Author Archives: Hadley Rush

Pet health: Does my pet need to be vaccinated?

Posted by: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
A veterinarian holds a small dog.

Pet owners often ask themselves why they should vaccinate their pets. According to Dr. Gloria Dorsey, DVM, MPH, and director of medical services at the Atlanta Humane Society, “While responsible pet ownership is not always cheap, you owe it to your new best friend to make sure that they are kept healthy throughout their lives.”

Keep pet health a top priority by keeping them up-to-date on vaccinations. Vaccines are important because they can protect your pet from getting diseases– many which can be life-threatening. Puppies and kittens should get a series of vaccines in the first year of life to ensure proper pet health and that they are protected from dangerous diseases.

Mother animals pass their immunity on to their offspring via the colostrum in her milk. The immunity from the mother usually loses its affect around 5 weeks. Puppies and kittens are given vaccines to help build up their immunity to common diseases. The vaccines are usually repeated every 3 to 4 weeks, until they are 5 months old, to make sure that the animal is fully covered by the vaccines.

Rabies is a disease that affects both cats and dogs. Humans can also be infected with rabies by being bitten by an infected animal. Domestic animals will usually contract rabies from wild animals like foxes and raccoons. The rabies vaccine is the only vaccine that is required by law in most states. Low-cost pet vaccinations are available through some local animal groups and low-cost vaccine providers. By ensuring your pet gets vaccinated, you will be setting them up for long-term cat and dog health care benefits.

Dog health care: Reduce your dog’s risk of mammary tumors

A female dog sits for the camera.
At the 2007 American College of Veterinary Medical Forum in Seattle, Dr. Anthony S. Moore gave a lecture on dogs with mammary tumors. He stated that mammary tumors are the most common type of tumors found in unspayed female dogs. He also mentioned a study that linked making healthy dog food choices for your dog reduces dog health care issues, such as the risk of mammary tumors.

Mammary tumors account for nearly half of all of the tumors found in female dogs. Mammary tumors occur three times more often in dogs than humans. Dogs also have the highest occurrence of mammary tumors than any other domesticated animal.

These mammary tumors can be a dog health care issue when they are found to be cancerous– which occurs about half of the time. By the time that the tumors have been diagnosed, the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Females that are not spayed are 7 times more likely to develop breast cancer compared to spayed females. Research has proven the earlier you spay your dog the less chance they have for developing mammary cancer.

Another study has shown a significant reduction of the risk of developing mammary cancer in dogs that were thin at 9 to 12 months of age. Feeding your pet red meat may also increase the risk of a dog developing mammary cancer.

To lessen your dog’s chance of getting mammary cancer, have her spayed. Spaying before the first heat cycle is preferred. Ensure proper dog health care by feeding your dog a healthy diet and keeping her at a healthy weight.

Top 10 things to consider when selecting a pet health insurance plan

A cat and a dog peer over a white wall.
Choosing the best pet insurance plan for your pet can seem confusing, but researching all of your options will help you compare pet insurance and decide which plan is the best fit for you and your pet.

The SPCA has come up with a list of “10 Things You Should Know Before Purchasing a Policy” to help you understand what you should look for when choosing a pet insurance company and an insurance plan for your pet.

1. The first thing they recommend is choosing a deductible that fits your family’s financial situation the best. Which type of plan would work better for your family– a plan with a lower monthly premium but a higher out-of-pocket cost, or a plan with a higher monthly premium with a lower out-of-pocket cost?

2. Another thing to look consider are policy limitations. Check the per-incident limit and the lifetime limit allowed. Make sure the limits are high enough to realistically cover the expenses of pet health care for your furry friend.

3. One of the most important things to look for when choosing a cat or dog health care policy is what the plan will cover. Review all of the details regarding what the plan covers and what is does not cover so you are sure of the coverage you will receive.

4. You and your veterianarian should choose the course of treatment for your pet. Choose a plan that won’t limit your treatment choices.

5. Make sure that you clearly understand how the reimbursement process works. There are two ways your reimbursement can be calculated. Either a percentage of your total bill will be repaid to you, or a percentage of a “benefit schedule” (which can limit reimbursement amounts) will be reimbursed to you. Be sure you understand how much of your pet health bills the plan will actually cover.

6. Find out if they allow you to choose any vet you wish or if there is a network of vets that you must choose from. You will want to be able to use your primary veterinarian, and any specialists your vet may refer you to.

7. Choose a plan that doesn’t limit your treatment choices based on a benefit schedule. Benefit schedules will also limit the amount you are reimbursed for treatment.

8. Go with a company that your vet recommends. Veterinarians will likely know which companies are better than others.

9. Check that the pet insurance is licensed in your state. If the company is licensed in your state then the state government regulates the company.

10. Give customer service a call to make sure they are helpful and available to answer any questions you may have. You want a company that you will enjoy working with not a company that you will have to work against.

How to potty train your puppy

A small brown puppy sits in the grass.
A dog crate is an essential tool for both dog health care and puppy training. According to Cheri Lucas, the founder and president of Second Chance at Love Humane Society, “Crate training has been proven to be the fastest and most effective way to housebreak a puppy.”

Dogs like to be in confined areas that simulate a den and they feel safe in enclosed areas where they can curl up. A crate provides the type of environment that will make a puppy feel secure.

Dogs naturally won’t want to go potty in the area where they sleep. This makes using a crate ideal for potty training. Choose a dog crate that is large enough for the puppy to stand up in, turn around, and lay in comfortably.

You want to avoid choosing a crate that is too large as the dog may use one end for a bathroom area and sleep in the other end. Crates that come with divider panels will allow you to buy a crate that will fit your dog when they are full grown but can be divided to a smaller size for when your dog is a puppy.

The best way to crate train a puppy is to start the first day you take the puppy home. The crate should be placed in an area of the house where the rest of the family will be. Dogs are pack animals and like to be with the rest of their pack, the family. Take the dog outside to go potty after taking them out of the crate and before putting them into the crate.

To ensure proper dog health care and good behavior, the crate should never be used as an area for punishment.

Cat health care for aging cats

An old cat sits patiently.
As a cat enters each stage of life, the care she requires changes. Cats are living longer now than they ever have.

According to Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the percentage of cats over six years of age has nearly doubled in just over a decade, and there is every reason to expect that the “graying cat” population will continue to grow.

With aging cats comes increased risks for disease and illnesses. Having cat insurance for your cat from the time they are kittens can help you ensure they receive the veterinary care they need throughout their life.

Symptoms of diseases are often noticed by cat owners but are thought to be due to the cat aging. Some of the symptoms that owners dismiss are changes in the amount their cats are eating and drinking, changes in activity levels and changes in sleeping patterns. To keep older cats healthy, have your cat examined if they exhibit any changes in behavior or eating, drinking or sleeping patterns.

Take your senior cat to the veterinarian for more frequent check-ups. Older cats should be seen every 6 months to monitor their weight and to get a thorough exam. Any changes in your cat’s health will then be further evaluated. Having pet insurance for older cats can help offset the additional costs of pet health issues that come with aging.

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