Is Pet Insurance Right for You?

More owners are looking into and purchasing health insurance for their pets.  Choices range from very inexpensive policies that provide some financial help when dealing with an unforeseen illness or accident to more comprehensive plans that cover preventative care and have high coverage limits.  Of course these latter policies also have higher premiums, but with a little research most pet owners can find a pet insurance plan is a good fit for them.

Here are a few things to remember when considering health insurance for your pet:

  • No policy covers all your veterinary expenses.  You will still need to have savings and/or credit available to cover deductibles, copays, and costs that exceed or are excluded from your policy.  Primarily think of insurance as a way to help deal with unexpected expenses.  Routine purchases like vaccines, heartworm prevention and flea and tick control can be budgeted for and purchased from online retailers such as
  • Know what you are buying.  All policies have exclusions, so check the fine print.
  • Preexisting conditions will not be covered, so if your dog or cat has already been diagnosed with a disease, the cost of treating it (pet medication refills, rechecks, etc.) will come out of your pocket.  Consider getting insurance when your pet is young to avoid the pitfalls associated with preexisting conditions.

Tips on Saving Big Bucks on your Furry Little Friend

Responsible pet ownership requires an investment that lasts the lifetime of your pet. In this regard, owning a pet is similar to caring for a child. There are many ongoing costs associated with caring for your dog or cat, but there are easy things you can do to help keep some of these costs down.

Shop Around for Vets: When you’re choosing a vet, call several local veterinary offices and ask them the cost for a routine exam. Often, vets will use this price as a base price for all other procedures. Vets who charge less for a routine exam tend to have lower prices overall. Don’t wait for an emergency to choose your veterinarian; you will be more stressed in emergency situations and may not be as concerned with cutting costs.

Compare Prices Online for your Pet’s Medications: If you buy your flea preventatives and other pet medications at your veterinarian’s office, you are likely being charged a mark-up of over 100% of the wholesale price. Shopping online for your pet’s medication can lead to huge savings, plus the added convenience of receiving your pet’s medications delivered to your door. When you’re comparing prices online, you can often save money by ordering more doses in one time. Make sure you order discount pet medications only from secure sites based in the US that are certified by either LegitScript or Vet-VIPPS like vetdepot.

Don’t Let Fido Eat You out of House and Home: No matter what, your furry friend is always going to want to eat! The biggest ongoing cost pet owners pay is food. Many pet foods labeled as “Premium” or other special diets cost more than double what other pet foods cost. Be aware that there is no legal standard pet foods must meet to be labeled as “Premium”, but any food that is labeled “complete & balanced” or “total nutrition” meets the minimum legal standard required for pet foods. Unless your pet has a medical condition requiring a special diet, you probably don’t need to spend extra on pricey foods that may offer no extra benefit to your pet’s health.

Invest in Preventative Care: You’ve probably heard the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keeping up with your pet’s routine exams and vaccinations can prevent a wide variety of serious and costly health problems. Clean choppers also make a big difference in your pet’s health. Brushing your dog or cat’s teeth and feeding them dental treats can help prevent periodontal disease, a common cause of kidney and lung problems. Finally, make sure your pet maintains a healthy weight. Have plenty of playtime and don’t overfeed your furball. Obesity can cause diabetes and arthritis, among other expensive problems. Remember, a healthy pet is a happy pet, and a healthy pet costs you less!

Is your Four-Legged Friend Going on a Raw or Organic Diet?

In recent years, Americans have been spending more money than ever on organic and natural foods.  It should come as no surprise that many people are also beginning to buy natural or organic foods for their animal companions. Many of us feel like our dogs and cats are members of our family. As we begin to think more about finding healthy foods for ourselves, many of us are also becoming interested in feeding our pets better foods too. At pet stores around the country, new foods are cropping up featuring specialty ingredients like blueberries, alfalfa and brewer’s yeast.

There is some debate, however, as to whether these more costly “natural” foods actually have health benefits for your pet. It certainly can’t hurt your pet to keep them on a diet made from higher quality ingredients however some brands may be lower in important nutrients such as potassium, calcium and phosphorus. Grain-free foods also promise many benefits but there is debate as to the truth of these claims. According to some veterinarians, grain-free foods mainly benefit pets with specific food allergies.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide if a natural diet would be a good thing to try with your pet. If your pet has allergies or suffers from any feline or canine digestive troubles, paying more attention to their diet might help improve their overall condition. Rest assured, even if you can’t afford the additional cost of organic, specialty pet foods, more traditional brands are still a safe and cost effective way to fill up that furry little tummy.

Survey Shows Most Dogs are Riding Unrestrained in the Car

A recent survey done by the American Automobile Association reveals that the majority of dog owners leave their dogs unrestrained while traveling by car.  Listed below are some of study’s other findings:

•52% of those surveyed say that they have pet their dog while driving

•18% have reached into the backseat to interact with their dog while driving

•17% have allowed their dog to sit on their lap while driving

•13% have given their dog a treat while driving

•3% have taken a picture of their dog while driving

These are scary statistics because distracted drivers are more likely to cause an accident than drivers that are concentrating on the road. If an accident does occur, an unrestrained pet can be a danger to you and your passengers. At only 30 mph, a dog weighing just 10 lbs. can exert 300 lbs. of pressure if an accident occurs. At the same speed, an 80 lb. dog can exert up to 2400 lbs. of pressure. Properly restraining you dog with a seat belt or a car seat specifically designed for canines makes a car trip with your pooch safer for everyone involved. If you’re concerned about your dog having anxiety if not riding on your lap or immediately next to you- begin with short car rides with a restraining device before taking a long trip. Dogs with car anxiety may also benefit from a natural stress reducer like HomeoPet travel anxiety drops.