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Do I Need Pet Insurance?

One of the most common questions new pet owners ask is, “Do I need pet insurance?” The answer is not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ In deciding whether or not you need pet insurance, consider the following factors.

Do I need pet insurance?

Cost of pet insurance

Pet insurance can offset some of the expense of diagnosing and treating illnesses your pet may face down the road. But it comes at a cost. In general, the cost of veterinary care has risen in recent years due to advancements in technology. So, although it can be expensive, having insurance can help save your pet’s life. Your are the person responsible for any vet bills your pet’s care might incur. So, think carefully about what an unexpected trip to the vet might mean to your finances.

Coverage

Before settling on a pet insurance provider, make sure you understand what their insurance covers and what it doesn’t. Most providers cover hereditary conditions, such as elbow and hip dysplasia, diabetes, and thyroid conditions. Some will also cover unidentified issues that don’t necessarily have a diagnosis. While each provider is different, most do not cover pre-existing conditions. You usually have to enroll before your pet is of senior age, as well.

Breed restrictions

Unfortunately, not all pet insurance companies provide insurance for every dog breed. Some insurance companies do not extend coverage to Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers, German Shepherds, Akitas, Doberman Pinschers, or Rottweilers, to name a few. If you have one of these dog breeds, don’t worry. There are some more inclusive options out there! But you may find that securing insurance for those breeds is a bit more expensive than it is for others.

So, do I need pet insurance?

At the end of the day, whether or not to get pet insurance is highly is highly specific to you and your situation. If you’re in the market for affordable pet insurance that offers comprehensive coverage, check out our partners at Trupanion. Every Get Your Pet adoption package includes a certificate for 30 days’ pet insurance from Trupanion (offer varies in California).

If you’d like to adopt a pet, visit Getyourpet.com to start browsing cats and dogs for adoption near you.

New Year’s Pet Resolutions

The new year marks an opportunity for change, and not just for humans! Early January is the perfect time to fulfill our promises to our pets. Here are a few New Year’s pet resolutions to make sure that 2019 is a fantastic year!

New Year's pet resolutions

Devote More Time to Playing

A great (and fun) New Year’s pet resolution is making time to play with your furry friend! Playing with your cat or dog is an excellent way to bond. Cats love the thrill of chasing laser toys and pouncing on bounce toys. For their part, dogs love running after frisbees and playing tug of war! Plus, increasing play time with your pets has the benefit of keeping them active! Playing can be a great form of physical exercise for both cats and dogs. So, try to incorporate at least an hour of playtime into each day to make sure your pet is entertained and getting enough exercise.

Always Measure Out Their Food

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, roughly 56 percent of dogs and 60 percent of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. Excessive weight gain in pets can cause many health problems such as heart disease and decreased life expectancy. Often, we overfeed when we “eyeball” the amount of food we give. To combat this, a good New Year’s pet resolution is to measure out the amount of food you give your pet. This will ensure that your pet is getting the correct amount of calories.

Practice Good Dental Hygiene

Speaking of keeping your pet healthy, a great New Year’s pet resolution is to maintain an oral hygiene schedule. Like humans, pets need their teeth brushed between professional cleanings. You can improve the length and quality of your pet’s life with good dental hygiene. For this reason, be sure to take your pets to their vet for an annual cleaning this year.

Be Consistent With Grooming

Regular grooming is essential for a healthy and happy pet. Pets love the attention, which makes it a an excellent way to strengthen your bond. Additionally, regular brushing brings excessive fur, dirt, and oil away from the skin. This feels amazing for your pet! Above all, daily grooming prevents matting, which can cause pain and infection. A consistent grooming schedule will help your pet feel (and look) their best.

And The Most Important New Year’s Pet Resolution…

Love your pet! Take the time to give your dog or cat the love that they need. Pets spend their lives entirely devoted to their owners. We are their world! So, do something kind for your pet. This could mean getting them a new toy, buying their favorite treat, or even just giving them some extra cuddles. Our pets certainly deserve it.

Want to adopt a dog or cat? Visit getyourpet.com to browse adoptable pets near you.

What to Expect When Caring for a Senior Pet

Senior pets are wonderful companions, and caring for them can be extremely rewarding. Whether you’re considering adopting a senior pet, or your pet is showing signs of aging, you should be aware of what to expect when caring for a senior pet.

what to expect when caring for your senior pet

When is a pet considered “senior”?

It depends on the breed of your pet, but most cats and small dogs become “senior” when they reach seven years of age. Larger dogs typically have shorter lifespans, so they tend to reach senior status a bit earlier, at six years old. Other factors that may influence the aging process include your pet’s diet and exercise routine, genetic history, and exposure to stressful environments.

Expect more frequent trips to the veterinarian

Many owners only take their pet to see the vet once a year. However, once your pet reaches senior status, most veterinarians recommend scheduling appointments semi-annually. Senior pets need more thorough exams due to their increased risk of age-related diseases. Some common health problems vets look for are arthritis, cancer, heart disease, liver disease, and diabetes. Veterinarians can also update your pet’s vaccinations, if needed.

Your senior pet’s dietary and nutritional needs will change

When your pet reaches old age, expect their diet to change. Animals, like people, grow more sluggish as they get older. Aging increases their risk of developing obesity and weight-related health issues. That is why professionals recommend diets low in calories and high in fiber for senior pets. If your pet refuses to eat, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to check for potential underlying health problems. Overall, make sure that your furry friend is getting the nutrients they need, as well as plenty of water for hydration.

Expect to make changes at home when caring for your senior pet

When caring for your senior pet, expect to make tweaks to their environment. They may not know it, but senior pets are much slower and less agile than they were as puppies and kittens. This means that they are more likely to slip on wet surfaces, fall down stairs, or have trouble jumping onto the sofa for cuddle time. If your dog slept upstairs before, now it might be safer to move their bed downstairs to avoid falls. Senior pets might also experience trouble getting into cars and traveling from place to place. Luckily, small staircases and ramps can be purchased at pet supply stores.

Give your senior pet plenty of love

You may have gone on hikes with your pup, or played with toys for hours with your kitten in the past. Now that your pet is older, spending time together won’t be as physically active as it used to be. Even though your senior pet is slower, they still need your love and affection. The way you spend time together will change, but the bond between you and your senior pet will remain strong. All pets, no matter what stage of life they are in, need love to reduce stress and anxiety.

Still have questions about senior pet care? Check out these Frequently Asked Questions from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Want to adopt a senior dog or cat? Visit getyourpet.com to browse adoptable pets near you.

Why Do Dogs Dig? Understanding Canine Instincts

If you find your dog rearranging dirt in the yard, it should come as no surprise. Digging is one of the most common (and messy) behaviors to manage in dogs. Here are the most common reasons why your dog has become your resident gardener.

why do dogs dig

1. It’s Fun!

Fido may be digging in the backyard because it’s enjoyable! According to the Humane Society, your dog may dig when they learn that roots and soil “play back”. Many dogs dig if they are left outside alone without any other forms of entertainment. As an antidote, be sure to give your dog plenty of exercise, love, and other outlets for his energy! At least, consider creating a special digging area to help contain your dog’s messy habit.

2. Genetics

Some dogs are more genetically predisposed to digging than others. Hunters originally bred terriers and hounds to track, hunt, and burrow after their prey. So, their natural reaction to hearing a small animal or insect underground is to chase after them! It is difficult to discourage this behavior. When you see your dog digging, firmly tell them “no” and give them a different activity focus on. They will be less likely to create a mess if they can play with you!

3. Escaping

The outside world tempts even the most well-behaved dogs. There are so many new sounds and smells to explore!  Or, sometimes a neighbor’s dog or a thunderstorm can scare your pup into trying to escape from the yard. To naturally discourage this particular digging behavior, remove incentives for them to escape. This could mean installing chicken wire at the base of your fence to keep out wildlife. Also, make sure your yard is a safe environment for your dog.

4. Denning

Have you ever seen your dog digging at their bed before snuggling in? This is called “denning”, an instinctive trait inherited from their wild ancestors. When a dog was ready to whelp her young, she would dig up a safe and dry environment in which to raise her pups. Dens tend to be cooler in warm weather and warmer in the cold weather. This is a very difficult behavior to break because it is such a strong instinct. Give your dog the safety and reassurance they seek: protection against harsh weather, access to water, and a comfortable bed.

Want to adopt a dog or cat? Visit getyourpet.com to browse adoptable pets near you.

Introducing Dogs and Cats: Understanding Body Language

Bringing home a new pet can be very exciting, but if you already have a pet at home, there may be complications. Adopting a new dog and introducing them to your cat, or vice versa, is a process that is unique to those two animals.  Paying close attention to each animal’s body language can help alert you to that a  meeting is about to turn south. Body language in cats and dogs can have various meanings, so pay attention to…

introducing dogs and cats

The Tail

For cats, a tail held high usually indicates positive body language. For instance, if a cat is holding their tail high, they are probably feeling very confident. However, watch out for a high tail with fur that looks erect. This can mean that your feline friend feels threatened! Dogs, on the other hand, usually carry their tails high when feeling agitated or aggressive. If your cat’s tail is held high and your dog’s tail is in a neutral position the first time they meet, it is a great sign.

The Ears

If your dog has pricked ears, use caution. This body language usually indicates that they may ready to take an aggressive action. Make sure that your dog is relaxed and look for ears lying back before introducing them to your new cat. In contrast, cats prick their ears forward when they feel self-assured and confident.

The Belly

We all know a dog who rolls over immediately to get a good belly rub! For dogs, showing the belly is a submissive type of body language that signals relaxation. However, this body language exhibited in cats tells a different story. If your cat is lying belly up with claws out, they are acting in self-defense. Both animals should be in an upright position when introduced for the first time.

The Mouth

When introducing dogs and cats, look at their mouths. Panting is body language that communicates stress for both cats and dogs. If your new dog or cat is panting when interacting with other animals, he or she may feel frightened. Both animals should have relaxed breathing when meeting for the first time.

Their Posture

Both species will shrink in on themselves when they feel afraid. A cat or dog holding their head low, with their tail curled under their body, is probably in an extremely frightening situation. When introducing your cat or dog to their new brother or sister, look for good posture to indicate that both animals are feeling safe and secure.

The Eyes

It’s all in the eyes! Dilated pupils in both cats and dogs is body language that indicates fear, aggression, or arousal. Blinking, on the other hand, usually means that both animals are feeling friendly. Beware of direct eye contact that has no blinking. If your cat is intensely staring down your new puppy, this could mean that they are challenging him or her.

When introducing your dog to your cat, look for overall body language that indicates relaxation and positive moods. For information on this topic, check out Introducing A New Dog or Cat to Resident Pets. Looking for more ways to help your dogs and cats get along? Here are some great ideas!

 

Want to adopt a dog or cat? Visit getyourpet.com to browse adoptable pets near you.

6 Fun Ways to Exercise Your Dog In Winter

Winter weather can make it difficult to ensure that your dog gets enough exercise. While you might want to spend all weekend curled up on the couch with a cup of hot tea, you still need to make it a priority to exercise your dog. It’s not as convenient during colder months, but it is possible, and sometimes it’s even more fun to play indoors! Here are six fun ways to exercise your dog in winter.

exercise your dog in winter

1. Play a game with your dog

Games are a fun way to disguise exercise and a good way to get your dog really moving. Tug of war and fetch are some of the best games to play indoors with your dog because they don’t require much space. You can also try using food or treat-dispensing toys to keep your dog busy and active with a nice reward.

2. Organize a play date

Does your dog have a neighborhood friend? If so, invite them over to have a play date! If your dog loves the company of other dogs, then organizing a surprise play date could be the perfect way to keep them occupied. They’ll have fun, get to socialize, and most importantly, they’ll get the exercise they need during those cold days.

3. Get outside

One of the best ways to exercise your dog in winter is to just go outside and get moving. If you’re faced with a snow day, lean in and go play in it! You dog will have a blast chasing snowballs, helping to build a snowman, or even making snow angels right alongside the family. Just make sure it’s not too cold outside, and that your dog stays safe in the snow. Check out these winter myths to keep your dog safe in the cold weather.

4. Throw a dance party

This activity is perfect if kids are around because it keeps them moving and grooving right alongside the dogs! Put on some music and hold a doggy dance contest. The last one standing wins!

5. Scavenger hunt

Organizing a scavenger hunt is another fun and creative way to exercise your dog in winter. For highly active breeds who crave a job to keep them busy, scavenger hunts are just the thing. Hide your dog’s favorite items or treats around the house and see how fast they can find them. Or, play hide and go seek and have your dog sniff you out.

6. Try doggy yoga

If you haven’t heard of dog yoga–affectionately known as ‘doga’–then you’re missing out. Doing yoga with your dog is one of the most enjoyable ways to exercise your dog in winter. Getting your dog to try some yoga moves isn’t just entertaining, it’s also a great form of exercise. If you can’t make it to a doggy yoga class, hold your own class right in your living room!

 

Looking to adopt a pet? Visit getyourpet.com to browse pets available for adoption near you.

5 Reasons To Adopt A Dog You Simply Can’t Refuse

Dog lovers know how deeply rewarding it is to open our hearts to a canine friend. But if you’re on the fence about becoming a dog parent, or someone else in your life is, you’ve come to the right place. Here are five reasons to adopt a dog that you simply can’t refuse.

Reasons to adopt a dog

1. Dogs provide companionship

One of the best reasons to adopt a dog is that they provide companionship unlike any other animal. Dogs are loyal companions that give us so much love. Ask any dog owner, and they’ll tell you how wonderfully compassionate these animals are. They enjoy the company of humans and most will do whatever they can to please their owner–especially if there are treats involved!

2. Dogs make great exercise partners

Having a dog around encourages you to get moving, be more active, and incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine. Dogs have a way of getting us off the couch for a game of fetch or for the highly-anticipated evening walk. Much like a personal trainer, they won’t let you skip a day, either! Daily exercise is important for every dog, and can help you stay in good health, too.

3. Dogs reduce stress

One of the lesser known reasons to adopt a dog is that dogs can provide us with wonderful psychic benefits that improve our health. Having a pet in the home can actually help lower high blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and significantly boost your mood. There’s something undeniably comforting about having a furry best friend to come home to after a long day!

4. Dogs can protect the home

If safety is among your reasons to adopt a dog, you may want to look into adopting a breed like German Shepherd, Rottweiler, or Doberman Pinscher. They are natural protectors and can help guard the home. With proper training and a strong, confident owner, guard dogs can alert a person or family of danger, intruders, or an attacker. These dogs are often revered for their intelligence, loyalty, and territorial instincts, but they also know when it’s time to show affection and shower you with kisses.

5. You can save a life

One of the most profound reasons to adopt a dog is that you can help a pet in need. With so many homeless and abused pets sitting in shelters or looking for homes through Get Your Pet, it’s likely that adopting one will save their life.

 

Don’t need any more reasons to adopt a dog? Start browsing adoptable pets near you with Get Your Pet.

Socializing Your Dog With Children is a Must

Adopting a dog when you have kids in the home is a big step. Whether you’re adopting a puppy or an older dog, you should always assume there will be a need for some training or socializing. Here are some tips for socializing your dog with children.

Socializing Dogs With Children

Create a safe environment

Part of socializing your dog with children means making sure all parties have a safe and calm environment. Start by prepping your home to accommodate your furry, new, family member! We have tons of tips on puppy-proofing your home and making sure it’s the ideal setting for introductions and socializing.

Educate your children

Adopting a new pet into the home often means a transition for the whole family. Make the transition easier on everyone by having a conversation with your kids before bringing home your new pet. Discuss any responsibilities your children may have and teach them how to respect animals. Kids should learn about the right way to approach a new dog and how to behave around a new dog.

Socializing your dog with children

Training your dog to be kid-friendly is a must for any pet owner, whether you have kids or not. A good rule of thumb is to always work on socializing your dog with children when everyone is in a good mood. Don’t attempt to force a meeting with cranky, tired kids or dogs. Let the kids know that a dog’s crate is their safe place, and that they should let the dog retreat to their crate when they need space. Overall, it’s important to keep the experience a positive one, and to allow the dog the come to the children when the dog is ready.

Always supervise

Small dogs and toy breeds are good companions for kids, but they can easily get hurt during playtime. Conversely, larger dogs are sturdy and can handle rougher playtime, but they can unintentionally hurt a child. A prime rule for socializing your dog with children is: always supervise children during playtime and never let your child pick up a small dog without your permission or supervision. Even the most gentle dogs can become stressed or scared by loud noises, sudden movements, or the occasional temper tantrum! Need help deciding what size dog may be good for your family? Read up on some general information here.

Take things slow

It’s important to go slow when socializing your dog with children. Even if the dog you will be adopting has lived with kids in the past, you should still make introductions slowly. The best way to socialize a dog with kids is to start early. When adopting a puppy, you can begin by training them to not jump up and to learn basic commands. This will set them up for a lifetime of good behavior.

If you want to adopt a pet, visit Getyourpet.com to adopt a dog or cat near you.

Every Dog Day: Get Your Pet’s Own National Holiday

Every Dog Day

What is Every Dog Day?

Celebrated on November 15, Every Dog Day is a chance to proclaim that every type of dog deserves love equally. Every Dog Day looks past breed, declining to single out any one of them as though it needed to be defended. It’s an opportunity to celebrate dogs for who they are, rather than what they are.

Why did we create Every Dog Day?

Get Your Pet has always participated in celebrating days like National Pit Bull Awareness Day. These holidays aim to bring awareness to the stigmas surrounding certain dogs. But, in calling them out, we may be unintentionally perpetuating the idea that they are “different”.  Initiating this holiday is one way we can advocate for all dogs equally.

How is Every Dog Day different from other national holidays?

Holidays honoring our pets seem to be popping up all the time. National Mutt Day, for example, focuses on celebrating dogs of multiple, mixed, or unknown breeds.  National Dog Day is a more broad celebration of our dogs as pets and family members in general. Every Dog Day, on the other hand, has a message: that stereotyping dog breeds is mistaken.  Dogs of all types have so much love to give. They all deserve our love and protection – mutts, purebreds, large and small dogs alike. This holiday encourages us all to look beyond breed and discover what makes every dog special.

Why November 15?

We intentionally chose a date shortly after National Pit Bull Awareness Day, observed in late October.  Get Your Pet encourages the pet-loving community to join the conversation and help end breed discrimination.

How can I celebrate Every Dog Day?

Get Your Pet is inviting everyone to celebrate Every Dog Day by entering our contest. Share a photo of your dog on social media and tell the world why they’re the best. The contest, held annually from Nov. 1-7, gives entrants a chance to win a $250 gift card from Pet Valu (redeemable in stores or online). And two runners-up will each receive a gift box courtesy of Pupjoy. For more information about the Every Dog Day contest and how to enter, visit EveryDogDay.com.

 

To adopt a dog or cat, visit getyourpet.com to start browsing adoptable pets near you.

English Bulldogs: All About the Breed

Bulldogs are America’s sweethearts. That’s why it’s hard to believe that years ago their ancestors were bred for bull-baiting, or dog fighting. Today, however, the Bulldog is a docile, dependable companion dog. Learn all about English Bulldogs to see if they are right for you.

English Bulldogs

Types of Bulldog Breeds

Rather than pertaining to a specific breed, the term Bulldog is actually a classification referring to many dog breeds. The American Bulldog, English Bulldog (sometimes referred to as British Bulldog), French Bulldog, and Boxer, for example, all fall under this heading. Still, people most commonly use the term Bulldog as a general label for the English Bulldog (pictured above). For the purposes of this article, we’ll only be talking about the English Bulldog.

English Bulldog Personality

English Bulldogs are fun-loving, courageous, and dependable dogs. They are low-maintenance, easy-going dogs who love to be around people. They are happiest when relaxing alongside their human, cuddling on the couch, or being petted. Despite their easy-going nature, they can also be a bit stubborn and may need a little coaxing to do something they don’t want to do!

Why Are English Bulldogs a Popular Mascot?

You may have noticed that many schools, military institutions, and sports teams use the English Bulldog as their mascot. This is because the Bulldog is tenacious and tough–two very commendable qualities! Most notably, they are the official mascot of the United States Marine Corps. The first mascot of the US Marine Corps was an English Bulldog named ‘Pvt Jiggs’ who lived on a base in Virginia. Pvt Jiggs quickly rose in the ranks, and has paved the way for a series of Bulldogs to hold the title.

Common Health Issues

Unfortunately, English Bulldogs are prone to developing certain health issues due to their build. Because of their short, compact bodies, they are more likely than other breeds to develop joint and weight issues. Although they don’t require much exercise, it’s important to keep your English Bulldog active by taking daily walks. This will help to combat obesity and reduce the their risk of developing joint pain.

Do English Bulldogs Make Good Family Pets?

English Bulldogs are a popular family pet for many reasons. They get along great with children and make gentle lifelong companions. Even if they don’t spend much time playing, they are usually happy to watch from the sidelines!

 

Interested in adopting a dog or cat? Visit getyourpet.com to start searching pets for adoption near you.