New Survey Shows How Far Owners Will Go for Their Pets

A new survey done by the Kroger Company shows that about one in ten dog or cat owners would be willing to spend more than $3,000 on medical procedures if it meant that their pet’s life could be saved, and some pet owners would spend even more.  The majority of those polled (61%) said they would be willing to spend between $100 and $1,000 under the same circumstances.

The survey also asked owners what they fear most with regards to their pet’s well-being.  The top responses were:


1. Cancer (27%)

2. Hip/Knee/Leg Injury (17%)

3. Getting hit by a car (16%)


1. Kidney Disease (19%)

2.) Cancer (17%)

3.) Injuries sustained in fights with other animals (10%)

Owners were also polled about their interest in pet insurance, which can cover accidents, illnesses, routine care and pet medications.  61% of dog owners and 48% of cat owners said they would consider purchasing pet insurance if it costs under $20 a month, and at least half of pet owners said they would be interested in adding their pets to their own health insurance plans if such a thing were possible.

What is Catnip?

Have you ever tried giving your cat catnip?  If so, what was their response? Statistics show that about 50% of cats seem to be affected by catnip and the behavior that results varies widely between individuals.

Here is some background.  Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a perennial herb that is a member of the mint family. The chemical compound in the plant that attracts and affects cats is called nepetalactone, which is found in the plant’s leaves and stems.  When a cat sniffs nepetalactone, it can act as a stimulant. However, nepetalactone acts as a sedative if eaten.  Cats will frequently rub against or chew on catnip to bruise the leaves and stems, which then release more nepetalactone.

Catnip is safe for cats and cat toys infused with catnip like the Kong Wubba Cat Mouse can be a lot of fun for your feline friend, so why not give it a try?

The Danger of Transporting Pets

Bringing a new dog or cat into your home is a time of discovery and joy; that is unless the discovery centers on pet illness.

In the past, most pets were obtained from local sources (i.e. nearby shelters or breeders) and therefore tended to only have diseases that were common to the area.  These days, however, some breeders will send their puppies or kittens hundreds or thousands of miles to their new owners or to pet shops.  Animals in shelters may also have traveled great distances.  This is especially true in parts of the country, like the Northeast, that have managed to gain better control of the animal over-population problem.  Animals are now often transported from facilities that are overflowing to those that have available space in another part of the country.

While this is obviously beneficial for the animals that would otherwise have been euthanized, it can occasionally present some problems for their new owners.  If your new pet becomes sick, it is now quite possible that the illness may be something that your local veterinarian does not see on a regular basis.

So, what can owners do to protect their new pets?  Try to find out your pet’s travel history and pass it along to your veterinarian.  This information can be a life-saver by helping your vet determine whether any screening tests should be run. Background info is also extremely helpful in producing a quick diagnosis so that the appropriate treatment and pet medications can be administered in the unfortunate event that your pet does fall ill.

Pet Vitamins and Supplements

Most healthy pets that eat a high quality, nutritionally complete commercially prepared food do not need to receive a daily vitamin and mineral supplement.  Reputable pet food manufacturers go to great lengths to make sure that their diets provide the correct amount of vitamins and minerals. Adding more can actually be harmful if excesses build up to toxic levels or interfere with the absorption of other vitamins and minerals.

This does not mean that vitamin and mineral pet supplements are always a bad idea.  Here are some instances when they can be life-savers:

  • Some diseases can be treated with vitamins and/or minerals (e.g., vitamin K for dogs to combat poisonings with certain types of rodenticides).  Your veterinarian will prescribe the correct supplement or combination of supplements to treat your pet’s condition.
  • Animals that eat home-prepared foods should receive broad-spectrum vitamin and mineral supplements.  It is almost impossible to create a balanced diet without them.  A veterinary nutritionist should always be involved in designing recipes for home-cooked pet foods.
  • Some pets are so finicky that they will only eat extremely small amounts or will only accept diets that are of questionable quality.  A multivitamin/mineral supplement can help prevent nutritional deficiencies in these cases.

Talk to your veterinarian to determine whether your pet should receive feline or canine supplements.