We all want to do the very best we can to provide health and happiness for our pets. They’re members of the family, after all! And we’re fortunate that in this day and age, we all have access to the very best in advanced medical care for our pets, from puppy or kitten-hood to adulthood and into their senior years. But this advanced care doesn’t come without cost. And with average annual pet care costs topping $1800, taking great care of our pets can put a significant financial strain on many families.
That’s where pet insurance comes in. Just as human health insurance is designed to offset our own health care costs, pet insurance can ease the financial burden of unexpected injury or major illness in our pets. But is it worth it? Here, The Bluffs Pet Clinic lays out the basics so that you can begin to weigh the costs and benefits for your situation.
Pet Insurance 101
Pet insurance is usually designed to help pet owners meet the costs of unplanned injury or illnesses. Some pet insurance plans also cover wellness care, such as dental cleanings, exams, and vaccinations. However, those plans are typically more expensive on a monthly basis.
Unlike human health insurance, most pet insurance companies expect you to pay for veterinary services up front and then submit bills to them for reimbursement.
Selecting a pet insurance company is an individual choice, and so it’s important to do some preliminary research and make a selection based on your needs. Many of our team members have purchased pet insurance for their own pet companions, so if you have questions, give us a call.
When researching, consider comparing the following points:
- Monthly premiums/ costs
- Deductible amounts
- Waiting periods
- Lifetime limits
- Payout maximums per incident
- Add on costs
- Pre-existing conditions
- Age limits
After you’ve looked at these points, call your top three companies and talk to them. Customer service is key, so make sure you like the service provided and that all your questions are answered. Lastly, looking at online reviews from other consumers can be enlightening.
Peace of Mind
Perhaps the biggest benefit of pet insurance is the peace of mind it can afford you. If your pet is critically injured and needs to be hospitalized, or is diagnosed with a major illness such as cancer, pet insurance can allow you to focus on what’s most important – your pet’s care – instead of how you will pay for treatment.
If you have other specific questions about pet insurance, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
What’s small, has eight legs, and feeds off the blood of humans and animals?
You got it, ticks. These tiny parasites are not only gross, but they can also spread disease to both people and pets. Thanks to an increase in the geographical distribution of ticks throughout the country, tick diseases in pets are being diagnosed with greater frequency in recent years.
Tick-borne illnesses in pets can cause big problems, and may even be life-threatening in some cases, making knowledge of these illnesses an important part of responsible pet ownership.
Lyme disease is the most well-known of the tick diseases in pets, and is transmitted by the Brown Deer Tick. The tick must be attached to the host for more than 48 hours in order to pass along the Lyme disease bacteria, and symptoms (if any) tend to pop up about 2-5 months after the tick bite.
Signs your pet may have Lyme disease include fever, joint pain/swelling, limping, lameness, swollen lymph nodes, and lethargy. Lyme disease is notoriously difficult to detect, and can cause recurring health problems. Your veterinarian can help you to determine if your pet is a good candidate for the Lyme disease vaccine.
Other Tick Diseases in Pets
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever – Unlike its name, Rocky Mountain spotted fever is not limited to the western United States. The disease, which is carried by the American Dog Tick, Rocky Mountain Wood Tick, and Brown Deer Tick, has been found throughout North, South, and Central America. Symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, joint pain, and loss of appetite.
- Ehrlichiosis – The Brown Dog Tick is the most common carrier of ehrlichiosis, which can cause fever, respiratory distress, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, and bleeding disorders.
- Babesiosis – The signs of babesiosis infection include fever, dark urine, weakness, depression, swollen lymph nodes, and sudden collapse.
- Anaplasmosis – Fever, joint pain, lethargy, and loss of appetite may accompany an anaplasmosis infection.
It can be tempting to skip your pet’s monthly parasite preventive during the colder months, but any lapse in protection puts your pet at risk. Ticks can be brought into Minnesota at any time of the year via tourism, and a few unseasonably warm days may be all that’s needed to bring hibernating tick nymphs out of hiding. It’s also important to note that Lyme disease-carrying ticks remain active as long as the temperature is above freezing.
In addition to a monthly parasite prevention protocol, be sure to check your pet for ticks each time they come in from outside. If you find a tick, remove it by grasping the head with a pair of tweezers and pulling straight out, being careful not to squeeze. Drown the tick in rubbing alcohol or flush it down the toilet to dispose of it.
Thanks to an increase in the geographical distribution of ticks throughout the country, tick diseases in pets are being diagnosed with greater frequency in recent years.
We brush our teeth twice a day, and the results of those efforts are definitely noticeable. Most of us wouldn’t dream of going an entire day (not to mention weeks, months, or years) without brushing, and we also benefit from regular cleanings, x-rays, and exams.
The same could be said for the benefits of dental care for our pets. And although applying these same principals to your pet could seem challenging at first, the health benefits to them are nothing short of astounding.
With that in mind, The Bluffs Pet Clinic takes a deeper look into why pet home dental care is so important.Continue…
Spring has finally returned, but, unfortunately, that means that so have the fleas and ticks. As flea and tick treatments are always evolving, our own Dr. Darlene Cook, DVM, CVA wanted to share with you her current recommendations for flea and tick prevention for your pets. While we do recommend your pets be on monthly preventatives year-round, Doctor Cook also includes some recommendations for those who use spring through autumn prevention.Continue…
As a pet ages, they are more susceptible to certain conditions and diseases, but that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, with proper veterinary care, good nutrition, ample exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight, many pets live out their Golden Years with excellent health.
Treating your older pet requires a big measure of preventive care. This includes diagnostic and lab testing and more frequent examinations. Your friends at The Bluffs Pet Clinic want to help you keep your older four-legged friends going strong through senior pet wellness care. Continue…
As you move through the ups and downs of pet ownership, we strive to provide you with monthly pet care blogs that answer questions or address concerns. From pet care blogs about behavior, contagious diseases, or general lifestyle topics, our goal is to share our knowledge, raise awareness, and inspire the best possible care at home.
Throughout the year, we can gauge what topics resonate with our online readers. With each click, share, and scroll we can measure whether or not you liked our pet care blogs. Similarly, we are able to use this information and pivot in other directions that may prove extra relevant to you and your pet care needs. Continue…
The long months of winter can have most of us wanting to curl up on the couch. Add to that the busyness of the holidays, frequent travel, and inclement weather, and keeping up with your pet’s exercise needs can be a challenge.
Thankfully your friends at The Bluffs Pet Clinic have some fun, exciting, and easy winter activities for your pet that will have you both up and moving. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite winter activities for pets – and you, too! Continue…
We all want to do the best when it comes to feeding our families, and that includes those with four legs. Many of our clientele have been drawn in to the grain free pet food fad, but the truth is that this trend may not be a great one. So how are you to know? Let The Bluffs Pet Clinic help you understand how to make the best diet choices for your pet.
The Potential Problem with Grain Free Pet Food
The popularity of grain free pet food has been on the rise over the last decade or so thanks to the advent of some very heavily and successfully marketed pet food brands. Grain has been deemed a filler ingredient and blamed for a number of health conditions. In reality, very few pet health problems are related to grain and from a nutritional standpoint grain can even be a valuable ingredient when properly utilized.
Halloween is one of the most popular holidays for humans, and if the cute internet pictures are accurate, it’s popular with pets as well. But even though pets in costume look cute and funny, Halloween can actually be a frightful holiday for companion animals. Certain Halloween dangers for pets can even lead to scary pet emergencies.
But, fear not! With some preparation and planning, as well as awareness, you can make sure your pet stays safe, secure, and happy on Halloween.
Cozy and Safe
Some pets would love to answer the door with you all night long or go along on the trick-or-treating rounds. But if your pet is at all reluctant or anxious, do yourself (and them) a favor and let them sit this one out.
Wrapping up the summer months with a family vacation is something we all aspire to. And, adding a furry pal to the mix makes it even better, right?!?
Traveling with your pet has many perks. First, it is an opportunity to bond with your pet, and it is a way to show off your adorbs buddy to the rest of the pet-appreciating world. And don’t forget about all of those cute Instagram pics!
Yet, taking to the road with a pet has a lot of extra considerations. To take the guesswork out of traveling with your pet, your team at The Bluffs Pet Clinic is here to help you make your list of must-haves and to set you off an amazing journey for you and your pet. Continue…