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Is Pet Insurance Right for You and Your Pet?
Overweight Pets and the Risks
How to Keep Your Pets Cool in the Heat

Is Pet Insurance Right for You and Your Pet?
There’s a lot of talk about pet health insurance and whether it’s right for you and your pet, and if it’s worth it?

As with health insurance for humans, there are many similarities. It “helps cover the cost of veterinary care if your pet becomes ill or injured,” according to the article, “What is Pet Insurance” at Some plans will reimburse for wellness procedures including spay/neuter, vaccines, and heartworm testing.

According to the article, the similarities to some human insurance plans include that they both have:

• Deductibles
• Co-pays
• Maximum payouts
• Premiums
• Wait periods
• No coverage on pre-existing conditions

Pet insurance is different from human health insurance because:

• It’s a reimbursement plan
• No networks are used

So, do you really need pet insurance? According to the article, “Do you need pet insurance?” at, veterinary medicine is now more advanced and the cost has increased. “Pet insurance can help by offsetting some or most of the costs of diagnosing, treating and managing your pet’s illness or injury,” the article said.

However, pet insurance may not be for everyone. There are many considerations. To start, the article recommends speaking with your own vet and doing research. Some considerations include:

• No matter the insurance provider, “your veterinarian should be monitoring the health of your pet as part of a valid Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship,” the article said.
• Insurance providers should provide details to include limitations and exclusions for routine care and emergency care as well as premium increase as pets age.
• Add-on options including dental.
• The provider’s definition of pre-existing conditions.
• Does the provider exclude particular breeds?
• Is there a discount for multiple pets?

Before you decide on pet insurance, compare and contrast companies and the pros and cons to see if it’s right for you and your pet.

Overweight Pets and the Risks
One extra treat for your pet becomes another and before you know it, your pet is overweight.

According to the article, “Long-term Effects of Obesity on Pets” at, “the reality is that the extra treats and the resulting extra weight are causing lasting damage to your pet’s internal organs, bones, and joints — some of which can never be remedied even with a change in diet and exercise.”

Today vets are seeing more obese pets. They are in as much danger as an overweight person. It’s important to make habit changes so that your pet can live out a long and healthy life.

“According to recent findings by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), more than 45 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats can be classified as overweight or obese,” the article said, adding that the following conditions can occur due to excess weight:

• Exercise intolerance, decreased stamina
• Respiratory compromise (difficulty breathing)
• Heat intolerance
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Diabetes or insulin resistance

There are things you can do to help get your pet back on track and lose the weight, according to the article, “Obesity in Dogs and Cats: The Most Common Health Threat to Our Pets,” at

While humans may “super-size their meals” they are often doing it with their pets, too. The following are tips for a healthier weight for your pet according to the article.

1. Discuss your pet’s weight and diet with your vet and do a weigh in.
2. Don’t allow your pet to graze.
3. Make mealtime an interactive activity using puzzle feeders.
4. Don’t overfeed. Read labels for serving size suggestion.
5. Exercise more.

If you’re not sure what to do for your overweight pet, start by speaking with your vet.

How to Keep Your Pets Cool in the Heat
The heat’s still on and that means making sure you know how to keep your pet safe and cool.

Not only does the heat make humans and pets feel uncomfortable, it can be dangerous, according to the article, “Keep pets safe in the heat,” at The Humane Society of the United States (

The article offers some tips to keep your pets safe and cool:

• Never leave your pet in a parked car, even if the car is running with AC. It’s still dangerous!
• When it’s hot, keep the exercise limited.
• Fans don’t cool off pets as they do humans, so you’ll need more than a fan.
• Always have lots of water and provide shade when outdoors with your pet.
• Make some homemade pupsicles, and always have water on hand.
• “Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest or mat,” the article said.
• Watch for signs of heatstroke, including glazed eyes, heavy panting, and rapid heartbeat.
• Have a disaster plan on hand in case of a power outage.

According to the article, “Hot Weather Safety Tips,” at, don’t leave pets unsupervised around the pool as “not all dogs are good swimmers.”

If you have a dog with long hair, don’t shave him. “The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn,” the article said. “Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.”

When temps are high, keep pets off the hot pavement and asphalt as it can burn their paws.

While we all have to deal with the heat during the hotter months, it’s important to keep your pets safe and cool.

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Understanding Spay and Neuter for Your Pets
How to Keep Your Pets Safe When Traveling with Them
How to Care for Your Senior Pet

Understanding Spay and Neuter for Your Pets
There are very important reasons to spay or neuter your pets. It’s also important to understand the meaning of the terms.

When you have your pet spayed (females) or neutered (males) at the veterinarian’s office or a clinic, you not only help to prevent unwanted and unnecessary litters, your pet will also be healthier and happier.

It’s also important because spay/neuter helps saves lives. “That’s because your choice to spay or neuter reduces the number of accidental litters being born,” according to the article, “Understanding Spay and Neuter” at Best Friends Animal Society. “And that means fewer pets entering shelters, where they might be at risk of being killed.”

According to the article, the benefits of spaying female pets include;

• No risk of uterine infections, ovarian or uterine cancer
• Reduced risk of breast cancer
• No risk of pregnancy

For males, benefits include:

• Less risk of testicular cancer
• Less likely to spray or mark with urine
• Less likely to show aggression

There are myths around spay/neuter. One is to allow a female to have a litter before spaying. “In fact, spaying female dogs and cats before their first heat cycle eliminates their risk of ovarian or uterine cancer, and it also greatly reduces their risk of mammary cancer,” the Best Friends article said.

Many people are unaware that “more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually,” according to the article, “Why you should spay/neuter your pet” at The Humane Society of the United States. “Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100 percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.”

Additionally, when you spay/neuter you avoid many potential health issues that can have exorbitant costs.

For people looking for low-cost spay/neuter, check locally for clinics in your area.

How to Keep Your Pets Safe When Traveling with Them
If you’re one of those people who cannot bear to be away from their pet, even on vacation, then it’s time to talk about keeping your pets safe and comfortable when they travel with you.

Ensure your pet has a microchip with the proper identification, and wears his collar with appropriate tags and information. According to the article, “Travel Safety Tips” at the, “It’s a good idea for your pet’s collar to also include a temporary travel tag with your cell phone and destination phone number for the duration of your trip.”

The article said if you must travel by plane with a big dog:

• Book a direct flight.
• See your veterinarian for a checkup before leaving.
• Buy a USDA-approved shipping crate and ensure it has proper ID.
• Tell all airline employees that you have a pet in cargo.

For road trips, the article suggests:

• Take your pet on short rides beforehand.
• Keep your pet safe in a well-ventilated crate or carrier.
• Take a pet travel kit including food, bowl, leash, water, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first-aid supplies, and travel documents.
• Do not leave your pet alone in the vehicle.

Before heading out on any trip, your pet should be up to date on vaccines “and depending on where you’re headed and whether your pet will be in contact with other animals, your veterinarian might recommend additional vaccinations,” according to the article, “8 Tips for Safe Travel With Your Pet” at

Discuss with your vet about preventatives for fleas, ticks and other parasites, the article said. Also keep your pets away from plants as some may be toxic.

Keep your pet’s medical information at hand. And try to look up the nearest emergency vet clinic closest to your destination in case you need one.

How to Care for Your Senior Pet
Pets live longer now due to improved veterinary care and better care in general, but senior pets need some extra attention.

According to the article, “Senior Pets,” at the American Veterinary Medical Association (, “Regular veterinary examinations can detect problems in older pets before they become advanced or life-threatening, and improve the chances of a longer and healthier life for your pet.”

Larger breed dogs usually live shorter lives, and are considered senior at 5 or 6 years old. Small dogs and cats are typically deemed senior at 7.

Just as in humans, “age is not a disease,” the article said. People often develop certain health issues with age, and so do senior pets. With good care, your senior pet can live a healthy and happy active life.

According to the AVMA article, senior pets likely will slow down, get a gray coat, and their organ systems will change. Senior pets are susceptible to heart, kidney and liver disease, cancer and arthritis. “Cancer accounts for almost half of the deaths of pets over 10 years of age,” the article said. “Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans, while cats have a somewhat lower rate.”

You can get a better handle on your senior pet’s life stage with a veterinary exam, according to the article, “How to Help Your Dog or Cat Age Gracefully,” at Follow up with your vet if you notice any of the following:

• Weight changes
• Decreased or no appetite
• Drinking more water
• Added lumps or bumps
• Seizures
• Disorientation

Ensure your senior pet is safe in your home. Carpet can prevent your pet from slipping, while a ramp or step stool can help him up onto the bed with ease.

Extra love and attention can help your senior pet enjoy his golden years.

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Shy Dogs: How to Help Your Timid Pet
Ways to Introduce a New Cat to Your Present Cat at Home
How to Keep Your Pet’s Paws Safe When It’s Over 100 Degrees

Shy Dogs: How to Help Your Timid Pet
Some dogs are outgoing while others are shy. There are many reasons for shyness but there are ways to help.

According to the article, “7 Things You Should Never, Ever Do With a Shy Dog” at, don’t tie your shy dog outside alone in public, don’t force her into fearful situations to desensitize her, don’t force her to work with an overbearing and dominant trainer, and don’t force her into noisy places with “unpredictable activity.”

There are naturally shy dogs and some who come from an abusive past. Socialization is very important for dogs and should occur between 7 and 14 weeks old. “This is the time period when part of the brain that builds associations is rapidly developing, and it is also the time when dogs can develop fears or phobias,” according to the article, “How Confidence-Building Exercises Can Help Timid Dogs,” at

Confidence building exercises can help timid dogs by retraining their brain along with removing “the fear stigma attached to various situations or things,” the petMD article said.

Start desensitizing with a good training reward treat to use only during the exercises, the petMD article said:

• While on a leash, slowly introduce your dog to the fearful stimulus at a distance to avoid a fear response.
• Your dog should know the scary thing is near but not show fear, and have your dog sit and pay attention. Praise and give treats.
• Get closer next time and repeat. Do this once or twice a day while getting closer each time.

“Your dog will start to build a positive association in his mind between the scary thing and his favorite thing, and pretty soon, your dog may automatically sit and look expectantly at you, waiting for a treat whenever the scary thing is present,” the article said.

Ways to Introduce a New Cat to Your Present Cat at Home
Two cats are better than one, but what do you do when you have one and you bring home a new cat? There are ways to help introduce the two to make the transition go smoothly.

“Throwing two cats into one environment without proper consideration of their positions is just asking for trouble,” according to the article, “Simple Tips for Introducing Two Cats” at If done right, you may get two good friends.

According to the article, here are some tips:

• Keep the cats separated in the beginning and put the new cat in an isolated room.
• The room should be like “home” and include litter box, food and water, hiding places, toys, and a scratching post.
• Ensure the cats can smell and hear one another. Feed the cats near the door on either side.
• “After 2-3 days, some cat experts recommend switching the cats’ locations so they can get used to each others’ smells,” the article said.
• Mix their scents by rubbing them with the same towel.
• After a couple more days, play with the cats near the door to build positive associations.
• If all goes well, after a week, have them see each other using a screen door or high baby gate. “Continue feeding, playing with and giving the cats treats within view of the other cats, but don’t force it!” the article said.
• The final step is a supervised face-to-face introduction.

“Once the cats are face to face, though, there will be some kinks for them to work out,” according to the article, “Introducing your new cat to other pets,” at The Humane Society of the United States.

With luck, the cats slowly will find their way together. If you see any aggression you may want to call an animal behaviorist or your vet.

How to Keep Your Pet’s Paws Safe When It’s Over 100 Degrees
When summer comes, temperatures rise, and sometimes the heat makes it dangerous for humans as well as animals. That can make it unsafe to walk your dog or cat on hot pavement. It can be detrimental to your pet’s paw pads causing severe burns.

There are things you can do when you take your pet for important daily walks to keep your pet safe.

According to the article, “Paw Pad Burns on Dogs: What to Do” at, when it’s especially hot outside, keep daily walks short “not only to ensure that he doesn’t get overheated, but to avoid painful burns to his paw pads.”

While a dog’s paw pads are meant to be pretty strong, hot concrete can do a number on them. A dog with burns on his paws may limp or cry out. Blisters on burned paws can occur as well.
It’s also very important to take the time of day into consideration when walking your pet. “Take walks in the cooler part of the day — the early morning and evening,” according to the article “How to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Summer” at “And carry enough water for both of you.”

Additionally, check the pavement yourself before you even think of heading out. As the saying goes, “If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paw pads,” the WebMD article said. Try to find grass to walk your dog, and avoid concrete and asphalt. If you haven’t yet, you can try dog booties as well. If you can find shade to walk under, such as trees, do that as well.

Keep these tips in mind to ensure both you and your pet are safe on your daily walks, and that your pet’s paws stay in tip-top shape.