Author Archives: Hadley Rush

Does pet health insurance pay for itself?

A dog with pet health insurance goes for a stroll.

By: Leigh A. Peterson
For Pets Best Insurance

If living with pets wasn’t rewarding and full of love, there would be a lot less pet owners in the world. As wonderful as it is however, caring for pets comes with hardships, too. They are completely dependent on us for their health and well-being, and when they get sick or injured, it’s a terrible experience for pet owners; especially when it comes to veterinarian bills. Nothing is more heartbreaking than being told how much it will cost to save or help your pet and having no idea where you’ll be able to come up with the funds.

Jennifer Neal of Salt Lake City, Utah, who has pet health insurance for her two Labrador Retrievers Buddha and Stella, knows this all too well.

“It has allowed me to truly care for them both in ways I would have otherwise not been able to afford,” Jennifer said of pet health insurance.

Jennifer had to use her pet insurance for truly unexpected events, when Buddha stepped on glass at the dog park and Stella swallowed some items that she was unable to pass on her own. Luckily for Buddha and Stella, their mom was able to give them the best care possible when they needed it most, and unthinkable outcomes were averted because she had purchased pet health insurance for her pets.

Pet owner Amy Reiley also has pet care insurance, although she hasn’t needed to use it yet and hopes she never will.

“With my trainer’s advice, I got my dog insurance when he was a puppy so it was very affordable,” said Amy. “I really have it for peace of mind so that if my dog gets in an accident I don’t have to make a difficult snap decision as to whether to pay for an expensive procedure.”

Is all this assistance and peace of mind affordable?

“They have far better coverage than I would ever be able to find for myself,” Jennifer said of pet insurance. “If I could find affordable insurance like that for me I’d also purchase it.”

Pet health Halloween hazards

By: Fiona Lee Caldwell DVM
For Pets Best Insurance
Two small puppies feast on Halloween candy, which can be a pet health issue.

Halloween and other winter holidays are just around the corner! While celebrating these occasions can be fun and exciting, it’s important to remember some of the dangers that the holidays can bring to pet health.

Halloween always comes with costumes, trick-or-treating, and lots of candy– but some candy can be dangerous for your pets, especially chocolate candy. Most people know that chocolate is toxic to dogs and can cause severe dog health care issues, but few of us actually know why. Chocolate toxicity is one of the most common ‘poisonings’ seen in veterinary medicine and can be fatal if left untreated.

Chocolate contains a caffeine-like substance called theobromine that dogs are very sensitive to, more so than humans. Theobromine is obtained from the plant Theobroma cocoa and is present in chocolate, cocoa, tea, cocoa beans and cocoa bean hulls. This substance causes the body to release catecholamines, which are the ‘fight or flight’ hormones released during extreme stress, and can cause muscles to contract. When skeletal muscles (the ones in arms and legs) contract muscle tremors are seen, but smooth muscle located in the intestines and in other areas of the body can contract as well, causing GI upset and other clinical signs of pet health issues.

Catecholamines are stimulants, like caffeine, and can cause an increased heart rate and blood pressure. In high doses, theobromine can be lethal to dogs. Clinical signs of theobromine or chocolate toxicity can include tremors, shaking, vomiting, diarrhea, heart arrhythmias and even seizures.

Theobromine stays in a dog’s body almost three times as long as in humans, 17.5 hours versus 6 hours in people. Dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate are the most dangerous to dog health care. This type of chocolate contains the most theobromine per ounce, about ten times as much as that contained in milk chocolate. Just 5 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate could be lethal in a 10 pound dog.

Baked goods, such as cookies and cake are less dangerous, unless eaten in large quantities. Most halloween candies are made with the less concentrated milk chocolate, but dogs can vary in their sensitivity to theobromine. Thus, the smaller amounts found in candy can also be dangerous or cause serious illness in a pet with increased sensitivity to it. In addition, any sweet treat eaten in excess can cause GI upset, called gastroenteritis. While most gastroenteritis cases are not fatal, hospitalization is often needed to treat the symptoms, which can include vomiting, diarrhea and other pet health problems.

While there is no ‘reversal’ for theobromine and chocolate toxicity, if brought to a veterinary clinic promptly many dogs can be saved with appropriate and timely treatment. Treatment includes inducing vomiting if the pet has eaten the chocolate recently and administering activated charcoal, a substance that acts like a sponge and can help prevent theobromine from being absorbed through the lining of the GI tract. Some pets will need additional treatment to help prevent seizures and lower elevated blood pressure if present.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if you are concerned your pet may have ingested chocolate. Preventing your dog’s access to candy during Halloween is the best way to keep him or her safe so everyone can enjoy the costumes and trick-or-treating!

Dog health care: Parvo Virus

A puppy waits to receive dog health care.Let’s face it, if you have a puppy, your little ball of fluff will experience a bout of puppy diarrhea at some point.

But what can somtimes just be an upset tummy can actually be a dire dog health care issue– or even death. Suddenly your puppy not only has diarrhea but has now begun to vomit.

Your normally playful puppy has become lethargic and you know something serious is going on. A simple puppy diarrhea treatment has turned into a hospital stay with a vet bill that can be very pricey without the help of pet insurance. With a diagnosis of parvo virus, your world can be turned upside down.

Parvo virus is a serious, life-threatening illness that primarily affects dog health care in puppies. The symptoms of parvo usually come on suddenly with the onset of diarrhea that is usually accompanied by vomiting. The puppy will become very ill quickly. Puppies with diarrhea and vomiting need urgent care and should be checked out by a veterinarian immediately.

Parvo is a highly contagious virus that is passed on to other puppies and even onto adult dogs that have not been vaccinated against it. The virus has the ability to contaminate an area for several months. The virus can remain on the surfaces in the house and in the soil in which the stool has come into contact with.

Getting pet insurance for your puppy as soon as you get her can save you the heartache of having to deal with a sick puppy and having to worry about how you are going to afford treatment.

How to Keep Your Puppy Happy and Healthy

Posted by: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manger
A couple sits with their puppy on a couch.
There are several things that you need to do in order for your puppy to be a well-rounded member of society. Puppies are like children: they’re sponges that absorb all the information you teach them. When dealing with a puppy it is important to be a leader and teach him what you expect of him. One of the most important things you can do for your puppy is to start him on a high-quality puppy dog food.

A quality puppy food will contain good ingredients like meat and fish as opposed to corn and meat by-products. Quality food will ensure your puppy gets his nutritional needs met, which will allow him to be in good pet health throghout his life.

Puppy exercise should include daily walks and play sessions. Playing outside with your dog will also allow him to burn off excess energy and keep him from becoming bored. Puppies that do not receive daily exercise are more prone to behavioral issues such as chewing inappropriate objects and excessive barking.

Enrolling your puppy in dog obedience training classes is one of the best things that you can do for your puppy. Taking a class together will strengthen the bond between the two of you. Along with a strong bond, you will also enforce your role as the leader of the pack. Your puppy will also learn how to walk on a leash correctly, sit, stay and other commands that all puppies should learn.

Take your puppy to the veterinarian for routine veterinary care. Making sure your pet is up to date on vaccines and free from intestinal parasites.

Get pet insurance for your puppy. Pet insurance makes owning a puppy more affordable by covering illnesses or injuries that your puppy may have. Pet insurance will allow you to provide the best care for your puppy throughout its life.

Finding your veterinarian

A dog is tended to by a veterinarian.

“Of all the things I miss from veterinary practice,
puppy breath is one of the most fond memories!”
– Dr. Tom Cat

Finding a veterinarian is often a personal journey, just like finding the perfect pet and choosing an upstanding pet insurance company. There is no rule that says you have to pick the closest veterinarian or the cutest dog or cat. Your personality might gel better with the vet across town, and the quirkier looking cat at the shelter just might steal your heart.

Even if you get a referral from a friend who loves her veterinarian, the chemistry just may not be there between the two of you. There is nothing wrong with taking time to perform veterinarian clinic comparison, pet insurance comparison, and pet food comparison. Such actions just prove that you are a caring, responsible pet owner and that you are concerned about pet health.

It’s well understood that the number-one reason veterinarians choose their field is because they love animals. We would all love to believe that when we take our beloved pet to a vet clinic, the people treating him sees in him exactly what we see. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. A vet clinic is still staffed with people who are at work, and may not be having the best day. Your pet is probably stressed out and not on his best behavior, either.

Likewise, you’re probably as stressed out as every other pet owner there that day, as well. Everyone needs to work together calmly to get to the goal: a happy, healthy, comfortable pet. But during this process, you don’t deserve to be made to feel like a number, or your pet like he’s on a conveyor belt.

If you can find a clinic that remains professional through the chaos, and communicates patiently with you until you understand, you may have found your veterinarian. If you feel calmed by a vet’s bedside manner, and he takes a moment to look into your pet’s eyes when they aren’t shining as brightly as they once were, you may have found a gem.

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