February is Pet Dental Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

Did you know that you cannot tell if your cat or dog has periodontal disease by the color of his or her gums?

I did not know that until a few weeks ago. Wouldn't you think that you would see more inflamed gums in pets with periodontal disease?

So what is periodontal disease then? Our friend, Tracy Libby, elaborates:

Periodontal disease is the progressive loss or destruction of the tissues that hold the teeth in the jaws. It starts the same way in dogs as it does in humans - with plaque buildup around and under the gum line. One milligram of dental plaque contains millions of bacteria! 

In the mood to lear more about periodontal disease? Check out Tracy's article on  "Protecting Your Dog from Dental Dangers".

Which leads me to our theme of the month - pet dental health. It really should be the theme for life, not just one month a year, but it's good to highlight a few pointers every year just to jog our memory (or learn something new.)

If you want some excellent reading on the topic, check out these articles in the Waterbowl:

There are so many more listed on our general pet medical articles page. Help yourself!

Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on the Importance of Cat and Dog Training

This month, we are delving into the topic of pet training. And why would you train your dog or cat?  Dr Patrick discusses the reasons for training your dog or cat and answers the questions below.

  1. Kristin: My dog is highly trained in all areas, except for the fact that he loses his mind when he sees another dog or a child. He just wants to run over and play with them! All training goes out the window when he sees them, and he stops listening. Any suggestions to keep him focused given these distractions?
  2. Jenna: how do I make him stop barking at me when he wants something? (to cuddle, to go out, to play, to...I don’t even know) I have tried ignoring him, but he doesn't get it.
  3. And another from Jenna: how do I stop counter surfing and stopping him eating things off the ground outside (gum, cig butts, etc.)
  4. Katie: please, any new anti-barking training techniques?
  5. Kate: anything new on separation anxiety or resource guarding?

Also, I add a tidbit that I have found very helpful with my cats to prevent them from scratching the furniture. If they do it, I picked them up and put them with their paws up against one of our three scratching posts in the living room. When they eventually scratch the post by themselves, they get lots of praise and tickles. Now, they only scratch the furniture every now and then and only when I’m there just to get attention. Nothing is perfect.

As promised in the podcast, here's a video of Louie "asking" to go out (and is the cause of question 2 from Jenna) 

Click on the link below to hear our podcast.

Laura Bennett and Dr Patrick Mahaney Pet Training 2014


Related Posts
January is Pet Training Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: an important reason to train your dog
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on the Importance of Cat and Dog Training

Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney

Dr Patrick MahaneyDr. Mahaney is a veterinarian from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, having been inspired by his own chronic pain from Intervertebral Disc Disease to provide accupuncture to his veterinary clients. In addition to Dr Mahaney's house call integrative veterinary medicine business, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, he sees patients on an in-clinic basis at Veterinary Cancer Group in Culver City, CA. Dr Mahaney writes a veterinary column (Patrick's Blog) forwww.PatrickMahaney.com and contributes to a variety of media, including Perez Hilton's TeddyHilton.com, Fido Friendly, Veterinary Practice News, Healthy Pets and People with Dr Patrick on OutImpactRadio.com, and MSNBC Sunday with Alex Witt and Career Day. His first book, The Uncomfortable Vet, will be available in 2014 through Havenhurst Books



Guest Post: an important reason to train your dog

Dr Rex Riggs gives a veterinarian's perspective on why you should train your dog or cat.

I bet many people don’t think of the health benefits of having a well-trained dog.

We see far too many hit by car dogs in our practice. Many of these dogs are running away from the owner and just dart across the street. A well trained dog also has a much lower chance of sneaking away and getting into toxic things or other dangers. Think of how far fewer dog fights we would see if our dogs were more socialized and trained.

Having a well-trained dog is less stressful for you and your dog!

From my perspective though, the most important aspect of training and socialization, for both dogs and cats, is that when they need medical attention, they will allow us to treat them.

Some of my favorite clients, and definitely my technicians' favorites, are service dogs. Service dogs are dogs trained to help disabled people accomplish daily chores. It is so easy when these dogs come in to our vet hospital. When we need to draw blood we say “paw”, and up comes a front leg for easy access to a vein. When we need to palpate the abdomen, we say “stand” and they stand at attention. When we need to take radiographs, we say “stay”, and they don’t move.

Boy is that nice. My technicians said if all our dogs were service dog they just might work for free. Ok…they didn’t say that, but it sure would make our job so much easier. The reality is all our dogs are not well trained like service dogs and some are… well let’s just say a challenge.

This is a huge problem in all veterinary hospitals. If a dog or cat, growls, hisses, scratches or tries to bite people, it is really difficult and sometimes impossible to handle them. Yes, we can sometimes muzzle them or sedate them, but that is far from ideal and often medically dangerous for the pet.

Untrained or unsocialized animals visit to the vet are so stressful to the animal, vet and to the owner. I know of many veterinarians that who refuse to see certain breeds and unruly animals because it is just too dangerous to the veterinary staff.

Unfortunately many owners, solution is to just stop seeking veterinary care for such animals. Then you need to ask, is that fair for the pet? Is the pet really being taken care of properly? Is the owner’s life enriched by pet ownership, or does it add more stress to their life? Why do you have a pet?

So please get your dog trained as young as you can so you and your pet can enjoy each other. Do your research when you are looking for a trainer. There are many so called trainers, who are either not trained at all or trained in questionable methods. If a trainer wants to use a shock collar, walk away. They do not train a dog, it just breaks the dog’s spirit. If they want to use them, have them put on the collar and have them shock themselves. Take a look at this YouTube video. 


Just like anything else there are many theories on how best to train dogs. Keep an open mind and if it doesn’t make logical sense, it is probably is not the best way.

Related Posts
January is Pet Training Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: an important reason to train your dog
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on the Importance of Cat and Dog Training

Other posts by Dr Riggs

Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.

January is Pet Training Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

Just as understanding how you can maximize your pet's health is part of pet parenting, so is maximizing the quality time you spend together. Training isn't just for tricks; training also:

  • strengthens the bond between you and your dog or cat
  • integrates your pet seamlessly into your family life and the outside world
  • improves the effectiveness of your communication with your pet
  • lets you give your pet more freedom and fewer restrictions
  • and reduces stress and increases happiness of having a pet in the household

Friend of Embrace, Liz Palika, talks about why you should train your dog in her article No Training? Why Not? Rules are important for your dog's social well-being, as well as your own, plus he/she is safer if she's not dashing up the road every time you open your door. And training can be fun - it's not boot camp for either party.

We have a lot of cat and dog training articles on in The Water Bowl, the Embrace informational website on pet health and care, including:

How to Choose a Dog Trainer or Behavior Consultant

Training your Puppy: A Family Affair

Training Your Dog to Come: Make It a Good Thing

How to Carrier Train your Cat

How to Teach your Cat to Enjoy Being Held 

And so on. There are many others listed in the Training Section on our Pet Behavior and Training page.

And yes, we have quite a number of articles on trick training too:

Building a trick routine

Have fun with a hoop 

And many others.

Got any tips that have worked for you you want to share?

Related Posts
January is Pet Training Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: an important reason to train your dog
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on the Importance of Cat and Dog Training








Dr Marty Becker and Embrace Pet Insurance partner up

Dr Marty finalI'm so happy to announce that Embrace is partnering with Dr Marty Becker, also known as America's Veterinarian, to spread the word far and wide about Embrace's affordable and effective pet insurance to prevent economic euthanasia when cats and dogs get sick.

I first met Dr Marty in 2011 when he came through Cleveland on his cross-country tour supporting his book "Your Dog: The Owner's Manual". He was meeting and greeting dog owners who had come to meet him and I was struck by how he personally connected with his fans, sharing a special tip for each person's situation like they had been friends for years.

Since then, I can see why Dr Marty has the impact he does - his care for pets and his actions to improve their lives is truly sincere, something I always wonder about with celebs who make money off what they say. Dr Marty is making a difference in the lives of pets and I'm delighted Embrace is now part of that mission.

Our official press release is here http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/americas-veterinarian-teams-up-with-embrace-pet-insurance-to-reduce-economic-euthanasia-238428041.html

Check out the Dr Marty Becker Amazon page for his very useful books on pet ownership.

About Dr Marty Becker:

Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian,” has spent his life working toward better health for pets and the people who love them.

Dr. Becker was the resident veterinary contributor on “Good Morning America” for 17 years. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the American Humane Association as well as its Chief Veterinary Correspondent, a founding member of Core Team Oz for “The Dr. Oz Show,” and a member of the Dr. Oz Medical Advisory Panel.

He has written 22 books that have sold more than 7 million copies, including three New York Times best-sellers — one of which is the fastest-selling pet book of all time, “Chicken Soup for the Pet-Lovers Soul.” He has been a contributor to Parade magazine, Reader‚Äôs Digest and AARP.org. Animal Radio hosts him monthly as their Chief Veterinary Correspondent.

Dr. Becker is an adjunct professor at his alma mater, the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and also at the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine at both Colorado State University and the University of Missouri. Additionally, he has lectured at every veterinary school in the United States.

A passionate advocate for the human-animal bond, Dr. Becker serves as an adjunct professor at the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He is an honorary board member of Pet Partners and the Humane Society of New York, as well as a past board member and strong supporter of his local pet rescue group, Second Chance Animal Adoption of Bonner Ferry, ID, as well as a supporter of the Panhandle Animal Shelter in Sandpoint, ID, the Kootenai Humane Society in Coeur d’Alene, ID, and the Whitman County Humane Society in Pullman, WA.

Dr. Becker also serves as the Chief Veterinary Correspondent for the American Humane Association, with a strong focus on supporting their efforts to end the use of gas chambers in animal shelters, a cause for which he has successfully advocated since his earliest days as a veterinarian. His special fondness for older pets has led him to a spot on the Advisory Board of The Grey Muzzle Organization, which is dedicated to helping homeless senior dogs.

He practices, when his schedule allows, at Lakewood Animal Hospital and North Idaho Animal Hospital in north Idaho because he loves veterinary medicine, pets and the people who care for them.

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