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How to make your dog behave!

Posted on: July 20th, 2011 by

A dog with dog insurance learns how to behave.

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

I’m going to share one of my favorite methods of solving behavior problems with the Pets Best Insurance pet insurance readers today. This menthod is teaching dogs an incompatible behavior in place of something they currently do. This is very effective in eliminating unwanted behaviors and teaching the dog to offer acceptable behaviors instead, therefore reinforcing what we want the dog to do.

I know this probably sounds a bit difficult, but it is really quite easy. It’s simply a different way of thinking through your dog’s behavior and a coinciding training plan. Instead of telling our dogs to stop doing something, we are going to ask him to act differently.

Let’s say you have a dog that loves to jump on people to greet them. Would you prefer, instead, to have your dog sit when someone enters your home? While there is no right or wrong answer, it’s up to you to determine what you’d like your pet to do and how he should behave.

The next step is to put the plan into action. Each time your dog jumps you will ask him to sit. You should only ask him to sit one time, and then simply wait for him to respond to your command. Ignore all other behaviors he may offer, including any additional jumping he may do. Once he sits, reward him with praise, petting and/or a yummy treat.

Initially this will take a bit of effort on your part. You are going to have to think through your dog’s behavior problem, and come up with an alternative behavior. The alternative behavior you select, should be something that is opposite and therefore incompatible with the undesired behavior. As in the example above, your dog cannot jump if he is sitting.

This method can and should be used with any unwanted behavior your dog does. So the next time your dog is chasing the cat, pulling on his leash, digging a hole in the garden, darting out the door, etc, simply ask yourself “What would I rather my dog do?” You will be surprised at how quickly your dog’s behavior will change, and how much fun you will have training him. Another benefit of this training method is that you will build a great training partnership with your dog, while solving behavior issues without force or punishment.

For more articles by Judy Luther, visit the Pets Best Insurance pet insurance blog at http://www.petsbest.com/blog/.

Pet Insurance: USA

Posted on: July 19th, 2011 by

A dog with pet health insurance waits for his owner.

Just as health, auto and homeowners insurance can vary by state, pet insurance is often different across the USA.

You will find that there are usually differences in pet insurance plans. Pet insurance policies also may be vary by state depending on any particular pet health issues that are more prevalent. For instance, the climate in southern states can affect pets health and coverage specifics might be different.

While most pet health insurance companies provide coverage, even if you move to another state and when you travel with your pet, that may be the first question you have when you begin comparing pet insurance.

What if you move or travel with your pet?
Like other insurance products, pet insurers must be licensed to sell insurance in their state. Do your research and see if the coverage/premium price would be the same or comparable if you moved to another state.

One very serious consideration regarding your pet insurance is a possible pre-existing exclusion. If you were to move with your pet to a new state where your current pet insurance carrier wasn’t licensed, you may run into this problem. A new company may see any diseases your pet has been treated for as pre-existing, even though your pet didn’t have the condition when your current insurer began coverage.

What if you are just traveling in another state with your pet? Pet insurance plans cover vet expenses that are eligible under your plan even if you’re traveling.

What if you leave the U.S., is your pet still covered if he goes with you? If this information isn’t spelled out in the policy, be sure to ask questions before deciding on that particular policy.

Underwriters are Important
Just as with your health and other insurance, pet insurance is covered and paid out by an underwriter. All reputable pet insurance companies will list information about their underwriter on their website. If you don’t see it listed, give them a call and ask.

Check out how financially viable the underwriter is by looking at their ratings. After finding the underwriter information, go to A.M. Best’s Rating Center, which will give you information about any insurance company’s rating and financial health.

My afternoon at a no-kill cat shelter

Posted on: July 19th, 2011 by

A group of cats at Simply Cats waits for loving homes and cat insurance coverage.

By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance

Here at Pets Best Insurance, we were in need of some new pet photos for our website and marketing materials. Anyone who’s browsed a stock photo site knows the pickings are slim, so we’ve been handling things ourselves. For the dog photo shoot, we scheduled a play date one evening and took pictures of pet insurance employees’ dogs running, jumping, chasing, and later snoozing in the grass.

Obviously we couldn’t do the same for cats, so we scheduled a photo shoot at Simply Cats, right here in Boise, Idaho. Lucky me, I got to spend two hours with some of the sweetest, funniest cats I’ve ever met!

Simply Cats is a no-kill shelter that houses cats together based on cat health, age and personality. There are about a dozen spacious rooms with large windows, soft blankets, scratching posts, sleeping trees, boxes, beds, food, mega-litter boxes and even kitty doors to outdoor patio areas. All the cats seemed very happy and comfortable.

As soon as I arrived, resident cat Memphis followed me to the first cat room and dutifully sniffed along every edge and corner of all my belongings. I started photographing in the special needs/FIV+ room, worked my way to the barn cats, young adults, seniors and then the kittens. I even got a behind-the scenes look at cats receiving veterinary care and three-week old kittens not yet old enough to be visited by the general public. Too cute!

Cats are generally easy to photograph, and these guys were no exception. Some struck poses when the camera came out, and some trotted to the portable lighting to check it out. Some purred loudly and climbed into my arms, and a few rascals snuck out before being scooped up by staffers and returned to their rooms. When all was said and done, I’d taken hundreds of photographs and gone through about a quart of hand sanitizer – a good dose is required between each room to maintain pet health and prevent the spread of infections and illnesses.

I’m now following Simply Cats on Facebook and it’s great to see how many cats find their forever homes each week, freeing up space for even more kitties who deserve to be in a loving, no-kill shelter. Check out the pictures above, and make sure to visit Pets Best Insurance pet insurance page to see even more cat photos in the coming weeks.

Pictures above on the right, from top to bottom: A beautiful Tortie poses dramatically for the camera; Freeida and Argonaut hanging out in the kitten room (both adopted); Oliver yawning to kick off a cat nap; Cantebury sitting with his toy; Sweetgrass receiving veterinary care (recovered fully and adopted!)

National Pet Fire Safety Day: Protecting pets and owners

Posted on: July 15th, 2011 by

A dog with pet health insurance is safe near fire.

Posted by: H.M.
For Pets Best Insurance

For 2011, July 15th has been designated as National Pet Fire Safety Day. This holiday is designed to help safeguard pets against the devastating physical effects of house fires while simultaneously protecting the owners against serious financial and emotional loss.

Maintaining dog and cat insurance can help to defray the veterinary costs of injuries sustained in a fire, but prevention is the best way to ensure the pet health and well-being. The helpful advice provided by pet welfare organizations can help reduce both the threat of fire and the potential risks to dogs and cats in the event a fire does occur.

Fire Safety Measures
Pets are often fascinated by fire. As a result, pet owners should never leave open flames or hot objects like stoves or candles unattended when pets are present. This is especially true in the case of puppies and kittens who typically behave in a more impulsive fashion. Covering or removing loose electrical and electronic wires is also essential in order to protect the pet health. Many fires start with frayed, chewed wires that can cause electrical shock and injury to pets as well. In the event a fire does break out, ADT offers a free Pet Alert window cling that informs firefighters of the location of pets within the home. Information on this offer is available at https://www.adt.com/resi/programs/pets/.

Protecting Pets
One of the best ways to protect pets is to purchase dog or cat insurance from a reputable provider. This insurance covers necessary veterinary services to ensure the cat or dog’s health needs are adequately provided for. Additionally, dog and cat insurance companies often offer valuable tips on pet safety and strategies for raising happy, healthy cats and dogs in a safe environment. Finding the right pet health insurance for cats and dogs benefits both pets and owners alike by ensuring that the animals receive the veterinary services they need and that owners can more easily plan for the costs of those services when they become necessary.

Lifesavers in Disguise
Sometimes, pets are the ones doing the protecting thanks to their keen senses. Liz O’Connell of Red Hook, New York discovered this one night when her three-year-old German Shepherd persistently prodded her and insisted on going outside, even though Liz was in bed. “As I walked barefoot across my kitchen floor, it was hot underfoot,” said Liz. “I peeked down the basement stairs and saw the glow of a fire on the walls. I grabbed my dog and immediately left the house and went to neighbors to call the fire company.” Liz lost her home, but credits her dog with saving her life.

Cat Pulling Hair and Flea Infestations

Posted on: July 14th, 2011 by

Hello, I’m Dr. Jane Matheys from The Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital and Hotel in Boise, Idaho. Today I’m here to answer a few questions from the Pets Best Insurance Facebook page.

Our first question is from Alexandra. She writes, “My cat keeps ripping his hair out. Every time I go to the vet, they give him a shot. He stops for a week and then I’m out $400 and he’s still ripping out his hair. He doesn’t have fleas, either.”

Alexandra, I can certainly sympathize with you. Having a pet with a chronic condition can be both frustrating and expensive. It sounds like your cat may have allergies and I suspect that the shots that he’s getting are steroid shots. Work with your veterinarian to try to determine whether he might have food allergies or whether he could have allergies to something that he’s breathing in, either in the home or outside.

If he does have inhalant allergies, you can give him a pill about every other day that will keep him comfortable during the allergy season. That would certainly be a lot easier on your pocketbook and it would be easier and safer for your kitty to not get repeated steroid injections.

The next question is from Katie. She writes, “I have two 5-year-old sibling indoor cats. They never go outside and we have no other pets, yet they have fleas year-round. One cat in particular gets just infested. We use Advantage or Frontline on a regular basis. What else can we do?”

That’s certainly an unusual problem. I haven’t really had any incidences of the Advantage or the Frontline failing. I would definitely think about where the fleas are coming from. I’d recommend that you continue to use the Advantage or Frontline once a month as you’re doing right now. In addition, I would recommend that you treat the house with a spray that kills both the fleas and is going to work on killing flea eggs for many weeks. This should help get things under control. Your veterinarian can help guide you as to the best products to use for the problem.
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