Crowe
Bark Busters CEO
Guest Blogger
For Pets Best Insurance

While many of us revel in all the spooky and unusual events Halloween brings, these unfamiliar happenings can quickly become a real nightmare for our canine companions. It’s a great idea to have dog insurance for your pet in the event of a holiday mishap, but the below are some tips to make sure this Halloween is full of treats, not tricks, for your dog.

TRICK: Leaving your dog out in a fenced yard during trick-or-treat festivities. It is often a natural instinct for dogs to protect the family from strangers, and there will be plenty coming and going on Halloween.
TREAT: Bring your dog inside so you know he and visitors to your home will be safe. If your dog usually stays outside, bring him in a few times before the big fright night to get him used to being inside— sudden changes can put more stress on your dog.

TRICK: Allowing your timid or over-exuberant dog to help answer the door. Whether your dog is wary of newcomers or wants to cover everyone who rings the doorbell with kisses, this creates a potentially dangerous situation for your dog and your guests.
TREAT: Create a safe place you can direct your dog to go anytime he is overwhelmed by visitors or household hubbub, such as a crate, pillow or bed. During trick or treat hours, it is best to keep him in a separate room away from the front door to limit his excitability, aggression, and chance of running outside and becoming lost.

TRICK: Giving your dog an unusual amount of attention if he is stressed by Halloween activities.
TREAT: The best thing you can do for your dog when he is feeling unsettled is to act normally. By over-reassuring your dog, you can inadvertently communicate to him that because you are acting differently, there must be something to worry about.

TRICK: Showing off your family’s new costumes to your dog. He may see you as strangers if you don your costumes without warning.
TREAT: Before you or the kids put on your costumes, allow your dog to scent them. Keep any masks off when you are with your dog, as dogs can become confused and stressed when they can’t see our faces.

TRICK: Not leaving ID tags on your dog at all times.
TREAT: With all the extra commotion and comings and goings, be sure identification tags are secure on your dog’s collar—just in case. And pet health insurance is an option that can give you even more peace of mind, knowing that you will be able to take care of any injuries that could occur if your dog was to run away in fear.

TRICK: Placing lit jack o’ lanterns at dog-level.
TREAT: Excited or stressed dogs (and their swinging tails!) can easily knock over a lit candle or pumpkin. While you’ll want to avoid this altogether, it’s a good idea to have dog insurance in case of any holiday accidents. Be sure to keep all jack o’ lanterns out of your dog’s reach, or consider a battery-powered candle that does not burn. It is also a good idea to allow your dog to see and scent carved pumpkin decorations before dark, without the candles. Those ghoulish faces can look very scary, especially from a dog’s eye view in the dark.

TRICK: Forcing your dog to wear a Halloween costume.
TREAT: Experiment before Halloween to see if your dog likes being in a costume. If so, fine— he’ll most likely enjoy himself and the extra attention his new look brings! However, if he shows any resistance, don’t force him to spend an already stressful night in discomfort. Try a fancy collar or a bandana around his neck instead.

If you want to include your dog in Halloween festivities, just be sure you think first about his safety and emotional stress level—much like you would for a small child. Your dog does not instinctively understand Halloween, and he needs you to provide guidance and safety measures to keep it a night full of fun, not fright. For more training tips, visit Bark Busters.

For more pet health and behavior tips, visit www.petsbest.com.

Dog Chewing on Paws, Recurring Ear Infections in Dogs

Posted on: October 25th, 2011 by


Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. I’m answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page today.

The first question comes from Jerry, who says, “My dog has red, raw, and chewed-on paws. What do I do?”

This is probably likely due to allergies. This is a really common problem at this time of year. Dogs are, obviously, walking on their feet and they’re going through grass and pollens and dust, and things can get on the feet and cause some contact allergies. You’re probably going to need to make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out things like bacterial or fungal infections which can be a problem on those really red and irritated paws. Oftentimes, antibiotics are needed.

Things you can do at home to try to help would be to rinse those feet after you walk or go outside. Rinse the feet using a soothing shampoo, maybe something with oatmeal, to soothe the skin. This can sometimes be helpful. Work with your veterinarian on a treatment plan, whether it involves antibiotics, antihistamines or other things for underlying allergies.

The next question comes from Kim, who asks, “Could yeast be causing multi-ear infections and is there a home remedy that I can use?”

Absolutely. Yeast is a really common fungus that can live in the ear canal and sometimes cause some problems. It’s normal to have small amounts of yeast in the ear canal, but when it overgrows it can really be a problem.

Sometimes allergies can be an underlying cause. Dogs with floppy ears that tend to trap more moisture and heat in the ears seem to be predisposed as well. If you have a concern that your dog has a fungal infection, it’s really important that you get the correct medicine. You need to see your veterinarian and get prescribed medication.

If this is a chronic problem and you’re in the in-between where you don’t have an active infection but you just want to keep it from flaring up, there are some things that you can do at home. The number one best thing is going to be to use some type of an ear cleaner. What an ear cleaner will do is actually act as an astringent so it’s going to dry that canal out and make it a less nice place for yeast and fungus to live. I’m going to recommend that you buy a cleaner that’s meant for dogs with fungal infections from your veterinarian.

If you want to do something at home, acetic acid works really nicely as an anti-fungal. That’s just vinegar. A recipe that you could try is equal parts water and vinegar with a capful of rubbing alcohol. It’s really important, though, that the ear isn’t inflamed or red because alcohol is going to sting. If you think that you have an infection do not use this; go to your veterinarian. But if you’re just in between and need a cleaner, that might work for you.
www.petsbest.com

Boo! Pet health and safety this Halloween

Posted on: October 25th, 2011 by

A dog with pet health insurance is ready for Halloween in a festive sweater.

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

Halloween is a spooky fun time for the whole family– but there are some things to remeber when keeping your furry family members safe during this October holiday. Having a dog or cat insurance policy is one of the best things you can do for your little goblin– in the event of a Halloween mishap. Here are some tips for your pet’s safety:

While scary costumes and ringing doorbells door-to-door can be fun for kids and adults, this can be stressful for some dogs and cats. Stress related colitis can occur with continual ringing of the doorbell and strangers coming and going. Try to keep your pet in a quiet safe place during treat-or-treating hours.

Halloween pranksters can occasionally be cruel, so be sure to keep all pets inside during the festivities of Halloween day and night. Black cats tend to be targeted for mean pranks on Halloween night, so be sure to keep a close eye on your kitty. Some humane societies won’t even allow adoptions of black cats around Halloween for this exact reason.

Another thing to consider is your scary costume! While these are Halloween staples, pets may become frightened, or even fearfully aggressive if they don’t recognize you or your children when you’re wearing something unfamiliar. Never assume that your dog will be comfortable with disguises. Talk in a low soothing voice to let him know it’s you. Another idea is to allow your pet in the room while you change into your costume or put your mask on.

Pet costumes are universally adorable and can be very tempting to put your pet in. But it’s important to be cognitive that most pets won’t like these and costumes can be stressful or uncomfortable for them. In addition, if there are tassels, fringe or strings on the costume, these can be ingested and cause serious intestinal problems or even blockage, which can require surgery to correct. Investing in pet health insurance is one of the best ways to be sure you can give your pet the best care in the event of a Halloween accident. Some pets might chew on the costume and ingest parts of the fabric, also causing problems. Never leave your dog unattended in a Halloween costume.

Carving pumpkins is a time honored tradition, but it’s important to keep your pet from eating the pumpkin innards. While not poisonous or toxic to dogs, pumpkin seeds in excess can cause gastritis, and subsequent vomiting and diarrhea. This can be a spendy trip to the vet without pet health insurance. So be sure to watch that pup or kitty around the carved leftovers.

After the pumpkins are carved and displayed, be sure to protect animals from the candles inside, which can pose a fire hazard if knocked over, or can cause serious burns or stomach upset if ingested.

Trick-or-treating always results in yummy candy! Most pets love the taste of candy, but shouldn’t be allowed to eat it. As many pet owners know, chocolate candies can be toxic to dogs and too much candy can cause inflammation of the pancreas, or pancreatitis, which can require hospitalization and intensive treatment. Because there tend to be more accidents of this kind around the Halloween holidy, it’s important that you have pet insurance for your four-legged friend.

Some sugar-free candies and gum contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is very toxic to dogs and can cause dangerously low blood sugar. This can lead to seizing, coma and can even be fatal. Be sure to keep these kinds of candies out of reach from your pet.

If your dog is comfortable in a costume and will go trick-or-treating with you, consider reflective collars or reflective additions to the costume in order to provide more visibility on busier streets in the dark.

With just a little extra forethought, Halloween can be a fun time for the whole family. If you are concerned that your pet has eaten candy it shouldn’t, or part of its costume, call your veterinarian immediately. Please watch out for animal cruelty as well, and contact the local authorities, or shelter if you suspect this.

Happy Halloween!

My dogs loves the vet and yours will too!

Posted on: October 24th, 2011 by

A vet holds a pet with dog insurance.

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

Throughout your pet’s life, you will make many trips to visit their veterinarian. Hopefully most of these visits will be for routine check ups, but unfortunately at one point or another, these visits may be due to illness or emergencies– this is when dog insurance will come in handy. When going to the vet, your pet may show signs of anxiety and stress. This may be magnified as a result of not feeling well or suffering from pain and discomfort. Proper socialization at the veterinary office is critical to help you pet feel comfortable and safe during visits. It is never too early (or too late) to start this socialization process.

When you first get your new pet, aside from purchasing pet health insurance, the next thing you will want to do is take them to the vet for a visit. Your vet will want to do a health and wellness exam, to rule out any medical issues and to get your pet off to a good start. Many pet insurance companies, like Pets Best Insurance, even offer a wellness care option. This should be a stress free visit, think of it as a fun experience meeting new friends. Bring lots of yummy, healthy treats, and ask the receptionist, vet techs, vet assistants and of course, the vet to give your pet treats. Food changes the chemical makeup in the brain and the emotional state of the animal.

After this initial visit, you’ll want to continue to make visits to the vets office about every 6 months or as instructed by your vet. Ask the receptionist when the slowest time of the day tends to be and plan to visit during those times. Make your visits are short and happy. Even visits as simple as having the receptionist give your pet a treat, or having your pet weighed can help your pet get acclimated to the vet office. Many vet clinics have scales in the waiting room, so you will not have to interrupt the staff. This is also a great way to keep an eye on your dog’s weight.

If you have an older dog that has had a bad experience at the vet, or just does not like the vet’s office, short visits will help your dog feel less anxious when he has to go for a medical procedure. As pets age they can develop new fears and anxiety, so continue to make visits throughout your pet’s life.

If you take these steps now, your pet will look forward to their next veterinary visit, and the veterinary staff will appreciate a dog that is less stressed during the visit.

For more information about pet health and pet health insurance visit www.petsbest.com.

Cat insurance special: Those darn hairballs!

Posted on: October 21st, 2011 by