Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pet Insurance For Dogs

I wouldn't dream of not having health insurance on my kids and myself but I had never thought about pet insurance for dogs. But it makes sense.  Vet bills are getting higher and higher each year.  Dogs are living longer and I want to be able to do anything I can for Jes, my bulldog, to keep her healthy.

There are many companies now offering pet insurance and one I'm looking at is the pet insurance provider for the ASPCA.  They have four plans to choose from, ranging from $15 a month to $92 a month.  At first glance, it looks like it's worthwhile. I just have to figure out which plan.  For example, the $15 a month plan covers 90% of vet bills related to accidents such as broken bones and swallowed objects.  It covers x-rays, meds, lab tests, surgery and hospitalization.  There is a deductible but you can choose your level, starting as low as $100. 

This isn't the coverage for Jes because she's a bulldog - which means she isn't running after anything.  This couch potato has a very low risk of breaking a bone.  And she has a sensitive stomach so she isn't inclined to eat anything other than her grain-free food! 

But if I had known about this insurance when my Golden Retriever, Jake, was alive - this would have been the perfect policy for him!

And, as Old Dog Care Guide points out,  

"The older dogs become, the higher their chances of suffering from some form of ill health or aging condition. These health issues are inevitable, so getting your old dog pet insurance is a way of making sure you’ll be able to afford any vet bills that come along with old age for your pooch.
In general, pet insurance works pretty much like the health insurance plans for humans. Most pet insurance plans cover:
  • Treatment for accidents, diseases, and illnesses
  • Surgery and hospitalization
  • Cancer and chemotherapy
  • Diagnostic and laboratory tests, like X-rays and MRIs
  • Drugs and medications"
So it might make sense to look into pet insurance for dogs before your pooch gets into what is considered "old age" for dogs.    If you need some help figuring out when your dog enters "senior" status, here's a chart of the top breeds and when they're considered AARP-eligible.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Stop Euthanizing Animals

Join the Facebook Cause Purple for Animals

"According to the American Humane Association, nearly 10 million animals are euthanized annually in the United States.

That's 833,333 every month-

208,333 every week -

27,778 each day -

1,157 every hour!

 Or...think of it this way - 19 companion animals are put to sleep every minute of every hour of every day each year!!

PLEASE do your part by having your pet spayed or neutered!!Spread the news animals are dying."

You can also follow Purple For Animals on Facebook at

Monday, January 16, 2012

Yes, Dogs Can Catch The Flu

You get the chills, your nose runs, your chest feels heavy and you’re nauseous. You know these are signs of the flu coming. But what about when Rocko’s nose runs? Is he sick? Maybe, because  yes, dogs can catch the flu

Dogs Can Catch The Flu
“Humans aren't the only ones sneezing, sniffling and coughing their way through flu season. Canine influenza is a contagious viral infection that can make our beloved pups feel icky, too.
Much like in humans, the disease is spread through the air by sneezing, coughing and respiratory discharges. It is more common in dogs who live in urban settings or come in frequent contact with other dogs—doggie day-care, dog parks, dog shows, etc.

On the bright side, doggy flu is easily treatable with plenty of rest, healthy foods, extra fluids and sometimes additional meds. If you think your pup may be at a higher risk of catching Canine Influenza, the ASPCA recommends talking to your veterinarian about a special vaccine that helps prevent it.

Our experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center answer the most commonly asked questions about canine influenza virus.

What is the Canine Flu?
Canine influenza is a contagious viral infection of dogs, caused by Influenza Virus A subtype H3N8.

What does the Canine Flu do to dogs?
The canine influenza virus can cause mild to severe illness. Mild effects include a soft, moist cough with or without a low grade fever that lasts 10 to 30 days despite treatment, along with yellow/green nasal discharge if a secondary bacterial infection occurs. More severe illness can result in high grade fever as well as rapid/difficult breathing, which is usually caused by secondary pneumonia.

Is Canine Flu fatal?
Typically, most infected dogs develop mild to moderate signs that resolve within 10 to 30 days without problems. As with other flu viruses, fatalities can potentially occur, but are not common and are generally due to secondary complications such as bacterial pneumonia.

How easy is it for my dog to catch?
The virus is contagious—spread via aerosolized respiratory secretions. Thus far, most outbreaks have occurred between dogs who are kept in large numbers in relatively close quarters, such as greyhounds at racing tracks. The risk of infection in a canine who does not attend dog shows or frequent kennels is fairly low. However, because this is a recently emerged disease, there is no natural or vaccine-induced immunity—so all dogs are susceptible.

What can people do to help prevent spreading Canine Flu from one dog to another?
Any dog infected with Canine Flu or as any other respiratory disease should be kept away from other dogs until the illness completely resolves.

Solutions as simple as soap and water are effective disinfectants for eliminating the virus from surfaces.

To help reduce the risk of spreading the virus, gloves should be worn when handling infected dogs or cleaning contaminated cages."  As reported by the ASPCA

When I was growing up the common belief was animals didn't get the same illnesses as people.  But that no longer appears to be the case because, yes, dogs can catch the flu too. To reduce your pet’s chances of catching the flu, keep him in tip-top condition. Always keep your surroundings clean and tidy to prevent germs from spreading. If you’d like to know more about canine influenza, click here.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Don’t Love Your Dog To Death

Dogs deserve all the care and attention their human pals can muster, but sometimes, dog owners take things a little too far. Don’t love your dog to death by making these four common mistakes. It won’t be easy for you, but you’ll actually do your pooch a favor.
"Even with the best intentions and all the love in the world, dog owners everywhere are doing things that shorten their dogs’ lives.

Believing the dog food hype.

Commercial pet foods have highly talented marketing teams. They promise their food will make your dog as happy and healthy as the ones playing happily in the ads. The packaging looks colorful, like the dried kibble is full of fresh ingredients, and makes bold claims. The truth is you have to dig much deeper to find out if the food can actually deliver what it promises. The vibrant colors? Artificial dyes included purely to appeal to you (dogs are mainly color-blind, so food coloring means nothing to them). Ingredient list includes “by-product meal”? Sounds like food, but it could be anything from bones to chicken feet. AAFCO approved? Meets minimum requirements, not necessarily exceeding them or optimal for your dog’s specific needs. There’s a difference between surviving and thriving. Make sure your dog’s food provides the nutrition your dog needs and quality of ingredients she deserves.
The remedy: Do your research to know your dog’s food gives her what she really needs.

Killing them with kindness.

It’s hard to ignore the sweet puppy eyes begging for a piece of your dinner. She's so good, she deserves a treat or two. But too many owners take this to the extreme and end up destroying their dog’s diet. The dog gets foods that are at best useless, at worst dangerous. The dog gains weight as junk food accounts for more of their intake. Weight gain leads to joint problems, heart issues, and more, slowly making their life shorter and more painful. Once those problems kick in, there’s no turning back the clock.
The remedy: Keep an eye on the junk food. Keep treats healthy and a small part of your dog’s diet.

Watching movies on the couch together.
It’s one thing to love snuggling with your dog. It’s another thing when your dog is a couch potato who doesn’t get exercise. Recent estimates say that over half of all dogs in the United States are overweight. Those are dogs who aren’t getting enough exercise and are carting around extra heft that is slowly wearing down their bodies. Much like junk food, lack of exercise shortens your dog’s lifespan. Exercise is great bonding time, whether you’re walking, doing agility, or swimming together. The couch may be cozier, but you’ll enjoy more years of snuggle time if your dog lives a longer life.

The remedy: Choose bonding activities that involve physical activity. Then relax on the couch together.
These mistakes are easy to make. That’s why so many of us dog owners have made at least one of them. But for the love of dog, we need to stop. Stop making these mistakes and our dogs will live healthier, happier, longer lives."  Read the original post here.
Your dog is part of the family and sometimes you need to do what you think is cruel to actually be kind to your dog. So
don’t love your dog to death. Just love your dog. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Healthy Home Cooked Meals For Dogs

I've always been a proponent of commercial dog food.  I figured they knew more about what dogs need than I do.  But as time has passed (in other words I've gotten older!) I realize that their job is to sell dog food and my job is to make sure my dog is eating healthy.  That's when I began researching Healthy Home Cooked Meals For Dogs.

To be fair, I still mix in dry dog kibble with whatever I cook for Jes (that's my bulldog, if you're new to my blog) but that's more for a bit of filler.  I buy the Canidae brand, which in itself is a natural, holistic dog food.  I feed her the Platinum formula, which is a nice name for the old and overweight dog food.

But I don't feed it to her because she's old or overweight but rather because it's lower in fat and carbs.

Most nights Jes is served a baked chicken breast (no skin of course) and a cup of green beans. Green beans are her favorite.  When I substitute another veg, I often find them in the bottom of the bowl. It amazes me how a dog with a squished face can each around morsels of carrots.

Homemade Dog Ice Cream | photo by DryFish

And on special occasions, she gets doggy ice cream for dessert. You can either buy it in the store, or make it yourself. 

"Wikihow offers this easy recipe for Doggy Ice Cream: 
  •  2 cups vanilla yogurt
  • Bananas (mashed)
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Mix the ingredients together, place equal amounts in an ice cube tray and place the tray in the freezer." 
It's that simple to create a healthy home cooked meal for dogs. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Local Dog Walkers - Finding the Right Dog Walker For Your Dog

Just because you don’t have time to walk your dog every day doesn’t mean your dog can’t get walked daily. Consider hiring a professional dog walker. It used to be that only big cities like L.A. and New York offered dog walking as a professional service. Now many communities have professional dog walkers.

If you’d like to consider hiring a professional dog walker, here are several sites that can help you find a local dog walker.

The most comprehensive directory of service providers. The site is broader than just local dog walkers and broader than just dogs. But it’s easy to navigate to get to the information you’re looking for.

This site conducts a background check on its listed providers. It shows a photo of the service provider, their age, rate, type of animal they provide services for, last time they logged into the site, what percent of inquiries from the site they reply to. This all sounds great but you can’t tell at a glance who provides local dog walker services and you have to register to get more information. You don’t have to pay to register but you do have to register.

Though they don’t have listings in every state, they tell you on the home page how many dog walker listings they have per state. If they don’t have your state, it’s a quick “in and out” to the website.

I like this list because everyone on the list has participated in training programs towards a certification program in dog walking or have achieved their certificate.

As you’d expect, this list is not particularly extensive either. And when you select a state to look for a list of local dog walkers, you have to download a word document with the listings.

This website shares information and listings for pet sitters as well as local dog walkers. To find dog walkers from this site you must submit your zip code or city/state. I tested several markets from L.A. to New York and Minneapolis MN to Houston TX. They are weak in the smaller markets and have several listings in the larger markets. 

They also have information on “How to be an ideal client” and “What to look for in a Pet Sitter.” Though most of it is common sense, it’s still helpful to have it outlined for you. 

Don't bother with this site. Links are broken on the site. They have very few listings for a local dog walker. When you do a search you have to select from a pre-determined list of cities and once you do that you must select a state. Pick the state and another search bar opens asking for the zip code. Enter the zip code and it asks you for the state AGAIN. Select the state AGAIN and it asks you for the city AGAIN. Select the city AGAIN and it asks you for the neighborhood. Select the neighborhood…and nothing happens!

Maybe you’d like to explore a career as a dog walker yourself? If so, check out the Dog Walking Academy (which has nothing to do with the Dog Walker Guide)

Smokehouse 100% Natural Duck & Sweet Potato Dog Treats, 16 Ounce Reseal Bag
My Bulldog's Favorite Treat 
FYI – I have no relationship with any of the sites I’ve reviewed

I do earn a commission if you choose to purchase Smokehouse Duck and Sweet Potato Dog Treats.  I only recommend products that I have personal experience with. These Duck and Sweet Potato Treats are my bulldog's favorite treat.