Factors to Consider Before You Compare Pet Insurance Policies

According to NAPHIA (North American Pet Health Insurance Association), close to 1.8 million pets were insured by the end of 2016 in North America. Approximately 1.6 million pets were insured in the United States and approximately 220,000 pets were insured in Canada. This represents an 11.5% growth in insured pets from 2015. There are currently 12 major pet insurance companies in North America, but the number of companies is expected to grow. This means that there are many options for you to compare pet insurance policies.

Pet Ownership Is On The Rise

Sixty-eight percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet, according to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). This is up from 56 percent of U.S. households in 1988, the first year the survey was conducted.

Currently, it is estimated that less than 1% of North America’s dogs and cats are insured. This number is quite low compared to other countries. For example, the UK reports about 25% of their dogs and cats as having pet insurance and Sweden is at over 30%.

However, in the United States, each year the number of insured pets continues to grow and more and more pet owners will explore pet insurance and will need to compare pet insurance companies and compare pet insurance plans to find the right company and plan for their fur family member.

Factors to Consider Before You Compare Pet Insurance?

With over 12 pet insurance companies, the prospect of finding and comparing pet insurance companies and comparing pet insurance plans can seem complicated. The good news is that it is actually not that complicated. We’ve created the following tips that should help you compare pet insurance and help you find the plan that is right for your pet and your family.

#1.  Know the Players  – Research all the available companies and plans to understand the details and differences. A simple “pet insurance” google search will provide the majority of players or you could visit this article: The Pet Insurance Providers In North America.

#2. Compare Pet Insurance Providers – Start a comparison chart to do a side-by-side comparison of pet insurance companies based on the key factors that impact your plan, coverage and costs. These details include: plans, premiums, deductibles, co-pays, sample reimbursements and plan details, including exclusions and any additional features.

#3 Research What’s Covered and What’s Not – Many plans may have exclusions or things that are not covered, which can impact your plan costs and coverage when you submit a claim. The top exclusion categories include: pre-existing conditions, hereditary conditions, congenital conditions, or conditions related to breeding.

#4 Pick A Plan For You and Your Pet – Determine what’s most important for you and your pet. Many providers offer custom plans that allow you to build options based on annual limits, deductibles and copay options. Research your pet’s breed and talk to your vet about breed-related health issues and your pet’s health history. Explore all the plan options for accidents, illnesses and wellness care.

#5 Compare Cost and Value – Compare the plan options based on your pet’s needs. Explore any details around deductible – are they per incident or annual? How do these factors impact your choice and cost? Most providers have quick quote tools that make getting this information simple.

#6 Get To Know The Company – How long has the company been in business, how many pets do they insure?  Search for company reviews and find out what others have to say about the company and plans. Look for the most recent reviews to ensure accurate details on the current plans and customer experiences.

#7 Explore Discounts – Many companies offer discounts and there are also discounts when you enroll multiple pets. Does your employer offer pet insurance?  Many employers are now offering pet insurance as part of your benefits package and there may be group discounts.

#8 Start When Pets are Young and Healthy – The age of your pet and current health status play an important role in costs coverage. The younger the pet typically means lower costs and less limitations for pre-existing conditions.

How To Find Full Pet Insurance Coverage

It is very easy to find full pet insurance coverage. However, in order to find full pet insurance coverage, it is important to understand what type of coverage pet insurance provides for our dogs and cats.  Pet insurance plans were designed to cover unexpected and unplanned accidents and illnesses. With the rising costs of pet healthcare, having pet insurance and full pet insurance coverage can ensure that pet owners can provide both important and costly medical care for their dogs and cats.

Pet Insurance Providers In North America

At the time of this post, we identified 12 pet insurance companies that insure dogs and cats in North America. All of the pet insurance providers listed below offer comprehensive and major medical coverage and some also include wellness plans for cats and dogs. Some pet insurance companies offer plans for fish, birds, and horses also.

Pet Insurance in North America

Pet Insurance was founded in the U.S. by Dr. Jack Stephens and in 1982 the first pet insurance plan was issued in North America to Lassie. Between 1997 and 2017 over 11 new pet insurance companies started in the U.S. To date, less than 2% of U.S. dogs and cats are insured.  Outside of the U.S. pet insurance is much more popular Sweden tops the list with over 30% of their pets having pet insurance. The U.K. has the second highest at 25% of their pets having pet insurance.

Pet Insurance Companies in North America

  1. Nationwide
  2. Embrace
  3. Pets Best
  4. ASPCA
  5. PetPremium
  6. AKC
  7. 4Paws
  8. Healthy Paws
  9. Trupanion
  10. Petplan
  11. PetPartners
  12. Figo

The Value of Pet Insurance

It is our opinion (and this is an opinion shared by many professionals and pet owners),  pet insurance saves lives. It is fact that cannot be disputed.

We all know that one of the biggest costs of pet ownership is the vet bills. Each day pet healthcare becomes more sophisticated and more expensive. Pet Insurance can ensure that you can always provide the best care for your dog or cat and help put an end the practice of economic euthanasia.


Everything Your Family Needs to Know About the Doberman Breed

If you’re thinking about getting a Doberman pinscher, here’s what you and your family should know about the Doberman breed. Officially recognized in 1900, the Doberman is a relatively new breed. Developed in Germany, the Doberman breed was imported to the United States. By 1921, the Doberman Pinscher Club of America was founded and the dog quickly gained popularity as a working breed. The Doberman was originally developed as a fiercely protective guard dog, but its temperament has been toned down to be a loyal, loving and devoted, yet still protective, family pet. On average, the Doberman breed has a lifespan of 12 to 15 years and is one of the smartest of all dogs.

Although the Doberman breed has a reputation as an attack dog, he is also considered a loving and loyal companion. A good Doberman is a stable and friendly dog, but all of that changes if you threaten his family.

Is Doberman Ear Cropping Necessary?

The adult Doberman pinscher stands 26 to 28 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 60 to 100 pounds. The Doberman has a wedge-shaped head and the ears may or may not be cropped. Uncropped ears naturally hang and the tail is docked.

Doberman ear cropping is very common. Ear cropping is a surgical procedure in which a portion of the dog’s ear is removed, producing ears that stand erect. The procedure is most often performed on Doberman puppies at around 8 to 12 weeks of age. The ears are then taped to a hard surface for several weeks while they heal. This is done so that the ears will stay upright. To learn more about the ear cropping procedure in dogs, go to Ear Cropping for Dogs.

Ear cropping is an elective surgery for dogs. It’s a choice. It has no known health benefit and is done solely at the dog owner’s preference. Ear cropping in the Doberman breed has long been routinely done to achieve a certain appearance. And while this routine procedure is not banned or regulated in the United States, it is becoming more controversial. Some states are considering legislation to ban ear cropping, but they have not yet done so.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) says that ear cropping is “integral to defining and preserving breed character” in certain breeds like the Doberman pinscher, but the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) opposes ear cropping in dogs. Because the procedure is purely cosmetic, they believe it poses unnecessary risks to the dog.

Ear cropping is becoming less common. Less veterinarians are willing to perform the surgery, and dog owners are becoming more aware of the controversial nature of the surgical procedure. If your Doberman competes, you should know that the AKC says dogs without docked tails or cropped ears are just as likely to win at dog shows.

To learn more about ear cropping in the Doberman breed, go to Is Doberman Ear Cropping Necessary?

What You Need to Know About the Doberman Breed’s Health History

One of the most serious breed-related health problems in the Doberman breed is cardiomyopathy, which causes an enlarged heart. The diseased heart muscles become enlarged and weak, making it harder and harder for the heart to pump blood. Eventually affected dogs die from heart failure. Early signs of the disease might include depression, coughing, exercise intolerance, weakness, respiratory distress, decreased appetite and even fainting. However, many dogs with this condition are asymptomatic. To help catch this condition early, you should have your dog examined every year. No dog with cardiomyopathy should ever be bred.

Cervical vertebral instability (CVI), commonly known as Wobbler’s disease, is another breed-related condition affecting the Doberman breed. In this condition, the vertebrae in the neck are malformed. This puts pressure on the spinal cord, which leads to weakness in the hindquarters and a wobbly gait. Sometimes complete paralysis results.

Here’s what you need to know about Doberman health. In general, the Doberman is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported:

  • Wobbler’s disease is a malformation of the bones in the neck resulting in neck pain and a characteristic wobbly gait.
  • Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.
  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy is a serious heart condition that results in a large, thin walled heart muscle.
  • Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland does not function adequately to produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormone.
  • Von Willebrand’s disease is a disorder that results in the inability to clot blood. Affected animals will bleed extensively following trauma or surgery.
  • Melanoma is a tumor arising from melanocytes, which are the cells that produce pigment.
  • Cutaneous Histiocytoma – is a benign tumor of the skin that can affect young dogs.
  • Lipomas are benign fatty tumors of the subcutaneous tissue.
  • Fibrosarcoma is a type of cancer that arises from the fibrous connective tissues.
  • Alopecia is a disorder resulting in a loss of hair.
  • Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.
  • Entropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes inward rolling. Lashes on the edge of the eyelid irritate the surface of the eyeball and may lead to more serious problems.
  • Diabetes is a disease of the pancreas related to insufficient amounts of insulin production.
  • Lick granuloma is a condition in which the dog licks an area excessively, usually on the front leg, until a raised, firm ulcerated lesion is formed.
  • Parvovirus is a devastating gastrointestinal virus that primarily affects unvaccinated puppies.
  • Chronic hepatitis is a chronic and progressive inflammation of the liver of dogs that leads eventually to the replacement of normal liver tissue with scar tissue.
  • Portosystemic shunt (PSS) is a malformation of the blood flow associated with the liver. Blood is shunted away from the liver, resulting in accumulation of blood toxins and subsequent profound illness.
  • Drug reaction to a group of drugs called “sulphonamides” may cause skin reactions and polyarthritis in this breed.
  • In addition, the Doberman is prone to acne, osteosarcoma and elbow dysplasia.

To increase the chances that you will be getting a healthy puppy, choose a reputable breeder. Careful breeders screen their dogs for genetic diseases and breed only the best specimens. Still, there are no guarantees that the puppy will not develop one of these conditions despite good breeding practices.

How to Transition to Managing Old Cat Behavior

Today you can expect your cat to live a longer life than in the past. While some cats live into their twenties, most cats live to be 16 or 17 years of age.

Cats are like people. We are all unique and not all of us will age at the same rate. Your cat may begin to display old cat behavior as early as 7 years of age or as late as 10 years of age – most will change by age 12 at the latest.

What is old cat behavior and how will you be best prepared to manage it?

Normal aging brings about changes in behavior. Old cat behavior includes being less active, playing less, sleeping more, grooming less, eating less heartily, and reacting less to surrounding events. Older cats may experience a disturbance in sleep patterns or disorientation. Suddenly your older cat begins forgetting previously learned behaviors, like the location of the litter box. These changes can cause a lot of anxiety and your cat may react in many different ways. Your cat may begin to display aggression or change its social relationships with other household members.

Feline cognitive dysfunction or FCD can begin as early as 11 years of age, affecting memory, sight, hearing and much more. Typical signs of FCD can be described by the acronym DISH.

  • D – Disorientation – Your senior cat may wander aimlessly and appear lost or confused at times. He may fail to recognize family members.
  • I – Reduced Social Interactions – Your cat may no longer greet people warmly or seek their attention as often.
  • S – Changes in Sleep-Wake Cycle – Your cat may sleep more during the daytime but wander aimlessly at night, perhaps crying out.
  • H – Loss of House Training – Breakdown of house training can occur because your cat forgets where the litter box is, or is no longer concerned about personal hygiene.

To learn more about old cat behavior, go to Behavior of the Senior Cat.

Why Increased Urination in Cats Happens

As our cat’s age, they tend to urinate more often, and sometimes they urinate outside the litter box. Incontinence or weak bladder is age-related. The bladder weakens with age, resulting in more frequent urination. Essentially, your cat will urinate as soon as pressure builds up in the bladder – and often, that can mean urinating outside the litter box.

Increased urination in cats is normal with age. It often results from diseases that are common to aging felines, like kidney failure, hyperthyroidism or diabetes. Increased urination in cats is often an early sign of diabetes in older or overweight cats. But don’t just assume that your cat’s more frequent urination is a sign of old age. If you have concerns, see your veterinarian. Your cat could be suffering from a urinary tract infection or bladder infection, or kidney disease.

More frequent urination will cause the litter box to become soiled more quickly. Many cats will stop using the litter box when they encounter a buildup of soil or odor. So increased urination in cats often means urinating outside the litter box. To help keep your cat from urinating outside the litter box, make sure to keep the litter box as clean as possible. Clean the litter box daily, or more often if necessary. To learn more about dealing with a cat urinating outside the litter box, go to How Do You Deal with a Cat Urinating Outside the Litter Box.

Arthritis is another condition that can contribute to urinating outside the litter box. Older cats can suffer from arthritis pain that makes it difficult for them to access the litter box. When this happens, they will simply find an “easier” place to go. Get a litter box with lower sides that is more easily accessible to your older cat.

If your cat is urinating outside the litter box, here are some things that you can try. Increase the number of litter boxes in your house. Make sure there’s one on every floor in case your cat is experiencing discomfort going up and down the stairs. Put the new litter boxes in areas where your cat can easily find them. Many cats also have trouble getting into and out of the litter box when they get older, so use litter boxes that have low sides. To learn more about increased urination in cats, go to Why Increased Urination Happens in Cats.

Here’s Why Your Cat Wants Attention More Often

Sometimes an older cat can become more needy. If your senior cat wants attention more often, she can show it in many different ways. Your cat may become more vocal. She may follow you around or brush up against your legs. If you are working at the computer or reading the newspaper, she may sit in front of the computer screen or on the keyboard, or she may jump up and sit on top of your newspaper. Essentially she is saying look at me! Pay attention to me!

Wagging In The Workplace Infographic: The Benefits of Pets At Work

You’ve probably read articles about the benefits of eating lunch at work somewhere else than your desk. You may have noticed information about the value of getting up and moving during the work day. But what about the value of having a pet at work? How much do you know about that?

Turns out, more and more of us have pets—about two-thirds of all U.S. households in fact—which means many of us don’t want to leave those furry friends all day long. But still, bringing a pet to work isn’t exactly accepted practice in most workplaces. But it might be, if companies began to consider the host of benefits.

Can Pets at Work Improve Employee Retention?

For example, pets at work are a great way to lessen stress and improve employee retention—and those are just two plusses. But how do you institute a pet-friendly workplace policy, and why should you consider it? This graphic explains it.

Wagging in the workplace: Benefits of pets at workWagging in the workplace: Benefits of pets at workInfographic by Quill