Category Archives: Pet

Best Way to Select Healthy Pet Foods

Just looking at the pet food ads on TV and in magazines, you’d get the impression that all commercial pet foods are healthy. All those fresh ingredients could tempt you to try these pet foods yourself! Unfortunately, the truth about most pet foods may be far from what artful ads would have us believe. If you’ve ever opened a pet food can that was marketed as healthy, and then found a glob of unrecognizable, grayish something-or-other, then you probably know what I mean.

Now, if you’re already aware that not all pet food commercials and ads live up to their promises, you should ask yourself a simple question: how can I tell if a particular pet food is healthy? The answer to this is often hidden in plain sight, on the pet food label, often in the midst of a bunch of unfamiliar terms. To do well for your pet, you need to be able to interpret pet food labels correctly.

First and foremost, healthy pet foods contain real food ingredients.

Healthy commercial pet foods are made from natural food ingredients that reflect the needs of the pet for which the foods are intended. Remember that ingredients are listed in the order of their relative quantity in the pet food. Healthy dog and cat foods should contain animal-derived products as their first ingredients. The quality of these ingredients is absolutely essential to the health of your pet. If you see terms like ‘chicken meal’, ‘fish meal,’ ‘animal by-products,’ or ‘animal fat,’ you should know that these ingredients are of extremely low quality. Better choices are products that list terms that precisely describe the ingredient, such as chicken, cod, or animal parts, such as chicken heart or beef liver. Finally, the addition of synthetic chemicals should be kept to a minimum, as most of the available pet food supplements added routinely to pet foods are of low or questionable quality and value.

Second, healthy pet foods are certified organic.

This is true quite simply because organic ingredients are both safer and healthier for your pet. Organic ingredients are safer because their production and processing precludes by regulation the use of toxic manufacturing and processing chemicals. These include agricultural pesticides, fertilizers such as sewage sludge, hormones and antibiotics used to raise livestock, and toxic chemicals used during manufacture, including among others, fumigants, pesticides, and corrosive sanitizers. As well, organic ingredients can never include genetically engineered foods (some of which have been implicated in a variety of health problems, such as allergies or reproductive disorders). Increasingly, studies have shown that organic ingredients are healthier than their conventional counterparts, not only because they are free of toxic residues and diligently processed, but also because they contain more nutrients, including vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and critically important trace elements.

However, you should be aware that only USDA certified organic claims are regulated and enforced by Federal law; other non-certified organic claims cannot be verified by an unbiased third party.

Third, healthy pet foods are made of human-grade quality ingredients.

Although it doesn’t seem to make much sense, there are both USDA certified organic ingredients for human consumption and USDA certified organic ingredients for animals (examples are eggs, peas, etc). The latter are called ‘feed-grade’ ingredients, and are approved for the use solely in pet foods. Feed-grade ingredients are certainly of lower quality than human-grade ingredients. So, if you’re searching for a healthy pet food, look out for the descriptive word ‘human-grade’ on the pet food package! Never assume that pet food manufacturers are required to tell the consumer whether they use human-grade or feed-grade ingredients; they aren’t. But they most certainly will indicate if they use human-grade ingredients because these are of higher quality (a major selling point) and more expensive to produce (a justification for charging more for their product).

Fifth, healthy pet foods can be identified by the way they’re processed.

Even certified organic pet foods, containing all of the appropriate ingredients for a particular species of pet, are not necessarily healthy. Healthy pet foods must offer more than just organic certification and species appropriateness. They must also be processed in a manner that preserves the integrity and bio-availability of the nutrients in their ingredients. Heat-based processing, such as canning, baking or extruding food into nicely shaped kibble or biscuits, ruins the quality of many nutrients and can render even the best ingredients ‘lifeless’ and all but useless to your pet. Dehydration is a better way to process foods-but keep in mind that cats in particular don’t do well on dry food alone and that certain problems can even be associated with re-hydrated pet foods that were previously dehydrated. If fresh foods are unavailable, the best choices among commercial pet foods are products that have been fresh-frozen. Of course, freezing is less convenient and more expensive for the manufacturer to ship and store, and those costs get passed down to you, the consumer. Nevertheless, keep in mind that this additional expense will almost certainly ensure that your pet will stay healthy longer, and will also save you the pain and financial burden of caring for a sick animal.

Finally, a pet shouldn’t live on one prepared pet food alone, even if it is healthy and nutritious.

No plant or animal can thrive on just one combination of nutrients. Variety is a must for your pet’s health and well being, and you have the responsibility to provide this variety for your best friend. Just as you and your family would not live happily ever after on even the best quality ‘astronaut’ food (freeze-dried ice cream-blecchh!), your pet needs different foods to stay both healthy and happy! Since your pet has few choices of her own, it’s up to you to provide her with a variety of different safe and healthy USDA certified organic, human-grade, quality foods where ingredients have been processed in ways that are designed to preserve the endogenous nutrients. Your pet will thank you for your diligence and care!

Importance of Pet Care Pet Insurance

When a pet is suddenly injured or gets sick there is no question about whether or not we take it to a veterinarian. Most people feel that their pet is an important member of the family and, just as with any other member of the family, we want them to be healthy and well. It is when a pet goes to the vet that most people realize that Pet Care pet insurance would have been a really good idea.

Many dogs and cats have some genetic illnesses but these do not make you love the pet any less. It can however become expensive to treat as they get older. There are other cases where chronic illnesses can affect a pet because of an incident that occurred when they were younger that requires long term treatment. Both of these types of care can be very expensive.

Very few people have pet care in their normal budget. When it is necessary to go to the vet for an emergency, most people don’t have the thousands of dollars that treatment can cost in a special pet care savings. The money must come from some other area of the budget. Or, when there is not enough money some people are forced to make some hard treatment decisions for their pet.

Pet insurance is a lot like having regular health insurance for any other member of your family. Many of the costs for treatment are covered by the insurance or greatly reduced. A pet’s regular check-ups, vaccinations, and other preventative treatment is covered by the insurance. If an emergency occurs, there will be many treatment costs covered by the insurance and a much lower cost for other services.

Most insurance providers have coverage for pets that is structured in the same way as coverage that we get for ourselves. If an individual chooses a full comprehensive plan, their pet can be covered for up to $80,000 over its lifetime. Other types of coverage cover basic needs and routine care. This coverage is excellent if you live in an area where you pet is not in danger of having an accident or being injured while roaming outside.

Deciding on the type of coverage that you want for your pet will depend on where you live and the types of activities that you and your pet are involved in. A person with a dog that is very active and out of doors a lot will want a more comprehensive coverage because the pet can get injured by someone or something that is beyond your control.

An individual who lives in an apartment, has their pet micro-chipped, and has a pet that doesn’t go outside, may want insurance that focuses on the regular check ups. On the other hand if you fond of the great outdoors and have a pet who joins you on these pursuits, then you will need more comprehensive cover.

Just like human insurance, most Pet Care pet insurance providers do not cover pre-existing conditions. However, if your pet is prone to genetic disorders and they occur after you have the insurance, the provider will cover the treatment of the illness or condition. Comparing quotes and finding the provider that meets your needs will save you money and help you to keep your pet healthy.

Holiday Pet Travel Bring Your With You

The holidays are one of the peak seasons for travel, and it is the perfect time to take your pet along with you. Whether you are off on a ski vacation, visiting family or perhaps enjoying the magical feeling of a Swiss village at Christmas time, having your best friend along will make the trip more enjoyable.

Be sure to consider pet identification before you leave. Pet ID tags with your CELL PHONE number are great since there will not be anyone at home to answer the phone. You should consider the added safety of a pet microchip. If your pet is separated from you, a shelter or a veterinarian can read the chip, and they can then track you down through the database of the company who manufactured the microchip. If you are going to be spending a couple of weeks in one place, consider buying a second Pet ID tag with the contact information on where you will be staying.

Pet crates are a great way to keep your pet safe when traveling in the car. Unless a pet is confined or harnessed, its behavior can cause great distraction to the driver of the vehicle. As much as we all like our smaller pet in our lap, it is detrimental to the safety of the pet, the driver, and the passengers riding in the car. A collision, even at a slow speed, can seriously injure an unrestrained pet. The safety of your pet is your responsibility. Be sure and buckle them in (just as you do for yourself) or confine them in a crate.

If it is very warm or very cold, do not leave your pet in the car alone. Be prepared by having a supply of water, food and water/food bowls in the car. You may not find the brand of pet food they are used to where you are going.

If your pet is larger than about 15 pounds, and you are traveling by air, then you will need a pet crate that is compliant with the International Airline Transport Association (IATA) regulations. If you will be staying in a hotel, then the pet crate is the proper place to leave your pet while you go out to dinner. Make sure that the pet crate is large enough so that your pet can stand up and turn around. Be sure to leave an adequate supply of food and water to last for the period that you will be away. It is also a good idea to place an absorbent pet pad in the bottom of the crate that will keep your pet dry in case of accidents.

Buy your crate well in advance of your trip so that the pet can get used to it before you travel. Pet crates come in two pieces, a top and a bottom. For a few days leave the top off the crate and put treats and a favorite toy in just the bottom portion. After seeing that your pet is comfortable, assemble the crate and leave the door open. Invite them in with praise and treats.

Flying with your pet is easy these days. Almost all airlines accept pets on board the aircraft. Very small pets can often travel in the cabin of the aircraft with you in an airline compliant pet carrier. Larger pets will travel as checked baggage in a special section of the cargo hold where the temperature and pressure is the same as in the cabin. Be sure to alert the captain of the aircraft that you have a pet in cargo as he will take extra care to keep the temperature and pressure at the proper levels. You will need a health certificate stating that your pet is healthy enough to fly. Be sure to make reservations early as the airlines only allow a limited number of pets per flight. Stay away from medical tranquilizers for your pet and instead give them an all natural product that makes them less anxious such as a product called Happy Traveler.

You will need lodging on the way. A great majority of pet friendly hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts that accept pets but they do not always accept all types and sizes. It is important to make your reservations in advance and ask about their pet policy. Under no circumstances should you leave your pet in the car overnight.

When traveling, keep your pet on their normal schedule by feeding them and taking them for their “walk” as close to the regular time as possible. Be sure to pack a supply of plastic bags to take along on those walks. If you are traveling with a cat, there are portable kitty litter trays available. Realize that your pet is out of their normal surroundings, so be sure and keep them on a leash and watch them closely. Reassure them should they show signs of nervousness or anxiety.

Be considerate of other people. Although there are many pet lovers in this world, there are some that do not feel comfortable around pets. Respect others by restraining your pet when necessary.

So whether your destination is Grandma’s house, a mountain cabin or a ski resort in Switzerland your pet can accompany you with the proper planning. International destinations require special veterinary certificates, however when traveling to most countries, there will be no quarantine of your pet.

Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

If you have a Pet I am pretty sure they are a great source of pleasure to you. Hopefully they are an important part of your family, with their own unique personality and behaviour patterns. It may interest you to know then that owning a pet can bring with it many benefits to your mental and physical wellbeing. If you don’t have a pet, then discover some of the reasons why it may be worthwhile getting one.

The psychological benefits

A confidante
You’ve had a terrible day and you just need to vent. However your friends aren’t available, your partner is at work and you don’t see your counsellor until Friday. Fortunately, you can just sit and talk to your pet. They may or may not understand you. Not that it matters: at least it means you can say what you want without fear of reproach. Because they don’t judge you. Even better, you can truly be yourself around your pet.

Reduces loneliness
You are not alone with a pet. What a good feeling it is when your cat curls up on your lap or comes to greet you at the door. Or you’re working at your desk and they decide to visit you for no apparent reason. A number of studies add support to this idea. Research conducted at Ohio State University found university students who owned a pet were less stressed, lonely and depressed compared to those who did not have a pet. Other research reports that homeless young people who had pets were less lonely and were in better health than those without.

Even a robot dog can be a companion to someone. Residents of a nursing home in the US had regular visits from either a real dog, a robot dog or no visit at all. After seven weeks the residents had formed attachments to their dog visitor, whether they were real or not and found them to be a great source of comfort.

Mood booster
If you’ve ever watched TV programs like Funniest Home Videos, you will be aware of how frequently the actions of pets bring laughter and smiles. Furthermore, being entertained by a pet will be good for the family as a whole. Caring for a pet is a common interest shared by each member and each person will develop their own relationship with the animal.

If pets boost mood, then presumably they can help prevent the onset of depression. One particular study showed how men with AIDS who owned a pet were less likely to suffer from depression, compared to those who did not have such a companion. People with HIV and AIDS are at a greater risk of developing depression.

Self-esteem
Pet ownership has to be good for your self-esteem. You get to learn new skills and increase your knowledge as you discover more about your animal and the things you need to do to look after them. Seeing them thrive will be a boost to your confidence. Sharing what you have learned with others will also increase your self-worth.

Develop empathy and caring
Having a pet offers you a chance to develop your empathy skills. Animals may not be as expressive as humans, but any pet lover will know when their pet is feeling down or in pain. It also means you are putting the needs of another ahead of your own. Thinking of another (whether person or animal) takes your mind off your own concerns. If you are prone to getting stuck in your head, this can be a good thing.

In addition, for some pet owners, it is an opportunity to carry out an act of kindness to the community. There are organisations people can join to offer their pets up as therapists. Their pet (generally dogs) visits nursing homes and hospitals. One example of this is Therapy Dogs in the US.

The physical benefits

Stress reduction
Given the psychological benefits associated with pets, it is not surprising to learn that they are a great way to reduce stress. If you experience stress long term, you put yourself at risk of some serious health problems. These include: heart disease, diabetes, ulcers, asthma and migraines.

However, having a pet can relieve stress in a number of ways. Simply stroking or cuddling your pet has been shown to lower blood pressure, slow down your heart rate, your muscles are no longer tensed and breathing returns to normal. All the things you would want from a stress reliever. Stroking your pet may even release endorphins – a natural pain reliever and stress reducer. It has also been shown that simply having your pet near you at times of stress, may reduce your stress-related symptoms. Bear this in mind if you have to make a difficult phone call.

Lower lipid levels
Lipids are a type of fat found in the blood that is linked with diabetes. Cholesterol is a lipid and high levels of the bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) put you at risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Another type of lipid is triglycerides and this can also increase the risk of heart disease if it is present at high levels.

People who own pets tend to have lower lipid levels compared to people who do not have pets. It is possible that the extra activity involved in having a pet may explain these differences.

Exercise
If you own a dog it is the perfect way of getting exercise. Come rain or shine, your puppy will want to be walked. Physical exercise benefits you both physically and mentally. Your daily walk is also a chance to meet other people. Meeting other dog owners, means you instantly have something in common.

Getting exercise outside alone can be a safety concern particularly for women. These feelings can be greatly decreased with a dog by your side.

Research has shown that children who have a dog are less likely to be overweight than those without. They offer the child opportunities for play, even if it is just around the house.

Pet therapy
When clinicians use pets as part of their work, you can be certain that there is something good about the process. There are numerous examples of health professionals taking their dogs to work with them. Here are some examples I came across. A physiotherapist takes her dog to work with her at the hospital she works in at Harborview Medical Centre, Seattle. Another dog makes visits to patients at Bellevue’s Overlake hospital in Washington. In the 1960s, Boris Levinson a child psychiatrist used his dog Jingles in therapy with his young patients. In Montrose, there is a mental health clinician whose dog is involved in therapy sessions with children. Even Great Ormond Street Hospital is taken with the idea, with Ripley the dog visiting sick children.

Tips for getting the most from your pet

  • Think of creative ways you can spend time with your pet, so as to make things more interesting for the both of you. Be on the lookout for new play opportunities, inventing games that will get you both thinking.
  • If you want to enhance your chances of happiness and are not sure which pet to get, go for tropical fish. Research by Wiseman at the University of Hertfordshire found tropical fish owners to be the most content amongst pet owners.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity pets give you to be kind to another.
  • If you don’t have a pet, you could get your fix by helping out at a local shelter. Volunteering increases happiness and you’re doing something good for the animals.
  • Take photos of your pets. Even better film them.
  • Know that it is okay to have your pet as a member of the family and not just part of the furniture. So make sure you don’t forget their birthday!
  • Don’t forget animal shelters if you are thinking about getting a pet. How great, rescuing an animal that will consequently be a source of joy for you.

Helpful Tips For Administering Pet Meds

When your pet is sick, you know it often needs medication. But pets, like babies, don’t know that the pill you want them to take will help them. They just know it smells funny and they don’t want it.

Here are five tips to help get your pet to take the medicine.

Liquid Medications

Ask the veterinarian or pharmacist if the liquid medicine can be given with food. If the answer is yes, then your easiest path is to mix it with canned food. First give your hungry pet a small amount of canned food without the medication. It’s important that the pet nibble on the food and see that there’s nothing amiss.

Next, while the pet is still hungry, mix the medication in a small amount food and present it. Repeat as necessary to get the entire dose down. Never mix the medication with the full meal. If the pet decides not to finish the meal, the dose will be wasted – and you won’t know how much of the medication was consumed. It’s better to be patient and feed your pet in small doses.

If the pharmacist says the medication cannot be taken with food, you need a syringe or a dropper to get the liquid down your pet’s throat.

Before you call your pet in, be sure to have the medication and any other materials you’ll need ready. Keep a cheerful tone in your voice so the pet doesn’t sense your stress or hesitation. Position your pet where it cannot scoot away, perhaps having a dog sit with his back against a wall or chair – or a cat on your lap.

Once the pet is in position, use one hand to gently open the pet’s muzzle from above, tilting back the head slightly. Use your other hand to insert the syringe or dropper between the cheek and back teeth. Slowly squeeze the medication so the pet won’t choke. Try to keep your pet’s mouth closed for approximately 30 seconds or until you see it has swallowed. If your pet is being obstinate, stroke its throat gently or blow on the face. Be sure you conclude the session with praise and perhaps a treat so your pet will not associate medication with a bad experience.

Pills

As with liquid medication, you’ll want to start by determining if the pills can be given with food. If so, line up a variety of foods to disguise the pills. Look for foods that easily wrap around a pill, have a strong flavor to hide the taste of medicine and foods that your pet likes. Consider using butter or peanut butter, cream cheese, liverwurst and canned pet food. Be sure to vary the food so it doesn’t lose its “special treat” appeal.

Just like giving liquid medication, administer it when your pet is hungry – and give just a small amount at first. The pet will gobble it down hungrily, looking for the next bite. Again, do not put the pill in a full meal in case your pet doesn’t finish it.

If your pet is on to you, and won’t eat pills wrapped in a treat, then you will have to insert it deep in its throat. Have the pill ready to administer and call your pet to your side. Again, greet the pet in a happy voice and position it so it cannot get away. Open the pet’s muzzle from above and tilt up the head so your pet is looking at the ceiling.

Open its lower jaw with one hand and insert the pill as far back as you can go without causing the animal to gag. Encourage the pet to keep its mouth closed. Lower its head and stroke the throat to encourage swallowing. It’s important to remain calm and confident during this process. If you’re uneasy, your pet may become anxious or uncomfortable. Praise your pet and present a real treat.

Compounding

If medications do not come in a format that your pet likes, ask the pharmacist about compounding – or mixing the drugs in some format the pet will take. Compounding pharmacies can add flavors to liquid medications. They can even make convenient sized capsules that your pet can tolerate. Compounding also helps if your pet is allergic to one component of the medication as the offending agent can be left out.

Devices

Dropper and syringes were mentioned above as tools to use with liquid medication. For pills, there is now something called a pill gun. Instead of sticking your hand deep into your pet’s throat, you insert the pill gun deep into the throat. You control the release of the pill. This can often be more comfortable for the pet and owner.

Practice

Administering medication effectively takes practice. As you get better at it, your pet will learn to relax. It will learn that the medicine is not going to hurt. So even when there’s no medication to administer, practice by putting a small amount of water into a syringe and giving it to your pet.

Keep these simple tips in mind next time your pet needs medication, and you’ll significantly reduce the stress and aggravation of both you and your furry friend.

Saving Money on Your Pets

Pets have become more than just animals. They have become a part of the family. As family members, you want to give them the best care possible. However, just like people, caring for pets can be quite expensive.

The expense has become a hindrance to many people considering a pet. If you’d really like to have a pet or keep the one you have, consider these tips on saving money on your pets.

Pet Choice

If you don’t have a pet yet, carefully consider the type of pet you will have. A pet cannot and should not be discarded when it becomes inconvenient. This makes the choice of pet extremely important.

Choose a pet you can care for properly in your current environment. Choose a pet you know you’ll be able to afford the upkeep. Don’t buy a high end dog when you can’t meet its special requirements.

If you’ve decided on a pet already, decide how and where you’re going to get your pet from. Think of animal rescue centers and shelters. You may not even have to pay for the pet. Adopt your friends’ pet if they can’t care for their pet anymore. If you buy your pet from a store or breeder, expect to pay more.

If you’re looking to own a particular breed, research the breed first. You need to know what to expect, what weaknesses and illnesses are common. In the event that your pet becomes ill, you already know what to expect and how much to spend.

Veterinarian

Choose a vet wisely. Find one near your area so you don’t have to travel far. The more expensive vets with flashy offices don’t necessarily mean that they’re better or that they will be able to care more for your beloved pet. A good veterinarian doesn’t have to be expensive or own a fancy office.

If a school of veterinary medicine is in or near your area, upper level students may be able to help you with common ailments and concerns.

Food

Check the labels

Many expensive and less costly brands share the same ingredients. Why pay more when you can have the same at less the price?

Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk can save you more money in the long run. You won’t have to make frequent trips to the store; this saves you gas, time and effort. In many cases, shops will deliver for free to your home if you purchase in bulk.

Avoid sugar, Give chews

Sugary foods can lead to dental problems for your pet. Avoid the dental costs by giving your pet non-sugary foods and hard, dry chews.

Don’t overfeed, exercise

Overfeeding is bad for your pet. This can lead to expensive health problems. Feed your pet as required. Exercise regularly. Taking along your pet for a walk or jog is a great way for both of you to get some exercise.

Groom at home

Grooming can become very expensive. Why not groom your pet at home? Buy nail clippers, brushes and shampoo. Grooming your pet yourself will also give you precious bonding time.

Vaccinate

Prevent diseases common among pets through vaccinations. The out of pocket expense may seem a bit much at first but is well worth the price in the long run. Your pet will be healthier and happier. You avoid spending on expensive treatments.

You should also get heartworm protection for your dog if you have one.

Prevent Accidents

If your pet is outdoors, make sure that there is an enclosure. This will protect your pet from within and without. Stray animals won’t be able to get to your pet and your pet won’t be able to get to stray animals. This lessens the possibility of injury and or death.

An enclosure will also prevent your pet from getting into your neighbor’s property. You won’t have to pay for repairs or damages that your precious pet may cause.

Spay/Neuter

If you don’t want any additions to your pet family, make sure that your pet is either spayed or neutered. This will save you a lot of emotional and financial stress.

Having a pet is like having a child. Before taking any step towards pet ownership, ask yourself if you are ready to step up to the plate and be a responsible pet owner. Be forewarned though, the joys and rewards of having a pet can make any expense seem worthwhile. So hold on to those purse strings when you need to.

Pet Care Insurance

Pets are recognized to be a much loved companion of human beings. They serve as a family member, ally, or only a toy to cuddle everyday. To be able to do that, pets must be taken care of. Having a pet is a great duty, because like humans, they need to be in ideal condition to be able to carry out their most basic functions.

On the other hand, responsibility comes having a price tag. Personal time, in addition to the financial aspect of needing your pets taken to the veterinarian to undergo fundamental exams are one of the couple of reasons why owning a pet is a huge responsibility. Studies indicate that the majority of vet visits are unscheduled because of emergencies. Doing so creates a mood of frustration to its owners because of the extra expense of these unexpected instances. Furthermore, recent government mandated tests for pets are always being applied, which leads to a more costly medical industry.

Recent changes have revolutionized pet care industry these days. Vets now have access to different human diagnostic tools for instance magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) and CT scans.

Diagnoses made for humans 20 years ago are actually diagnosed in animals today. Given these changes, owner-pet care fees have increased dramatically. These costs helped to clarify the mounting pet insurance acquisitions for the past ten years.

Pet care insurance supports subsidize pet care expenditures through reimbursements on veterinary fees, diagnostic examinations and diagnostic procedures. However, comparable to human insurance policies, pet care insurance have their exclusions for example the kind of pet, breed and age.

Most dogs are in fact more costly to look after as opposed to cats. It’s because they are usually sicker, and visit veterinarians twice as often as cats. Pure breeds are given a higher premium by most pet insurance companies because of their special needs, rather than cross breeds.

As well, similar to human insurance policies, the older your pet is, the higher the premium for the pet. It is suggested that you obtain a pet care insurance policy as early as feasible.

One must do research to acquire the most applicable pet insurance to ones own pet. Doing research often leads to financial savings and being aware of what is the most all-inclusive plan for you and your pet. Here are some guidelines in deciding on a customized pet care insurance:

1. Compare pet care insurance companies. This may assist you to find the most cost efficient pet care giver for you.

2. Set aside an amount for pet care. Setting aside a reasonable sum for health care may shield you from unforeseen incidents of your pet.

3. Explore about your neighborhood for low cost veterinarians which offer identical services of the more expensive veterinarians. The essential thing will be the service that you need is done.

4. It will not hurt if you ask for samples. Like human insurance care, pharmaceutical companies offer free samples to determine if their products work. Check with your veterinarian if they have free samples.

5. Diet. As with people, it can be less expensive for pets if their weight is regarded as healthy, instead of being too thin or obese.

6. Thoroughly check over your insurance policies before signing. It is advisable to be aware of the fine print in pet care insurance policies so that you can fully comprehend the inclusion and exclusions within the policy.

Whereas pet insurance might not look vital now, trust me when I say, that as a pet owner myself this is something which can save you from both psychological and financial heartache if and whenever you have a sick or badly injured pet and are faced with huge vet bills to ensure your pet of the best attention and treatment possible.

Tips Winter Survival for Pets

With winter fast approaching we also see the arrival of some very cold days and even chillier nights. Winter is a cosy time for sitting by fires and rugging up with a warm cup of tea. However avoiding the cold isn’t as easy for our pets and can be a very challenging time for them as they are faced with possible flea infestations, accidental poisonings, arthritis and general discomfort with the change of season. That is why it’s so important that pet owners are aware of the problems that may arise and the precautions that they will need to put in place. The 10 Winter survival tips will help your pet stay happy, warm and safe this winter.

1 : Treat your pet for fleas all year round

As the temperature drops many owners believe that fleas die off and using flea control is no longer necessary. This is a common misconception as a warm heated home provides the ideal environment for fleas to breed and it is crucial that flea control is a year round commitment. Pets should be treated every month to ensure they remain protected 365 days a year.

2 : Provide your pet with extra warmth

When we start to feel the cold we put on extra layers – we wear jumpers and socks, and if it’s really cold, we put on gloves and a beanie. We also make sure that our kids are warm and cover them up with extra layers of clothes – but what do we do for our pets? Many pets are just not suited to the cooler weather and like us, will be a lot more comfortable in a warm winter coat that can protect them from the elements.

There are coats designed for dogs of all sizes and needs, with coats for indoor dogs that are lightweight and warm (the WeatherBeeta Buddy Dog Coat), to coats for outdoor dogs living in harsher conditions that are strong and waterproof (the WeatherBeeta Landa Dog Coat), as well as there being a coat for every climate or situation in between.

3 : Be cautious when using poison baits for rodents

Every year rats and mice invade properties in search of shelter in the cooler months, leading to an increased use of baits and poisons in winter.

These poisons can pose a great risk to our pets if eaten and can lead to a decreased appetite, blood stained urine, blood stained discharge from mouth or back end, breathing difficulties, and can cause them to collapse or even lead to sudden death.

Make sure all bait blocks and pellets are placed in bait stations to guard against the accidental poisoning of children and pets. If your pet shows any signs of being poisoned seek professional asdive immediately.

4 : Moderate your pets food intake

Just like humans, pets use energy to create body heat, and in winter may require extra calories to maintain a comfortable warmth. This means that if you live in the colder parts of Australia then you may need to increase the size of your pet’s meals by a small amount to help them to stay healthy. It is important not to overdo it though as this may make it hard for them to lose the weight in the warmer months, so I would recommend just a small increase of up to 10% if you feel it is necessary. You may also want to check with your veterinarian to decide if your pet requires any additional nutritional intake.

5 : Provide a warm shelter

When the weather starts getting cooler, most pets would love nothing more than to come inside and curl up in a nice warm spot in the house, but this may not always be possible and pets that spend long periods of time outside will need to have adequate shelter and warmth to protect them.

A good kennel needs to be strong, waterproof and insulated and should be elevated off the ground and away from any wind draughts. The kennel should also be large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around inside, but small enough that it will retain their body heat.

To add extra warmth you can line your pet’s shelter with an old blanket or bedding. It is important to remember to ensure that any sheets or blankets do not become damp or dirty and that they are changed regularly to make sure that fleas are not allowed to breed. The WeatherBeeta Travel Bed and WeatherBeeta Fleece Throw are a great idea as they can both be easily washed and kept clean.

6 : Provide adequate water

When the mercury is down and pets are not as active as they usually are, many owners forget to check that their pets have enough water. But no matter what time of year it is, it is important to make sure that your pets have access to clean fresh water whenever they need a drink.

Pets need to be kept hydrated in every temperature and by leaving fresh water out it will encourage them to keep drinking even when they are not feeling as thirsty.

7 : Be aware of signs of arthritis

As pets get older they become more susceptible to the effects of arthritis and in the colder months of winter they may begin to show early signs of onset. If your pet is having trouble getting up or laying down, climbing the stairs, or has started to snap or cry when picked up, you should visit your veterinarian for advice.

There are many new arthritis treatments now available including over-the-counter supplements such as Joint Powder for Dogs, Joint Guard and Sashas Blend, which are all high in glucosamine and other ingredients which help to control and manage arthritis. In severe cases veterinarians may need to prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs for your pet.

Remember, NEVER give your pet human prescription medication or over-the-counter medications without consulting your veterinarian first!

Benefits of Adopting a Pet From a Shelter

Sometimes I get a funny reaction when new acquaintances meet my two dogs, Chewie and Miles. The look of surprise and incredulous response – “You mean she came from the streets? He came from the pound?!”

So many people have the misconception that rescued dogs are less than other dogs. Are children less than other children because they came through the foster home system or are raised in single parent homes? Are the children that come from the “perfect” set of parents better than other children? We can all think of examples of the hard-luck children that make good and the children with everything going for them making a mess of their lives. So why do we assume homeless pets are less than other pets? I’d like to help set the record straight: there are many reasons to adopt a shelter pet.

1) You will Save Money
Adopting a pet from a shelter can cost a lot less than buying a pet at the pet store or from a breeder, especially when taking into account the fees for neutering and vaccination. Beyond the medical care, shelters provide education about how to care for pets, how to introduce your new pet to your other animals, how to deal with behavioral problems, etc., so you also get an entire support system for free.

2) You Will Get a Healthy Pet
Since most shelters give their animals vaccinations, feed them healthy diets, and neuter them before adoption, these pets are happy and healthy. Shelters also pay close attention to the temperament of the animals, in order to match these pets with the most appropriate owners possible. Sometimes pet owners take on pet ownership before they are ready, without proper circumstances or knowledge, or without the necessary commitment, but through adoption these pets get a new chance to find great owners who will commit to keeping them fit and content.

3) You’ll Get a Great Companion
Pets really do become our best friends. They make us smile and they love us unconditionally. Owning pets has even been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as helping with loneliness and depression. And all these great benefits have nothing to do with a pet’s breeding.

4) You Won’t Be Supporting Puppy Mills or Pet Stores
Puppy mills have received a lot of bad press lately, and rightly so. These mills put profits above the welfare of the dogs, which means that the dogs are treated cruelly and often kept in cages. Pet stores buy these puppy mill dogs, and many people who buy from the stores are not aware that they are supporting these horrible places, but by adopting a pet you can be sure that you are actually supporting a great cause for great animals.

5) You are Saving a Life
Sometimes we forget that most of the animals that become homeless are great pets that had less than stellar owners or the owners had to face insurmountable obstacles that made keeping their pet impossible. The circumstances can vary greatly but the bottom line is – rescued pets are wonderful animals that deserve love and a chance to live as much as any pet.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, between three and four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year because people are not able to keep their pets, shelters are not able to house them all, and not enough people adopt animals. By adopting these pets, which have been left by their owners through no fault of their own, we can save them from being euthanized.

It is a common misconception that shelter pets have bad breeding, but do not assume that pound pooches do not have purebred breeding, as often the dogs that breeders cannot sell end up in shelters. If you really want a certain type of dog, you can also check out local rescue leagues that tend to specialize in certain breeds. And do not forget that one of the best adoptions is the older, wiser, already-potty trained pet. Sure, we hear that puppies are more readily accepted by the pets already in the household, but bringing in new older pets is do-able. Very do-able. It just takes a little know-how and patience. If you don’t have the patience to acquaint stranger pets to each other then you certainly don’t have the patience to raise a puppy.

Unless your purpose for having a dog in your life is to have a show dog, or to produce purebred puppies to sell to worthy pet parents, I strongly believe you should look into adoption from the shelter first. And if you still feel purebreds or breeder dogs are smarter, just take a look around at the great work former shelter pets are doing. Shelter pets have been rescued to go on to do great work for performers, the military, the justice system, and as therapy animals – just to name a few examples. Granted, breeding can help accentuate specific genes for certain desired traits but environment has a lot to do with molding a pet or a person.

When a pet is given love and a chance, MAGNIFICENT things can happen! No matter where they come from.

Pet Camping Preparation

Woof, woof, woof, meow, meow, meow, Don’t forget to take us with you on the camping trip. What, we are taking them with us on our camping trip? Yep, mom we love them and want them to go. Does this conversation sound familiar? I know it all too well but many pet owners who camp do not take their furry friends with them. If you do decide to take them, there are a several items that are a must bring and a few tips that would benefit any pet owner.

If you do not own your own property or camp spot it will be necessary to call ahead to ensure that where you are camping pets are allowed. Many state campgrounds do not allow pets. Many others allow pets only on leashes and in designated areas.

Food is the number one item that must be brought. If your pet is on a special diet, then one good tip to make sure you bring enough food, is to pre-measure the food out into individual Ziplock bags and then put all the pre-measured bags into a larger Ziplock bag. One hint that I have found helpful is to pack two extra meals just in case of an issue or my pet works super hard while we are camping and requires more food for energy.

Treats are another important aspect of the food that needs to be brought. If you are hiking with your pet then a full meal is just not what they need, a small protein snack does wonder for a pet’s moral. Just like the food I also put the snacks in a Ziplock bag to protect it from the weather and if any other mishaps happen. What goes in must come out, so don’t forget to bring your bags to pick up your pet’s waste.

Good Ole H2O is a must to take camping. I use a Nalgene see through water bottle, because it is made out of thick plastic therefore very hard to break. It can also be filled up the night before the camping trip and froze to keep it cold longer. Besides. I can take the first drink and feed the rest to my furry friend. I never take water bottles and leave them in the car or in a heated area, because the plastic leaks into the water being drank and can cause cancer. Don’t forget the portable water and food bowls to keep the pet from wasting any H2O.

Taking a leash is important. There are many different types to consider bringing along. A long line, for training purposes or so you can tie your pet up temporarily. A retractable leash for short walks and a standard leash for longer walks. It really doesn’t matter what type of material it is made out of just so that it is strong enough to keep your pet safe. There are standard leashes that have a reflective coating on the outside that glow in the dark, great for keeping you and your pet safe while walking at night.

A collar is another item that should not be left behind. Most pets wear some type of collar, but you may want to consider a harness for a dog that tends to pull while on a walk. A training spike collar, is another option, especially for larger breeds of dogs. Never leave the training spike collar on your pet for an extended amount of time or when the pet is left alone. Your pet can get his front foot stuck in the collar and/or get stuck to an object resulting in an injury. Never leave your pet tied up with a spike collar. A gentle leader is another positive option to use as a collar especially when walking your pet. An identification tag needs to be securely attached to your pet’s collar. Your name and phone number should be clearly etched into the tag, just in case your pet gets separated from you. A microchip is also an important tool to have imbedded into them, in order to identify your pet and contact you to claim them. Choke chains should be left at home.

Hmm, don’t forget the crate. You need some way to transport your pet from home to the camp spot. Lots of owners prefer crates. It keeps your pet safe from other wild animals that might be in the area. It also provides a safe place for your pet to sleep at night. If you happen to be camping in a spot that does not allow you to keep watch on your boat you can put your pet in the crate while you are having fun on the water. The best plan would be to take your pet with you on the boat, sharing in the fun. Make sure you have some sort of bedding to put in the bottom of the crate to keep your pet comfortable and not sleeping on hard cold plastic. A dog bed would be a good idea to put into the crate, or just take it for your pet to sleep on if you are for certain there won’t be any wild animals wondering around at night.

Here are a few more items that I sometimes bring when we take our dog, Oakey the one year old Saint Bernard camping. I take his grooming supplies to brush out any burrs he might get in his hair. His shampoo, Oakey loves the water and when he swims I like to give him a bath, it is so much easier and cleaner to bathe him in the lake. I also bring extra towels to use on Oakey after his bath, for his drooling mouth, and any other dog mishaps he happens to have.

Don’t forget your pet’s toys or else they will find their own in the woods and you wouldn’t approve of or might not be safe. I also bring any medication or vitamins my pet might be taking. I do not want to disrupt the routine or break the cycle of the prescription. It is a must if you are traveling any type of distance with your pet to stop for them to exercise, potty, and get a drink.

Traveling with your pet can be difficult if your pet is not acclimated to car rides, but if they are it can be pleasurable. Everyone is excited to get to the camp spot, soak up the wilderness, and have fun with all who came camping including your furry friend. We had the most fun when we took six dogs camping on a lake and the dogs took turns riding on three-man tube behind the boat. I hope you have as much fun with your pet as we did.