Author Archives: Hadley Rush

Pet health: Keep outdoor cats safe and warm

An old cat keeps warm during the winter.
Posted by: H.R.
For Pets Best Insurance

While our beloved pets are safest inside the home, especially in the winter and if they are aging or ill, cats that are found as strays are sometimes hard to break of their outdoor habits and roots.

There’s something to be said for cats that have spent some time “on the street.” They’ve learned extra skills and know how to adapt to their environment. But that doesn’t mean an outdoor cats health won’t benefit from their owner practicing some cold weather safety tips. Having cat insurance for your pet can also help to be prepared for any accidents or illnesses that occur during the winter months. Companies like Pets Best Insurance can help to cover a portion of vet bills.

As winter approaches, a cat who spends time outdoors will grow a thicker coat and shed less often to stay warm. However, they burn more calories to stay warm as well. According to the Oregon Humane Society, outdoor kitties can be fed more during the winter so that they get extra calories. They will burn off those calories staying warm and getting extra exercise.

Only plastic or heated bowls should be used outside, as opposed to metal. While metal is the best bowl for indoor use, as it promotes pet health because it is non-porous and resists bacterial overgrowth, metal will freeze outdoors in the winter.

Supply safe outdoor cat shelter that is covered, insulated with straw, and is turned away from the direction of the wind. The organization Alley Cat Advocates put a simple idea for a homemade cat shelter on their site, made from a styrofoam cooler. Heated beds specifically for outdoor use are also available for purchase at pet stores and online.

Pet insurance options increase as pet health care advances

A dog with pet insurance waits for pet health care.

Nancy Keates, an author for The Wall Street Journal, has a theory for the reason behind the 8.5% increase in veterinary costs in 2010 (double the cost from 2000).

She wrote in the article, “The $20,000 Pet,” that advanced treatment options, new technology, and “an increasingly sophisticated cadre of veterinarians” are treating conditions that weren’t even being diagnosed a few years ago.

“With some of the advances in human health care spreading to the animal kingdom, pet owners have many more options for treatment—and many more chances to fork over money to cure their pets or at least prolong their pets’ lives,” wrote Keates.

As veterinary costs continue to rise, so does interest in pet health insurance.

“Once considered an afterthought at best and a joke at worst, insurance for dogs and cats is appealing to more consumers as a way to ease the financial bite of pet care,” wrote Keates.

The number of pet insurance companies is rising as more pet owners realize just what the love of a dog or a cat means to them.

Pets can now be treated for illnesses for which veterinarians were simply prescribing euthanization a few years ago. Dog health care is becoming as specialized and sophisticated as care for humans thanks to MRIs, radiation and CAT scans.

One benefit all this advancement in care may be having: as dogs and cats are now cured and living longer than expected, they are seen increasingly more as loving, cherished creatures for millions of pet loving households.

Pet health: Wet food or dry food

A white dog with pet insurance looks at a bowl of food.

When it comes to caring for your pets there are many important decisions to make, such as selecting the best pet insurance and choosing food for your pet.

Deciding whether to feed them wet or dry food can be as difficult as choosing the brand. When deciding if you are going to be feeding your pet wet food, dry food, or a combination of both, you should make sure that you choose a high quality healthy dog food or a healthy cat food.

When it comes to choosing pet food, there are several reasons that wet food is an ideal choice. Wet dog food and cat food tends to have higher nutritional value than dry food and contains higher amounts of protein, vitamins and moisture.

It is also more appealing to picky eaters due to the variety of flavors available and the overall texture. Due to the way it is packaged, wet food is less processed than dry food and fewer preservatives are needed. Additionally, wet food is easier to chew, which makes it a good choice for very young and senior-aged pets. The downside to wet food is that it spoils quickly after opening and it is more expensive than dry food. Some people also have a hard time with the scent.

Dry dog food and cat food is a better choice when it comes to exercising your pet’s jaw muscles. Other advantages of dry food are that it is cost efficient and has a longer shelf life once it has been opened. The downside to dry food is its reduced nutritional value due to the baking process. To keep its shelf stability, dry food has more preservatives than wet food.

Pets Best Insurance’s tips to take the chill out of winter pet danger

A woman who has Pets Best Insurance for her dog plays with her pet in the snow.

Posted by: H.R.
For Pets Best Insurance

Colder weather means harsher conditions for dogs and cats, as well as added pet stress. Pets Best Insurance offers complete pet health insurance for dogs and cats with the freedom to choose veterinarians. Although they will be there to help out if a pet has an accident or illness, the company recommends taking precautions to ensure that pets stay healthy all winter long.

Frostbite and hypothermia are among the most common dog and cat dangers that require veterinarian treatment during winter months. Severe frostbite can result in amputations, and hypothermia can occur in any pet that is not properly acclimated to cold outdoor air.

According to Jennifer Hennessey, DVM, an emergency veterinarian in Dallas, Texas, “the biggest risks of cold weather illness are with the pets that are not adjusted to spending lots of time outdoors; pets less adapted to the elements—the same problem we face in pets in summer.”

Hennessey recommends building outdoor shelters for both dogs and cats. Covered, insulated shelters, with openings that face away from the wind, offer safe, warm hideouts. Adequate shelter may reduce the chances that cats will seek warmth in dangerous locations, such as under car hoods.

“I’ve seen the results of a cat that was sleeping under a hood and near a fan blade when a car was started,” said John Van Zante of the Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego, California. “Some live through it but that usually involves the loss of a tail, paw, ear, or some other body parts.”

Banging on the hood while approaching the car and honking the horn before starting the engine can help scare away any animals that may be perched under the hood.

Antifreeze is both tempting and toxic to pets. Some companies now include a bitterant in their coolant and have developed “pet-friendly” antifreeze, less toxic blends that are more environmentally friendly.

Winter is harder on elderly and ill pets. Pets Best Insurance offers routine wellness cat and dog health care coverage, and recommends having a pets health evaluated by a veterinarian before any strenuous winter activities or trips.

According to Justine Lee, DVM, an emergency critical care veterinary specialist in Minnesota who also works with sled dogs in Alaska, time spent in non-running cars should be limited, and running cars must be well-ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Pets in unheated cars should also have extra warmth protection such as jackets and blankets, but “if a dog has underlying hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) or a medical condition where he can’t regulate his temperature normally, I wouldn’t recommend [leaving the pet in the car] at all,” said Lee

Pet Insurance is important when dealing with serious health concerns

A cat and a dog with pet insurance wait for a command.

The winter months bring about a time where accidents and injuries occur frequently in pets.

In addition to accidents and illnesses, pets often get sick during the winter. Having pet insurance for your dog can help with the expenses that come with the treatments you dog may need.

Poisonings happen often during the winter months; antifreeze poisoning is one of the most common. Other chemicals used in the winter, like snow melting chemicals, can also be potentially deadly to pets. Pets can also slip and fall on icy surfaces just as easily as humans, which can easily result in broken bones. If owners have dog and cat insurance for their pets, unexpected accidents like these are often more manageable. Pet insurance companies like Pets Best Insurance reimburse pet owners 80% of the total amount of the vet bill after their deductible, so long as the issue is not preexisting.

Frost bite and hypothermia are common risks for dogs during the winter. Outside dogs are at a much higher risk of developing these conditions. Indoor dogs can be affected as well because they are not used to being in the cold weather.

Skin and feet irritations are another common aliment during the winter. The dry heat indoors can wreak havoc on your dog’s skin. Their feet can become dry and cracked due to salt and various chemicals used to melt ice and snow.

If you don’t currently have dog insurance for your pet, now is a great time to get your pet covered. When choosing insurance, make sure you do a pet insurance comparison. Comparing pet insurance plans will allow you to choose the plan that fits the needs of you and your pet.

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