Having been a veterinarian as well as the founder of the pet insurance industry in the US, I’ve lost (and found) many pets. And I know that losing a pet can be emotionally devastating. Here are a few quick tips that can help you locate your furry friend, should your dog or cat go missing:
1. Look around the vicinity
Your pet may have wandered off and become confused. Be sure to leave a garage door or back yard gate open should they return while you’re out looking. Time is of the essence in finding your pet before they stray too far.
2. Expand your search
Look in areas that are easier for pets to travel through, such as green belts where a confused and lost pet may seek refuge.
3. Call for your pet while searching
Your voice may bring them out of hiding. Remember to call in calm, soothing voice; otherwise they may think they are in trouble.
4. Post signs
Be sure to include a photo, description of your pet and your contact information. Many pets are picked up by good Samaritans who may contact you if they see your sign.
By Dr. Jack Stephens, a veterinarian and founder of pet insurance in the U.S. in 1981. Dr. Stephens leads the Pets Best Insurance team of pet lovers as president.
If your neighborhood is anything like mine, the booms and bangs of the Fourth of July celebration start a week before the official holiday. Every summer, pet owners are told to be mindful of pet health and safety during this holiday.
By following the simple tips below, you can prevent your pet from becoming what many animal shelters call a “July 4th pet,” or a pet that becomes frightened, runs away and ends up in a shelter.
1. Keep your pets in a quiet room.
When fireworks start going off in your neighborhood, make sure your pets are safely confined in a quiet, escape-proof area. Drawing the blinds and turning on a radio can help muffle the noise. If you’re celebrating at home, don’t assume your dogs and cats will be okay outside just because you’re there. The sudden pop of a firecracker could send them running.
2. Don’t console a frightened pet.
By Dr. Jane Matheys, a Veterinarian and a writer for Pets Best, a cat insurance agency
With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to lose track of where your cats are and what trouble they might be getting into. Having pet insurance as a backup is always a good idea— but here are some holiday health tips to keep your kitty safe this season.
1. Decadent Food
Be careful not to overdo it by giving your cat foods that may cause digestive upset. Avoid feeding table scraps indiscriminately during the festivities, and remind guests not to sneak tidbits to your cats either. Also remember that chocolate can be toxic or even fatal to dogs and cats, especially unsweetened cocoa or baking chocolate. Theobromine, the toxic compound found in chocolate frequently causes poisoning in dogs, but cats are also susceptible. Between 1 to 4 hours of eating chocolate you may notice your pet showing signs of: vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, weakness, difficulty keeping balance, hyperexcitability, muscle spasm, seizures, coma, or death from an abnormal heart rhythm.
2. The Christmas Tree
There’s always something enticing to cats about a novel source of water like that in the Christmas tree stand. Do not let them drink from it. Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers which can cause stomach upset if ingested. The stagnant water can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Try to keep the water covered or use a heavy tree skirt. Cats may also try to climb the tree, so make sure it is anchored well and away from things like glass tables.
Many cats cannot resist tinsel. Although the sight of your cat pawing at the tree may be cute, the ingestion of tinsel can be deadly. Because pets can easily get a hold of something like Christmas décor, it’s a good idea to have a dog or cat insurance plan—especially around the holidays.
Eating tinsel or other string-like items such as ribbon can cause serious damage to the intestine. One end can get stuck while the rest is pulled into the intestine as it contracts. The contractions may cause the ribbon or tinsel to saw through the intestine. If not caught in time, infection of the belly cavity develops and the prognosis for recovery becomes poor. If your cat has eaten something like this, signs might include: vomiting, diarrhea, depression, belly pain, and sometimes fever.
Decorative lights are another attraction for cats to chew on. Electrical shock can cause burns, especially in the mouth, difficulty breathing, abnormal heart rhythm, loss of consciousness and death. Call your veterinarian immediately if your cat has been injured by electrical shock. Treatment will be most effective if begun soon after the shock. Curious cats have also been known to knock down candles causing house fires. Never, ever leave candles unattended with a cat in the house. Having pet health insurance can help defray costs, especially around the holidays when many vet offices are closed and sometimes expensive emergency care is your only option.
Or Call 877-738-7237 to Add a Pet to Your Current Policy
Liquid potpourri makes your house smell festive but may be another attraction for cats to drink. I once treated a cat that had tongue ulcers from drinking potpourri. Fortunately, the kitty recovered well with supportive care and a gruel-type diet for several days. Keep potpourri pots covered or otherwise inaccessible.
Probably the most important plant to worry about is the fragrant lily (such as tiger, Asiatic and Stargazer) which is commonly found in holiday arrangements and is highly toxic to cats. Just one chewed leaf can result in severe, acute kidney failure.
Mistletoe can also be very toxic to cats and you should consult your veterinarian immediately if your cat has potentially ingested any part of the plant. It’s accidents like ingestion of Mistletoe that having cat insurance can be a life saver. Holly can also be a problem, although signs of poisonings are generally mild and include vomiting, belly pain and diarrhea.
Poinsettias have received bad publicity in the past whereas, in fact, they are not very toxic to cats. They do, however, contain a milky sap that can irritate the mouth, but signs are usually mild.
For more information about pet health and pet insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance.
By Liam Crowe, Bark Busters CEO and guest writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats
For many families, December holidays bring a change in routine and lots of extra commotion to the household— which can be stressful for your dog. Although you may be versed in pet health and behavior, with all the extra commotion, your pet many begin to exhibit unusual or undesirable behaviors like stealing food, jumping up on people, or growling or snapping at visitors.
Although it’s a good idea to have pet insurance in case of an accidental illness or injury during the holidays, the following tips can help keep your dog calm, happy and safe in your home this season.
1. Front door behaviors
Whether your dog perceives it as exciting or alarming, a knock on the door can be a stimulating and potentially dangerous event. It is natural for him to want to find out who the visitors are and to determine if they are friendly or not. However, a dog that behaves in an out-of-control manner at the sound of the doorbell is not only annoying, but unsafe. Your pet could harm himself by escaping out the door or getting underfoot and becoming a trip hazard. Your dog could also hurt others by knocking elderly visitors or children down, or even becoming aggressive to the visitors.
What to Do
By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Pets Best Insurance President and Founder
For years there has been speculation as to why more dogs have pet insurance than cats. After all, it would seem that cat owners are just as attached to their felines as canine owners are. Yet, of the total number of insured pets, only 15-20% overall are felines. Why the difference?
A major factor is the misconception by cat owners that cats don’t need pet health insurance as much as dogs, because dogs tend to be more accident prone. While there is truth that cats have less veterinary medical visits than dogs, cats still have costly medical conditions just the same as dogs.
By nature, cats disguise their ailments. In fact, cats often hide their symptoms so well, it may cause medical conditions to become more severe when they are finally diagnosed. Adult cats are also more sedentary than dogs, which causes symptoms to go unnoticed early on. As pet owners, we expect our dogs to be running, fetching or following us around, and when they are not we become concerned. Because our expectations for cats tend to differ, we are often not as alert to early symptoms they display.
Kittens have accidents due to their inquisitive nature, but they will likely have fewer accidents than puppies will. Both kittens and puppies have an immature immune system, making them more susceptible to disease. Kittens have more viral conditions, such as upper respiratory conditions, than adult cats which are usually vaccinated and have also developed some immunity.
Feline Leukemia prevalence is highest from 1-6 years of age. Cystitis (bladder infections) is always one of our most frequent claims; while diabetes, kidney failure and cancer are some of the most costly conditions. The most common endocrine (hormonal) condition for cats is hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid.
This condition is more common in adult and older cats (4-20 years of age). There are literally thousands of medical conditions that cats can acquire. A few of the more common conditions are: cystitis, dermatitis, kidney failure, leukemia, numerous types of skin tumors, oral tumors, feline infectious peritonitis, abscess, liver disease, heart disease, various poisons, mammary tumors (most are malignant), lymphosarcoma and asthma to name a few.
With cats, an early diagnosis is important to restoring pet health. Watch for symptoms such as lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, difficulty breathing, not playing, or drinking more or less than usual. Weigh your cat at least twice a year to check for weight loss and have your cat checked at least once a year by your veterinarian. Twice-a-year visits are recommended for older cats and kittens.
Consider getting cat insurance for your feline, so that you will have financial help and peace-of-mind in knowing you can afford veterinary care. Feline pet insurance rates are typically less dogs’ and if you happen to have more than one pet, ask about multiple pet insurance discounts to save on your monthly premiums.