As we shiver into the coldest months of the year it’s good to remember some breeds of pet are better at coping with the winter chill than others, so we’ve put together 6 top tips on how to keep your furry friends safe and well this winter. Even though it's cold and wet, and in some states, very cold, our pets still want to go out so it’s important to make sure they can cope with winter conditions as well as you can in your thick coat and boots. 1. Know what your dog can cope with. Bigger, hairier dog breeds and those bred for the cold can cope quite well with wintry conditions but it’s important to keep them indoors when you’re not out walking or after a short outdoor break. Small, short-haired pets should only go out for very short periods of time. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them too, as they lose heat quickly. They will definitely need a coat designed for the conditions you experience where you live. Take a spare coat on walks too, in case the one they are wearing gets wet. Short faced breeds are at more risk from extreme temperatures due to inherent breathing difficulties. It might seem odd but you need to watch out for heat stroke when you get back in the warm if your dog has been exercising heavily. They can become dangerously over-heated! 2. Consider keeping cats in if it’s too cold for you outside. Make sure you cat has access to a litter tray and keep them indoors if it’s very cold. If they are desperate to go out supervise short outdoor breaks, then get them back inside. 3. Know the signs of distress. If a dog or cat gets too cold and its body temperature falls it might shiver, appear disorientated, have a slow heart beat or breathe less often. Frostbite can also occur on ears and tails so monitor them carefully. 4. Check your car! A warm car engine could attract feral or stray dogs or cats desperate for warmth so make a noise, bang on the hood and check your car before you get in and drive away. There might be a cold animal underneath or even on the engine! 5. Watch out for Toxic hazards. Anti-freeze and rock salt are toxic to animals. If pets get rock salt on their paws or tummies wipe it off as soon as possible after every outing. Use pet friendly alternatives at home such as Propylene glycol based anti-freeze. This pet friendly version is still not great for them but less harmful. Keep all de-icers and chemicals safely away from pets, as anti-freeze can taste nice to animals but do them severe harm. If you think your pet has eaten or drunk any chemicals (pet friendly or not) consult your vet immediately. 6. Avoid lakes and ponds. The ice might look thick but your dog won’t know if it will hold his weight and all too quickly disaster can strike. Unless you fancy a very icy swim keep your dog on a lead near ice covered water. Above all, enjoy yourselves and keep safe!
Happy New Year from all of us! As we start to plan for 2019, and hang up our 2019 NSALA calendar, the one thing I am most looking forward to is being able to help our charity partners do more of their wonderful work. By using our site to get pet insurance quotes and buy your insurance, you help us send regular donations to North Shore Animal League America, and Humane in Canada. It gives us warm feelings when we think of the difference we are all making to pets in need, together. We’ve given over $13,000 to NSALA so far and you might like to know a bit more about the work you are helping to support. North Shore Animal League America’s work They are a no-kill animal shelter organization and they celebrate their 75th anniversary this year. To date they have saved over 1,000,000 dogs, cats, kittens and puppies, but what they do is not cheap so it’s good to know our donations are valued and help them in their work. It costs: $15 to buy a dog a new collar and lead so NSALA can start their training. $25 pays for a heartworm test for a dog or cat. $50 pays for a pet’s vaccinations. $200 pays for a neglected pet’s oral health care. $1,000 pays to rescue, mend, nurture, rehabilitate and re-home a pet end to end, and $6,000 pays to rescue up to 90 animals from a puppy mill and end their unspeakably sad existences. Now we think that’s worthwhile! You can find out more about their work by visiting their website.
Let’s be honest, when our dog’s tail is raised, wagging or tucked we like to think we know exactly what he means. The reality is, despite having our share of single sided conversations with our dogs, we don't always fully understand what they mean despite the fact we feel as though we know them, their quirky personalities and behaviors. Dogs most certainly have a language, which allows them to communicate with other dogs and humans alike. Although our canine friends use some verbal communication with a bark or howl, their most common form of communication is through body language. If you haven’t yet managed to read our “what is your pet trying to tell you”, which covered vocalizations and behavioral problems, it's worth a read too! Tapping into, and understanding, dog body language will provide you with lots of practical information on what your dog is feeling in different circumstances, this will help you to understand your dog’s state of mind in different situations. Three Positions of a Dog’s Tail When observing your dog, you will typically find their tail between one of any four natural positions: 1. Raised Vertically 2. Raised Horizontally 3. Relaxed 4. Tucked in-between the legs Quick and fast rules can be used to observe a dog’s tail position and relate this to how they may be feeling. But, as we will explain later, ideally a framework should be used to help correctly identify their emotion. A fearful or anxious dog will typically tuck their tail in-between their hind legs, especially during walks. This can commonly be observer during Thanksgiving or fireworks evenings. A dog who is displaying signs of interest will typically raise their tail and wag it horizontally. Finally, a dog display signs of extreme emotion (excitement or aggression) will raise their tail vertically. I can hear you asking how do I know if my dog is excited or aggressive? At this point, it becomes a little bit clearer as to why a framework should be used to explore dog body language and not just an isolated body part. Using a Dog Body Language Framework For the past twenty years, dog trainers across the US have been using a framework taught to them in the form of TEB. TEB stands for Tail, Eyes and Body Posture. It is thought that by combining all three body parts together, you get a much clearer understanding of a dog’s body language. The example below highlights the importance of this. A Play Bow or Aggressive Dog? Looking at the picture, notice how both dog’s forequarters are lowered to the floor. Despite both dog’s having a similar posture with regards to their forequarters, we can look to their tail, eyes and posture to observer what their true intentions are. Notice how both dog’s tails are raised, so we are either dealing with excitable or aggressive dogs. Now look at their postures, notice how the dog in the second picture has a fixed and stiff posture; you can also see a few raised hackles along their spine. In contrast look at the dog in the first picture’s posture, look how relaxed he looks, his ears are down and hackles, too. If we observed just the dog’s tail, then we may have made the mistake of thinking both the dogs are either wanting to play or be aggressive. However, using a complete framework, we can now understand one dog wants to play and one does not! You can use the handy table below to help you interpret common dog body language signals. Eyes Tail Body Posture I’m Relaxed Dilated Soft and floppy Soft and floppy I’m Interested Dilated Horizontal Slight Way (optional) Stiff forward lean with perked ears I’m Nervous Avoiding direct contact Tucked between legs Lowered and ears back Putting It All Together Hopefully now you realize that a dog’s tail can tell us lots about their emotion or behavior, however, we must observe their entire body in order to better understand their potential behavior. If we don’t, we may make the same mistake described above or misinterpret our dog’s emotions and potential reactions. This can have embarrassing consequences! Using a known framework such as TEB enables us to systematically analyze our dog’s behavior which maps multiple body parts to a single behavior. Give it a try next time you’re walking your dog, observe how they interact with different animals, sounds, and people; try to use the framework and observe if you are able to correctly interpret your dog’s behavior.
Here at Pet Insurance Review we read dozens of reviews every day which detail illness and accidents that pets and their families have been through. Most of the time we’re relieved to see that there’s a happy ending to these stories, but every now and then there’s a case where even the best veterinary care isn’t enough. We were recently contacted by Phil, who sadly lost his Shih Tzu, Bella, in September this year. Despite going through such a difficult time, Phil and his family wanted to thank Nationwide, their pet insurer, for the support they had given throughout Bella’s life. Bella’s story was so touching we wanted to share it with you, and we hope it highlights how important a sense of compassion and understanding from an insurer is when it comes to the toughest times we face as pet owners. The old statement of a dog being Man’s Best Friend could not be truer than to our dear Shih Tzu “Bella”. For a period of ten years she brought our whole family an immense amount of love, joy and companionship. All she ever wanted was to be cuddled, fed and have a good belly rub. From the onset, it became apparent that Bella, at some point, would be requiring veterinarian care, at which time we were introduced to VPI (now Nationwide). Once we acquired her pet insurance, we knew that no matter what happened to Bella, she would be taken care of. From some of the more slightly minor incidents (getting her paw stuck in a lawn chair, breaking a toenail on the stairs, getting a bad cough, etc.), to having a major surgery performed on her (for removing a bunch of bladder stones) Nationwide was always there to walk us through the process. Without having this type of pet insurance coverage, we would have been very hard pressed to come up with the funds needed for treating Bella…..again Nationwide came through. Earlier this summer we noticed that Bella had developed lumps on her neck and seemed at times, had labored breathing. A trip to our local vet confirmed our worst fears……….Bella had lymphoma cancer. No matter how much care or insurance we had, nothing could save our poor Bella and she died on September 13, 2018. We will deeply miss the sound of your paws as you were coming down the hallway, your running up to the door to greet us every time we came home, your barking and chasing the birds and rabbits in our yard and mostly your unconditional love that you extended to us! We will miss you Bella…sleep well, bark all you want in Dog Heaven……until someday when we’ll all be together again. Again, thank you Nationwide for all of your compassion, understanding and fantastic healthcare coverage that you provided to our beloved Bella. Bella’s Family Forever, Phil Jr., Phil Sr. and Sue Ramirez Tucson, AZ.
We’ve donated over $10,000 to charity so far. Thank you! We’ve just sent our latest donations to North Shore Animal League of America and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, (now called Humane Canada) and so far, we’ve contributed well over $10,000 to their work. We are so please to be able to support these great organizations who do so much to help pets in need, but we couldn’t do it with out you. Every time you use our site the insurance companies pay us a small amount for introducing you to them. Their contributions allow us to provide information, pet care guides and the free pet insurance quote service to you and mean we can help charities who look after pets less fortunate than ours. Thank you for using our services and helping us to help pets in need! Our donations to NSALA help them with their No Kill mission. They are committed to rescue, nurture and adopt homeless companion animals into responsible, loving homes and to educate future generations about the importance and joy of adopting pets in need of a new home. They rescue nearly 18,000 pets a year and you can find out more about their work here https://www.animalleague.org/what-we-do/. They are so please that together, we can help their important work and I wanted to pass on their thanks to you: “Thank you again for your generosity. We really can’t do any of the good work we do here without supporters like you!” Valerie, NSALA Our support for Humane Canada helps them to support numerous Canadian SPCA’s and humane charities working to care for animals and end cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of animals. They lead the largest animal welfare community in Canada and promote animal welfare issues in government, to policy makers, industry and the public. They work tirelessly with their members working all over Canada, to improve the lives of companion animals, farm animals, animals used in industry and in the wild, and we are pleased we can support their important work. You can find out more about them here: https://www.humanecanada.ca/ We look forward to sending more donations in the future, but for now, thank you for your support and please pass on information about our site to any pet owning friends thinking about insurance! Get a quote by completing this form https://www.petinsurancereview.com/get-quote. Every new user helps! Louise