Pet insurance, Should you or Shouldn’t you?

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The majority of our clients who have pet insurance are happy that they have it.  Depending on the type of policy as well as which company/pet insurance you choose, pet insurance can be worthwhile.  Like any type of insurance it is in place to make sure that when an emergency or something unforeseen occurs it will help cover the costs.  When an unexpected illness, accidents or emergency occurs you may be faced with hard choices due to financial considerations.  Insurance helps eliminate some of those choices.

“While you can’t predict when accidents or illnesses will happen, a pet health insurance plan will help you deal with unexpected veterinary costs, and you’ll know you’re providing the best possible protection for your pet.”  Not only will you be protecting your pet but potentially protecting yourself from making heart wrenching decisions based on finances

But like health insurance for humans, pet insurance can be complicated.  Depending on the policy that you choose, some policies will not cover older pets or genetic conditions that certain breeds are known to have, such as hip dysplasia in retrievers.  It is very important to check as well as compare various products that different companies offer to find one that will meet your needs.

Some people may be more comfortable putting aside money every month for their pet in a “Pet savings account” to cover the unexpected.  By putting money aside to pay for future work you may be covered for the unexpected veterinary care.  However you must be diligent about putting the money aside.  But what happens if the “future” turns out to be in a couple of months from when you initially started your savings plan?  That would not be so good.  For example, your puppy is playing with a red rubber ball, accidentally chews it up and swallows it.   Not good.  Or… your cat somehow swallows a needle, Yikes.  Sounds unlikely, true, but it happens more than you would think.  All are unexpected accidents.

The Steinway Court Vet recommends a few different companies based on how pleased our clients are regarding ease of reimbursement and of course the amount of that reimbursement.

Nationwide Pet insurance

Embrace Pet Insurance

http://trupanion.com/pet-insurance

http://www.petsbest.com/

http://www.akcpethealthcare.com/

http://www.gopetplan.com/

There are many others.  Please get free price quotes from these and any other company.  Compare apples to apples when you receive your free quotes.

Microchip Your Pet

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Enough is enough.  We have had at least four lost/missing pets this past week alone.  This is four too many.  For the most part, assuming no foul play you can be reunited with your pet.  Signs can be put up both in your neighborhood, calls made to all the local area veterinarians. The animal care and control (http://nycacc.org/LostFound.htm) even has a website that allows you to both look for and post information about your lost pet.  However, the best way to get your pet back is by making sure your pet has a microchip.  A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice that is inserted behind the neck area of your pet via an injection.  The microchip has a number on it that is just for your pet.  The number needs to be registered with your contact information.  The microchip contact information must be kept up to date in order to be reunited with your pet.  If not, it will be very difficult if not impossible to reunite you with your pet.

All dogs should have a microchip.  Dog’s can get off their leash, be left in the yard or run out of an open door in a matter of seconds.  However, a microchip is not only for dogs.     But…my cat is an indoor cat, it can’t get out.  Really?  For the most part that may be true, however what about the rare instance when the door is left open and your kitty wanders out, and down the hall etc.  Sounds far-fetched, but it does happen.  Or are you one of these people that think that your cat needs to go outside?  Bad idea, you may be asking for trouble.  They can get into fights, contract fleas and become lost.  Please keep your cat indoors and safe.

If you have adopted your pet from a shelter or rescue group, they usually have a microchip inserted.  Did you register the chip in your name?  Not sure?  No worries.  If you have the chip number you can check online at www.petmicrochiplookup.org   If you do not know the number of the microchip we can scan your pet.  The scanner is able to ascertain if a chip has been inserted and indicates the number of the chip.

How to avoid getting bitten by a dog

Believe it or not, dog bites do occur.  It  is easier than you think.  They are not necessarily from dogs that are vicious,  but rather can be from dogs that are approached when the dog is least expecting it. If your dog is frightened, not feeling well , or even in a strange situation it is possible for your dog to bite.    How can we prevent being bitten by a familiar dog?  Believe it or not the most frequent times a dog will bite is if the dogs is left with an  unattended infants or kids are playing with a dog without an adult supervision.  Both of those scenarios are easily avoided.  However, what do you do if you see a dog that you are not familiar with on the street.  Just because the dog “seems cute” do not immediately  go over and pet the dog.  The best advice is to WAIT.     WAIT is an acronym that can be used to teach children and others on how to approach a dog (from the American Academy of Pediatrics)  that is on a leash with their owner.    The W in wait stands for wait, A is for ask if you can pet dog, I is allow the  dog to sniff you.  T is for touch.  It is now OK to touch the dog.  These are great steps to teach your children to learn how to approach a dog.  It is not a good idea to assume that the dog is friendly and wants to be touched.  You need to WAIT first.  Getting bitten is easier than you think   If you see a strange dog, not on a leash do not go over to pet it.  Being cautious is prudent and safe.  The following if from the American Veterinary Medical Society brochure on dog bite prevention.

• If your own dog bit you, confine it immediately and call our veterinarian to check your dog’s vaccination records. Consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s aggressive action. Your veterinarian can examine your dog to make sure it is healthy, and can help you with information or training that may prevent more bites.

• If someone else’s dog bit you, first seek medical treatment for your wound. Next, contact authorities and tell them everything you can about the dog: the owner’s name, if you know it; the color and size of the dog; where you encountered the dog; and if, where, and when you’ve seen it before. These details may help animal-control officers locate the dog. In addition, consider asking your physician if post-exposure rabies prophylaxis is necessary.

Dogs are wonderful companions. By acting responsibly, owners not only reduce dog bite injuries, but also enhance the relationship they have with their dog.”

Steps to Prevent Dog Bites