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On the Road Again! Travel Tips for Smooth Sailing with Your Dog

Posted on: July 30th, 2008 by

Posted by Angela Klein on 7/30/2008 in Articles from Newsletters

There are few phrases in a dog’s vocabulary that elicit joy like the phrase “Let’s go!” As more and more families bring their pets along on their travels, we wanted to compile a list of tips to remember to help make your journey safe, memorable and fun.

The adage says that the devil might be in the details, but planning before you go will help not only relieve last minute stress but give you the knowledge you need to make choices you’ll be happy with. Be sure to ask about the features, fees and restrictions of each hotel or campground you’re considering as some establishments charge a flat fee where others offer a refundable deposit. Ask which category the prospective hotel falls in, since some can be as high as $100. Also, knowing that the motel you’re wanting has a policy of no dogs over 25 pounds will help ensure that when you show up with your Great Dane that there are no surprises waiting for you, such as having to find another hotel at the last minute.

Speaking of surprises, we’ll state the obvious here as a side note, but as more and more dogs are out and about, remember to pick up after your dog when you’re traveling, whether you’re at a campground, motel, dog park or even a rest area, to keep the good will and friendly attitudes toward our pets strong.

Other potentially obvious tips that deserve repeating when planning a trip:

-Bring your dog’s favorite toy or blanket.
-If traveling by plane, don’t feed your dog for six hours before the trip and be sure to check the airline’s policies for caring for your dog if you can’t fly together.
-When traveling by car, allow extra time to get out and stretch and be sure to have plenty of water on hand so there’s no risk of dehydration.
-Remember that a tired dog is a happy dog. Exercise before you go.
-Enter and unpack in your hotel room first. This will make sure that your scent is in the room before your dog enters it.
-Bring along a first-aid kit and an extra leash, just in case.

As much as we all don’t like to think about emergencies, the truth of the matter is that they happen. Plotting out several veterinarians on your route before you go means that if something happens, you’ll know where to go without having to spend time looking. Use our Vet Locator to quickly find several options, including emergency clinics, in the areas you’ll be vacationing.

Finally, be sure to remember things like water safety (yes, there absolutely are life jackets for dogs, and they’re recommended) and avoid any potential for heat stroke and other summer dangers like hot cars and walking on black pavement for any period of time. (Ouch! Those poor paw pads!)

Most of all, whether you’re going just up the road or halfway around the world, enjoy yourself. Pack up those doggy goggles, whatever he or she needs to be comfortable and repeat those wonderful words, “Let’s go!” Your next adventure is just a road trip away.

You Oughta Be in Pictures!

Posted on: July 23rd, 2008 by

Posted by Angela Klein on 7/23/2008 in Articles from Newsletters

You Oughta Be in Pictures!

With summer fully arrived, the heat is on and we’re looking for your best doggone and cool cat photos. Submit your dog or cat’s best summer photo with a caption by August 15th and we’ll post winners – one for dogs and one for cats – in the early September edition of the Pets Best Newsletter.

We love to hear the stories of the pets in the Pets Best family and look forward to getting to know more about yours!

Our sales manager, Steve Gardner, says he will personally be in charge of the photos, so we have high hopes that fun will be had by all.

In addition to bragging rights, Steve promises to send the winning dog and cat cool treats. (Bones and catnip have been mentioned so far, but one just never knows with Steve!)

So get in on the summertime fun and send us your favorite photo by August 15th. Also, Steve said that he loves putting pictures on our website, so when you send a picture to him remember that you are giving him permission to post it. We look forward to hearing from you!

Send your photos to Steve at sgardner@petsbest.com or call and chew the fat with him at 1-877-738-7237 ext. 311. (Or, in his words, regale him with tales of fun and mystery.) Give him a call. You’ll be glad you did!

Pet Insurance Myths

Posted on: July 22nd, 2008 by

By: Dr. Jack Stephens

Recently Pets Best conducted another set of focus groups of pet owners in order to find out if we are addressing what pet owners really want and to see if they understand the value concept of pet insurance.

Overall we verified previous observations from years of prior experience and learned more about perceptions of Pets Best. One thing of note—which was prevalent in all the focus groups—is that there are definitely still myths floating around about pet insurance. The following are the highlights along with my responses to those lingering myths:

1. Pet Insurance is only for sick pets

Actually, you must purchase insurance before your pet is sick for it to be effective, the same as you would buy auto or homeowners insurance before you have an accident or catastrophe.

2. Insurance is a hassle

Pets Best plans are simple, you simply pay your veterinary bills and submit the bills to us and we reimburse you directly, usually in less than a week.

Unlike some plans which are complicated and use schedules which may be substantially less than your actual veterinary expenses, with our 80% payment, after the deductible, it is easy to figure out how much we will reimburse you for claims.

Since pet owners are typically out-of-pocket for their pets’ medical expenses, unlike human health care where hospitals and doctors bill the insurance company, the turnaround time for payment is important when choosing a pet insurance company.

3. We could not choose our own vet

Fortunately with most pet insurance plans there are no managed care principals, pet HMOs or veterinary PPOs to contend with. At Pets Best—and most other pet insurance providers—you can always select the veterinarian of your choice. Pet insurance is not typically involved in the decision process for treatments, care or cost. As with most things, there are exceptions, though, and at least one company is currently working to set up a network of veterinarians.

4. Pet Insurance must be expensive

Although premiums vary by company, plan type, the age of the pet, and species (cat or dog), in most instances pet insurance is more affordable than you might imagine with the monthly cost being about what you would pay for a dinner for two. Pet owners can also choose even less costly plans with lower limits and a higher deductible or higher cost plans with lower deductibles and higher limits. Prices will vary from company to company, but most are reasonable.

5. Pet Insurance has too many exclusions or does not cover what I need

When it comes to accidents or illnesses, pet insurance actually has very few exclusions. Pet insurance is designed to transfer the risk of your pet’s future unknown health cost to the insurer. When it comes to your pet’s health and the many thousands of accidents and illnesses that can happen to pets, other than hereditary, congenital and pre-existing, all accidents and most illnesses are covered.

With Pets Best many of the typical exclusions are limitations, where the payment, although smaller does provide some coverage and value. Ask your veterinarian or their staff how many times a pet’s illness can present financial hardship and hard decisions for pet owners. Pet insurance is like your own health insurance, it is designed to help pay for your pet’s medical needs, whether it is a simple skin rash, a virus, an ear infection or severe cancer.

Although your actions in insuring your pet speak to your understanding the myths and knowing the value pet insurance can provide to your peace of mind, our recent focus group shows that most pet owners still do not completely understand pet insurance. I will not rest until every pet owner is at least aware there is pet insurance coverage that can be budgeted at a reasonable cost so they never have to be concerned with their pet family member’s health cost.

StaffBest™

Posted on: July 11th, 2008 by

Posted by Jennifer Jones on 7/11/2008 in Articles from Veterinary Newsletter

Staffbest™ – add value for your hospital, your staff and their pets

Thinking about offering a valuable incentive for your employees where you can also reap the rewards? Let Pets Best Insurance help.

Here at Pets Best we not only offer coverage to your clients, but we offer coverage for staff pets through our StaffBestTM program. When you enroll your hospital as a group you will receive a 20% discount* off your monthly premiums. This program can be a great cost effective way of offering care to your staff’s pets in lieu of giving away services.
(*Discounts not available in all states.)

Take a look at how StaffBest™ can benefit your employees as well as your practice.

No longer discount the cost of veterinary care at your hospital. You can now offer your full range of services at your normal rates and your employees can benefit from our quick 80% claim reimbursement and ease of use.
You and your employees will have access to emergency care, specialists, and referral services while still having the peace of mind knowing you can receive 80% back, after the deductible.
StaffBest™ can be tailored to fit any hospital. You decide how many pets to enroll, which plan you’d like, and which payment option works best.
Our StaffBest™ program is one of our most valued incentives that we offer veterinary hospitals. Not only are you building a better rapport with your staff, but you can also save money by choosing to enroll your staff with Pets Best Insurance. This creates a “win-win” situation for both your hospital and your staff.

If you would like to receive a quote or have questions, please call our Veterinary Services Department at 1-888-349-2520 or email us at vetservices@petsbest.com

Torrey’s diary July 2008

Posted on: July 7th, 2008 by

By: Dr. Jack Stephens

Recently, I was listening to a conversation in the office about pets with bad habits. This wouldn’t be me, of course, but I do happen to know several pups here with some pretty poor manners.

Let’s talk about Bear for a minute. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone says that Bear is a great dog. However. That dog has some behavior issues. He barks – and I don’t mean just a bark or two like a hey-how-you-doin’ bark – it’s more like an I’m-going-to-rip-your-face-off bark, that goes on and on. You get my drift.

And then there’s Tallulah. I’m sure she’s a great girl – don’t get me wrong. But if she’s left alone for more than a fraction of a second, she starts howling. And Kiah. Bless her. But that girl has more energy than everyone else in the office put together. I know we all need exercise, but that girl is over the top with her running around. (Perhaps I wouldn’t mind it so much if she wasn’t mowing me over, but she is and I do.)

Because they are disturbing my beauty sleep (and trampling me), I’m thinking of politely suggesting that their owners hook them up with Dr. Rolin Tripp and his team at the Animal Behavior Network.

Now, there is a *nasty* rumor circulating that *I* could use some lessons, myself, and I would just like to put my paw down and say that is the most ludicrous idea I have ever heard. Darlings, that’s just not me.

The others, though. That’s an entirely different story altogether. Love you all. You know I do. MuWah!