Author Archives: Hadley Rush

A simple tool can make you a better dog owner

A couple walk their dog who has pet insurance.

By Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance

Pet owner or not, you’ve likely tracked dog poop into your car, your office and probably even your home. And for that reason, it’s quite possible that society’s top complaint about dog owners is that we don’t always clean up after our pets. “I always pick up my dog’s messes!” you may say. But until we all do, every single time, we’re all guilty.

In addition to being a smelly nuisance, there are real pet health as well as human health reasons we need to pick up after our dogs every time:

Dog feces can harbor bacteria like Salmonella and parasites including hookworm and tapeworm.
Unlike cow manure fertilizer, which has been composted and aged for six months, dog doodie won’t add anything good to your yard
Unscooped poop will eventually make its way through the ground and to our water sources, along with its bacteria and parasites

Furthermore, for pet health reasons it’s important we keep tabs on our dogs’ business. Any change in color, texture or frequency can signal illness.

Last year I came across a great little contraption in the pet store and immediately wondered why all dog owners don’t use it. It’s cute, cheap, lightweight, easy to refill and extremely convenient: the doggie duty bag dispenser. It only weighs a couple of ounces, contains a whole spool of bags and attaches to practically anything. Mine lives on the handle of Jayda’s leash.

The holders are available in a variety of colors and shapes. I’ve seen monkeys, giraffes, tie-dyed bones and dog houses, to name a few. They can be bought at pet stores, grocery stores and drug stores. Dollar stores carry refill bags, or for a little extra, you can opt for biodegradable bags to show our Earth a little more love.

Pet insurance quote button

Or Call 877-738-7237 to Add a Pet to Your Current Policy

Pick up a few of these bag dispensers, attach one to each of your dog’s leashes and leave one in each vehicle. You’ll never be caught trying to scoop your dog’s mess with dead leaves or cover it with rocks again. You’ll never find yourself in a crowded park with a guilty look, trying to explain to passersby that “My dog already pooped once, I brought a bag, I swear!” You’ll also be doing your part to keep floor mats and carpets smelling clean and fresh across America.

Have you been caught bagless? Tell us in the comments how you cleaned or concealed your dog’s unexpected mess!

For more information about pet health or to learn more about pet insurance visit Pets Best Insurance.

Time to spring clean… your pet

A dog with pet health insurance gets ready to spring clean.

By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell
Idaho Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

Animal lovers and pet insurance enthusiasts alike have probably noticed that the days are finally getting longer, which can only mean on thing. Spring is finally here! So put that extra sunlight to good use by doing some spring cleaning that involves your pet!

Instead of standard dust bunny clearing, mopping, and scrubbing the bathroom, what about spring cleaning your pet? Here are some ways to do just that, while keeping your pets safe and happy.

Spring clean by focusing on your pet’s outsides AND insides. Grooming can be a regular part of getting spring-ready, but even if your groomer will brush your pet’s teeth, this generally isn’t enough. Pets need to have their teeth professionally scaled and polished regularly, just like we do, in order to prevent periodontal disease. Consider making an appointment with your veterinarian to determine if your cat or dog should have this important procedure performed this spring.

A good springtime wellness exam with a veterinarian should be an annual part of your routine wellness care. A physical exam can uncover potential underlying disorders you weren’t aware of. Most veterinarians agree that having your pet’s internal function ‘examined’ as well by performing blood work should be a routine part of a senior pet’s annual care. Some pet health insurance companies, like Pets Best Insurance, even offer a wellness care package, to help make the best care more affordable.

Pet insurance quote button

Or Call 877-738-7237 to Add a Pet to Your Current Policy

This can help your veterinarian get an early start treating such disorders as chronic kidney insufficiency and other diseases common in aging animals. Having a cat or dog insurance policy in place early on, may help with the associated pet health costs.

Annual pet spring ‘cleaning’ should also include any vaccinations due and deworming as well. Did you know that many canine and feline internal parasites can be transmissible to people? Especially in households with young children, at least annual deworming should be performed to keep your pet and your family healthy.

This spring, take the time during your annual cleaning to include your furry family members and consider their health. This can mean using pet safe cleaning products around the house, and important annual pet health check ups.

Will Fluffy blow the bank?

A dog bowl is filled with money.

By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell
Idaho Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

Anyone who owns a pet will tell you how much joy they bring into their lives, but probe a little more, and they’ll probably also tell you how they destroyed a pair of expensive designer shoes, or how the baseboards had to be replaced during a teething phase. Just what are you getting into financially when you open your home to a dog? About 40% of US families own at least one dog and according to the American Pet Products Association, in 2010 Americans spent over 47 billion dollars in animal related expenses that year.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates there are just over 78 million dogs nationwide. If you do the math, that comes to over $600 per year per dog in expenses. This estimate may actually be conservative. The ASPCA actually puts that annual figure at over $1000, depending on the size of dog you own. Owning a dog can be a long term commitment as well; with any luck Fluffy will part of the family for 10 to 15 years. That means that in her lifetime, Fluffy could cost you anywhere from $13,000 to $19,500.

You might be thinking, how can that be? But if you break it down, it really adds up. Consider the cost of food, toys and leashes, grooming, kenneling or boarding, training, spaying and neutering, regular annual veterinary care and vaccines, and emergency veterinary care (this can be especially high if you don’t have pet insurance.) Below is how the break down, and this isn’t even including the cost of a pet health insurance policy, which most companies allow you to pay monthly or annually, but may end up saving you money in the long run.

One Time Expenses
Spaying or Neutering: $200
Initial Medical Exam: $70
Collar or Leash: $30
Crate: $95
Carrying Crate: $60
Training: $110
Total One Time Costs: $565

Annual Expenses
Food: $120
Annual Medical Exams: $235
Toys and Treats: $55
License: $15
Miscellaneous: $45
Total Annual Costs: $470

Broken down, it becomes clear; dogs can be a big financial responsibility. Of course given the amount of pleasure, companionship and even health benefits dogs can bring us, it can still be a good investment! Here are some things you can do to be better prepared and even lower your pet care costs.

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Or Call 877-738-7237 to Add a Pet to Your Current Policy

Research, Research, Then Research Some More
Before you adopt a dog, make sure you are well aware of the costs and make sure these costs fit into your budget. Consider getting a mixed breed dog. Purebred dogs typically have more pet health problems and can be more costly to get pet health insurance coverage. If you have your heart set on a purebred dog, research the breed. There are over 400 genetic diseases identified in dogs. Many of these can be very costly. For example, hip dysplasia, common in Golden Retrievers, Laboradors, Rottweilers and other large breed dogs, can require hip replacement surgery which can cost over $5,000. Occasionally both hips can need to be replaced as well.

If a purebred is truly what you want, ensure that the breeder you go through has certified the breeding line is free of genetic diseases common to that breed. Visit the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals at for more information on genetic diseases even beyond orthopedically related, including deafness, eye disease and heart disease. This site also contains a database of lineages organized by ACK registry numbers. You can trace lineages back to see how the breeder’s dogs have tested in terms of genetic disease.

Puppy Proof Your House
Expect your new bundle of fur to be destructive until it is taught otherwise. Anticipate this by utilizing baby gates to block off areas of the house. Don’t leave anything you don’t want chewed on the ground or in reach. Invest in a good crate and crate train, especially in the beginning. This will make house training go more smoothly and give your puppy a ‘den’ or safe place that he or she will feel comfortable in. Remove anything that could be harmful or toxic, including access to the trash, plants, and the kitchen cupboards or pantry. This will decrease the likelihood of an emergency trip to the vet.

Get Pet Insurance
Veterinary care is expensive. The annual cost per household for veterinary care has increase about 47% in the last decade. Veterinarians are faced with staggering student loans and lower salaries than other advanced-degree professions, such as dentistry and law, which puts pressure on them to raise fees. Pet insurance can multiple your spending power, allowing you access to the most advance medical care, especially in an emergency situation. People with pet insurance are more willing to spend the money needed for their pet’s care if this cost is covered by pet health insurance.

Keep Your Pet Healthy
A healthy pet will end up costing you less. Invest in quality food, regular preventative veterinary exams, and vaccinations. An ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure! Keep your pet at a healthy weight. Obesity can cause a slew of health problems in dogs, just like in people, many of which can be costly to treat.

Being prepared and educated is the key to not facing sticker shock when Fido enters your family. Undoubtedly, owning a dog will be a journey that will enrich your life in many ways; being able to afford to provide for them is crucial for a successful lasting partnership.

For more information about pet health or to learn more about pet insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance.

Exciting news from Pets Best Insurance!

A woman holds a dog with dog insurance.

By: H.M.
For Pets Best Insurance

Pets Best Insurance has had some exciting things going on lately and to announce the big news, the pet insurance provider hosted a cocktail party at the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas last month!

We had a great turnout, with over 200 industry professionals enjoying our hosted bar and delectable appetizers, just before the grand announcement was made.

If you weren’t able to join us for our cocktail party and “big news” unveiling, don’t worry! Here are some of the exciting highlights you may have missed.

1. Pets Best Insurance announced our new underwriter, Independence American Insurance Company.

2. We also announced that we will be unveiling even more plans with annual deductibles and limits, as well as a wide variety of deductible and co-pay options. This will allow customers more options when it comes to selecting the best pet health insurance coverage for their pet and their budget.

3. Vice President of Marketing, Chris Middleton also announced that we will be launching a cancer only plan, an accident only plan and specialized feline only plans in spring or summer 2012.

4. And last but not least, as you’re probably aware, some dog and cat insurance companies are now offering a “free” 30 day trial. We looked into offering a similar program at Pets Best Insurance, but found there were actually some issues surrounding giving insurance away for free. So instead, we’ve decided to launch a vet program that will provide even more value to pet owners than a free trial.

With the new vet program we announced at WVC, clients who take their pets into your hospital for a preliminary exam and are then given a clean bill of health, will receive both reduce waiting periods upon enrolling for a pet insurance policy, as well as a 10% discount off their pet insurance plan with us.

If you’re interested in our vet program please contact Amy Winkler. For more information about pet health insurance visit Pets Best Insurance.

Dr. Jack’s 10 reasons to spay/neuter

A dog with dog insurance visits the vet.

By: Dr. Jack Stephens
President and Founder
Pets Best Insurance

Spaying and neutering is as important for your pet’s health as it is your pocketbook. Some of the reasons why you should consider spaying or neutering include:

1. Spaying eliminates the possibility of your pet being afflicted with pyometra. Pyometra is a quickly-developing infection in the uterus, secondary to abnormal lining of the uterus which will result in severe pet health issues or death if untreated. Emergency surgical removal of the uterus is required and once a pet has developed pyometra it is much more expensive to treat than the preventative spay.

2. Spaying eliminates false pregnancy– a condition that mimics pregnancy and can cause painful swollen breasts, vomiting, diarrhea and weight gain. Although not life threatening, false pregnancy does require medications and medical treatment.

3. Spaying eliminates the chance of ovarian and uterine cancer.

4. Spaying, when performed at an early age, can reduce the chance of breast tumors.

5. Spaying eliminates complications from pregnancy, such as eclampsia (milk fever), abortion, retained placenta and general difficulties giving birth which may require a C-section surgery.

6. Spaying eliminates the chance of developing uterine infections.

1. Neutering eliminates the chances of developing testicular tumors or infection.

2. If done early, neutering can reduce objectionable behavior associated with hormones.

3. Neutering decrease the chances of males roaming for females in heat, which often results in fights with other males and/or being hit by a car.

4. Neutering can reduce aggression towards humans.

Pet insurance quote button

Or Call 877-738-7237 to Add a Pet to Your Current Policy

Ultimately, spaying and neutering helps society by not adding to the pet overpopulation problems. Too many pets end up in shelters or are euthanized because there are simply not enough homes. Spaying and neutering can also save you money in the long-run by avoiding the many costly medical conditions listed above.

For more information about pet health or pet insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance.

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