Ensuring your health is as important as insuring your pets’

Posted on January 27, 2012 under Pet Insurance

A couple, who own a dog with pet insurance, hold him on the couch.

By: Steve Anderson, Editor
Health Insurance Resource Center
For Pets Best Insurance

Americans love their pets in a big way, but is it possible they love their pets even more than themselves? It appears true in many cases and oddly enough, it can have a tragic outcome for pets.

In 2011, pet owners were projected to spend more than $50 billion on their pets, according to the American Pet Products Association’s annual review. Pet owners are buying everything from pet toys and food to veterinary care pet health insurance.

But for as much as human companions do to care for their pets, they often neglect to care adequately for themselves – and that can end up dramatically affecting a pet’s future.

Each month, the Washington Humane Society in the nation’s capital sees a dozen or so pets relinquished to its open-access shelter by their owners or the owners’ families. The pets are usually healthy, but the owners were not.

“The majority of animals that come to us are in excellent condition. They’ve obviously had happy lives and have been well cared for,” says Stephanie Shain, COO of the Washington, DC, Humane Society. “So [the pet relinquishment] has nothing to do with the animal’s health, but instead with the health of the owner,” Shain said.

It’s heartbreaking, Shain says. “We’ll see an owner go into the hospital and there’s no plan in place for the pet.” Often, if the owner is unable to make provisions for his or her pet, family members will resort to dropping off the pet at the shelter.

Having to relinquish a pet to the Humane Society or animal control agency is not only heartbreaking; it’s often deadly. A recent study by the National Council on Pet Populations Study & Policy showed that 57 percent of dogs and 71 percent of cats relinquished to surveyed shelters were not adopted – and ultimately euthanized.

So even the most caring of pet owners need to take better care of themselves to ensure their pets’ survival, says Charles Smith-Dewey, founder of the Health Insurance Resource Center and the owner of two dogs and a pair of cats.

“It’s great that the number of pet owners purchasing pet policies is on the rise,” says Smith-Dewey, “it’s our duty as pet owners to do everything to ensure that our pets are well cared for. And we, as the people who love them most, need to ensure our own health.”

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That includes not only staying physically fit and avoiding unhealthy behaviors, but maintaining some level of health insurance coverage. “A health insurance policy doesn’t have to be expensive,” says Smith-Dewey, “but it has to be sufficient to minimize a hospital stay and stave off catastrophic medical costs that could leave a pet neglected … or worse.”

Fortunately, even for those who don’t have coverage through an employer, finding a policy that covers big-ticket medical expenses is not impossible. In fact, it’s now faster and more convenient than ever to find an affordable plan by seeking an online health insurance quote from a reputable site.

“Definitely insure your pets,” says Smith-Dewey, “but at the same time, do everything you can to ensure that you’ll be there for them as long as possible.”

For more information about how to get pet insurance for your best friend, visit Pets Best Insurance.

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