November 27, 2012

The Best Pet Insurance: A ‘Think Different’ Approach

When you love your pet, you want them to receive medical care when they are in pain or injured. Unfortunately, many illnesses and most injuries can cause you a pretty penny between surgeries and medication costs.

Like health insurance for humans, pet insurance has a monthly premium that you must pay in order for your pet to receive coverage. When an illness or accident happens, the pet insurance will pay for a portion of the veterinary costs if it is covered in your pet insurance plan.

Depending on the plan, you may have to pay a deductible for each claim. You may also still be liable for a percentage of the costs which typically could be anywhere from 0%-20%.

If your pet is chronically sick or seriously injured, pet insurance could save you thousands of dollars.

But if your pet is relatively healthy, the money you paid into the premiums could be going down the drain. The question is whether simply starting a savings fund for your pet’s veterinary care is the better option as opposed to the cost of pet insurance.

 

Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance

The biggest pro is the reduced cost in out-of-pocket vet expenses. When you consider that an injury such as a broken bone requiring surgery could run up to $3,500, your pet insurance plan could save you thousands of dollars in one shot.

Another pro is that you will have peace of mind knowing that if something happens to your dog, you won’t have to scramble to come up with the money for their care. As your dog ages, their likelihood of being diagnosed with a chronic disease is significantly increased.

Pet insurance is beneficial in offsetting these costs, but will the amount saved at this late stage in your dog’s life equal more than the cost of pet insurance?

This brings us to the cons of pet insurance; primarily, will you ever recoup all the money paid into the premiums?

In addition, depending on the plan you choose, you may still be on the hook to pay for injuries or illnesses if they aren’t covered and even with the best pet insurance the covered incidents may still require you to pay a deductible and co-pay.

 

The Best Pet Insurance Could Be a Savings Account

When thinking about the best pet insurance option for your cat or dog, a savings account could be for you.

Just like pet insurance, the pros include having money available for your pet’s healthcare. You also get the peace of mind knowing that you can cover such expenses.

Perhaps the biggest pro here is that you won’t lose any unused money like you would if you were paying premiums. If your dog never requires major care, you still have the money in your account to keep. Even better, you can earn interest on the money.

However, the biggest con is that it will take time for you to build up your savings account. An injury or sudden illness could leave you short when it comes to having the cash to pay for their care.

Even if you spend years saving up, you still may not have enough if a really serious incident arises. And there’s always the temptation to use that money sitting in the savings account for something other than your pet’s care.

To figure out what is best, compare the pros and cons of both pet insurance and savings accounts to see what makes the most sense for you and your pet.

November 21, 2012

Homemade Dog Food Diet Important Warning

With dogs being more like family than pets, more and more owners are taking extra steps to ensure the health of their dogs. Dedicated dog owners are choosing natural, homemade food for their pooch instead of the regular run-of-the-mill dog food.

While their intentions are good, creating a homemade dog food diet isn’t as easy as it seems.

Many people believe that if they themselves are eating a healthy diet that it is okay to serve their dogs the same foods that they are eating. They may even go as far to buy their dog fresh meat and produce to prepare their meals.

Dogs just aren’t the same as humans, when it comes to food. They have very different nutritional requirements.

If you don’t know exactly what constitutes a healthy diet for your dog, a homemade dog food diet can do more harm than good.

A Homemade Dog Food Diet: What You Need to Know

The nutritional requirements for all types of dog foods, from canned to dry to raw, have been established by The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). If you choose not to buy manufactured dog food then the same nutritional guidelines should be followed as a homemade dog food recipe.

Certain vitamins and minerals must be present in specific amounts within a dog’s daily diet.

However, finding the right sources for these vitamins can be difficult. For example, different cuts of meat can contain different amounts of phosphorus per ounce. So giving your dog 3 ounces of steak isn’t the same as 3 ounces of chicken.

Every vegetable will have a different nutritional content, too. You can’t just swap out a cup of green beans for a cup of carrots.

The same is true for fruits, carbohydrates and any other food group. So, simply adding a cut of lamb with a few scoops of broccoli won’t necessarily create a balanced meal for your dog.

By choosing foods based on what is healthy for humans, you can leave your dog deficient in many vitamins and minerals. You might even mistakenly feed them foods that our poisonous. In addition, you could also end up feeding them too much of a nutrient.

Either way, poor nutritional balance could mean health problems, suffering, and costly vet bills.

Take a Homemade Dog Food Diet Seriously

The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association recently published a research study that showed when people use a homemade dog food recipe online, it is often deficient in the correct daily nutrients required.

In fact, some recipes created by Board Certified Vet Nutritionists but still deficient. It’s not easy to feed a dog right.

The best way to make sure that your pet is eating a nutritional homemade dog food diet is by taking the time to specify the foods that you are feeding your dog. That way, you can compare your homemade dog food diet to the expert research on dog nutrition.

You can also add nutritional supplements into a dog’s homemade diet to make sure they are receiving the right amounts of what they need. However, supplements can also range in different amounts.

Compare your supplement to what you are already feeding your dog.

When you choose a homemade dog food diet, take the time to choose right. This not only shows how much you care, but that you’re willing to take the time to do it right, for real health benefits.

November 13, 2012

15 Household Items Poisonous to Dogs and Cats

1.         Human Medications

When a pet ingests a human medication, it could cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, seizures and even death.

Be careful not to drop any pills on the floor without picking them up. Store them in their bottles in a secure place.

Never give a pet a human pill as treatment for an injury or illness.

2.         Chocolate

Any type of chocolate could cause a dog to suffer from hyperactivity, seizures, dehydration, and excessive urination. It could also kill.

Keep chocolate away from dogs and clean up any crumbs.

3.         Grapes and Raisins

Grapes in their fresh form or their dried form can cause renal failure in your dog and should never be fed to them.

4.         Avocados

Avocados can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets. Remember to keep guacamole away from them, too.

5.         Lilies

Cats are known to snack on flowers and greenery. It’s important to keep lilies out of your home if you have a cat.

Cats that eat lilies are known to have their kidneys fail.

6.         Weed Killers

Weed killers contain harmful toxins that can harm your pets if ingested or inhaled.

The damage could be seen right away or may not appear for years. Keep your pets away from outdoor treatments for several hours after application.

7.         Pesticides

Pesticides can cause health problems in your pets if inhaled or ingested. Be sure to use non-toxic pest sprays in your house.

8.         Rodenticides

If a product can kill vermin, it could also harm your pets.

The dosages may not be enough to kill your pet but many mouse baits can cause internal bleeding in your pets. That can kill.

9.         Cleaning Products

Eating off a freshly cleaned floor, licking up spilled detergent or just inhaling certain cleaning products can cause immediate and long term damage to your pet.

Choose all natural and/or non-toxic products to clean your home.

10.       Glow Jewelry

The chemicals within glow in the dark jewelry typically aren’t lethal, but can cause panic when ingested by animals due to the strong taste.

Prevent this from happening by keeping these objects out of your pet’s reach and rinse their mouths out with water if it does happen.

11.       Paint

It’s not always clear what exactly is in paint, but it can be toxic to humans and pets alike.

Be sure to skip paints with antimicrobial or mildew fighting labels. These can cause thyroid damage. Store them away from your pets since their fumes can escape the can even when tightly covered.

12.       Flea and Tick Treatments

Just like insecticides for your lawn, flea and tick treatments can also damage pets if used incorrectly.

Make sure your cat doesn’t have access to your dog’s products and vice-versa since this can result in poisoning. Also be sure to use the right product designated for your pet’s size.

Specifically, K9 Advantix can kill a cat. Even if a cat just grooms a freshly treated dog.

13.       Gum

Chewing gum contains an ingredient called xylitol which can cause a dangerous dip in your dog’s blood sugar if ingested. Keep it away from your pets.

14.       Diet Soda

Xylitol is the sweetener used in diet sodas and can cause seizures and liver failure in your dog. Clean up any spilled soda before your dog can lick it up.

15.       Toothpaste

Toothpaste also contains xylitol which is known to reduce cavities in humans but it can make your dog seriously sick. Keep your toothpaste tube in a cabinet that your dog can’t access.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.