I Wish I Had Pet Insurance When…My Cat Swallowed Ribbon

A kitten that needs pet insurance watches birds outside.

The year was 2004, and I had just moved to Texas for school. My kitties moved with me and everything was going well. I had even invented a new cat toy I called “Fishing for Cats”, which my cats loved.

One day after class, I came home to discover that my orange tabby Monica had swallowed a 4-foot piece of ribbon from the toy. It looked like most of it had come back up in a mess on the floor, so I thought we were in the clear. No such luck.

Over the next few days, Monica refused to eat and became lethargic. She was still drinking water, but I worried anyway. I was a broke graduate student with no car, living on the outskirts of a large city. I was planning to buy a car with my tax refund, but for the time being, I had classes with strict attendance schedules and a long daily bus commute. How on Earth was I going to get my cat to a vet? And how would I pay the vet bill?

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Bulging Baxter? 5 Tips for Chubby Canines

A dog with pet insurance eats a bowl of dog food.

It’s true, Americans are getting heavier and our pets are doing the same. To reverse this trend, the first thing that must happen is recognition of obesity.The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) released a nationwide survey in February 2012 showing that 53% of dogs overweight or obese. In addition to an increased number of obese pets, there is a disturbing decrease in people’s perception of their pets’ obesity. The study conducted by the APOP showed that 22% of dog owners and 15% of cat owners thought their pets were a normal weight, when really they were overweight.

Here are some tips transform your pooch from poochy, to healthy:

1. Hefty Hounds
Feed pre-measured meals. Pets that have access to as much food as they want and nibble through the day are going to be much harder to regulate. First determine exactly how many cups of kibble your pet is eating in 24 hours; use a baking measuring cup. Pet portion control is easy. Just measure out the amount you usually put in the bowl, them measure how much is left at the end of 24 hours. Next, reduce the amount of kibble you feed by about 20%. In single dog households this can work well, because you’ll put the pre-measured amount of kibble in the bowl, and when it’s gone, no refills!

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Pets Aren’t Washing Machines

A cat with pet health insurance sits on top of a washing machine.

Some consumer reports compare pet insurance to buying an insurance warranty for your washing machine, dryer or other appliance. They also sometimes compare premiums paid for a hypothetical 3-5 year return. Unfortunately they miss the point when it comes to the value we place on our pets and the very rational for pet insurance. Here are a few reasons this comparison just doesn’t stack up:

1. First, cat and dog insurance, like any insurance plan, is designed to reimburse you or help pay for something you might otherwise not be able to afford. Pet insurance is not an “investment,” per se. Insurance, in general, is for future unknown events that may happen. Pet insurance, in itself, was created to help pet owners afford care for unexpected accidents and illnesses that often cost owners thousands of dollars, or more.

With a pet insurance plan an owner may “hit the jackpot” in terms or reimbursement, when a serious illness or accident befalls their pet, where they could receive thousands of dollars in benefits. On the flip side, a pet may not have an immediate need for pet insurance for years. You just never know.

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What Veterinarians Won’t Tell You About Their Job

A veterinarian with a secret.

Veterinary medicine involves lots of sloppy warm kisses and friendly tail wags on a daily basis. And overall, it’s a very rewarding profession. But not every day is all puppies, kittens, healthy pets and treatable diseases. As a veterinarian, I often see frustrating, sad and even gross things. Recently I posted a blog discussing surprising things your veterinarian loves. Here is my list of the top six least favorite appointments or procedures we see:

1. Neglect
The top of my least-favorite list is any appointment or disease that stems from neglect or was preventable. Unfortunately this happens! It’s often hard for animal lovers and pet insurance enthusiasts to imagine that someone wouldn’t treat their pet like one of the family. But it does happen. Often the neglect isn’t malicious or intentional, but stems from lack of knowledge. For example, injuries sustained after leaping out of the back of trucks, which could have been prevented by tethering or securing the dog correctly (or not putting the pet in the back of a vehicle at all.) Other diseases of neglect could include sunburn from being outside too long, skin issues stemming from poor grooming habits or excessively long toe nails. Even periodontal disease that has been left too long can cause the pet pain and discomfort.

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Coughing Pet? It Could Be Deadly

A dog with pet health insurance is held by a veterinarian.

Everybody knows how annoying it is when you have a cough, especially one that seems to linger on and on. But what about when your pet coughs– in some cases it seems that they are literally going to hack up a lung. In no particular order, here are 7 of the most common reasons that your pet may be coughing– and some can be quite serious.

1) Kennel Cough
This highly contagious and common illness usually results in a dry, honking cough. The cough itself can last for weeks, especially untreated. Kennel cough increases the chances for developing pneumonia, which can be a very serious condition. Most dogs with kennel cough will act normally, but frequently have uncontrollable non-productive coughing spells.

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