pomeranian puppy

Pet Insurance Saves Money

What they don’t tell you about pet insurance: Written by the team at Money.com

Pets have always been part of the modern familial hierarchy in America, with 67% of households owning at least one. This reflects a significant increase since 1988 when only 56% of households did. Despite the economic hardships that pets can impose, pet ownership has increased steadily through the decades. Dogs, cats, aquarium fish, birds, reptiles, and other animals are now seen as valuable family members who serve as entertainers, companions, and even protectors of the homestead.

How much for my pet’s medical bill?!

With approximately 85 million households in the United States owning a pet, caring for these nonhuman family members has become a $99 billion a year industry, more than doubling since 2010. This statistic not only testifies to their popularity but also to the level of financial sacrifice some pet owners make to keep their pets healthy and happy.

The cost of veterinary care alone is expected to reach $30.2 billion this year. As veterinary care continues to incorporate many of the advanced diagnostic and surgical techniques that are commonplace in human healthcare, the cost of veterinary care will likely continue to rise. And with many pet owners facing economic strains due to the pandemic, a sudden pet health emergency, even if not grave, could have them facing the possibility of “economic euthanasia,” having to put their pets down because they lack the funds to cover sudden veterinary expenses.

What alternatives are there though?

An increasingly popular option to prevent this type of situation is a pet insurance policy. Unlike human health insurance which usually pays out directly to the medical provider, pet insurance works on a reimbursement basis. Here’s how:

  • You must first pay the veterinarian for the procedure needed and then request reimbursement from the pet insurance company. The reinstatement amount is never 100% of the cost, although some of the more complete plans cover up to 90% of vet costs. 
  • After this, the reimbursement process is usually simple, requiring only the vet’s invoice (and sometimes some treatment records) along with a completed claim form. You will then receive your money quickly. 

How Pet Insurance really works

Like other types of insurance, pet insurance is essentially a package of many different types of coverage. Some packages cover only the bare essentials, while others are more and include preventive care and rehabilitation. Dental coverage for pets is rare, but a few carriers are now offering it as an option in their pricier policies. However, nearly all pet insurance policies exclude preexisting conditions and specific conditions such as hip dysplasia. They also can include payout caps on particular procedures, on the yearly payout, or even on the total the policy will pay. Most pet insurers will reimburse you for care rendered by any licensed American vet, but some limit policyholders to certain veterinary clinics and networks. 

All pet insurance plans have a deductible of one type or another. Most insurers give their customers a choice of deductibles; policies with lower deductibles cost more. Being able to adjust the deductible allows customers to pick a policy with a monthly payment that fits their budget. So, here’s the big question, exactly what can you do to budget properly? Well, here are some steps:

Look for quality instead of quantity

When you are looking at an insurance plan, you might feel more attracted to a plan that offers more services. However, you should be careful to pick the one that offers quality over quantity. It’s tempting to cut costs, but this might compromise the quality of your pet’s life. In the long run, it might end up costing you more.  

However, if your pet receives quality care, it will be healthier, which means you would be spending a lot less on vet visits down the lane. 

Determine the age and size of your pet

One of the first things you should do before getting pet insurance is to evaluate the different costs at different stages. When your pet is younger, you might have to spend more money on insurance, considering you will need to get it neutered or spayed. Plus, if you have a dog, you would need to spend money on training and vaccinations. Some dogs have upper respiratory problems to deal with, while the older dogs can have joint problems. This, of course, depends on the type of pet you have. However, it is clear you will need some insurance to sustain them. 

Get Discounts

One thing you can do is to score a discount on your premium. Not many people know this, but with a pet insurance premium, you can easily offer a discount for 5% to families that own 2-3 pets. If you have 4 or more pets, the nationwide pet insurance policy is 10% discount. In this way, you can save more.

Eliminate unnecessary expenses

You can also opt for more budget-friendly pet insurance to cut down on other expenses. For instance, search online to get the best deals for pet food, litter, poop bags, or anything you think might give you a good deal. You can also see if you are getting cheaper grooming services. This would help to save money in the long run. The money could then be used to purchase a better pet insurance policy. 

Don’t settle for the first provider you find

Before you decide to take up an insurance policy, you should compare pet insurance providers to see what each provider is giving before coming to a final policy. This would help you understand which plan provides better premiums, deductibles, sample reimbursements, and other details. Choose the one that best suits your pet’s needs!

Employers insurance

Some companies also offer pet insurance to their employees. You should check to see if your company is one of those. If yes, you should opt for it instead of purchasing an insurance policy yourself. This way, you can keep a greater amount for emergency funds instead of paying it every month for insurance purposes. 

Final thoughts

Pets can lighten up your home, and they are good companions. More people are starting to realize that. However, it is equally important that their health is looked after, and they are given the best kind of medical care. Therefore, it is important that you invest in a health insurance policy that can give them the best care while not being too heavy on your pocket either. If you can apply the above budget tips, you are sure to provide them with good health coverage that can improve their quality of life.

Five Ways You Can Make Moving to a New Home Smoother for Your Dog

Our dogs are part of the family and, as such, need special consideration when we plan for a move. Just as we anticipate the number of bedrooms for each family member, we must think of our dog’s needs, too. Here are some ways you can make moving to a new home a breeze for everyone.

Read the Fine Print

When moving somewhere new with a dog, you have extra considerations. For example, there could be laws against certain breeds or strict city restrictions on the number of pets you can have. So, before you pack your bags, do a little digging to determine whether the city you’re considering is a good fit. Once you have this decided, you can start researching neighborhoods

HOAs may also have regulations, so talk to your real estate agent about the best locations, and scope out the neighborhood yourself. Are other people walking dogs? Are there dog parks? Do they have waste bags and plenty of trash cans? These are indications you’re in a pet-friendly space, making it easier for you and your pup to assimilate. 

Lastly, when looking for the right place, it may be difficult to tick off all the boxes on your checklist, and you may need to compromise to find the perfect home for your budget

Knowing the average cost of a home in the area where you’re looking can guide your financial choices. 

Local Moving Tips

Even if you’re just moving across town, your dog may have a hard time. In particular, their home will be all packed up, movers will have invaded their space, and they won’t know what’s going on. The best you can do is to make the car ride as pleasant as possible. To start, get them used to driving around with you by turning it into a routine rather than something to be scared of. For their safety and comfort, buy them a good harness (which you can find on Walmart starting at $9.99). Lastly, give them anything that you know can keep them calm. That might mean their favorite toy, a T-shirt with your smell, or some medicinal or herbal help in the form of pheromones and mild sedatives.

Long-Distance Moving Tips

A longer car ride means preparing for all of the above and more. Pack water and snacks for your pup to ensure they stay comfortable on the trip. Best of all, healthy foods like blueberries, kale, beef, turkey, and fish can all have a comforting effect, so consider having those items on hand. Additionally, by planning out your rest stops, you’ll be able to gauge where the best places for breaks are. Some are friendlier to dogs than others, so researching ahead of time is essential.

Be Ready for Moving Day

If you’re concerned about your dog escaping out the open front door, it’s likely you’ll spend more time worried about your pup than the actual move. It’s quite possible your pup may have a traumatic time on moving day if kept at home. After all, strangers will be coming and going and all the noise and movement will be unsettling. Ideally, it’s best if a friend can watch them, or you can try boarding your pet for the day. 

Help Your Dog Adjust

A new environment will be hard for your dog, so do everything you can to keep their routine on track. In fact, going on regular walks will help them become familiar with the neighborhood and reduce their anxiety. Try to also stick to regular feeding times and play times, just so your pup can count on continuity. 

It may not be easy, but the right preparation can make the moving experience smoother. Know what your dog needs, plan well for the packing and moving, and help your dog adjust to their new surroundings. Remember, while you may be excited, they’ll likely feel uncomfortable with these changes, so take extra care with their anxiety levels.

Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com

I’m a Man and My Dog is Afraid of Me… What Do I Do?

Your dog may be perfectly content and calm without any behavior problems around women and children, but when a man approaches (even if it’s just one man he or she knows) she can become a completely different dog.

Some dogs may try to hide from you (the man), cower or show submissive behavior, shake, or even urinate due to anxiety.

Others may show signs of aggression (growling/showing of teeth). If you (the man) get too close she may even snap at you.

A Fear of Men is Common

A fear of men is actually a relatively common phobia in dogs, and some very well-behaved and well-rounded dogs share this fear.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help your dog overcome its fear and learn to accept the men or man she encounters.

why do dogs fear men?

When people find out a dog is afraid of men, they often immediately connect the fear to a bad experience. But, there are a variety of reasons why your dog may fear men in general or even one particular man including:

  • If your dog has been abused by a man prior to being brought into your family, this may cause a lifelong fear of all men. Think about how long you have had your dog. Was your dog a puppy? Adult? In most cases, this is not the most likely culprit, though.
  • In many cases, being afraid of men is a result of a lack of socialization with men when the dog was a puppy. If you are the man your dog is afraid of, how much time did you spend with your dog when she was a puppy? Sometimes, the lack of socialization with men is due to the man being out of the house due to long work hours.
  • Another factor could be intimidation. Men can be more intimidating in a dog’s eyes. They are often taller and bigger than women and children, have deeper voices, and may have different types of features, like facial hair. From a dog’s perspective, these differences might be scary.

easing your dog’s fear of the man

The level of difficulty of correcting this behavior depends on the severity of your dog’s fear.

Some dogs are only somewhat fearful, whereas others may be completely terrified. Remember to be patient with your dog; it can take a lot of time for any dog to overcome any phobia.

In the meantime, keep things as positive as possible. We’ll recommend a few things to try to help ease your dog’s anxiety below.

your dog’s comfort zone

It’s important to understand you cannot force your dog to go beyond her comfort zone and expect her to change her behavior.

If you attempt to push your dog too far by pushing her into uncomfortable situations, your attempts can backfire and actually strengthen the fear.

Worst-case scenario…. your efforts could lead the dog to bite and increase her fear of you.

Let Your Dog Approach you on her own terms

Allow your dog to approach you (the man) on his or her own. This may be difficult, but attempt to ignore the dog who is fearful of you. Of course you want to be near your dog to increase the bond, but this just isn’t the right time. By ignoring your dog, you’re essentially providing her with the opportunity to come to you. It’s on her own terms.

Offering treats to encourage her to come

When you’re trying to break your dog of her fear of you, be sure to keep treats handy (even if your dog is no where near you- just in case she comes closer).

Whenever the fearful dog gets even a little closer than usual, very gently toss a couple of treats in the dog’s direction.

It may take a while for the dog to accept treats from a man, but eventually, he or she will connect you with something good- treats! A positive association with form.

For some dogs, this can take a week or two. For others, a month or even longer. Patience is key.

Desensitize Your Dog

Desensitization is the process we’re talking about here. We are using treats and praise to slowly, over time, help your dog understand that it’s safe to approach you (the man).

Over time, you may be able to slowly close the distance between the dog and the man without your dog feeling fearful.

In some cases, your dog may never feel completely comfortable around men (dependent upon the reason why she or he is afraid). But, you may notice her becoming significantly more comfortable over time.

obedience training: it helps

If your dog is obedience trained, there’s a higher chance of her or him being able to focus in stressful situations.

If there is someone in the home (a woman), she should make obedience training part of their daily routine. Continuous obedience training with a fearful dog may speed up the process of comfort.

How to Keep Your Canine From Causing Chaos

You know how much you love dogs, especially that little one that lives in your home and fills your heart with laughter and joy. But there’s a less pleasant side that comes with that goodness.

Canines cause trouble, pure and simple. This involves anything from spilling food on the floor to tearing up sofa cushions to doing their business on the carpet, any of which could make you tear your hair out as you yell and scream at the little feller in the hopes that they’ll learn a lesson for a change. However, that’s not the worst of it; sometimes, your dog’s naughtiness puts them in danger, like when they devour a bar of chocolate, which can be deadly.

It’s not their fault, though. They don’t have the same self-control as we humans, and they often don’t even know they’re doing something wrong. As their guardian, it’s up to you to keep them safe and secure. Here’s what you need to know.

Banish Poisonous Plants

Autumn crocus, azalea, and daffodil are just a few on the long list of species that could cause grave harm if your pooch were to take a nibble, according to an article in PetMD. The best bet would be to rid your home of all of them — or at least put them out of the reach.

Hide the Cleaning Products

You wouldn’t leave dangerous and potentially deadly chemicals out in the open where a toddler could get at them and take a swig, and the same should go for your furry friend. Behind closed doors that can’t be easily opened is where your bleach, detergents, and fabric softeners belong — unless you buy the non-toxic, pet-friendly versions.

Beware of Certain Foods

There’s a lot more than just chocolate that could give your four-legged friend a sore tummy — or worse. Anything containing caffeine or alcohol is a strict “no,” along with onions, garlic, and chives. Make sure to store these items and others up high or in a pantry to avoid mishaps, and throw out anything moldy, as that can be highly toxic, too.

Pet-Proof Everywhere

Hiding dangerous foods and chemicals from prying paws is just part of it. There are some rooms, particularly ones with lots of cables or cords, that should be off limits. Remember to close doors behind you whenever you enter or exit, or use baby gates to keep them from walking up or down the stairs. And don’t leave dirty laundry lying around on the floor.

Get an Electronic Feeder

A hungry dog is an angry dog that’s likely to take their wrath out on your interior. These devices dispense a small meal at specified hours of the day so you don’t have to think about it. You’ll no longer worry whether you left food in the bowl while you’re at work or out running errands.

Schedule Your Playtime

Dogs have a lot of energy, and they need to get it out or they’ll throw a fit. Lamps get knocked over, vases get shattered — it’s ugly. Tire your dog out with a spirited game of fetch, and build that into your daily routine so you don’t forget to spend quality time together.

Find a Dog Park Nearby

Visit a dog park so your pooch can socialize — with other dogs, that is. It’s more important than you think, says a writer with PetHelpful. Not only does it boost their self-esteem, but it also helps your pooch develop their communication skills, as they interact with members of their own species. Their rougher style of play will also make them calmer at home.

Make Regular Visits to the Vet

Once a year is the general rule of thumb, though that may change based on age and health condition of your dog. Dogs should get a checkup once a month until they’re four months old, while senior woofers need frequent expert checkups as well.

Now your pooch will be safe when you’re not home, and that gives you one less thing to worry about. Having a dog should be about enjoying the good times, not worrying about the bad.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Dog for Natural Disasters

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This may seem like it’s a bit early to write about… but the National Weather Service is calling for widespread tornadoes in the month of May. And, regardless of the time of year, it’s always good to be prepared for natural disasters. Understanding how to prepare for natural disasters for your family, and for your beloved dog, is extremely important.

During times of natural disaster, many dogs are lost. In a tornado situation, for example, we rush our family to the basement. Then, we’ll come back up as fast as possible to call for our dog if he hasn’t already followed us. But, remember, sometimes there isn’t much time to take shelter. If your dog hasn’t followed yourself and your family down into the shelter, he or she could easily become lost.

For those of you reading in my hometown of Western New York, tornadoes are less frequent, but remember they can still happen. It wasn’t long ago when a tornado swept through Randolph, New York, hitting many homes. And, we do actually have frequent tornado warnings throughout the summer time.

Way #1: Ensure Your Dog has Identification

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You should make sure your dog has identification on his or her collar. The identification tag should have your name, phone number, and address engraved into it. If your dog gets separated from you, this could be extremely helpful in helping someone find her way back.

Way #2: Microchipping Your Dog

One of my newest clients, PetKey, has emphasized the importance of microchipping your dog. And yes, my dog, Molly has a microchip. I’ll admit that I didn’t use to think microchipping your dog was “that” important. Because, all of my dogs have always had their identification on their collar. But, what happens if that collar gets lost during a natural disaster? There’s a high chance your dog will lose her collar during all of the chaos of trying to locate her family following the natural disaster. Then what?

The microchip contains a unique identifier connecting her to you. When a lost dog enters a humane society, or a veterinarian’s office, one of the first actions they take is scanning for a microchip. If the dog does have a microchip, they jot down that unique identification number and enter it into a universal system. Then, they’re able to see all of the details in your file (the dog’s name, the dog’s age, any medical conditions the dog has, and your name and address).

Way #3: Ensure You Have Your Supplies Ready

Having a ‘to-go’ back for your dog ready is an excellent idea. Do this before the natural disaster occurs so you’re not scattering packing up for your dog as well as the rest of your family. You can even keep one ‘ready’ bag in your shelter, as well as in your car.

The ready bag should contain a minimum of 5 days of food and water. Your dog’s ready bag should also contain photographs of your dog(s)… and cats if you have cats with you as well. In addition to a paper full of their medical issues (if any), you should also have a paper containing their behavioral issues (if any). And, don’t forget to pack extra collars and leashes (litter box and litter if you have cats as well).

Way #4: Bring Crates for Your Dog(s) and Vaccination Records

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If you need to evacuate your home, be sure to bring your dog’s crate. If you have to go to an evacuation shelter, most of them do accept pets, but often require dogs are in their crates.

Many shelters also want you to have copies of your dog’s veterinary records. They want to make sure your dog has all of their shots, and know if your dog has any type of medical condition they may need help for.

Way #5: Look for Dog-Friendly Hotels

Another way to make sure your dog(s) is able to stay with you… is to search for dog-friendly hotels. When there’s a hurricane coming, you often have several days of warning which allows you to evacuate and get as far away from the hurricane as possible.

Unfortunately, fewer and fewer hotels are allowing dogs. And, if you travel with your dog, i’m sure you already know this. An excellent site you can use to find pet-friendly hotels is a website called Bring Fido. You can take a look at Bring Fido by clicking here.

In addition to helping your find dog-friendly hotels, Bring Fido can also let you know if there are any local restaurants you’re able to bring your dog to. Because, we know, in these types of situations, the stress is high and we want our dog (of course, he’s part of our family) to go everywhere we go.

A Video Sum it Up

Most people are particularly fond of videos to learn information… so here’s a video to sum up some of what we just talked about.

Share Your Stories

If you have ever been involved in a natural disaster, and have additional tips, we want to hear from you! In the comments below, please let us know how you prepared.

 

Do Dogs Cry Like Us?

When dogs get upset, do they cry real tears like we do? Do they even have tear ducts? Our dog’s language is extremely intriguing. And, although they don’t talk the same language as us, they still have ways to communicate their feelings.

We all know when our dog is happy… but do they cry when they’re upset? Do their feelings get hurt?

A Dog’s Tear Ducts

Yes, dogs do have tear ducts like us. And, anyone who has a Maltese, or a Poodle, can attest to that. They are particularly apparent if your dog is pure white. Dog lovers who have a Maltese or Poodle are continuously wiping off the corner of their dog’s eyes due to their tear staining.

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Other breeds may also have excessive drainage from their eyes. In technical terms, this phenomenon is known as epiphora.

Tear Types and the Emotions

There are two types of tears humans and dogs share. These tears are known as basal tears and reflexive tears. Basal tears are continuously produced to keep the eye moist. Reflexive tears protect the eyes from allergens or any type of irritant.

Then, there are emotional tears. Dogs don’t share these with us. Emotional tears begin when we (humans) are overwhelmed, frustrated, or generally emotional. A dog’s tear ducts do not allow them to produce emotional tears. But, even though dogs don’t cry ‘tears’ when they’re upset, they still have their own way of letting us know.

Why Does My Dog Look Like She’s Crying?

If your dog looks as if she is crying, this could be due to a medical condition. The causes of ‘dog tears’ include the following:

  • Allergies: Allergies can cause a dog’s eye(s) to water… just like us. If your dog has allergies, your veterinarian should be contacted so you’re able to determine what she or he is allergic to.
  • Blocked Tear Ducts: If your dog’s tear ducts are blocked, you may notice what appears to be tears leaving his eyes.
  • Scratched Cornea: If your dog is active, there’s a possibility she may be ‘crying’ due to a scratched cornea. If your dog has a scratched cornea, she might also be blinking excessively.
  • Irritants: There could be a speck of dirt in your dog’s eye, or some other type of irritant, causing tears.

Do Dogs Understand When We Cry?

Yes, research has found dogs respond to our tears. They know when we’re upset based on our facial expressions and the tone of our voice. Research has gone so far to say many dogs can understand how we’re feeling without even seeing us in person. They’re able to tell by a picture.

The Bottom Line

Even though it might look as if your dog is sad, and crying emotional tears, your dog isn’t truly ‘crying’ the way do. If you notice tears coming from your dog’s eyes, make an appointment with your veterinarian to find out the cause.