Pet Insurance Blog – Pets Best Insurance
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Pet health: Annual check ups

Posted on: March 7th, 2011 by

Posted by: H.R.
A dog with pet insurance gets an annual check up.

The health of your pet should be a top priority, and annual check-ups help you and your veterinarian stay on top of it. You can lessen veterinary costs with a pet insurance plan. Many cat and dog insurance companies, like Pets Best Insurance, even offer wellness packages to help cover the cost of routine care.

The most important part of your pet’s annual check-up is the physical exam. Your veterinarian will start at your pets’ nose and end at their tail. They will check the nose, eyes, and ears for any abnormalities. They will then move on to check your pets mouth and examine the health of the teeth and gums. The skin and coat are then examined for any irritation or signs of parasites. The veterinarian will palpate the abdomen feeling for any abnormalities, and he will listen to the heart and lungs. Any abnormal finding will be discussed, and you should mention any concerns you may have about your pet during the exam.

Annual dog and cat vaccinations are usually given during the annual check-up. The vaccinations your pet will need depends on the lifestyle of your pet. There are basic vaccines that pets should get, along with vaccines that are given depending on your pet’s activity level or in which region you live. For example, if you take your dog hiking often, your veterinarian might recommend that your dog be vaccinated for Lyme disease which is carried by ticks.

Pet adoption tips

Posted on: March 7th, 2011 by

A puppy with dog insurance looks up at his owner.

Choosing to add a new member to your family is a huge responsibility.

Once you have decided that you have the time to commit to a new pet, you are ready to begin your research. When looking to adopt a new pet you will also need to consider purchasing pet insurance.

Below are several pet adoption tips that will help you choose the type of dog or cat that will be the best fit for your family.

• Costs: The first thing you’ll want to consider is the cost that is involved with owning a pet. Besides food, there is the cost of annual veterinary care. To help with the cost of pet heath care, consider pet health insurance. Companies like Pets Best Insurance offer reasonable rates for cat and dog insurance.

• Family Dynamics: You will want to consider when choosing a new pet for your family is family dynamics. Do you have children? If so, you need to evaluate which breeds of dogs tend to be better with children.

• Exercise: Consider the amount of time you have to properly exercise your new dog. If you lead an active lifestyle, you will probably want to choose a breed that enjoys being active, too.

• Location: You also want to examine where you live. If you live in an apartment, then a large breed dog may not be the best choice for you. Also, check the stipulations regarding having a dog in your apartment—there may be weight limits and breed restrictions.

Western Vet Conference: Why you need pet insurance

Posted on: March 4th, 2011 by

Torrey the Chihuahua promotes pet insurance at the WVC.
By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Pets Best Insurance President and Founder

Last week Torrey and I visited the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) in Las Vegas, Nevada to tout the benefits of pet insurance. There were nearly 10,000 veterinarians and technicians in attendance gaining their required continuing education, as well as hundreds of lectures on diseases, treatments, surgery and diagnostics for animals. There was also a huge exhibit hall displaying a variety of products, services, and diagnostic equipment for veterinarians.

This was the fifth conference Torrey has attended. She assists the Pets Best Insurance staff in our booth and helps promote pet health insurance to veterinarians and hospital staff. She has the distinction of being the smallest attendee at the conference. She enjoys walking the exhibit floor and looking at the products and technology available for pets. This time we were struck by the increased costs of all the new technology and products that were not available when I had my companion pet practices.

For instance, MRI’s were once only available only for humans. The access for pets was limited to a few veterinary schools and some after hours or weekends when the MRI units were closed for humans. Later, a few used units became available for pets in larger metro areas. Now there are special smaller MRI units being produced especially for pets.

MRI’s can diagnose disease and abnormalities that normal radiographs (x-rays) can miss. However, they are expensive. A typical pet unit can cost from $200,000 to $400,000, and a single MRI diagnostic session for a pet is around $800 to $1,000. Over time this cost will be reduced as more pets have access to the technology—but for now a pet MRI is still very costly.

At the conference we also were surprised to learn the cost of digital radiograph can be $100,000 or higher. Of course digital radiographs, just like your dentist may use, are faster and produce better resolution than the old fashion way. Digital radiography is also easier on the pet because it doesn’t require as much restraint, which can ease the pets’ stress level.

Because the cost of treating pets with expensive equipment can drive the vet bill up, it often becomes a huge financial burden on the pet owner. Pets Best Insurance plans will leverage pet owners’ finances for pet care by nearly 5X when we pay 80% after the deductible. With Pets Best Insurance, that $1,000 MRI can cost you $200 because of our flat rate reimbursement model. With pet insurance there is peace -of-mind knowing you can afford the best in diagnostics should your pet need an MRI or other costly diagnostic procedures.

Cat Peeing Where it Shouldn’t; Dog hiccups

Posted on: March 3rd, 2011 by

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. I’m at home today answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page

The first question comes from Chrissy. She asks, “My 14-year-old female cat suddenly started peeing on the bathmat and anything in the bathroom about three months ago. She sometimes pees on the puppy’s rest blankie and potty grass. Is this behavioral or medical? It’s not constant; she uses her litter box, too.”

This is a great question and one of the probably more frustrating things about owning cats. I do think it’s important for you to make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out a medical cause for her inappropriate urination, such as a urinary tract infection or even something more serious, like stones.

Once that’s been ruled out, then you’ve got a behavioral issue. It sounds like you’ve got a new baby in the house. That could possibly be a trigger for her inappropriate urination. Your veterinarian might suggest feline pheromones. Cats are actually really quite sensitive to pheromones and they have a calming effect. It sounds kind of hokey but some people swear that they work really pretty well.

Make sure you’ve got litter boxes in more than one area of the house so that she doesn’t feel like she doesn’t have a place to go. Make sure there’s privacy. Sometimes cats are finicky about the location or even the type of litter. Make sure you haven’t changed the type of litter or suddenly gone from an open litter box to a covered litter box. These are all little things that can sometimes make cats not want to use their box as much.

The next question comes from Emily and she asks, “My 1½-year-old male neutered Shih Tzu get hiccups a couple times a day ever since he was a puppy. What causes this and is there anything I can do to eliminate these hiccup spells for him?”

I love this question. It’s a great question. Puppies do get a lot of hiccups. Hiccups are from irritation to the phrenic nerve, which is the nerve that innervates the diaphragm. No one really knows exactly what it is about puppies that makes them have this irritation, but most outgrow it, usually by about 18 months of age, which is right about where you’re at with your Shih Tzu.

I would venture to say in the next couple of months you’ll probably be seeing less and less hiccups. There’s probably not much you can do to help shorten the duration of the hiccups, but know that they’re not harmful to him and they’re not painful, and they will go away.

Pets Best Insurance tips for cabin fever

Posted on: March 3rd, 2011 by

Two dogs with pet insurance wait for warm weather inside.

By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance

While the weather slowly warms, many pet owners find themselves with some pretty serious cabin fever this time of year. Even though the ground has started to thaw, the sun is still setting early and trails and backyards can still be muddy. What’s a dog owner to do? Pets Best Insurance has a few ideas to tide you and your pet over until spring.

Hide and Seek with Kibbles
When space is too limited for physical exercise, opt for cognitive exercise instead. Feed your pup his dinner in a food-dispensing toy, or put half in his dish and use the other half for games, like catch or hide-and-seek. Put your dog in another room while you hide kibbles around the living room, then let him out to hunt. Bonus: he’ll be busy hunting for more long after the last one has been eaten.

It’s important to reserve some of your dog’s normal food portion for games (instead of giving an extra serving), because pet health can be compromised by weight gain.

Teach New Tricks
Teaching your dog new tricks takes lots of time and patience – perfect for cold nights when you’re stuck in front of reality TV. If your dog has mastered the basic sit/stay/shake commands, opt for something more entertaining, like “high 5”, “dance” or “roll over”. Even if your dog doesn’t get it right away, you’ll both have fun practicing.

Training tip: To avoid confusing your dog, help her do the desired action and then say the command, followed by lots of praise or a treat. This is much more effective than saying “Roll over! Roll over!” while your dog stares at you.

Tug of War
From meat-flavored rubber toys to ropes and squeakers, find what your dog likes best and tug away. In order to avoid dental problems in dogs, however, be sure you don’t tug too hard. Provide just enough resistance to satisfy your dog without damaging any teeth. Some pet insurance companies, like Pets Best Insurance, provide coverage for accidents, just in case.

Make Room to Run
If Fido is bouncing off the walls and really needs to run, move couches, the coffee table or the kitchen table to create a larger space to play. It’s no dog park, but it’s safer and more fun than trying to navigate furniture while chasing a toy.

Daycares and Play Dates
Give your dog a vacation day by dropping her off at a doggie daycare for a few hours – some places even offer discount rates on their least popular days. Or, partner up with dog-owning friends and take turns hosting doggie play dates. Lots of energy can be burned wrestling and chasing.

Here are a few unique games shared by the Pets Best Insurance Facebook friends:

Ninja – If your dog likes to fake you out, this is perfect. Throw a toy and try to catch him as he runs back to you.

Blankie Monster – Throw a blanket over your dog and let her bite her way out.

Monkey in the Middle – Grab a kid, a ball and play keep-away (letting Spot win every once in a while, of course.)