A great companion dog, the Chihuahua breed is not without some challenges – one being a number of pet health issues. If you consider this breed, researching and purchasing pet insurance is a good idea.
We often see celebrities carrying Chihuahuas around as if they were fashion accessories. This has likely contributed to the breed’s current popularity, but hasn’t been the best PR for this small, sweet-tempered dog.
In the toy class, the Chihuahua is tiny with a rounded head, short muzzle and large round eyes. Their ears are large and look almost disproportionate to the head. Their coats are short or longer and wavy. The coat colors include white, fawn, silver, chestnut, sand, sable, steel blue, black, black and tan and parti-color.
They are great companion dogs who enjoy affection. They are also very lively and adventurous. This breed ranges in height from 6 to 9 inches and 2 to 6 pounds in weight.
For such a little dog, the Chihuahua can be very strong-willed without the proper pack leadership from his owner. But they are intelligent, quick learners who respond to training. They are very loyal and attached to their owners. Wary of strangers, they will remain close to their owner.
The breed is not recommended for children, especially if the dog has assumed a dominant role. Many of the issues with this breed’s temperament are a direct result of people treating them like babies. Because of this “cute, little dog” approach, their bad behavior will often not be addressed by the owner.
Chihuahuas tend to not be walked as often because they are seen as so active. But they need exercise just like larger dogs and walks also provide socialization and mental stimulation. If not getting sufficient exercise, they tend to be snappy, yappy and untrustworthy around kids and adults they don’t know.
Pet Health Issues
Chihuahuas are prone to rheumatism, colds, gum problems, and eye issues due to their protruding eyes. Because they are so small, toxic products that are ingested are even more dangerous. This breed can gain weight very easily. Having pet health insurance if you have this breed may come in handy. The Chihuahua is also very susceptible to stress, especially when owners treat them like babies. The dog needs to know that the pack leader is in charge.
Avoid perpetuating the stereotype if you are considering this breed. Don’t get a Chihuahua because you want a cute, tiny, “baby” dog. Choose them because they are wonderful, loyal companions, and be sure to investigate pet insurance as well.
It is common knowledge that as pets age, more pet health issues are likely to arise. Many pet insurance companies counter this fact by putting age limits on their pet insurance plans. This puts the owners of many healthy older dogs and cats at a disadvantage, and could increase the likelihood of further pet health complications.
According to an article written for the Cherokee Chronicle Times, an estimated 75 percent of U.S. households own aging pets. These numbers are startling, considering older pets need proper preventative care, just as young pet do– but may be unable to receive it because some pet insurance companies won’t cover them.
Routine tests and services are essential to keeping dogs and cats in great health. Routine care can also prevent more serious problems from arising in the later stages of a pet’s life. Simple pet health care services such as teeth cleaning, heartworm testing, or urinalysis could improve the quality of a pet’s life, and ultimately leave more money in an owner’s pocket.
Luckily, there are pet insurance plans out there, like those offered by Pets Best Insurance, that do not have upper age limitations. Though usual limitations apply (such as pre-existing conditions and preventable diseases), no pet is turned away based on its age, so long as the pet enrolling is at least seven weeks old.
Just as you would take the necessary steps to ensure proper pet health care for anyone in your family, securing the proper pet insurance plan for your four-legged friend is equally important—at any age
By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Pets Best Insurance President and Founder
1. How are you reimbursed?
I mention this area because reimbursement issues can become your biggest area of discontent if you receive less than you anticipate for your pet’s medical cost.
Some pet insurance companies reimburse or pay claims based on a “set” benefit schedule. The problem with this is the schedule may not reflect what you are actually charged for veterinary care. For instance, if your pet had a broken leg that cost you $3,000; the pet health insurance company that operates from a benefit scheduled may reimburse a lesser amount after the deductible. This can be considerably less; leaving you with the balance. Pick a plan that pays a flat percentage (such as 80%) of your cost for pet health care and avoid this pitfall.
2. How long will it take to be reimbursed?
This is another important facet of cat or dog insurance that you may not initially understand why it matters. After all, with human health insurance, you go to your doctor and they submit the bills to the insurance company. The length of time this process takes is probably of little concern to you because your doctor or hospital is waiting for the funds, not you.
In contrast, with pet health insurance, you pay the veterinary cost upfront and then submit your claim to the pet insurance company, who will then pay you back. With pet insurance you are out-of-pocket for the cost up front and you may incur interest expenses on your credit card if your reimbursement is not timely from the pet insurance company.
It’s a good idea to ask what the average time is from receipt of a claim until payment is rendered by your pet insurer. If the company acts evasive, you have your answer; you will likely be waiting for your money for some time. Seek pet insurance companies that have a good history of paying their claims quickly. In addition, ask if they offer direct deposit, which can expedite your reimbursement.
3. How easy is it to file a pet insurance claim?
Another pitfall to avoid are the companies that make it difficult for you to file a claim and track your claims status. You should seek a pet insurance company that allows your claim to be filed electronically (email) for faster service. Also seek a company that will provide you with an email confirmation once they received your claim. And better yet, do a pet insurance comparison to find a company that will directly deposit your funds quickly.
Dog owners generally purchase pet insurance because they know dogs will likely go through various bouts of illness and upset tummies throughout their lives.
But for puppies, such an incident can be very serious– as it often means the dog has Canine Parvovirus, otherwise known as Parvo. Parvo is a very dangerous pet health disease for puppies and elderly dogs that can turn deadly quickly.
Parvo virus infects the intestine and destroys the lining, causing severe bloody diarrhea and vomiting. What’s worse, the virus can live on surfaces for months and can spread very easily on clothing and shoes, infecting puppies that have had no contact with other dogs at all.
Treatment means hospitalization for at least three nights, and anyone whose pet has stayed overnight at the vet knows this is very costly without dog insurance.
According to Dr. Michael Dill, a veterinarian at Bienville Animal Medical Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, treatment for Parvo can even require ten days of non-stop hospitalization, which, without pet health insurance, could cost a pet owner hundreds or even thousands of dollars. But, “with appropriate treatment, parvo infected dogs have about 85 to 90 percent survival rates,” the veterinarian wrote in an article for the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald.
Fortunately, routine puppy vaccinations, which can be covered with dog insurance plans include vaccinations for Parvo. These shots require multiple booster shots and return vet visits, so puppy owners should compare pet insurance to find a policy that will cover this routine.
The extra preparation is well worth it for your puppy’s health and your bank account. According to Dr. Dill, “At my clinic, a full set of puppy visits (four visits including examination, vaccines and fecal examination) is less costly than a single day of parvo treatment.”
Although there are now cat breeds that look wild, like the Bengal and Savannah, the Ocicat was the first breed to look like a wild animal. In 1964, the Ocicat was the accidental result of breeding an Abyssinian (which has a solid-looking coat but each hair is actually ticked with three colors like a deer) and a Siamese cat. Although the breed is somewhat rate, many pet insurance companies will still cover it.
The kitten has small dark spots on their body, making them look like a leopard or ocelot. The Ocicat has a distinctive spotting pattern with thumb-print sized spots in a classic “tabby” configuration. They look wild, but are domestic and have a gentle temperament. They have none of the issues that arise from exotic breeds that have wild blood, which is one of the reasons that many pet insurance companies will provide coverage for this kind of cat.
As the breed developed, so did a variety of coat colors. The color descriptions are tawny, chocolate, cinnamon blue, fawn, lavender and silver. Ocicats are medium to large cats with athletic, muscular bodies. Females weigh between 6 and 9 lbs., and males weigh between 9 and 14 lbs.
Ocicats are extremely intelligent, sometimes capable of opening their own cages. They are ideal companions with a sweet temperament, and they like to be with their owners, responding more like a dog. They enjoy vigorous play and will become bored if not “entertained” by the owners regularly. It is good to invest in a pet health insurance plan for this breed because of their curiosity.
Pet Health Issues
Fortunately, Ocicats are not prone to any genetic diseases or issues. Since 2005, the breed has been outcrossed with Abyssinians and no pet health problems have arisen yet. But if you are thinking of getting an Ocicat, it’s a good idea to check carefully with a breeder. Even though they are very healthy, you should consider cat insurance for typical cat illness coverage.