Archive for October, 2013

Picking the right insurance for your pet can be stressful. There are seemingly endless plans and providers to look through, and it can be difficult to really tell the difference between one plan and another. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you to narrow down your search and find the right plan to meet your needs.

Assess Your Pet’s Level of Health Risk

It is a good idea to look into what conditions your pet is likely to have over time (certain dog breeds, for example, are prone to hip dysplasia as they age). This will give you a sense of the kind of health coverage you are going to need in the future, and there is a ton of information available on the web to get you started. You’ll also want to consider any pre-existing conditions your pet has. If vet visits are not already a part of your yearly routine, pay a vet a visit to assess the overall health of your pet.

Decide What You Will Really Need

Based on the health risk of your pet, will you need a plan that will cover surgery? If so, you might want one that has a higher deductible, but also a higher dollar amount of coverage. If you think your pet’s risk is relatively low, then you may opt for a plan that has a lower deductible and monthly rate, with relatively limited coverage. If your pet is accident-prone, or has a history of eating tube socks, you might also look into accident coverage.  It is alright to be conservative with coverage as long as you have assessed your pet’s health risk with a professional, but accident coverage would be a lifesaver if you wound up needing it.

Do Your Homework

You are going to have to start looking into insurance providers as a whole to narrow your search. A quick way to get started is to find a pet insurance comparison chart on the web that lays insurance providers side-by-side and outlines what different providers generally cover—and what they don’t.

Once you decide to look into a specific provider (or two), know that there will be different polices available there too. But at least you will have eliminated a few providers in this preliminary search. Now, you’ll be able to match a plan to your needs.

Do It Quick, If You Can

Most plans will not cover pre-existing conditions your pet has prior to becoming insured. You’ll want to get him/her covered as soon as possible to get the full benefits of your coverage. Of course you will want to take the time to make an informed decision, but make this a priority.

More information available here.

Cindy Romero is an animal lover from North Carolina. She writes for PetPremium when she isn’t playing fetch with her two dogs or trying to keep her cat off of the kitchen counters. 

Thanksgiving is nearly here once again and for most of us that means wonderful aromas wafting through the house and a table groaning under the weight of turkey and other favorite dishes. There will be family and friends gathered ’round and perhaps a slice of pumpkin pie. But, what about your dog? What does Thanksgiving mean for him?

Well, if you’re lucky, it won’t mean a trip to the vet because you’ve overfed him or given him some sharp bones to eat! Most of us want to share Thanksgiving with our dogs but, the truth is, Thanksgiving can be a dangerous time for pets. Rich foods can cause gastrointestinal upsets or even pancreatitis. Giving your dog a cooked turkey bone can lead to a punctured esophagus or other puncture in your dog’s stomach or G.I. Tract, so no cooked bones! Here are some other tips for you and your dog this Thanksgiving.

  • According to one poll, 56 percent of pet owners said they gave their pets Thanksgiving leftovers but you need to be careful about what you share with your dog. For instance, turkey is great. It’s an excellent protein that is nice and lean – as long as you remove the skin. And be sure to avoid giving your dog any cooked bones. Cooked bones are brittle so they can easily snap and form jagged edges that are harmful to dogs.
  • Say no to onion and garlic. Many Thanksgiving dishes contain onion, garlic, leeks, and scallions. If your dog eats these ingredients in any large amount, it can be harmful to him. These items are all members of the allium family and they have been linked to a form of anemia in dogs. Sure, you may occasionally give your dog something that contains garlic and it doesn’t hurt him, but don’t give your dog any foods that contain much of these ingredients.
  • Yes to veggies. It’s fine to give your dog some leftovers of green beans, cranberries, or even macaroni and cheese (if he can eat cheese). Mashed potatoes are good, too. Dogs enjoy many vegetable dishes. However, watch out for the “extras” and fancy fixin’s – those things added to a dish to make it special. For instance, if you add garlic or sour cream to your mashed potatoes, it could make it off limits for your dog. If you use cranberry sauce that has a lot of sugar added, it won’t be so good for your dog. If you would like to give your dog some veggies, try setting aside a bowl for your dog before you add the extras to it.
  • Avoid fat. Just avoid giving your dog extra fat, in general. While we like to see good named fat sources in dog food, it’s not a good idea to feed your dog leftovers that contain generous amounts of fat at Thanksgiving. Most dogs aren’t used to eating so much fat all at one time. The result can be an attack of acute pancreatitis. Vets report that the days following Thanksgiving are some of their busiest of the year for pancreatitis in dogs.
  • Be careful with other foods. There are some foods you should never give to dogs such as chocolate, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, pits from cherries and other pitted foods, and the artificial sweetener xylitol.
  • As for the pumpkin pie? Well, canned pumpkin, minus the spiced pie filling would be better for your dog. And dogs really don’t need whipped cream.
  • And one more time: No Cooked Bones! It’s fine if you would like to give your dog a raw bone such as a turkey neck. Raw bones are comparatively soft and easy for your dog to chew and digest. They won’t break off into jagged pieces when he chews them.

 

You can see there are many delicious things you can share with your dog at Thanksgiving. Just give some thought and care to what you give your dog and you won’t end up taking him to see the vet.

8 Important Things to Do For Your Dog

A dog really is man and woman’s best friend: he’s forever loyal, always a shoulder to cry on, and an endless source of laughter and happiness. However, while he constantly makes your life better, you need to ensure you’re making his life as good as you can.
?    Neuter
Unless you have plans to breed, you need to get your dog neutered or spayed. Not only does it remove the risk of unwanted pregnancies, but you can often solve future health problems and avoid behavioural issues by doing so. Think carefully about breeding from your dog: there are so many unwanted dogs in the world; does it make sense to bring more in?
?    Microchip

microchip

While you’ll never intend to lose your dog, accidents can happen, and the best way to ensure he’ll make his way home, is to get him microchipped. From 2016, it will be part of British law to ensure your dog is microchipped, so if you haven’t had it done already, make sure it’s a top priority. Many charities, such as Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the Blue Cross, will be offering free microchipping services as part of this scheme.
?    Vaccinations
In many countries it’s against the law to not vaccinate your dog, so not only are you risking his health, but you could be acting illegally, and risk having him confiscated. Vaccinations are necessary to prevent the spread of disease, as well as reducing your dog’s likelihood of getting some horrific and fatal illnesses.
?    Training

 

training

There’s no such thing as a bad dog, only a bad owner. Badly trained dogs can be a nuisance at best and dangerous at worst, so it’s your duty to make sure he comes when called, and won’t attack other people or animals. If you aren’t sure how to implement a training scheme, seek advice from a professional. There are no excuses for badly trained dogs, and it will only be him that suffers.
?    Correct feed/water
Think carefully about your dog’s diet! While he may love snacking on your leftovers, it might not be the best for his digestive system. Speak to your vet or a nutrition specialist to put together a diet best suited to your dog and his lifestyle. Many pet food companies are happy to offer advice on what to feed, and have a huge range of feeds.
?    Daily exercise
exercise
Dogs are naturally working animals, and this shouldn’t be forgotten when you pick up your first pup. They need a considerable amount of exercise, and if this isn’t provided, you could find yourself with an obese, unfit and unhappy dog. Different breeds require different amounts of exercise: dogs like Border Collies, Huskies and Labradors are bred to be working dogs, so need constant exercise.
?    Company
If no one’s in the house all day, you need to make sure your dog has some kind of company – whether it’s a person, another dog or another animal. Dogs will get to an age where they’re happy to stay at home alone, but young or nervous dogs should always have someone around them. Obviously there will be times when you can’t be with your dog, and often leaving the TV or radio on can help. If you can’t guarantee that your dog will have some form of company for the majority of the day, consider looking into dog walking services, or consider whether it’s the right pet for you.
?    Insurance
You need to be able to offer your dog the best care money can buy, so if something goes wrong, you need to know you’ll have the money to pay for his healthcare. Even routine jabs and check-ups can get expensive, so unless you can ensure that you’ll be able to pay for it, insuring your dog is the safest option.
Written by David Lewzey of pet insurance company Helpucover. Visit them online at www.helpucover.co.uk for cat, dog and rabbit insurance.