Pet Insurance- How to Choose

We hear a lot about insurance today. Health, dental, vision. We seek it out as part of job packages and have to shift through pages of policy information that can seem foreign to those new to the insurance marketplace. Finding the best and most affordable insurance for yourself or  your family is hard enough let alone ever having to think about insurance for Fido or dear old Kitty.

Yep, you read that right, pet insurance. It is a real thing. Plan options, wellness add-ons, dental coverage. All of it and more just for your pet. While it might be hard to fathom paying for another insurance plan, think about how expensive vet bills can be for even the most common ailments. Think about your dog or cat’s breed specific conditions and hereditary issues- most of which are covered by almost all pet insurance companies. Paying a little each month is better than getting saddled with a $4,000 vet bill when an emergency happens.

Just like people insurance there are many different factors to consider when trying to pick out a plan for your pooch. Age, breed and your state of residence will affect your monthly premium choices but aside from the cost you will need to decide what coverage is most important to you. Things like dental, holistic and alternative treatments, reimbursements for medications, supplements and prescription food coverage.

There are several big players in the pet insurance marketplace: Embrace, Trupanion, Nationwide (formerly VPI), Healthy Paws, Petplan, PetFirst and Pets Best. Take our pet insurance quiz to find out which is best for you and then view our full comparison guide. Please keep in mind this information is in no way an endorsement for any particular insurance company and before purchasing any plans, contact each company with specific policy questions.

ins quiz

Advertisements

Pet Fire Safety

National Pet Fire Safety Day is quite a mouthful to say but the idea is quite simple. July 15th is designed for pet parents as a reminder to do a quick safety check around the house, making sure it is “pet proof” and updating your family’s fire evacuation plan to include your pets.

Pet proofing is often done when bringing home a kitten or puppy for the first time, but after months and years go by some of these simple safety tips escape us. Here are a few fire safety tips about those innocent household items we often forget about.

  • Candles

Burning a candle on the coffee table or bathroom counter can add a nice cozy feel to the room; however curious cats that get free range of the furniture can cause some serious problems. Not only can they get up there and push off the burning candle, their fur can easily catch fire.

Candles also cause damage when placed on an unsteady surface. If your cat or dog were to bump into it, could they knock the candle over?

  • Gas Stovetops

Whether it is your cat crawling around the kitchen countertops or your all too naughty husky mix who thinks anything on the counter is his, they are in the position to twist the stove knob. Gas stoves are dangerous for two reasons: if pushed hard and turned correctly by your pet, a flame will emerge. Secondly and most dangerously, if the knob gets turned just enough, carbon monoxide will leak.

  • Lamps

Free standing and table lamps while a beautiful alternative light source than an overhead light, should never be left on when your pets are home alone. Lamps have the ability to tip over, from the swish of an excited pup’s tail or the nuzzle of a cat who likes to rub his head on every surface. When you turn a lamp on and head out the door you are leaving open the possibility for your pet to knock over the lamp, causing the hot bulb to break and potentially cause a fire.

  • Electrical Cords

Cords strung behind the TV can look like a great chew toy for your teething pup or kitten. Make sure all cords are hidden and tucked away. Frayed cords can overheat, create electrical shock and catch fire.

After checking your home and doing some pet-proofing, take a second to discuss with your family your fire evacuation plan. How and where you get out of the house is what will save your life, but once you’re out the last thing you want to do is go back in for the cat or dog. Make sure you have a plan in place for your pets too. The ASPCA has a few great resources in disaster preparedness and the National Fire Prevention Association has tips on fire evacuation plans including a checklist printout for pets.

Using window or door decals identifying the type and number of pets you have is also an excellent safety precaution to ensure your pets make it out safely in the event of a fire. Join Nana’s Pet First Aid & CPR this week in honoring Pet Fire Safety Day by completing a home check and updating your pet’s emergency plan.

 

 

Snakes The Time

In honor of the Copperhead living in the bushes around my office, I figured snakes the time to talk about snakes -alright I know…all bad wordplay aside, snakes are a serious concern. Living in a region of the US that has several varieties of venomous snakes, I am always on the lookout for slithering neighbors around my house, office and often on the walking trail. But being a pet mother and pet safety instructor I am always watching. I can understand what a snake is but our pups are genuinely curious, learning by touching, sniffing, licking and do not always understand when they could be in danger.

The most lethal aspect about a venomous snake is not that they can inject you with poisonous venom, instead it is the fact they are often hidden. Hiding away in the yard clippings for the compost, seeking refuge in the wood pile, camping out in the cool shade of the bushes near the deck or wandering their way through the border grass and ivy so often used for landscaping. None of these places make their long moving bodies visible.

Worst part? These are places we reach, step, move and touch without looking. They are also places of great interest to the sniffing, licking, touching, curious pups we parent.

copperhead

Copperhead Snake

Majority of snakes try to retreat when they are encroached on, whether this encroachment happens by accident or not, the snake’s first reaction is often to get away. But there are some venomous snakes who get defensive, hold their ground and are more likely to strike.

Certain snakes, whether bumped on accident by your pooch’s paw or not, have a high probability of biting. In North Carolina, the Copperhead and Cottonmouth are quickest to strike and the Pygmy Rattlesnake normally attempts to slither away, but if further bothered, will quickly attack.

You can easily identify venomous snakes by these markers, according to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences:

  • A pit between the eye and nostril and the scales on the underside of the tail are not divided
  • No pit between the eye and nostril and most scales on underside of tail are divided
  • Tip of the tail has a “rattle” or “button”
  • Top of head with large symmetrical plates
  • Top of head with irregular, fragmented scales
water moccasin

Cottonmouth Snake

When you spot a venomous snake, you have time to assess and move away. But dogs walking in the border grass and accidentally waking a Copperhead, do not have the same time to move away. According to PetTech, the first international training center for pet first aid and CPR for cats and dogs, the majority of snake bites “occur on a dog’s head, neck, front legs and paws because they investigate their world with their nose, head and paws. Bites to the head and neck can become very serious because of the potential to interfere with breathing.”

What you do in the first few moments of a venomous snake bite can result in the life or death of your pup. What then can be done? Aside from the basics of prevention- making sure you never let your dog walk in tall grass, ivy, get into bushes, under the porch or into the woodpile, snakebites may still occur regardless of how careful you might be.

Once bitten symptoms will immediately start to occur.

Signs venom has been injected include:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding around fang punctures.

Other signs include:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Vomit
  • Weakness or nervousness
  • Convulsions

Take immediate action to restrain, muzzle and immobilize your dog, keeping the bitten limb level with the rest of the body if possible. The sooner you can get our pup still the slower venom will spread giving you a better chance to save your dog’s life. Treat for shock and begin transportation to a vet as soon as possible.

Call the vet on the way to let them know the situation so they can be ready and waiting for you when you arrive. Do not waste a second of time getting your pet in the car and to the vet. After a venomous snake bite, dogs need to be monitored for 24 hours to ensure no further complications or infections occur.

Shock management, restraining, muzzling and snakebites are all topics covered in the PetTech first aid programs. Summers are great for hikes, long walks, trips to the mountains and even just enjoying a stay-cation in your own backyard. But nowhere will you be completely snake free. It is important to remember that even after killing a venomous snake, the snake can still possess the nerve reflex to bite.

Taking a pet first aid class today will help prepare you for a snake bite situation in the future. You never want to be sitting there wishing you knew what to do. Be proactive in your safety and the safety of the four-legged children in your family.

Enrolling in a PetTech PetSaver class will give you all the tools you need to keep your pets happy, healthy and alive during these snake infested summer months.

To find our more information on how you can help improve the quality of your pet’s life visit Nana’s Pet First Aid & CPR.

Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Video

It’s April and that means Pet First Aid Awareness Month is in full swing! I love April, not just for the beautiful flowers, blooming trees, pollen everywhere (just kidding on the last part, I could go without that layer of green dust everywhere), but most of all I love April because it is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month.

There is so much that goes into pet first aid, CPR and care, I have an entire business devoted to it! You might be asking why, exactly, this month is so important…well let’s find out!

For information on classes visit: nanaspetfirstaidandcpr.com or pettech.net

For free first aid and wellness printables click here.