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Pet health tips for first time owners

Posted on: February 15th, 2011 by

A puppy gets pet health insurance from his owner.
Now that you have decided to add a new pet to your family, there are a few things you will need to do. You’ll want to be sure that you have covered all the bases when it comes to the health and well being of your new pet.

One of the first things you want to do after you research pet health insurance, is find a veterinarian. Ask friends, neighbors and family with pets which veterinarians they use—always choose one with a good reputation. Since healthcare for your pet can be expensive, pet insurance can help you save on the costs of pet health care.

If you are buying a pet from a breeder, you should also make sure that the pet is checked out within the guidelines of your breeder contract.

When you pick up your new pet, obtain copies of their pet health record from the previous owners. This information will include any vaccines that your pet has received and help the veterinarian know which vaccines your pet will need. Now is also a good time to get your pet started on heartworm and flea preventatives. Also, spay or neuter your pet if they are not already altered.

Top 10 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Posted on: February 15th, 2011 by

Diane's cat Tarzan hides in the bushes.

By: Diane Ayres
SNIP for Pets Best Insurance

Whether you’ve recently adopted a pet or you’re considering it, one of the most important health decisions you’ll make is to spay or neuter your cat or dog. Not convinced yet? Check out our handy-and persuasive-list of the top 10 reasons to spay or neuter your dog/ cat.

1. Spaying and neutering saves lives! An unspayed female cat, her mate and all of their offspring, producing 2 litters per year, with 2.8 surviving kittens per litter can total 67 cats in just 2 years. Some cats are having 3 to 4 litters of kittens a year and kittens are getting pregnant as early as 3 months old. An unspayed female dog, her mate and all of their puppies and their puppies‘ puppies, if none are ever neutered or spayed, add up to 128 in just 2 years.

2. Spaying your female cat or dog will help prevent breast cancer. A female dog has 0.05% chance of getting breast cancer if it is spayed before its first heat, 18% chance if spayed after its first heat and 26% chance of getting breast cancer after the second heat cycle.

3. Neutering male dogs or cats prevents testicular cancer.

4. A spayed female will not go into heat. There will be no yowling or frequent urination of your un spayed cat looking for a mate and no discharge from your unsprayed dog in heat.

5. Neutering dogs makes them less likely to roam. An un neutered male will go to extremes in searching for a mate, including jumping the fence or digging his way out of the yard. Once out, he is at risk of getting lost, getting hit by a car, causing an accident or getting into a fight. A dog who roams is also more likely to get external and internal parasites.

6. Neutered males are better behaved. They are less likely to be aggressive (statistically most dog bites are inflicted by intact males), less likely to mark their territory with strong smelling urine and less likely to mount when stimulated. Spayed and neutered dogs and catsare more affectionate and more focused on their owner.

7. Spaying or neutering your dog or cat will not make them fat! Pets become obese from lack of exercise and overfeeding. The myth that spaying and neutering your pet makes them fat is medically and factually indefensible.

8. Spaying and neutering your dog or cat helps create a safer neighborhood. Stray animals can cause problems in the community. They can prey on wildlife, cause traffic accidents, scare children etc.

9. There are no benefits of letting your female have “just one litter.” Research shows the whole pet population virtually stems from “just one litter.” Many pet owners think their dog is special and unique and that is why they should breed their dog. The shelters are full of special and unique dogs. Letting your children witness your dog giving birth to a litter that you do not intend to keep does not teach them about birth, it teaches them to be irresponsible. There are several videos on the computer for children to watch a cat or dog have kittens or puppies. Finding homes for the litter is not enough. An equal number of animals will then die in shelters. Furthermore what happens when the new owner doesn’t spay or neuter the puppy? What if they can no longer keep the puppy? Every time an animal dies in a shelter, someone somewhere is responsible. Don’t be that person.

10. Just because your dog is a purebred doesn’t mean it should be bred. 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred not including those in rescue groups.

Each day 70,000 puppies/ kittens are born in the United States, while only 10,000 people are born. Thats 7 dogs/ cats are born for every human born in the United States. Please be a part of the solution, spay and neuter! Thank you.

Pets Best Insurance: Why are fewer cats insured than dogs?

Posted on: February 14th, 2011 by

Three kittens with pet health insurance sit in a basket.
By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Pets Best Insurance President and Founder

For years there has been speculation as to why more dogs have pet insurance than cats. After all, it would seem that cat owners are just as attached to their felines as canine owners are. Yet, of the total number of insured pets, only 15-20% overall are felines. Why the difference?

A major factor is the misconception by cat owners that cats don’t need pet health insurance as much as dogs, because dogs tend to be more accident prone. While there is truth that cats have less veterinary medical visits than dogs, cats still have costly medical conditions just the same as dogs.

By nature, cats disguise their ailments. In fact, cats often hide their symptoms so well, it may cause medical conditions to become more severe when they are finally diagnosed. Adult cats are also more sedentary than dogs, which causes symptoms to go unnoticed early on. As pet owners, we expect our dogs to be running, fetching or following us around, and when they are not we become concerned. Because our expectations for cats tend to differ, we are often not as alert to early symptoms they display.

Kittens have accidents due to their inquisitive nature, but they will likely have fewer accidents than puppies will. Both kittens and puppies have an immature immune system, making them more susceptible to disease. Kittens have more viral conditions, such as upper respiratory conditions, than adult cats which are usually vaccinated and have also developed some immunity.

Feline Leukemia prevalence is highest from 1-6 years of age. Cystitis (bladder infections) is always one of our most frequent claims; while diabetes, kidney failure and cancer are some of the most costly conditions. The most common endocrine (hormonal) condition for cats is hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid.

This condition is more common in adult and older cats (4-20 years of age). There are literally thousands of medical conditions that cats can acquire. A few of the more common conditions are: cystitis, dermatitis, kidney failure, leukemia, numerous types of skin tumors, oral tumors, feline infectious peritonitis, abscess, liver disease, heart disease, various poisons, mammary tumors (most are malignant), lymphosarcoma and asthma to name a few.

With cats, an early diagnosis is important to restoring pet health. Watch for symptoms such as lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, difficulty breathing, not playing, or drinking more or less than usual. Weigh your cat at least twice a year to check for weight loss and have your cat checked at least once a year by your veterinarian. Twice-a-year visits are recommended for older cats and kittens.

Consider getting cat insurance for your feline, so that you will have financial help and peace-of-mind in knowing you can afford veterinary care. Feline pet insurance rates are typically less dogs’ and if you happen to have more than one pet, ask about multiple pet insurance discounts to save on your monthly premiums.

Feb. 14th is Pet Theft Awareness Day

Posted on: February 14th, 2011 by

A dog with pet insurance is safe from pet theft.

Since 1988, Pet Awareness Day is celebrated on February 14th. Last Chance for Animals began this campaign to educate the public on the issue of pet theft.

Their mission is to educate the public on how to protect their pets and prevent them from becoming one of the approximate 2 million animals stolen each year.

There are several methods to help keep your pets safe. You should keep your animals indoors, especially if you are not home. Also, avoid leaving your pets unattended in the yard, as this gives thieves an open opportunity to steal your pet. If your pet must stay outdoors unattended, ensure that you have a lock on your gate.

Spaying and neutering your pet can also make them less likely to roam. Altered pets are less desirable to thieves that want your pet for breeding purposes. Don’t let your pet roam the neighborhood, not only can they be stolen, pet injuries can occur. Make sure that your pet has an up-to-date tag and collar. Having your pet microchipped is useful if their collar is missing.

Keep pet insurance information and recent photos handy. If your pet is groomed in the summer, be sure to have photos of your pet when they are groomed. This will help to make accurate fliers if your pet is lost or stolen.

The best way to prevent pet theft is to not let them out of your sight. While this is not practical for most people, taking simple precautions can help lessen the risk.

Pet supplies for your new pet

Posted on: February 11th, 2011 by

A seven-week-old kitten with pet health insurance drinks from a bottle.
Being a first time pet owner can be overwhelming. If you do your research before getting your new pet you will be prepared and better equipped to start on the right foot. Once you have done your research on which veterinarian and pet health insurance you are going to use, it is time to get the pet supplies that your pet will need.

The most important pet supply that you will need is food. If possible, find out which brand of food your new pet has been eating and buy the same. If you are unable to find out what food your pet has been eating, you will want to buy a quality food that fits your pet’s life stage. For example, if you are getting a new born puppy or kitten you will want to get puppy or kitten food.

If you are getting a puppy or dog you will need a few basic supplies. Purchase the appropriate sized collar and leash for your new dog. In addition to a collar, get an identification tag with your contact information. It is recommended that you get an appropriate sized crate for your new dog as well. You will also need food and water bowls. You may want to pick up a few toys, as well.

For your new cat you will need a litter box and litter, food and water bowls, and a few toys. Being prepared with pet health insurance and all the right supplies will help you be the best pet owner you can be.