PET BLOG

Fruits and Vegetables Dogs Can Eat Safely

Fruits and Vegetables Dogs Can Eat Safely

Go ahead and grab a bag of your dog’s dry food or a can of their wet food to read the ingredients list. Does it include fruits and vegetables? It probably does! And, if you’ve looked up homemade dog food recipes, you might’ve noticed that they sometimes include produce to help balance the nutrition in every meal.  But are fruits and vegetables good for dogs? Well, it depends. While some might be perfectly fine, others can be dangerous and toxic. So, before you give your pet any human foods, including natural produce, it’s wise to do your research and talk to your veterinarian if you want personalized advice.  What fruits and vegetables can dogs eat? We’ve compiled some lists below to help you make smart decisions when it comes to feeding your pet. First, let’s talk about fruit There are several fruits your dog can enjoy as part of a meal. Fed in small amounts and in moderation, particularly because they may be high in sugar, fruits can also serve as a tasty treat. If you’re thinking about adding fruit to your pet’s daily diet, it’s best to talk to your veterinarian before doing so. That way, you’ll know how much is appropriate, and you can be sure your companion will get the right amount of nutrients, whether you’re feeding a commercial, homemade, or raw diet.  Tip: Whenever you give your canine companion fruit, be sure that it’s been washed thoroughly. And, to keep things safe, remove any pits, seeds, and skin.  What fruits can dogs eat safely? The following list of fruits can provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants: Apples (note: remove the seeds) Bananas (note: feed in moderation because of high sugar content) Blueberries   Cantaloupe (note: feed in moderation because of high sugar content) Coconut (note: might not be right for your dog if they’re on a diet, have a sensitive stomach, or are at risk of pancreatitis) Cranberries   Cucumber  Honeydew (note: might not be right for diabetic dogs)  Mango (note: remove the pit and only feed the flesh of the fruit)    Orange (note: remove the skin, seeds, and pith, and only feed the flesh of the fruit)     Peach (note: remove the pit and only feed the flesh of the fruit)     Pear (note: remove the core and seeds, and only feed the flesh of the fruit)      Pineapple Strawberries Watermelon (note: remove the rind and seeds) What fruits can dogs not eat? Fruits that can be harmful to dogs include: Avocado Cherries Grapes  Lemon  Lime Raisins  Next, let’s cover veggies Can dogs eat vegetables every day? Yes. Can you add veggies to dog food? Sure, as long as you stick with vegetables dogs can eat.  The best vegetables for dogs will provide your pet with a host of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. As is the case with fruit, it’s best to feed these in moderation after they’ve been washed. And it’s wise to work with your vet if you’re adding new vegetables to your pet’s diet.  What vegetables can dogs eat? Here are some dog-friendly vegetables that can make tasty treats in between meals or during training sessions:  Bell peppers (note: remove stem and seeds, and feed in small amounts to reduce risk of digestive upset) Broccoli (note: cut in small pieces to reduce risk of choking, and feed in small amounts occasionally to reduce risk of stomach irritation) Brussels sprouts (note: feed cooked and in small amounts to reduce risk of gas) Cabbage (note: feed occasionally and in small amounts because it might cause gas, and lightly cook it to deactivate thiocyanate) Carrots Cauliflower (note: steam it and cut it into small pieces to reduce risk of gas) Celery Green beans Lettuce Peas (note: only feed frozen or fresh peas, and avoid feeding to dogs with kidney problems) Potatoes and sweet potatoes (note: don’t feed these to your dog raw; instead, boil or bake them) Pumpkin Spinach (note: contains oxalic acid, so only feed in moderation) What vegetables are bad for dogs? Some of the vegetables that can be harmful to dogs include: Asparagus Garlic Onions  Tomato (note: the green part of the plant is toxic to dogs) What should you do if your dog eats harmful fruits or vegetables? If your dog accidentally ends up eating something they shouldn’t, contact your veterinarian for advice, especially if your pet is exhibiting symptoms. An emergency trip to the vet might be necessary, depending on what your furry friend ate and how much they consumed.  Having the right pet insurance can give you peace of mind if your dog has to see the veterinarian for emergency treatments after ingesting something dangerous. So definitely consider signing up for a plan that will have your back in case your pet needs expensive care. 

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

If your dog has ever stopped to eat grass or you’ve witnessed dogs eating grass frantically, you might have started to wonder why canines eat grass and whether or not this behavior is considered normal.  Why do dogs eat grass, and is it a cause for concern? While there isn’t one simple answer, understanding why your dog may be eating grass can help you identify whether or not there is a bigger underlying issue.  So, why does my dog eat grass? Experts aren’t entirely sure why dogs eat grass. Your pet might try to consume grass when they aren’t feeling well or have an upset stomach, as it might be a strategy to cause vomiting. If a pet starts consuming grass quickly, hardly taking any time to chew, they might be doing it to induce vomiting.  Other experts think that grass eating might be an attempt at filling a nutritional gap, such as a lack of fiber. Or a dog might be feeling stressed, bored, unhappy, or anxious. But it might just be that your companion just enjoys eating grass because of its flavor!  The bottom line is that different factors might cause your furry friend to eat grass. And each pet is unique, so different dogs may exhibit this behavior for various reasons.   Is it OK for dogs to eat grass or should I stop my dog from eating grass? Can dogs eat grass? Generally, it’s pretty common to see dogs eating grass, so a lot of experts do consider it normal. Some canines just love munching on grass and plants, and there’s no cause for concern.  Nevertheless, it’s wise to consider what might be causing this behavior, just to be sure your pet is okay. After all, if there is an underlying issue, such as stomach problems, boredom, or a nutritional deficiency, you’ll want to work with your veterinarian to address it and help your dog feel better.  If you’re able to figure out the cause of your pet’s behavior, you can address it and maybe even stop your dog from eating grass again. For example, if it’s a nutritional problem that’s causing your canine companion to eat grass, talk to your vet about what you can do to improve their diet.   Note: Grass might be treated with pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that might be harmful to your pet, so if you’re concerned about exposure, it’s a great idea to figure out what’s motivating your dog to eat the grass. Then, you can work towards stopping your pet from continuing this behavior.  What should you do if your dog is eating grass & vomiting? Should you let your dog eat grass to throw up? Or is it normal for a dog to eat grass all the time? Well, it depends.  Let’s say that your furry friend eats some grass and vomits, but then acts normally. Perhaps they did have tummy troubles that were addressed by the simple act of consuming grass.  On the other hand, if your dog continues to eat grass and vomit, or if the grass-eating behavior seems compulsive, whether or not there’s any vomiting, talk to your veterinarian. Describe when your dog eats grass, how much and how quickly they eat, and whether or not vomiting occurs. Sharing these details can help your vet determine if there’s a problem that needs to be addressed or if it’s normal behavior.  Eating grass: a strange but common canine habit Want to stop your dog from eating grass, or at least reduce the amount that they consume? There are steps you can take, especially if you figure out the reason for your dog’s actions.  We can’t stress this enough: if you want to learn more about why dogs eat grass, or why your dog might be eating grass all of a sudden, consult with a veterinarian. They can make sure there aren’t any underlying health issues that are causing this behavior, and can provide tips on how to stop your dog if the behavior is problematic.  Final tip: With the right pet insurance, trips to the vet to address this type of concern can become more affordable.

Flea Prevention & Treatment For Dogs

Flea Prevention & Treatment For Dogs

Fleas: they’re tiny, fast and jump really far. They can be tough to kill, they can transmit parasitic tapeworms, and they can wreak havoc on your pet’s body, possibly leading to allergies, skin problems, or anemia. And if you don’t tackle a flea problem in time, it can turn into an infestation that results in the bugs attacking you too.  If you’ve ever dealt with fleas, you know how challenging it can be to get rid of them. But even if you haven’t seen a flea in your life, there’s still a chance that you’ll someday have to deal with them.  Because this is a common problem that pet owners face, we’ve answered some of the frequently asked questions regarding dog fleas symptoms, flea prevention, and flea treatment for dogs.   How to tell if your dog has fleas What are the signs of fleas on dogs?  The telltale sign is itchiness, so if you notice that your pet is scratching or biting their skin, or if your pet’s skin is starting to look irritated or fur is missing, it’s a good idea to check for fleas. Also, if you notice tapeworms (they look like rice on your dog’s rectum), fleas may be to blame.  How do you check for fleas? One of the easiest ways to check for fleas is by using a flea comb, which is designed to catch the bugs. These combs can also pick up what’s known as flea dirt (a.k.a. flea poop), which will look like black specks. Move the comb through your dog’s coat carefully so you don’t miss a spot where fleas might be hiding.  How can you tell if you’ve found flea dirt?  You can place it on a wet paper towel to see if it turns red. Still not sure? Try smearing it with your finger to see if it leaves a red trail behind. If it’s red, it’s flea dirt because what you’re seeing is the blood that the flea ingested.  What can you do if you find live fleas on the comb?  Keeping a bowl or cup filled with soapy water nearby can come in handy. If you end up grabbing a flea, dunk it into the soapy water right away to drown it before it jumps.  Where should you look for fleas in your home?  Fleas can hide throughout your home, but you can start by checking areas where your dog spends a lot of time. Check your bed, your pet’s beds, furniture, carpets, and rugs.  Note: Flea eggs are tiny and white, while flea larvae are worms, so look for those around the house as well. Flea pupae are usually harder to notice.  How to prevent fleas What is the best flea prevention for dogs, and how can you repel fleas? There are conventional and natural flea and tick prevention products that are specifically designed for dogs. Options include topical products, oral products, and flea collars that can repel and/or kill fleas. No matter what, there are pros and cons, as well as safety precautions, to consider for each of these. Your veterinarian can guide you towards the most appropriate solution for your particular pet.  Note: Only use products that are made for dogs. Don’t use flea products that are designed for cats on a dog, and vice versa.  How to get rid of fleas What kills fleas on dogs quickly?  Your vet can direct you to the best flea medication for dogs that will deliver the fast results you want. In addition to products that use ingredients capable of killing fleas at every stage of life, from eggs to adults, there are also shampoos that you can use to clean your dog’s skin and fur. Read the directions on a product label carefully to be sure you’re using it safely and correctly.  How do you get rid of fleas if they’re in your home?  Removing adult fleas isn’t enough because there might be eggs in your home that are waiting to hatch and cause an infestation all over again. Eggs, and the larvae that come out of them, might be in your pet’s bed or kennel, on your furniture, and in your carpets.  So, in addition to treating your dog, wash pet beds and kennels using soap and hot water. Also, vacuum floors and furniture daily to remove eggs, pupae, larvae, and adults, and be sure to carefully dispose of whatever your vacuum picks up so they don’t escape.   Note: There are products designed for getting rid of fleas in your home, but shop with care and ask your veterinarian for advice, as some might contain ingredients that are harmful or toxic.  What can you do if there are fleas in your yard?  If you discover that there are fleas in your yard, there are several things you can try. For example, there are insecticide sprays designed for killing fleas. But it’s also wise to take other steps, such as mowing your lawn often and keeping your yard free of clutter and leaf litter, to help keep fleas away.  Getting rid of fleas takes time and effort It’s important to take fleas seriously and do your best to prevent an infestation before it occurs. But it’s also critical to choose the right products for repelling or killing fleas because adverse reactions, some of which can be serious, may occur.  Whether you aren’t sure if your dog has fleas or you want advice on the safest and most effective products for preventing or killing fleas, your vet can help. And with high-quality pet insurance, you may also be able to save money whenever you need a vet’s advice to tackle a flea infestation quickly. 

Dog Food Allergy Symptoms & Treatment

Dog Food Allergy Symptoms & Treatment

Even though your dog might be willing to eat just about anything, it’s important to be aware that pets can suffer from food allergies or food intolerance. With this knowledge, it can become easier to recognize signs of food allergies in dogs, and you can work with your vet to come up with a diet that’s suitable for your unique canine companion.  Dog food allergy vs. dog food intolerance  Is there a difference between food intolerance and food allergy? Yes!  Basically, in the case of dog food intolerance, there’s an adverse reaction to an ingredient, but the animal’s immune system doesn’t respond like it would with an allergy. However, when your dog has an allergy to a certain food, it does cause the immune system to overreact.  How long does it take for a dog to react to a food allergy? While an intolerance might cause symptoms that make you think your pet has an allergy, the symptoms might develop shortly after the first exposure. On the other hand, when it comes to allergies, the symptoms might not appear until your pet has been exposed to an ingredient more than once.  Discussing the timing and severity of your pet’s symptoms with your vet can help you figure out whether it’s an intolerance or allergy.   Can a dog suddenly become allergic to their food?  Yes, it’s possible for your dog to develop symptoms even after the same food has been fed to them for a while, such as months or years.  Dog food allergy symptoms Knowing the signs of food allergies in dogs can help you figure out what might be going on with your pet if they start exhibiting new symptoms.  Here’s a list of some symptoms that might indicate your canine companion is allergic to a food they’re eating: Itchy skin or paws Ear inflammation or infection Hot spots Skin ailments Hair loss Eye redness or discharge Chronic digestive problems like diarrhea, gas, or vomiting Weight loss Sneezing or coughing Restlessness Reduced energy  Nasal discharge Behavioral problems   Note: The most common symptom of food allergy is itching, and the areas of the body that are usually affected include the ears, paws, inner thighs, front legs, belly, and eyes. What is the most common food allergy in dogs? A dog might be allergic to a single food or they might have problems with more than one ingredient.  Different dogs can be allergic to different foods, but there are some common culprits, such as: Beef Eggs Dairy Chicken Pork Lamb Fish Rice Soy Wheat Corn When you look at the ingredients lists on the most popular dog foods on the market, many of the ingredients above are included, so it can be hard to avoid some of them, but your vet can prescribe a diet that will do the trick.   Treatment options for a dog’s allergic reaction to food When you’re wondering if your dog is intolerant or allergic to their food, talking to your vet is the best way to get answers. After discussing symptoms, the vet might perform tests to figure out which allergies are present, and this can help them develop a targeted treatment plan.  Your veterinarian can also guide you when it comes to testing out different diets to figure out which one would be best for your pet. An elimination diet that prevents exposure to certain ingredients may help your dog get relief, and it can help your vet figure out which foods are to blame. For example, if an elimination diet finds that a grain allergy is the culprit, you’ll need to work hard to ensure your pet doesn’t eat any foods that contain grains.  Tackling food allergies is important What happens if you don’t bother treating a food allergy? Well, if your dog is continually exposed to an allergen, it might result in more serious problems down the road. Secondary infections, changes in behavior, and other allergies are just a few of the issues that might arise. Plus, your dog will feel miserable, and you certainly don’t want that! But what if you’re worried about affording the cost of trips to the vet to address dog food allergies or intolerance? Pet insurance may be able to help. Check out the Direct Benefits Marketplace to see the policies available in your area.  

Emergency Pet Care: When Do You Need It and Is it Covered?

Emergency Pet Care: When Do You Need It and Is it Covered?

Emergencies and accidents can happen at any time, and when you aren’t prepared, panic sets in fast. So, how can you be sure you’ll know what to do if your companion ever needs emergency pet care? Well, in addition to knowing how to respond to an emergency to keep your pet as safe and stable as possible, it’s also worth having the right emergency pet insurance so you can worry less about the financial cost of helping your dog or cat recover.  What do you do if your pet has an emergency? If your pet is suddenly exhibiting symptoms of illness or distress, or they’ve been injured in an accident, it’s time to act quickly.  Be prepared with a pet first aid kit – This is one way to ensure you’ll have the tools necessary to treat your dog or cat on your own until you can get to a veterinarian. You might even consider taking a pet first aid course so you can learn how to react in different types of emergencies. Know where to go in the event of an emergency – This is critical, as it can save valuable time because you won’t need to waste any time trying to figure out which veterinary offices in your area are open and ready to treat your pet. Some offices have extended hours, staying open later than other regular vets. Also, there are 24-hour veterinary offices, as well as those that are only open after-hours to help in the middle of the night or over the weekend.   Let’s say that your pet is having an emergency. What can you do? As soon as possible, contact a local emergency pet vet to let them know what’s going on, and to tell them that you’re on the way so they can start preparing for your arrival. Also, if you have a first aid kit, they can guide you on how to help your pet while you work on getting them to the hospital.  Tip: If you’re going to be traveling with your furry friend, do research in advance so you’ll know where to go in the event of a pet emergency.  When should you take a pet to emergency care?  Sometimes, it’s obvious when an animal needs emergency care. Other times, it might be harder to determine if you can wait or if you should rush to the ER.  You know your pet best, so if you notice signs that they’re not doing well, and it’s after-hours or you aren’t near your regular vet’s office, calling an emergency vet is a smart move. Even if you aren’t sure if your companion needs prompt care, the vet can give you advice and let you know whether or not you can wait for your regular vet’s office to open.  Here are some examples of signs that you need to seek out pet emergency care: Seizures Loss of consciousness Trouble urinating or defecating Trouble breathing or rapid breathing Bleeding Diarrhea or vomiting, with or without blood, especially if it won’t stop Pale gums Choking or ingestion of an object Paralysis or difficulty moving Heatstroke Poisoning Injury A pulse that’s rapid or weak High or low temperature How much do emergency pet services cost?  A trip to the pet emergency vet can leave you with a surprisingly high bill. On average, a visit might cost anywhere from $800 to $1,500.  Like regular vet care, the costs of a trip to the ER for your pet will depend on various factors, such as the treatment your companion receives, whether or not surgery is required, where you’re located, and the veterinarian you use.  Does pet insurance cover emergency vets? No matter what, it’s wise to expect the cost of emergency care to be higher than regular vet care. After all, the more specialized and urgent the care, the more expensive it will be.  If you’re worried about being able to afford emergency vets, the good news is that the right pet insurance plan may be able to give you the financial support you need. You can find policies that provide coverage for accidents and injuries, accidental poisoning, illnesses, and emergency surgery. Just keep in mind that plans vary, so it’s wise to read the details carefully before selecting one.  Are you ready to search for the best pet insurance plan for emergencies? Check out the options on the Direct Benefits Marketplace, where you can easily compare what different providers have to offer. 

How to Help a Dog with Anxiety

How to Help a Dog with Anxiety

Just like you, your dog experiences a range of emotions. You can tell when your pet is happy, excited, bored, and sad. But did you know that dogs could also end up with anxiety? It’s true! Many pet parents might not realize their canine companions can indeed get anxious, so they may end up missing the signs of anxiety in dogs or misinterpreting their dog’s behavior. For instance, if your furry friend is anxious and acting up, you might think that they’re just being disobedient or difficult, and this could cause you to miss out on the chance to understand and help your pet feel better.  Want to learn a bit about dog anxiety so you can recognize the symptoms and use strategies to make your buddy feel at ease? Keep reading to learn how to help a dog with anxiety.  Dog Anxiety Symptoms and Causes Every pet is unique in their own way, so one dog’s symptoms can be very different from another dog’s symptoms. Also, the type of anxiety, and how severe it is, can affect the symptoms that arise. Keep an eye on your companion’s body language and behavior to get clues about their emotional state.  If your dog is feeling anxious or stressed, they might exhibit symptoms like: Aggressive, destructive or repetitive behaviors Withdrawing from the family, hiding or looking for a way out Overreacting to a person, animal, object or place Whining, whimpering or barking Keeping the tail tucked Holding the ears back Restlessness or pacing Trembling Panting or drooling Loss of appetite Urinating and/or defecating indoors Sometimes, it’s easy to pinpoint the cause of a dog’s anxiety, but other times, it might be challenging. To figure out the triggers, try paying close attention to what your dog is doing and experiencing when the symptoms arise.  Also, keep in mind that a pet’s current anxiety might be the result of a past trauma. For example, if you adopt a dog who was abused by their previous owners, you might find that the anxiety from their old environment lingers.  Here are some of the reasons why dogs get anxious: Separation from the family, such as when everyone leaves to go to work  Fear that can be caused by strangers, other animals, kids, noise, or being alone Changes in routine New environment, such as moving into a new house Abandonment, neglect, or abuse Aging or Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) There Are Different Types of Anxiety in Dogs Anxiety is a general term that can be broken down into more specific categories, such as generalized anxiety, social anxiety, separation anxiety, or environmental anxiety. Your pet might experience one or more types of anxiety, even at the same time.  For example, if there doesn’t seem to be a particular cause for the anxiety, your vet might diagnose your pet with generalized anxiety. On the other hand, separation anxiety might be to blame if you notice symptoms develop when you aren’t home. Social anxiety might be diagnosed if your pet tends to get nervous around other pets or people. And environmental anxiety might be caused by loud sounds or locations that make your dog feel on edge.  What Can I Give My Dog for Anxiety: Dog Anxiety Treatment Options Before we dive into some of the remedies available for canine anxiety, it’s important to note that working with your veterinarian is highly recommended because there might be an underlying medical problem that’s causing your pet’s symptoms. By having your pet examined, you can rule out physical ailments that might be to blame, and then focus on providing the right solution.  Also, anxiety might be temporary and caused by a particular stimulus, such as going to the vet’s office, or it might be chronic. Your vet can figure out the degree of anxiety your pet is dealing with, and they can use this information to prescribe the appropriate treatment.  Some remedies are good solutions for calming a dog down when they’re experiencing short-term anxiety, such as when they’re afraid of fireworks on the 4th of July, while others are designed to help dogs with chronic anxiety.  Below are some of the common remedies to help dogs feel better when they’re anxious: Dog anxiety vest: Vests, t-shirts, and coats designed for anxious dogs may be helpful when it comes to calming them down. Put simply, these products work by applying a bit of pressure on the animal’s torso, thereby making your pet feel like they’re being hugged.  Benadryl: You can buy Benadryl as a dog anxiety medication over the counter, but this doesn’t mean you should just give it to your furry friend without talking to your vet first. Basically, this medicine may help provide some sedation to calm an anxious dog, but your veterinarian will provide guidance on how to use Benadryl for dog anxiety safely.    Anxiety meds for dogs: If other remedies aren’t enough, your veterinarian might prescribe medication that can help ease your pet’s fears and anxiety. Examples include Clomicalm, Reconcile, Ativan, Xanax, Sileo, Paxil, Zoloft, and Valium. Other therapies: If you’d prefer taking a more natural or holistic approach to treating your dog’s anxiety, talk to your vet about remedies like canine pheromones, Rescue Remedy, herbal and nutritional supplements, CBD, and massage, as a few examples. Training, socialization, and changing your dog’s diet or exercise routine might also be beneficial.  How Pet Insurance Can Help When Your Dog Has Anxiety It’s easy to become stressed or overwhelmed when your dog is experiencing anxiety, and you might be worried about the cost of treating your best friend. Good news: with a high-quality pet insurance plan, you can get financial support when searching for a solution to this problem.  The right insurance policy may help cover costs of trips to the vet, as well as the cost of treatments prescribed for your dog. Plans vary in terms of coverage and limits, so shop with care when you want to get insurance that will be there if your pet experiences behavioral issues.  To make the process of finding the best pet insurance easier, browse your options on the Direct Benefits Marketplace.

7 of the Healthiest Dog Breeds

7 of the Healthiest Dog Breeds

A dog is your loyal companion and best furry friend, so you’ll want to do your best to keep them as healthy as possible. This includes doing things like giving your pet high-quality food every day, helping them get plenty of exercise, and making sure they’re properly vaccinated and protected against parasites like fleas and ticks.  But did you know that a dog’s breed might make them more prone to certain diseases?  Whether you plan on adopting from a shelter or breed-specific rescue, or purchasing from a responsible and caring breeder, it might be helpful to be aware of which breeds are less susceptible to various ailments.  What breed of dog has the least amount of health problems? Continue reading to learn about some of the healthiest dog breeds, but keep in mind that other factors, such as exercise needs, should also be taken into consideration when bringing a pet into your family.   What Is the Healthiest Dog Breed? Even purebred dogs can be at risk of developing certain conditions, but some are prone to developing fewer ailments overall. Here’s a list of seven of the many dog breeds that are considered generally healthy, listed in no particular order: 1. Australian Cattle Dog The cute Australian Cattle Dog is an example of a working canine that is considered one of the healthiest dog breeds. These smart, strong, playful, and energetic dogs might live up to 16 years, on average. However, they might develop problems like elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans, hip dysplasia, deafness, or progressive retinal atrophy.  2. Chihuahua The adorable Chihuahua is considered another one of the healthiest breeds. And the Teacup Chihuahua is one of the healthiest teacup breeds. Although these tiny, smart, and feisty pooches might be prone to a few ailments, such as patellar luxation, pulmonic stenosis, hypoglycemia, and hydrocephalus, they might live as long as 18 years, on average. These dogs are also a good choice for those who would prefer a pooch that doesn’t need a lot of exercise.    3. Siberian Husky The Siberian Husky is stunning in appearance and full of energy and love. Yet another one of the healthiest breeds, these active, athletic dogs can live up to 16 years, on average. But, as is the case with any breed, some genetic problems might develop, such as eye conditions, hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism.  4. Havanese One of the healthiest small dog breeds is the friendly Havenese, which can live up to 14 years, on average. These pooches are energetic, affectionate, and playful, and the breed isn’t associated with any major health concerns. However, these canines might develop patellar luxation or deafness.  5. Greyhound One of the healthiest large dog breeds, the athletic greyhound might live up to 13 years, on average. These pooches love to run and need to be able to let out their energy in a positive way through exercise. Just be aware that this breed might be prone to some ailments, such as eye problems, heart murmur, high blood pressure, and bloat.  6. Australian Shepherd The Australian Shepherd can live up to 15 years, on average, and it is a breed that is affectionate, active, and smart. If you are in search of a medium sized pooch that is considered healthy, this is one that’s worth looking into. However, like other breeds on this list, this one might be susceptible to certain conditions, such as Collie Eye Anomaly, hypothyroidism, and hip dysplasia.   7. Mixed Breed Purebred dogs might be prone to health conditions simply because of their genetics. For example, these pooches might be at a greater risk of skin problems, muscular ailments, or organ diseases. And if inbreeding occurs, it might also increase the odds of problems developing. Therefore, mixed breed canines, whose genetic makeup is more varied, are also considered some of the healthiest dogs.  Pet Insurance Can Help You Care for Your Dog! No matter what dog breed you choose for your family, it’s wise to work closely with a veterinarian to ensure your pet can remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible. There are many steps you can take, such as having your companion examined regularly and asking your vet for advice on how to care for your unique furry friend.  Unfortunately, you can’t always avoid illness or injury. But, if you are worried about affording vet bills, pet insurance can be there to help. And the great news is this insurance is surprisingly affordable! It will be there to help cover the cost of various treatments and procedures, and the right plan can also include coverage for things like wellness checks throughout your pet’s life.  Even the healthiest breeds can benefit from high-quality veterinary care! When you’re ready to shop for the plan that’s right for you, check out the Direct Benefits Marketplace to see what’s available in your area.

Heartworm Prevention for Dogs: How to Prevent & Treat

Heartworm Prevention for Dogs: How to Prevent & Treat

What is Heartworm? Heartworm is a parasite that can infect your dog. And heartworm disease can be deadly. Spread by mosquitoes, the worms, which look like spaghetti, are capable of growing and reproducing inside your pet’s lungs, heart, and blood vessels. This may result in heart failure and damage to other organs, such as the lungs, kidneys, and liver. The good news is that heartworm prevention for dogs is possible thanks to preventative medications that help avoid a heartworm problem before it takes hold. And, if your dog becomes infected, there are treatments available.  The Signs of Heartworms in Dogs One thing to keep in mind about heartworm disease is that you may not know your dog has it until it’s already advanced. Some common heartworm symptoms to look out for include:    Coughing Fatigue or lethargy  Shortness of breath, especially after playing or exercising Disorientation or fainting Weight loss Swelling in the legs or abdomen in the early stages, there might only be mild symptoms, if any. Once in its most advanced stage, heartworm disease can cause caval syndrome, which is deadly and can only be treated with a high-risk surgery to remove the heartworms.  Without treatment, a dog can die suddenly and unexpectedly from heartworm disease. So, if you notice any symptoms at all, it’s wise to let your veterinarian know right away.  Is There a Heartworm Test for Dogs? Yes, a vet can run blood tests that will help detect the presence of heartworms. Whether or not your dog has symptoms, and even if you’re using heartworm preventives, you can do this at your pet’s wellness exam to be sure there aren’t any worms.  A vet might also recommend getting chest X-rays to check the lungs and heart in a dog that has been diagnosed with heartworm disease. And additional blood tests might be used to figure out if the heartworms have caused any damage to the organs.  How To Treat Heartworm in Dogs Your veterinarian might work on stabilizing your dog before providing medications that will get to work on killing the heartworms. You’ll then need to focus on preventing your dog from being active during and after treatment so the dead heartworms won’t result in any blockages.   Treatment options include injections and a topical solution. Your veterinarian will decide what’s best for your pet. Heartworm meds for dogs might cause side effects, so work closely with your vet and keep an eye out for adverse reactions.  Note: A dog might also require additional support in the form of other medications, such as pain relievers, antibiotics, heart medications, and diuretics, throughout the course of treatment.     How long can a dog live after heartworm treatment, and can the treatment shorten a dog’s life? If the disease is caught before it becomes severe, treatment may be successful, curing your dog of the heartworms. However, the risk of complications may be higher if the disease has progressed to a more advanced stage. And if a dog develops heart failure, long-term medications may be necessary. Again, do your best to follow your vet’s instructions closely to help ensure the best results, and let them know if your dog develops any symptoms during treatment.  Average Heartworm Test Cost and Heartworm Treatment Cost The tests used to diagnose heartworm disease can be expensive. Prices will vary based on several factors, but here are some general ranges to give you an idea of what this might cost: Heartworm tests to detect the presence of worms might cost anywhere from $35 - $75, on average. To confirm that your dog does have heartworm disease, other tests may be used, and those might cost anywhere from $20 - $40, on average. Chest X-rays might cost anywhere from $125 - $200, on average.  How much does heartworm treatment for dogs cost? Medications, such as antibiotics and steroids, might cost anywhere from $10 - $150, on average. The final price will depend on what your dog needs and how much medicine is required. Injections to treat heartworm might cost $500 - $1,500, on average. Tests to check on the progress of treatment might cost anywhere from $20 - $75, on average. If these show that your dog is still infected with worms, you’ll need to pay for more medications to continue the treatment.  When you factor in the costs of vet exams, diagnostic tests, X-rays, and medications, you might end up spending upwards of $1,000. Plus, some dogs need to be hospitalized, which can drive your bill even higher. How to Prevent Heartworm in Dogs Is heartworm prevention necessary for dogs? Yes! If there are mosquitoes in your area, they can potentially transmit heartworms to your dog, and preventives are an easy and affordable way to help keep your pet safe. Remember, heartworm disease is hard to treat, the treatment is expensive, and it isn’t always effective.  Preventives include options like topical solutions, tablets, and a heartworm shot for dogs. Your vet can help you decide which one is right for your unique canine companion, and they can give you the prescription you need to purchase these products.  How much do preventives cost? On average, the cost is anywhere from $35 - $80 annually.  How often do dogs need heartworm prevention? It depends on the product you go with. Products that are applied topically or given orally usually need to be given monthly, while injections might last many months.  The key is to treat your dog all year long, and have them tested regularly to be sure there aren’t any heartworms.  Where can I buy heartworm prevention products for dogs? You can purchase heartworm preventives at your vet’s office and in pet supply stores with a prescription. Injections are given by your veterinarian.  Does Pet Insurance Cover Heartworm Prevention and Treatment? Pet insurance can certainly be helpful when it comes to keeping your dog happy and healthy, but plans vary, so read the details carefully. Check policies closely to determine if any of the tests, treatments, and preventives for heartworm disease are covered at all.  You might need to purchase a wellness rider that provides coverage for checkups, medications that fight parasites like heartworms, and other routine care. This can be worthwhile if it helps pay for the cost of heartworm prevention for dogs, as you’ll save quite a bit in the long run.  Also, pet insurance doesn’t typically cover pre-existing conditions, so treatment for heartworm may not be covered if your dog was diagnosed prior to enrolling in a plan. Just another reason to sign up sooner rather than later! If you’d like to see which pet insurance plans are available in your area, and if they can help you access the best heartworm prevention for dogs more affordably, start by browsing the Direct Benefits Marketplace, where you can quickly and easily compare options that will give you peace of mind. 

Pet Dental Insurance for Dogs & Cats

Pet Dental Insurance for Dogs & Cats

You take steps to ensure your pet gets enough exercise and eats the right food, but are you also keeping an eye on their dental health? In the same way that humans can develop problems with their teeth and gums, canines and felines can too.  For example, your pet might develop periodontal disease while they’re still young, and if not treated, it could worsen over time. This could lead to pain and discomfort, tooth loss, and problems in other parts of the body, such as the heart and kidneys.  The good news is you don’t have to break the bank to care for your pet’s teeth and gums, especially when you have the right pet insurance! Pet dental health: at home and at the vet’s office Thankfully, pet dental care doesn’t need to be too complicated. You can learn how to brush your companion’s teeth at home using a toothbrush and toothpaste that’s specially designed for cats or dogs. And there are foods, treats, supplements, and toys that help keep teeth clean as well.  In addition to at-home dental care, you can talk to your vet about checkups to keep track of the condition of your furry friend’s mouth. Your veterinarian might also recommend a pet dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar and help restore the health of the gums. And, in severe cases, tooth extraction might be necessary.  Dog and cat dental problems that require treatment  Canines and felines can suffer from a variety of oral health ailments, and they can develop a range of symptoms as well. It’s important to work closely with your vet and be aware of the signs of dental problems and gum disease. When your veterinarian examines your pet’s mouth, they’ll look for things like plaque and tartar buildup, retained baby teeth, loose teeth, missing teeth, gum inflammation, and signs of infection or disease.  If you notice that your pet has really bad breath, or your cat or dog is having trouble eating, pawing at their mouth, showing signs of discomfort, or drooling, talk to your vet. There might be something wrong with your companion’s teeth or gums, and your veterinarian can get to work on diagnosing the problem and prescribing the appropriate treatment plan to help your pet get relief.  How much does it cost for dental work on a dog or cat? On top of covering the cost of an exam, there are other fees to consider when it comes to healing your pet’s mouth with the right veterinary treatment.  Of course, these costs will vary based on factors like where you’re located and the vet you use. And your final bill might also include fees for things like X-rays, blood tests, and medications.  To get a general idea of what you might need to spend, here are some common dental procedures and treatments and what they might cost: A dental cleaning, which usually includes the use of anesthesia for your pet’s safety and comfort, might cost $500 to $1,000 or more, on average.  Treatment for gingivitis might be $300 to $1,400, on average. On the other hand, advanced gum disease treatment might cost roughly $1,500 or more, on average.  If there is an infection that requires an extraction or root canal for one or more teeth, the price might be anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000, on average.  Does pet insurance cover dental? Your regular veterinarian can be helpful when it comes to supporting your efforts to keep your pet’s mouth healthy, but if your dog or cat requires more specialized care, there are also veterinary dentists that you can turn to.  No matter which expert you choose to use, you might be wondering if you can save money on a routine cat dental cleaning or dog dental cleaning, or on a more intensive procedure like an extraction, when you have the right insurance.  Is there dental insurance for dogs or cats?  Yes, it is possible to get coverage through a pet insurance plan. But it’s important to read the details of a policy carefully to know exactly what to expect, to determine if there’s a limit to the coverage, and to find out if you’ll be responsible for out-of-pocket costs like deductibles or copays.  Whether you’re searching for cat dental insurance or dog dental insurance, you do have options, but plans vary from one provider to another. Always check if a plan has any exclusions when it comes to the ailments it will cover.  Keep in mind that you might need to pay extra to get the dental coverage you want, and standard plans might only provide coverage for certain types of dental treatments. For example, treatments that are considered routine (e.g. a cleaning) might not be covered, while dental care related to an accident or injury (e.g. a broken tooth) might be covered under a standard plan.  It may be worth getting a wellness policy if you want to receive support when it comes to routine care like cleanings. On the other hand, an illness plan might be there to help if your pet is diagnosed with a condition like gum disease. And an accident plan may help if your dog or cat suffers a mouth injury.    Also, remember that pet insurance generally doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, so if your companion was diagnosed with oral health problems prior to enrollment, the insurance likely won’t help you cover the cost of treatment. Search for pet dental insurance on the Direct Benefits Marketplace Are you hoping to enroll in pet insurance that covers dental, but you aren’t sure where to begin your search for the ideal level of coverage? Check out the Direct Benefits Marketplace, which makes it a snap to browse the various policies that are available in your area. See which ones provide support for dog dental care and cat dental care, and which ones best suit your budget . Before you know it, you’ll have the coverage you need to help keep your furry friend’s teeth and gums clean and healthy!   

Pet Insurance: Pre-Existing Conditions

Pet Insurance: Pre-Existing Conditions

Like health insurance for humans, pet insurance can be there to help cover the cost when your dog or cat needs medical care. But does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions? This is one of the most commonly asked questions about this type of insurance.  What Does “Pre-Existing Condition” Mean for Pet Insurance?  A pre-existing condition is any medical problem, such as an illness, infection, or injury, that was affecting your pet before your insurance policy took effect, or before the waiting period on your policy ended. You might have noticed symptoms or your vet might have diagnosed the issue before your insurance was in full effect.  Here are some examples of pre-existing conditions in pets: If your pet was diagnosed with diabetes before your insurance fully kicked in, the cost of treating this chronic condition may not be covered. If your pet was injured before you signed up for an insurance policy, treatments to heal that injury may not be covered. If your pet was diagnosed with a congenital condition before the insurance was active, it may not be covered.  Does a pre-existing condition have to be diagnosed? Not necessarily. Even if your pet hasn’t yet been diagnosed with a medical problem, your insurance might not cover it. It depends on whether the insurer determines that the problem is actually a pre-existing condition rather than a new ailment. For example, if symptoms developed before signing up for the insurance, the treatment to fix the problem might not be covered.  Let’s say that your dog started having trouble walking, but your vet couldn’t figure out why, before you got pet insurance. If the problem continues, and you return to the vet for a diagnosis and treatment plan, your insurance might consider this a pre-existing condition that isn’t covered.  How does pet insurance know about pre-existing conditions? Different pet insurance companies may have different requirements. Some might ask you to answer questions about your pet’s health, while others might require more. For example, you might need to take your pet to the veterinarian to be examined before you enroll in a policy, or you might need to submit copies of your pet’s medical records. This is done to help the insurer figure out if your furry friend has any pre-existing conditions.  Can you take out pet insurance after a diagnosis or right before surgery? Yes, you can take out pet insurance whenever you want to do so. But, again, if the insurer determines that treatments, procedures, surgeries, or other types of care are related to a pre-existing condition, they may not be covered.    Is There Any Pet Insurance That Covers Pre-Existing Conditions? No, pet insurance generally doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. This means that you’ll be responsible for paying for everything, from exams and diagnostics to treatments and procedures, for any pre-existing conditions.    The good news is that pre-existing conditions don’t get in the way of your ability to acquire and retain pet insurance. You can still reap the financial benefits of a high-quality plan when it comes to covering other types of care for your cat or dog.  Are Pre-Existing Conditions Ever Covered? There are some cases when certain ailments might not be considered pre-existing conditions anymore.  Let’s say that your pet dealt with a medical problem in the past. If she was cured and remained symptom-free and treatment-free for a specified length of time, your insurer might provide coverage in the event that the problem recurs. Of course, this depends on the insurance provider and plan you select.  Curable Pre-Existing Conditions  Curable pre-existing conditions are those that were already impacting your pet before your insurance coverage took effect, but with the right treatment, these conditions can be cured. Examples include infections and digestive ailments. So, if your pet ends up dealing with the same problem again after a waiting period has passed, your insurer might provide coverage for treatment.  Let’s say that your pet was diagnosed with an infection before you had insurance. Your insurer may consider that a pre-existing condition. However, if your pet receives treatment and is cured, and later ends up getting the same infection again, your insurer might then cover it because it wouldn’t be considered a pre-existing condition anymore.  What Pre-Existing Conditions Are Not Covered? Here are some types of pre-existing conditions that generally aren’t covered by pet insurance: Genetic conditions and breed-specific conditions that were diagnosed prior to enrollment. Incurable or chronic conditions that caused symptoms or were diagnosed prior to enrollment. Examples include allergies, urinary crystals, cancer, hyperthyroidism, and orthopedic problems.    Bilateral conditions that developed on one side of the body prior to enrollment. If a pet later develops the same problem on the other side of the body, the insurance might not cover treatment. An example is a cruciate ligament tear.  Purchase Pet Insurance Early to Avoid Limitations Because there are so many limitations when it comes to pet insurance and pre-existing conditions, it’s a great idea to invest in this insurance as early on in your pet’s life as possible. That way, if conditions develop, you’ll already be covered.  Don’t forget: even if you can’t receive coverage for a pre-existing condition, this type of insurance can be super helpful when it comes to covering other types of veterinary care!  If you’re ready to sign up for a plan that will give you peace of mind and help you save money, check out the Direct Benefits Marketplace to compare the options available in your area.  

Dog Vaccinations: Required Vaccines, Costs & How to Save Money

Dog Vaccinations: Required Vaccines, Costs & How to Save Money

Vaccines are designed to help protect your dog against a variety of diseases that can cause severe symptoms or even death. Whether you’re introducing a puppy or an adult dog to your family, it’s a great idea to be aware of what vaccinations and boosters they’ll need, based on their current health, age, where you live, and what’s required by law to protect your dog, other pets, and people.  How many vaccines do dogs need and which are really needed? Well, your veterinarian can help you figure out which shots would be most beneficial and other steps to take to keep your companion as healthy as possible. After all, just like humans, every canine is one-of-a-kind! To give you a general idea of what to expect when it comes to dog vaccinations—and how you can save money when it’s time to give your furry friend their shots—we’ve created this easy guide.  What Vaccines Do Dogs Need? When it comes to vaccines for your canine companion, there are two main categories: core and non-core.  Put simply, core vaccines for dogs are those that are mandatory, while non-core vaccines are those that your veterinarian might recommend based on your pooch’s needs, such as the level of risk that your pet will be exposed to a particular disease.  Core vaccines include: Canine Distemper Canine Parvovirus  Adenovirus (Hepatitis) Rabies Non-core vaccines include: Canine Parainfluenza Canine Influenza Leptospirosis Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease) Bordetella Did you know? Sometimes, your dog will receive one vaccine that covers several diseases at once. For example, the DHLPP vaccine can help protect against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.  Do Dogs Need to Be Vaccinated Every Year? Your dog may need to receive booster shots for certain vaccines, and your veterinarian will advise you on the timing of those boosters so your pet will continue to be protected. Some vaccines may require annual boosters, while others might be effective for longer or shorter stretches of time.  Just follow your vet’s instructions to achieve the proper level of immunity that can help keep your canine as safe as possible. And remember that various factors, such as your dog’s breed, medical history, and allergies, might influence what vaccines and boosters are most appropriate for them. Even reactions to previous vaccines might play a role in whether or not your pooch can receive boosters safely.  What Does a Dog Vaccination Schedule Look Like? Again, your vet will guide you through the vaccination process for your puppy or adult dog. But, here’s a general schedule to give you an idea of what to expect: From 6 to 8 weeks of age, your veterinarian might recommend giving your puppy a DAP or DHP shot, which helps protect against distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis), and parvovirus. Or, your vet might prefer using a vaccine that includes protection against parainfluenza as well (in that case, it would be referred to as DHPP). This is considered a core vaccine. If your vet also recommends non-core vaccines at this point in time, your puppy might receive shots that help protect against bordetella and parainfluenza (if not already included in the core vaccine). From 10 to 12 weeks of age, your puppy might receive another shot of the DAP vaccine. And non-core vaccines that might also be administered at this time include leptospirosis, canine influenza, and lyme.  From 14 to 16 weeks of age, your puppy might receive a rabies vaccine. This vaccine might be given earlier, however, depending on local regulations. At this point in time, or when your puppy is at least 16 weeks old, your vet might also give the final shot of the DAP vaccine as well. If non-core vaccines for leptospirosis, lyme, and canine influenza are to be administered, they might also be given at this time. Adult dogs might receive boosters annually or every three years, depending on the vaccine. For example, depending on which rabies vaccine for dogs is used, and what local laws require, your dog might need to receive a yearly booster shot or a booster every three years. The DAP vaccine might also need to be given again every three years after an initial booster a year after the first series of shots is given. And if your dog has received non-core vaccines, they might need boosters annually for those as well. As you can see, there are several vaccines that your dog may need, so be sure to discuss the best plan with your veterinarian. Familiarize yourself with the booster shot schedule and talk about any possible side effects of vaccines.  Did you know? Your veterinarian might recommend checking titers to see if your adult dog truly needs a booster or if previous shots are continuing to provide enough immunity. That way, you might avoid over-vaccination and its potential side effects. Work closely with your vet to weigh the pros and cons of boosters and titers, and to make the right decisions for your dog. Just keep in mind that this likely won’t be possible in cases when a vaccine booster is required by law.  How Much Do Dog Vaccinations Cost? How much are dog vaccinations going to cost? Well, it depends on what your veterinarian decides to charge. Prices can also vary from one location to another.  For instance, core vaccines that are given to puppies might cost $75 to $100, on average. On the other hand, a non-core vaccine, such as the bordetella vaccine, might cost $19 to $45, on average. And a rabies vaccine might cost, on average, $15 to $20.  What about low cost dog vaccinations? To save money, you might be tempted to head to a vaccination clinic that provides low-cost options. While this might be helpful because you may not need to spend as much, there are some potential drawbacks to consider.  For example, at a regular veterinary office, you might pay more for a vaccine, but you might also end up getting a more thorough exam to ensure that your pet is healthy enough to receive a vaccine in the first place. Also, it’s a good idea to do your research into low-cost options, and ask plenty of questions about the vaccines’ quality, before opting to take this route with your pet. That way, you’ll know the types of vaccines that are given at a clinic, and whether or not they’re the latest formulations that can provide the highest level of protection.  Can Pet Insurance Help You Save Money on Dog Vaccination Costs? Enrolling in high-quality pet insurance can be a smart way to save money when it comes to providing your pooch with the veterinary care they’ll need throughout their life. But are vaccinations covered? Well, it depends on the provider and plan that you go with. You might find that you need to add a wellness rider to your policy in order to receive support when it comes to routine check-ups and vaccinations.  If you’d like to start shopping for affordable pet insurance plans that include coverage for vaccinations, check out the Direct Benefits Marketplace, where you can browse the many options that are available in your area. 

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Updated on June 4th, 2021 When you consider your pet a part of your family, you want to do everything possible to keep them safe, happy, and healthy. But, just like us, our beloved companions can get hurt or sick. And veterinary care can be shockingly pricey.  So, what’s the solution? What can give you some assurance that, if your fur baby ever needs to see the vet, you won’t have to break the bank or sacrifice high-quality care? It’s simple: pet insurance! But is pet insurance worth it? After all, it will be an additional expense that you’ll need to cover each month. To answer this question, we break down the benefits and costs associated with this type of insurance so you can decide if it’s right for you.  How much can veterinary care cost?  The harsh reality is vet care tends to be expensive. Even a regular checkup that includes a blood test might leave you with a bill that’s hard to afford if you’re paying for it all out of pocket.  The average cost of routine care might be anywhere from $50-250 or more. More specifically, it might cost anywhere from $90-200 for cats and $200-400 for dogs, on average.  Vet care beyond wellness exams can be even pricier. For example, if your companion exhibits symptoms and your veterinarian needs to run tests, it might cost hundreds. Surgeries might cost thousands, as can long-term care for a chronic ailment. And emergency care might hit you with a bill in the hundreds or thousands.  But it doesn’t stop there. As your pet gets older, they might need vet care more often. Plus, some feline and canine breeds are prone to health problems that might end up developing over time.    Here are some examples of what various treatments might cost, on average: To repair a dog’s ligament, you might spend upwards of $7,000, but you also need to factor in the cost of things like anesthesia and X-rays. Hip dysplasia treatment for dogs might cost upwards of $5,000. To treat diabetes in a cat, it might cost more than $300 annually. A puppy diagnosed with parvo might require hospital care that costs anywhere from $1,000 to $8,000. Heartworm treatments might be as high as $1,000. A cat with urinary obstruction may need tests, medications, and treatments that might total upwards of $3,000. Cancer treatments might cost over $5,000.  Note: Final costs of veterinary care will depend on various factors, including the facility you choose to use and where you’re located.  What does pet insurance actually cover? Veterinary care doesn’t come cheap, but there’s something you can do to reduce the burden on your wallet: invest in comprehensive insurance that’s affordable and reliable. If you’re still wondering, “should I get pet insurance,” consider the wide range of services and treatments that are covered.    Plans vary, but here is what’s generally covered by pet insurance:  Tests and diagnostics, such as blood tests, X-rays, and scans Prescriptions Surgeries Emergency exams Treatments for injuries and illnesses    Note: Some plans cover alternative therapies like acupuncture too.  Sounds pretty amazing so far, right? Despite all of these benefits, though, it’s important to know that there are also limitations.  Here are some of the things that pet insurance might not cover: Routine care like checkups and vaccinations Pre-existing conditions Spay/neuter surgery Teeth and ear cleaning Flea, tick, and heartworm medications Tip: You might be able to get extra coverage for the categories of care listed above if you get wellness coverage.  The types of plans available for pets As you shop for pet insurance, you can decide between different levels of coverage, such as: Accident-only plan – This can help cover the cost of treating injuries, poisoning, and other accidents. It’s usually used in unexpected emergency situations, and won’t cover care for an illness. Accident and illness plan – This can help cover the cost of care for accidents and injuries, as well as illnesses and diseases. However, it usually won’t provide coverage for preventive care. Wellness plan – This can help cover the cost of preventive and routine care. You might be able to buy this on its own or as an addition to an accident and illness policy.  How does pet insurance work? Typically, you’ll need to pay for your pet’s vet bill upfront. Then, you’ll be reimbursed by your insurance provider, up to a certain percentage after you meet the deductible. Some plans offer 100% reimbursement, while others might only cover 70% of the cost.   In addition to a monthly premium, you might need to pay an annual or per-incident deductible. On average, deductibles might be anywhere from $100-$1,000.  There might be an annual or per-incident limit on what the insurance will pay, so you’d be responsible for any remaining costs after the limit is reached.  Also, there might be a waiting period before coverage kicks in, and this might be anywhere from 14-30 days, on average.   Tip: As you shop, also look at other details, such as whether care will be covered if you’re away from home with your pet.  What is the average cost of pet insurance per month? The cost of pet insurance varies based on a variety of factors. The average premium for pet insurance for cats is $29 per month, and it’s around $47 for dogs. But you might be able to find plans that are around $12 per month, as well as those that offer more support and might be around $100 or more per month. So, whether you’re on a tight budget or you’re willing to spend more to get more, there’s a plan for you.  The average monthly premium for an accident-only plan might range from $11-16. The average monthly premium for an accident and illness plan might be $29 for cats and $49 for dogs. The average monthly premium for a wellness plan might be $20-25.  Note: Factors like your pet’s breed, age, and size, as well as your location, can play a role in how much you’ll need to pay.  Is pet insurance worth the cost? Should you get pet insurance? Well, that’s up to you and your budget. Once you start to see everything that you can get for what’s usually a minimal cost, you might decide that it would be a worthwhile investment.  What are the alternatives to insurance? There are other routes you can take to ensure you’ll be able to cover veterinary care.  For example, you might save money in a special account that you won’t touch unless it’s necessary. Or, you might look into credit cards and financing options that can help you pay your vet bills. And some individuals try to borrow money from people they know, while others set up crowdfunding campaigns to raise money for their pets.  On the other hand, if you’re hoping to achieve greater peace of mind and control with less effort, enrolling in pet insurance might be the way to go.  When should you get pet insurance? The short answer is whenever you’re ready!  But here’s a tip: the sooner you enroll, the better, because you never know when your pet might fall ill or get hurt, and you need to keep in mind that pet insurance doesn’t typically cover pre-existing conditions. Also, because insurance plans may be more expensive when your pet is older, if you enroll while your fur baby is young, you might pay a lower premium.  How to find the best pet insurance plan Shopping for the right pet insurance takes time, as you want to carefully compare your options to figure out which one is best. At Direct Benefits Marketplace, we make it easy to search for plans in your area, so you can get started right away. 

5 Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress for your Pets

5 Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress for your Pets

The holidays are a time to relax: enjoy good food, read a book, binge-watch TV and/or listen to your favorite record. But for your pets, they may not find the holidays as relaxing. With fun, off-limits decorations being placed around the house, deliveries ringing the doorbell every other hour, new smells coming from the oven and a giant outdoor tree being placed where the pet’s bed used to be, the holidays can be pretty stressful for your furry baby.  But fear not. With these quick tips, you’ll be sure your pet will enjoy the holidays as much as you will!  1. Create safe places with family and friends When it comes to guests coming over to visit, some pets wag their tails and provide give-me-some-rubs smiles. Other pets would rather hide in a back closet. And some pets have territorial genes and would like to sit the guests down for a thorough checklist of who they are, why they’re over and what did you bring me? If you have an over-reactive pet, here are some ideas to think about:  Training Pet-friendly room Pet daycare Pet sitters Stick with your routine Some of these are easier than others. If you can send your pet to daycare while people are over, maybe it’s a win-win for both of you. But most people want their pets with them while socializing. If training wasn’t in the cards this year, sticking to a routine and creating a pet-friendly room may be your best bet. Bring their favorite toys, their bed, a favorite blanket, encourage with treats and let your guests know to please don’t disturb. 2. Keep your people food for people! Look, it’s the holidays—there is a ton going on, all the time. And when you’re baking the cookies or cooking the turkey, you might forget that your pet is eagerly awaiting the smallest sliver to get their paws on something tasty. And although your pet thinks they’ll enjoy what they’re about to devour, what they don’t know is chocolate can make them very sick. And turkey bones can get stuck in the stomach causing blockages. Your pets don’t understand what they can and can’t eat. Avoid an emergency trip to the vet and keep your food in a safe place away from your pets. If your trash gets too full, remember to take it out. Simple tips, but it can be difficult to remember with so much going on. 3. Place decorations out-of-reach Similarly, with food, it’s essential you keep an eye on those new holiday decorations to see how your pets will react to them. Even though it looks festive and pretty in the store, it may not be the best idea to bring around your pet. Tinsel is a popular item to hang around your tree or mantel. It’s also very attractive to a cat looking for something to play with. And when consumed, tinsel can cause serious intestinal blockage. Fake snow and garland also fall under the do-not-advise category. 4. Avoid toxic plants Although beautiful and full of tradition, certain plants should just be left out of your holiday decorating scheme. Poinsettias draw you in with their deep red colors. But if their leaves are digested, they will often cause nausea and vomiting. Holly and mistletoe actually carry a greater toxicity than the poinsettia thus should also be avoided. The symptoms of ingesting these plans are a severe drop in blood pressure, breathing problems, hallucinations and intestinal issues. 5. Pet-friendly ice-melting agents If you live in the northern reaches of the United States, you deal with snow and ice more than others. Shoveling and breaking up ice can be a weekly chore. And if you use salt as a way to melt the ice and snow, there are specific kinds that are more pet-friendly than others. The most popular ice-melts typically contain sodium chloride, which is also the least pet-friendly. Not only does it hurt their paws as they walk over it, but it can also be dangerous when consumed (licking). Instead, look for propylene glycol-based ice-melts. Happy Holidays with pet insurance With everything going on with the holidays, it’s difficult to keep track of everything going on. But planning ahead and doing a little research helps to ensure everyone stays safe. Similarly with pet insurance, accidents happen. To keep your pet safe and protected, pet insurance helps clear the way for your fur baby to get immediate treatment with no what-if questions asked. Because when you have pet insurance, you don’t have to worry about the bill from the vet. With our Direct Benefits Marketplace, you can compare and choose the insurance plan that makes the most sense for you and your situation. And our Customer Advocate Team is standing by to answer any questions you have. Give us a call today! And happy holidays!

What Value Does Pet Insurance Offer to You?

What Value Does Pet Insurance Offer to You?

Pet insurance is essential to keeping yourself financially safe, and for your pet to receive the treatment they need. But it can be a difficult decision. Do I really need pet insurance? If you’re asking this question, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with the answer, and a lot of times, an accident to your pet brings the question front and center.  Pet insurance costs are based on various factors, such as your pet’s species, breed, age, and gender, as well as where you’re located. Pet insurance delivers peace of mind and gives you some ability to control the unknown. Many options are available for pet insurance to ensure you choose the best plan that works for you.  Peace of mind for you and your fur baby Pets offer a lifetime of fond memories. They’re your best buddy when you’re sad, a great travel partner to visit new places with, and they open the door for social interactions with friends. If an accident occurs and your pet needs a trip to the vet, pet insurance offers the peace of mind that your pet will be taken care of, and your vet bill will be manageable. What are the top reasons pets go to the vet?  Vomiting and diarrhea Toxin ingestions Lacerations and bite wounds Hit by a car Worsening of underlying illness (disease) One example of costs related to disease would be if your cat is diagnosed with diabetes: the diagnosis runs around $300 and treatment typically continues for the remainder of the cat’s life which runs from $240 to $360 per year. And if your dog gets into an accident, an emergency room visit could cost $1,000 or more. Pet insurance ensures your pet receives the care they need without hesitation.  Controlling the unknown Insurance works to protect people with costs when accidents happen. When you let Fido outside, he may immediately bolt for a squirrel and come back hobbling. If this is a torn cruciate ligament, Fido will need ACL surgery—the most common orthopedic procedure for dogs. Costs for this procedure can range from $650 (for small dogs) up to $6350 depending on the treatment you and your vet decide would be best. The larger cost includes anesthesia, pre and post-operative X-Rays, physical therapy and home visits. Pet insurance helps cover these costs and helps Fido get back to his normal self quicker. Choose a plan that works for you Pet insurance offers many options for you to choose from. “Accident only” plans take care of poisoning, swallowing a foreign object, attacked by another animal and being hit by a car. Illness coverage takes care of cancer, allergies and disease. You can also add-on emergency care visits to help protect that cost as well. As your pet gets older, insurance cost tends to increase. This may push you to seek out insurance that covers illness earlier in your pet’s life to keep the premium cost down. Even if you don’t use the insurance for the specific use you’re paying for, an illness down the road may make up for those earlier years. Ready to purchase pet insurance? Pet insurance is a great way to cover yourself for unexpected costs. With the Direct Benefits Marketplace, we make it easy for you to choose the plan that best fits you and your pet’s needs. Our budget-friendly accident-only plans go for as little as $6/mo for cats and $9/mo for dogs, regardless of age! If you’re seeking more robust options for your pet, choose up to four plans and compare side-by-side! If you have questions regarding pet insurance, our Consumer Advocate Team is here to guide you through your questions. Chat with one of our insurance experts now!

We Love Our Pets | Direct Benefits

We Love Our Pets | Direct Benefits

There is no doubt about it—our pets are there for us when we need them. Furry, scaley, slimy, slippery big or small, pets bring happiness and companionship.  Here at Direct Benefits, we wanted to share our pictures of our pets with you! It wasn’t much of an ask for our employees to bring in their pets for a photoshoot. One by one they came in. Some were scared. Some were happy! And most met new friends. (Only one accident reported.) We even treat our employees by bringing in puppies from a shelter to increase work productivity! Or maybe it’s just to offer a break in the day… Whatever the case, pets offer so much in the health of our lives. Here are 3 ways pets benefit us.   I’m not lion, pets bring joy When you’re having a bad day, who’s the first one that greets you at the door? Cats and dogs greet us at the door lovingly with barks, meows and tail wags. All animals have a circadian rhythm. They respond to light and dark, behavioral tendencies and environmental associations that trigger a response.  And we love to bend down and pick them up to give them some lovin’. But happiness isn’t the only thing pets give us. They also help with our health. Pets: • Lower blood pressure • Help with depression • Decrease stress • Elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine  • Lower cholesterol Now who deserves a treat!   Breaking Mews! Pets are purr-fect for keeping you company This shouldn’t come as a surprise that pets deter loneliness and keep you company. They’re your best friend to tell your deepest secrets to and possibly work out tough situations with. They’re also a great audience to practice the speech you’re giving at work tomorrow. Or just snuggling on the couch while you read a book. You’re never alone with your pet by your side.   Pets are pup-tastic for social interactions Pets are also great conversation starters. That gerbil that rolls across the floor is sure to be a party favorite. Taking your dog to the dog park offers opportunities to meet new people. And that cousin you’ve never had a chance to have an actual conversation with, turns out, she’s fascinated by your bearded dragon. No matter what pet you have, they are perfect for creating and building relationships.   Direct Benefits Marketplace At Direct Benefits, we love what we do. We love helping people. We love offering insurance products that make sense for you and protect you and your loved ones. Our Marketplace delivers insurance in dental, vision, travel, pet, short-term medical, and ID theft to make sure nothing slows you down. We’ve got your back. Check us out!

How old is too old to adopt a pet?

How old is too old to adopt a pet?

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” – John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog The companionship and affection pets show for their owners is undeniable. And as John Grogan notes above from his popular book turned Hollywood production, Marley and Me, pets offer even more benefits outside of our relationship with them.  But the benefits don’t stop there. Bringing a new pet into your life as you’re getting older offers:  • Reduced stress • Introduces new interests and friends  • Keeps you active • Brings purpose and structure to your daily life • Provides you a routine So how old is too old to adopt a pet? As veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker puts it, “I would rather see guidelines than rules, and that’s because in my more than 30 years of practicing veterinary medicine, I have seen so many people who cared so much for their pets that they’d do anything for them.” With so many pets needing new homes, and if you care for the pet, there is no doubt you will find a way to make sure they’re taken care of.  Get the right pet for you With an abundance of pets needing homes, choosing the right pet for you and your lifestyle will set everyone up for success. Shelters can help with this. If you call a local shelter, they’ll help you choose the right pet. They’ll ask questions like:  • What size  • Age-range  • How active you plan to be • What your lifestyle is like • If other pets or grandchildren will be visiting You could also mention you want a pet that is social if you plan to take your pet to visit your friends. Shelters and rescues are filled with very passionate people. They’ll go the extra mile to make sure everyone is happy.  Seniors helping seniors Depending on where you are with patience, activity, energy, etc., a senior pet may make the most sense for you. Some shelters even offer a discount for seniors to take on senior pets. Looked at as win-win, senior pets are already house trained and are just as loving as when they were younger.   You’re also not succumbed to a personality you weren’t expecting. Adult pets are already developed leaving you with a clear picture of who you’ll be taking home. Plus, a lot of people want a puppy or a kitten. By taking home a senior pet, you’ll certainly be saving a life.  Pet insurance brings peace of mind Once deciding on the right pet for you, pet insurance is a great way to alleviate all stress in case something comes up. As with health insurance for humans, different plans will provide different levels of coverage for different types of care for pets.  Generally, pet insurance plans will start by covering most illnesses and accidents. The coverage will be there for those unexpected vet visits that can cost a lot of money. The Direct Benefits Marketplace allows you to browse options and see if they match your expectations. Good luck with your new best friend! Sources:  http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/how-old-is-too-old-to-adopt-a-pet https://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics

7 Helpful Pet Budget Tips

7 Helpful Pet Budget Tips

Budgeting is a way of life; am I right? Some people go crazy for coupons, scour the internet for deals and use every incentive out there to capitalize on saving a dollar.   When it comes to pets, not only are they our best friends, but they are also phenomenal partners in saving money!   Whether you’re taking your pet into their first vet visit, or you’ve been through a lot with your furry friend, there’s still a lot to learn when it comes to budgeting for our pets. Here are seven helpful budget tips to help stretch that dollar.   1. Online sales and coupons  An estimated $99 billion in 2020 will be spent on our pets in the U.S., with pet food & treats estimated at $38.4 billion. That is a lot! One way to cut down on that overall price for your household is to be as resourceful as you can be:  Loyalty programs Retailer websites & weekly ads in store Online coupon websites Local newspaper Word of mouth Planning into the future will also benefit you. Maybe you can stock up on an item you know you will use in the future when a big sale arrives. Or, if you know of a sale coming up, maybe your shopping can wait until then. Resourcefulness and patience are two keys to saving money with your pet.   2. DIY grooming  Yes, it can be a pain; yes, it can make your back ache—you may even get a scratch or two—but grooming your pet yourself will save you money. Even those self-sufficient felines need an occasional bath. One tip when bathing is to begin from the back and work forward. This will help them get used to the water, and you are 95% done by the time you get to the head!   3. Homemade pet toys  We’ve heard it before:   “I bought this expensive toy at the store thinking my pet would love it, but they’d rather spend their time chasing this silly string around.”  Pet owners have all had this happen before. So why not be proactive and create something you may already own that they will love just as much! For your pup, try placing a couple of tennis balls inside a sock and tie it off at the top. Cats love catnip. You may even have some growing in your backyard! Take a pinch of catnip and place it inside of anything you can find. Sit back and watch your cat play for hours.   4. Homemade pet treats  You saw the figure above that shows how much Americans spend on their pet’s food and treats. Making the treats at home will save you a bundle. It can also be a way for you to control what you are giving to your pets. Whether it’s a peanut butter biscuit for Fido or a crunchy tuna treat for Heathcliff, your pets will love you even more after you make these. Also, be aware of the foods you should not give your pets. Fetch by WebMD offers this advice for Dogs and Cats.   5. Barter services  Bartering services is one of the oldest traditions of our human race. People may believe bartering was a thing of the past, but people continue to use this foundation of economics to get what they need. Have you been practicing the perfect sourdough recipe? See if your neighbor wants a loaf and ask if he’ll watch your pet for a couple of days. It’s easy!  6. Referral programs  Referral programs are a great way to earn a few extra bucks. With how much our society is connected, companies know that sometimes their best advertisements are word of mouth—and they want to reward you! Referral programs are everywhere, from dog walking to boarding, and even vet clinics. All you have to do is ask!   7. A budget plan including pet insurance  A well thought out budget plan will help you tie everything together and save you money. Part of this budget plan may include the what-ifs section. What if your pet has an accident that requires surgery? Or if they come down with an unexpected illness. Have you considered pet Insurance?   Pet insurance is a great way to cover yourself for unexpected costs. With the Direct Benefits Marketplace, we make it easy for you to choose the plan that best fits you and your pet’s needs. Our budget-friendly accident-only plans go for as little as $6/mo for cats and $9/mo for dogs, regardless of age!  Have any questions? Chat with one of our customer happiness experts now! Ready for a quote? Fill out the quick and easy form to receive a quote instantly.       Sources:  https://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp  https://www.petco.com/content/petco/PetcoStore/en_US/pet-services/resource-center/caresheets/bathing-your-dog.html?irgwc=1&irclickid=TGj3jVVu-xyOR7l05-R4sULoUkiTV5UmPxmBQk0&cm_mmc=AFF-_-IMP-_-CCY-_-PME-_-PET-_-AQU-_-27795-_-0-_-TEXT_LINK-_-657751  https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/homemade-dog-food#1  https://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/cat-treats-and-snacks-whats-healthy#1     

Back to school and learning from home with pets!

Back to school and learning from home with pets!

Whether your kids are heading back to school in-person, remote learning, a hybrid model of both, or homeschooling, one constant remains, your pets will always be there for you. And with multi-tasking already on overload around the house, it can seem like pets are just another chore that needs to get done. But did you know pets can actually help improve your child’s learning? Studies show social, emotional, and cognitive development improve when kids care for their pets. This article will focus on how kids’ learning can be enhanced while learning from home with pets. Responsibility One of the main reasons parents purchase pets for the family is to engrain a sense of responsibility into their children. Kids learn what needs the pet has. Typically, this involves setting a schedule. At certain times throughout the day, the pet will be fed, taken outside, cages cleaned, and refilled with water. This helps kids understand what a routine is: Wake up, brush teeth, put clothes on, and get ready to learn. Motivation Pets help kids learn motivation with cause and effect. If the dog whines to go outside, they may have to go. If a cat meows, they’re probably hungry. There’s an internal motivation for the child to react thus relieving the pet of their need. Parents and teachers aren’t always around to make a child pay attention or work on their homework. Motivation becomes driving factor for students to pick up the pencil and work on their math problems. Interactive educational lessons How many spots does Cali-the-cat have? What words can you use to describe Goldy-the-goldfish? If Rupert-the-dog has 2 front legs and 2 back legs, how many legs does he have total? Pets add a fun, interactive way for kids to learn. They take the words and numbers from a page or screen and turn it into a real-life example. It can also open their minds to more curious questions. Why do I only have two legs? Why do dogs have fur, and I don’t? Kids who are shy may also be apprehensive reading in front of other classmates or teachers. Having kids read to their pets is a great way to gain confidence. Physical activity Choosing a pet for your family typically depends on your lifestyle. Some pets (turtles, hamsters, rabbits) are more stationary. Other pets (dogs and cats) need playtime and exercise. For kids learning at home, this is a great way to enhance their physical activity and get outside. Setting 20 minutes aside to walk the dog, play fetch, hide and seek, or cat-fishing with a toy mouse are all great ways to take a break and get some exercise for both the pet and the child. Social skills Many parents are worried their kids will lose essential social skills if they don’t get back to school full time. While pets can’t replace 100% of those interactions, they still bring value to kids: Talking to their animals  Confiding their feelings  Giving commands  Showing affection  Incorporating pretend-play scenarios   Pets show unconditional love and ultimately support their small human friends. This boosts a child’s self-esteem, and they respond with compassion and care. Pet insurance to bring peace of mind With everything going on at home, pet insurance is a great way to worry about one less thing while also protecting the pet you love. With the Direct Benefits Marketplace, we make it easy to choose the plan that fits your pet and your family. Sources: https://www.scholastic.com/parents/family-life/social-emotional-learning/social-skills-for-kids/learning-pets.html https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/the_benefits_of_a_family_pet#:~:text=Pets%20teach%20children%20valuable%20life,cuddle%20buddy%20during%20nap%20time.

How to introduce your new fur baby to their new home

How to introduce your new fur baby to their new home

Adopting a new pet is a joyful experience and one you may even remember vividly: locking eyes for the first time, talking excitedly about how happy you’re going to make them, debating the perfect name, and perhaps even picking up the pet as Rafiki does in the Lion King with Simba holding him high in the air.   Now that Simba is officially part of your family, the next two weeks are critical for the pet to become acclimated to their new home. There's even a name for it: The Two Week Shutdown period. This is the time to focus on your pet's needs and make them feel welcome.   It can be overwhelming at times, and there are a lot of things to watch out for. Here are a few tips to make it easier on everyone.   Create safe spaces  There are a lot of emotions happening when a new pet comes home. Typically, it includes excitement— Let me at him! I want to squeeeeze him!—but other emotions such as anxiety, happiness, jealousy, and maybe even some fear are also at play. Creating safe spaces for everyone will get things settled quickly and alleviate stress. If there are other pets in the house, keep them separated. Or better yet, take your pets outdoors for a neutral site to meet and greet. It may seem chaotic at first, but most of the time, pets just need some space to ease into their new homes.   Stick to a schedule  Some people prefer regimented schedules, and some prefer a more relaxed schedule. Either way works, but staying consistent with some structure is a great way to introduce trust. Pets are habitual creatures, and they rely on their humans to feed, bathe, and make them feel safe. Anxiety can be enhanced by an erratic schedule, so try to stay as consistent as possible.   Watching your pet’s behavior  Some pets adjust right away, and really don’t need much attention. Others may require more in-depth guidance. It’s key to watch their behavior:  Hair sticking up on their backs  Prolonged stare  Teeth showing  Tails wagging   Reward good behavior when Cali-the-cat reacts positively to her new roommate. Be firm with Bruce-the-dog when he gets too close, and the other pet isn’t ready for close interaction yet. Professional training is another tool in the tool belt. Not only will it tighten the learning curve, but it’s also a great way to develop a bond with your pet. Soon, you’ll notice all the mannerisms for what your pet is needing.   Become the pack leader you were meant to be  A pack-leader is just that – a leader. The pack-leader mentality brings stability and awareness to situations where you may need the attention of your pet. These situations are numerous, but to name a few: potty training, kennel time, and walking on a leash. A pack-leader mentality has expert communication skills. Consistency for pets is what they count on. Be consistent with your messaging, and your pets will learn from you.  Gradually, everything will fall into place, and your new fur baby will be happy as a clam. As you begin your journey with your new companion, vet trips will become an annual occurrence. Pet insurance helps cover costs associated with vet visits, from emergency trips to routine care. Visit our Direct Benefits Marketplace for more info or talk to one of our customer happiness experts today.  

Dog ACL Surgery

Dog ACL Surgery

If you notice your dog limping or having difficulty standing up from a sitting or lying down position or muscle loss, or if your pup appears to be in pain when walking or moving, it could be an ACL injury. Don’t ignore these symptoms! Your dog cannot vocalize his or her pain, so if you suspect something is wrong, take him or her to the veterinarian as soon as possible. This injury can be extremely painful and will only get worse over time. What is an ACL injury? You may be familiar with the acute cruciate ligament (ACL). Known as the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in dogs, it’s responsible for stabilizing the knee joint, and injuries can significantly limit movement and are extremely painful. ACL injuries can be sudden, brought on by a fast movement, known as an acute injury. If your pet was completely fine, and you quickly notice he or she is walking on three legs, this is likely an acute injury. Chronic ACL injuries occur when the ligament slowly degenerates over time. In both instances, the ligament breaks down, tears, or completely ruptures.  While the risk factors for a sudden ACL injury are largely unknown, dogs with existing knee conditions, like medial patellar luxations, are more susceptible, as are certain breeds including: Rottweiler Labrador Retrievers Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Saint Bernards Newfoundlands Dog ACL surgery If upon evaluation your vet determines your dog has in fact sustained an ACL injury, surgery will likely be recommended. Surgical intervention is most effective at alleviating the pain associated with the injury. For dogs under 50 pounds, the lateral suture technique, or extracapsular repair, is most common — though heavier dogs may undergo this surgery as well. In this procedure, a hole is first drilled into the front part of the tibia. From there, a single plastic fiber line called a monofilament is looped around a small bone on the backside of the femur, through the hole in the tibia, then clamped together with a stainless steel clip to re-stabilize the knee joint. Other surgical options include: Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO): The tibial plateau is cut and rotated to alter the angle of the knee Tibial Tuberocity Advancement (TTA): A linear cut is made across the front of the tibia, and a bone spacer and steel plate is placed to change bone structure. Tight Rope Technique: Small holes are drilled in the knee, and “Fibertape” is used to thread the knee in various directions. Which treatment option is best for your dog? Your vet will suggest one of the procedures above based on your pet’s age, size, and demeanor.  Dog ACL surgery cost Prepare to fork over a significant chunk of change for your dog’s ACL surgery. TPLO and TTA will likely cost between $2,000 and $3,000 — per knee — and that cost will increase even more if you select a board-certified surgeon to perform the procedure. The lateral suture technique typically costs slightly less, but you can still expect your bill to be over $1,000. Following the operation, your vet will prescribe anti-inflammatory or pain medications and recommend dietary supplements, some of which your pet may need to take throughout the rest of his or her life. These, along with post-op rehabilitation to rebuild muscle and minimize weight gain, will accrue additional costs in the months and years following the ACL surgery. To assist with these high costs, most pet owners opt for some form of pet insurance. Most insurance carriers and policies cover treatment for acute ACL injuries — as long as you purchase before your dog gets hurt. Some may not cover treatment for chronic injuries, or for dogs who have pre-existing conditions that may have contributed to the injury. Ongoing care can save you  Preventing an ACL injury in your dog is difficult, as there are typically no warning signs, and direct causes are still unclear. If your dog’s breed is more prone, keep an eye on their gait and don’t forget to take them in for regular veterinary checkups. When caught early, problems can be resolved before they become more extensive and more expensive to treat. Regardless of breed, don’t miss your pet’s annual exam, and look into pet insurance before your dog gets sick or hurt. Run a free instant quote to customize a pet insurance policy today.