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:

Dogs

1. Cancer (27%)

2. Hip/Knee/Leg Injury (17%)

3. Getting hit by a car (16%)

Cats

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.

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.

Knowing what is Normal for your Pet

Part of being able to determine when an animal is sick or injured is knowing what is normal for that pet.  Owners should monitor their pet’s behavior daily and perform brief physical examinations monthly so they can recognize when something has changed.

  • Run your hands over your pet’s body to feel for any new lumps or bumps that should be checked out by the veterinarian. Also, ruffle your pet’s fur and look at the skin for fleas and ticks, redness, scaling, etc.
  • Look at the color of your pet’s gums. Keep an eye out for dental disease or any masses in the mouth.
  • Examine ears, eyes, nose, nails, feet and the anogenital region for anything unusual that may have developed since your last exam.
  • Weigh your pet monthly and record the information so you can pick up any unexpected weight gain or loss as early as possible.

If you find anything out of the ordinary during your examination, contact your pet’s veterinarian with any questions or concerns.

 

How to Treat Canine Hot Spots

As summer months bring heat and extreme temperatures, it is important to be mindful of ailments that can affect our furry friends. Hot spots can be both painful and unpleasant for dogs; however, with quick and attentive at home care from owners, recovery is a few steps away. In order to provide the proper treatment owners must be mindful and attentive to their pet’s behavior as well as employ proper preventative measures to avoid occurrence and reoccurrence of hot spots. If hot spots do emerge, pet owners can employ a variety of at home treatments from vetdepot to ease pain and discomfort.

Hot spots are usually seen in long haired breeds of dogs as moisture that is trapped close to the skin creates bacteria akin to dermatitis as seen in their human counterparts. Observing one’s pet during the summer month for excessive itching and the emergence of red spots or sores is important to identifying canine hot spots. If your pet is scratching the same spot repeatedly, experiences pain to the touch, or has a spot that is red and irritated or releases pus, then hot spots are most likely the culprit.

If you have a long-haired dog, you might consider a short summer haircut. Regular brushing and baths can keep mats and tangles at bay, which are often the contributing cause of hot spots in long haired dogs. Allergies can also affect hot spots so be mindful of your pet’s exposure to certain outdoor plants.

If hot spots appear, proper care is necessary. First, clip all of the hair in the area surrounding the hot spot. Next, carefully wash the wound with a gentle antibacterial soap and let dry completely to avoid more exposure to moisture. Depending on the severity and quantity of hot spots, you may consider visiting your vet for some cortisone or a topical antibiotic for dogs. Medicated anti-itch powders can also provide comfort for your four legged friend.

It’s important to be mindful of the cause of your pet’s hot spots, whether it be a grooming issue or an allergic reaction. Knowing the cause can help prevent reoccurrence and make the rest of your summer itch free for your lovable pet!