Dr. Jack L. Stephens, president of Pets Best Insurance, founded pet insurance in the U.S. in 1981 with a mission to end euthanasia when pet owners couldn’t afford veterinary treatment. Dr. Stephens went on to present the first U.S. pet insurance policy to famous television dog, Lassie.
By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a pet health insurance agency for dogs and cats.
A generation ago, we communicated via fax machines and cell phones the size of bricks. Today, we turn to our mobile devices – tablets, smart phones and iPads – to instantly connect with people all over the world or simply in the next room of our homes.
But if you share your home with a dog or two, you need to protect these pricey devices from being the target of canine destruction. According to a national survey performed by Square Trade, pets have destroyed more than eight million smart phones, iPads, laptops, television remotes and other cherished electronic devices – costing pet parents a whopping $8 billion in replacement costs.
In fact, I recently polled my Facebook followers about these high-tech pet hijinks. A chew-happy service pup in training named Muddy crushed two smart phones in her mouth. A Great Dane named Louie stashed three iPhones in his crate and “killed” them by sitting on them. Others reported numerous charging cables bitten in half by her curious puppies who apparently mistake those dangling cords for small prey tail. Far too many reported that their dogs urinated on these gadgets.
There are two reasons for these unwanted canine behaviors.
1. First, dogs investigate their surroundings by sniffing, pawing, chewing and yes, sometimes, urinating on these gadgets. This “p-mail” is a dog’s way of saying to others, “Hey, this is mine. Back off.”
Most people look forward to the holiday season, but between purchasing presents, preparing food, and coordinating travel, things can sometimes get a little chaotic. Chances are, the last thing you’re thinking about is what your pets are getting into. Pets Best has received a wide range of surprising claims from pet owners over the years and we’ve selected a few of the most unusual holiday-related claims recently processed.
Below are real pet insurance claims from 4 dogs who really indulged during the holidays:
For many, baking is a holiday tradition. From breads to decadent desserts, there’s usually something special in the oven during the holiday season. A 2-year-old Siberian husky named Zoey really bit off more than she could chew when she decided to eat a whole box of frozen croissants. Due to the high amount of yeast in bread dough, a veterinarian induced vomiting and monitored Zoey for hypoglycemia and signs of ethanol toxicity. After a short hospitalization, Zoey was well enough to return to her terrible twos in the comfort of her own home. Pets Best reimbursed Zoey’s parents 90 percent of their veterinary bill after their deductible was met.
By Dr. Fiona, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.
About the American Wirehair
Weight: 6-11 lb
Points of conformation: A powerful build with well developed chest, short neck and well muscled legs. Curly whiskers.
Coat: Dense, wiry, springy short to medium length hairs that crimp and curl.
Color: All are accepted, except for lilac, Himalayan and chocolate.
Grooming needs: Low
Origin: New York, USA
Behavior Traits: Even tempered and funny.
Is an American Wirehair cat right for You?
By Dr. Tracy McFarland. Dr. McFarland has been a practicing veterinarian for 30 years, focusing exclusively on cats for the past 20 years. She also writes for Pets Best, a cat insurance agency.
Cats tend to hide their illnesses, making it difficult to detect cancers as early as possible. No one wants to admit their pet may have cancer, but the most surefire way to sense an illness is simply to observe. Ultimately, owners know their cat’s daily routine and behavior traits, so keeping an eye out for changes, is encouraged. If you feel there might be something wrong, trust your instincts and schedule an exam with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Two common types of cancer in cats:
The most common type of cancer found in cats, Lymphoma affects almost every part of the cat’s body including the kidneys, stomach, intestines, liver, spleen and even the spine. Besides weight loss, other symptoms include weakness, labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea and swollen or enlarged lymph nodes. The standard treatment is chemotherapy, while that’s not an option for all cats, palliative therapy with injectable or oral cortisone can temporarily help achieve better quality of life for the cat.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
This type of skin cancer is most commonly found in white haired cats, because they are more susceptible to significant sun exposure. Symptoms include sores and scratches, typically found on the nose, eyelids, or ears. If diagnosed early, this form of cancer is extremely treatable and is usually cured with surgery. Squamous cell carcinomas can be found in the mouth, which can be much harder to detect. This can occur when a cat is grooming and comes into contact with cigarette smoke particles. Look for signs of drooling, facial swelling, weight loss and difficulty eating.
What to watch for:
In July we asked our over 40,000 Pets Best Facebook fans to share photos and stories of their adopted mixed breed dogs for a chance to win a genetic test in honor of National Mutt Day, which is celebrated bi-annually in both July and December. The winner was a spirited, three-legged dog named Georgie.
Mixed breed dogs are by far the number one insured dog breed with the pet insurance agency, Pets Best, accounting for about 30% of all the dogs insured. Many pet parents guess or assume the breeds of their mutt, but actually discovering what breeds the dog is can be surprising!
Prior to receiving the genetic test, we interviewed Georgie’s pet parent, Lisa, to see what her thoughts were before learning of his results.
What breed(s) do you think Georgie is?
I’m guessing Georgie is a pit bull/Labrador/German shepherd mix. My husband thinks there may be some Rhodesian Ridgeback and my veterinarian is leaning towards Boxer.
When did you get Georgie and do you know anything about his history prior to you adopting him?
Georgie was left in front of the Terre Haute Humane Society, overnight in an outside kennel with his back left paw cut off and no explanation. With the help of community donations and a generous fourth-grader selling t-shirts and raffle tickets, they raised enough money to cover the cost of Georgie’s amputation surgery. He entered foster care, but was still unable to find a home in Indiana. At five months old, he was rescued by S.A.F.E. Sanctuary, here in Minnesota. We then adopted Georgie through PetFinders in 2005.
What are some of your favorite things about Georgie’s personality?
He is so darn happy all the time. He loves everyone and is such a sweetheart. Anyone who meets Georgie falls in love with him. Georgie really loves life on the farm. He enjoys riding in the Kawasaki Mule with me and finding a shady spot in the vineyard while I’m working. He is crazy about broccoli, green beans, and carrots and thinks having his teeth brushed is so much fun, probably because I get excited about it. He also loves to run around in big circles as fast as he can.
How has Georgie impacted your life?