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Why Pet Health Insurance Matters to Your Newly Adopted Pet and You

What is pet insurance?

Most pet owners plan for vaccines, annual checkups, and spay/neuter costs, but those aren’t the only veterinary expenses you may face throughout your pet’s life. Pet health insurance can give you financial coverage for any unexpected veterinary bills if your pet has a cough, develops a limp, or isn’t feeling well.

As your new pet adjusts to your home, you can rest assured you have the financial backing to keep your pet protected. That way, if something happens, you can focus on your new pet—not your finances.

What does it cover?

Insurance can cover a portion of your unexpected veterinary bill if your pet is sick or injured. This could be anything from broken nail to cancer and includes hospital stays, diagnostic tests, medications, supplements, surgeries, and other treatments.

This may not include exam fees, wellness care, or coverage for pre-existing conditions— anything that shows signs or symptoms before you enroll. Insurance is there for the unexpected, so it’s important to understand what you’re signing up for.

How does pet insurance work?

Using your pet’s health insurance is simple. When your pet is sick or injured, you can take them to the veterinarian and file the claim with your insurance company.  Insurance will cover a portion of your veterinary bill, sometimes 90%, and you are responsible for any non-eligible expenses, your deductible, and the remaining co-pay.

Sometimes you file a claim and wait for reimbursement. However, some veterinary hospitals have vet-direct pay, which means that the insurance provider pays the hospital directly, and you’re only left to cover the co-pay at checkout. This means that for a $1,000 veterinary treatment you could just pay $100 at the end of the visit.

With medical insurance for pets, you don’t have to worry about which veterinarians are “in network.” You can take them to any veterinary hospital or specialty center in the country.

Can I get insurance for my rescue dog or cat?

When you enroll in insurance, you’ll need to provide your pet’s species, breed, gender, and age. If you file a claim, you will need to provide details about your pet’s medical history.

When you adopt a pet from Get Your Pet, you may have the luxury of knowing their breed and age and having a full medical history from their previous guardian. If not, you can still protect your pet. These details can be difficult to pin down when you adopt an adult dog or cat, but your veterinarian can give you a good estimate of your new pet’s age and you can submit any medical history you do have.

When can I get it?

The best time to enroll your pet in insurance is as soon as possible. Young pets often have the most affordable premiums and are less likely to have pre-existing health concerns. However, that doesn’t mean your adult dog can’t benefit from coverage.

When you adopt through Get Your Pet, you receive a 30-day certificate from Trupanion. By activating this certificate, you can waive waiting periods and give your new family member coverage as soon as you bring them home.

Thank you to guest blogger, Kathryn Clappison, a member of the team at Trupanion, medical insurance for cats and dogs, for providing this information.

November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month!

Why Adopt a Senior Pet?

We’ve all done it — walked right past the older, calmer dog or cat at the shelter and made a bee-line to the adorable, wide-eyed pup. Why are we so quick to believe that when it comes to adopting a pet, the younger the better?  Fact is, for many of us, a senior pet deserves strong consideration — even preference — for a number of reasons.

Older dogs are often already trained: While a puppy or kitten can certainly be an adorable addition to the family, people often underestimate the time and patience required to train him or her. When you adopt an older dog or cat, you can usually count on them to already be trained, or at least to understand basic commands. And if you’d like to teach them more, you’ll find that older pets have a longer attention span, which makes the task less time consuming. Turns out you actually can teach an old dog new tricks.

Older pets are usually less excitable: Older pets are also usually calmer in general, and can be more docile around new people or kids. They also make great companions for those with a quieter lifestyle, who don’t have the time or energy to spend running around non-stop. Most older dogs are happy just lounging on the couch and being around their favorite people.

You’ll save a life: When you adopt an older dog or cat, you’re very likely saving their life. Puppies and kittens will almost always find a willing adopter, but older pets are often the last to be adopted—and as a result, they are the most at risk in shelters. Adopting a pet in their senior years can save them from an unknown fate at a shelter.

Is it just us, or are older pets more grateful? At the very least, older pets have every bit as much love to give as younger ones, and they certainly are just as deserving of a second chance in life. An older dog or cat doesn’t know they’re old. They just know they want to love, and be loved in return.

To browse pets near you on getyourpet.com, click here to begin your search.

Guardian FAQ: How can I make my pet’s profile stand out? #GetYourPetAdopted

get your pet adopted

Thank you for choosing getyourpet.com to rehome your pet! We know how hard you’ve thought about this decision. Rehoming your pet instead of taking him or her to a shelter is the kindest, most responsible course of action you can take.

If you haven’t already joined getyourpet.com to create a profile for your pet, you can do so here. If you’ve already created your pet’s profile, then read on to find out how you can enhance your pet’s profile to increase his or her chances of being adopted.

  1. Focus on good photos. Some of the most successful pet profiles are ones that have high-quality pictures. You don’t need a professional camera for this; just make sure your pictures have good lighting, aren’t blurry, and that they showcase your pet well. Try a variety of “poses” if possible (remember, there is room for 3 photos) – one facing the camera, one during his or her favorite activity, or one that you feel shows his or her personality best. Be sure not to show your pet in a cage or heavily chained. That doesn’t create a good feeling about the pet. We have plenty of the more “technical” photo-taking tips and tricks here.
  2. Get specific about your pet. The bio at the top of the profile should tell adopters something they don’t already learn by reading the rest of the profile. For example, we already know Fluffy gets along with cats, but does he greet you at the door every day after work? Telling adopters the quirky little details about your pet can pique the interest of a potential adopter much better than a repeat of his or her age or breed. Think about what you would wantto read about the pet and what would make someone would love to have your pet join their family.
  3. Add a video. Video is one of the best ways to show off your pet, because it allows adopters the chance to see the pet in action and get an idea for how he or she behaves around people. Plus, who doesn’t love a good video of a happy pup?! We have a ton of tips for making your pet into a video star here!
  4. Be responsive to messages. It sounds obvious, but your pet’s awesome profile does no good if adopters don’t get a response! Most adopters are “shopping around” and actively messaging multiple guardians at the same time. Being quick to respond will greatly increase the chances an adopter remains interested in your pet rather than move on to someone else.

For more information about how to create a profile for your pet on getyourpet.com, visit our “How It Works” page. And for other, more in-depth instructions on pet photography, click here.

Dog Rehoming: Why & How

Man Rehoming Dog

Rehoming your dog is sometimes a sore subject among animal lovers. It’s hard to imagine ever having to give up or rehome your pet, yet there are dozens of reasons why someone would need to. Situations involving domestic violence, divorce, personal or family health problems, financial instability, and even death, can disrupt our lives in a way that makes it no longer manageable to care for our pets. Rather than turning to a shelter, many people make the effort to rehome.

End the stigma of dog rehoming

Nobody plans on rehoming their dog. Most guardians, and in particular those who try to rehome versus simply surrendering their pet to a shelter, want what’s best for their pet. It’s important to keep that in mind, and to support responsible pet owners in their decision to rehome. Deciding to rehome a pet is very difficult for most people, but is also an act of selflessness that can bring a lifetime of happiness to a pet. Home-to-home adoption saves pets from the stress, exposure to illness, and possibility of being euthanized that are common at shelters and rescues. If an owner has decided they can no longer properly care for a pet, placing that pet directly into a new, loving home is the kindest, smartest and most humane thing they can do.

“I need to rehome my pet. What can I do?”

If you need to rehome your cat or dog, you’ve come to the right place. Get Your Pet is the judgement-free, people-centric online community of people just like you who need to rehome their pet and people who want to adopt them. We understand how hard a decision like this can be because we’ve been there. We want you to help you find the right home for your pet, not just a home. Here are some great resources on our site that can help you select the appropriate match for your pet:

How getyourpet.com can help

Turning to Get Your Pet offers a solution to a less than ideal situation, one that many people find makes the process much easier. Why? It’s humane, home-to-home pet adoption. It gives Guardians the power to choose the Adopter that they feel is best suited to care for their pet. It gives pets a chance to find a home before being dropped off at a shelter, suffering stress while they await their fate. It gives Adopters their best chance of really knowing what they are getting, because they learn about the pet from the person who has lived with them. Rehoming dogs and cats through Get Your Pet simply makes sense.

5 Things You Didn’t Know Pet Insurance Covers

dog on bed

Thank you to guest blogger, Kathryn Mailler, a member of the team at Trupanion, medical insurance for cats and dogs, for providing this information.

All pets adopted through getyourpet.com receive 30 days of pet insurance from Trupanion. 

With varying companies, policies, and plans, there are plenty of misconceptions about pet health insurance. You may think of coverage for accidents, for when your pet gets sick, and many things in between – but those just scratch the surface. These are five things you probably didn’t know could be covered by pet health insurance.

Congenital and hereditary conditions

Some pet health insurance plans do offer coverage for congenital and hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia, cherry eye, or Addison’s disease. This means that a breed predisposed to hip dysplasia, like a German Shepherd, can get coverage to repair their hip, as long as it hasn’t shown any signs before being enrolled in medical insurance. No pet insurance provider covers pre-existing conditions—or anything that shows signs before your coverage kicks in. That’s why it’s important to enroll your pet when they’re young and healthy.

Small issues, like ear infections

A common misconception with pet medical insurance is that it’s only there to cover catastrophic accidents, but with the right policy your pet can have coverage for everything from monthly allergy medication to a broken nail. Your deductible is a big factor here—the lower the deductible, the more likely you are to be reimbursed for the small stuff.

Common illnesses, like cancer

Medical insurance should be there for the big stuff, too. Some policies require you to add on coverage for certain illnesses, like cancer, but with the best plans it’s already included. When faced with an illness, good insurance coverage can help you focus on what’s best for your pet, instead of worrying about finances.

Prescriptions

Not all healing happens in the veterinary hospital. The prescription your veterinarian fills for your pet to take at home can be covered too. A comprehensive plan like the Trupanion policy can cover medications, prescription pet food, and even veterinary supplements to help your pet recover.

Cutting-edge treatments and alternative therapies

The best plans are designed to give veterinarians the power to do what they do best and practice medicine without financial restrictions or benefit schedules. Veterinarians today can treat patients with stem-cell therapy, build prosthetic devices and carts, and perform acupuncture on our cats and dogs. Pet health insurance can support those efforts by covering things like alternative therapies, regenerative therapies, mobility devices, and the wide variety of treatments available today.

Pet health insurance can be a great option for most pet owners. If you are looking at pet insurance for your own dog or cat, it’s important to do your research to find a comprehensive plan that covers the big stuff, little stuff, and everything in between.

 

Dog Owners – What’s Worth Splurging On and What’s Not?

cute dog in purse

Having a dog in the household is almost like caring for a small child—one that has unique needs, likes, and dislikes. It can be tempting to shower your four-legged friend with everything they want (or, everything you think they want) and more—but not all toys, treats, services and clothing are worth it.

Most new dog owners will probably recognize themselves in this scene: wandering through the aisles of a local pet store, grabbing up bones, special grooming instruments, a plush doggy bed bigger than their own, and a dog-sized tutu fit for a queen. It’s not until they reach the register that they realize they’ve forgotten the bare essentials, prompting a reevaluation of some of the more frivolous items in the cart.

Whether it’s your first time adopting a dog (hopefully through getyourpet.com!) , or you’re just stuck on what to spend your money on, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what’s worth splurging on, and what’s not:

Worth it

Training classes. If you’re a first time dog owner, or you’ve just adopted a new puppy, it may be a good idea to invest in some formal training. Having a professional teach your pup basic commands can be an extremely valuable investment, and one that will last a lifetime.  Spending early on training could mean the difference between having a well-mannered dog or having one who requires re-training to break stubborn habits.

Dental care. Proper dental care is something many dog owners don’t initially consider when budgeting or preparing for their new pet, but it should be. Dental care and preventative maintenance may not be as glamorous as a doggy dress, but it can save you big time in the long run. If left untreated, dental issues can worsen, causing painful, costly, and even life-threatening problems down the road. The bottom line: if you’re going to splurge, and you want your pooch to live a long and happy life, then put your money where their mouth is.

Quality food. Though some argue that “food is food,” no matter the ingredients, we disagree. Choosing the right brand and type of food for your dog is extremely important, as not all kibble is created equal. It’s best to splurge on a brand of dog food that contains quality ingredients, provides adequate nutrition, and that is best suited for the age, health, and activity levels of your dog. You may find that these are not always the cheapest option on the shelf, but your pup will thank you for it for years to come. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on what diet is best for your pet.

Not worth it

Couture doggy wardrobe. We’ve all seen those adorable little pups in their fancy dresses and matching hair bows. The reality is that these elaborate outfits are often uncomfortable, a bother to get on and off, and expensive. Your pooch might look red carpet-worthy in her bright pink tutu and matching slippers, but it’s best to save your money in this department.

Over-the-top toys. It’s easy to be seduced by all of the squeaking, talking, sparkly, jumbo, light-up play things at the pet store, but we promise your pooch will be just as happy with the classic tennis ball, stick, or Frisbee. Dogs aren’t picky when it comes to toys; they just want to play! If money is a concern, it’s best to forgo all the bells and whistles, and stick with the basics. After all, quality time together is far more valuable than a quality ball—even if it does have your dog’s name embroidered in gold.

It’s worth noting that these guidelines are simply that—guidelines. Every dog owner has their own budget and financial situation, and these are not a measure of your love or devotion to your pet. Be honest about what you can afford, but if you want to splurge and spoil your dog, then we give you two paws up.

A Friendly Debate: To Crate or Not to Crate?

dog in crate

“Is it okay to crate my dog?”

“How long can I leave my dog in the crate?”

“Is a crate a temporary tool or should it be a permanent fixture in the home throughout the dog’s life?”

These are questions most dog owners find themselves asking from the moment they bring home their little (or big) bundle of joy.

Some people believe it’s cruel to keep a dog confined to a crate for hours at a time. They can’t imagine being cooped up in a cage just big enough to turn around in—never mind spending the day or night there. What they may not realize is that dogs actually have a natural nesting instinct, and that having a quiet, cozy den to retreat to can actually be comforting to them. So, it would be a mistake to see the use of a crate as inherently unpleasant for the dog.

Still, there are two schools of thought about crates. One maintains that crates should strictly be used for a limited period of weeks or months until the dog is housetrained and can be trusted not to create a mess or damage the home. The other says that crates can function as a permanent retreat within the home for the life of the dog.

In the end, it is your choice. If you get past the stage where the crate has served the house training purpose, but you feel more comfortable keeping your dog crated during the few hours you are away from them, that is a legitimate position to take. If, on the other hand, you feel comfortable giving your dog free reign of the home when no one is home and that works out, that’s fine, too.

Regardless of what we’ve said up until now, there are certain rules to crating that responsible owners should always follow:

  • Crates should NEVER be used as a form of punishment.
  • Don’t let the crate deprive your dog of exercise and enrichment. If you are away from home for an excessively long period during the day, consider hiring a dog walker or placing your pup in doggy daycare. These are both great crate alternatives that will give your dog a way to expend some energy while you are away.
  • Whether you’re house-training a young puppy, or just welcoming a new dog into your home, it’s important to have patience during the process.

For more information about proper crate introduction or crate training techniques, check out these helpful resources:

http://www.thrivingcanine.com/to_crate_or_not_to_crate

https://clickertraining.com/to-crate-or-not-to-crate

 

“What’s Up With That?” 10 Common Dog Behaviors Explained

yawning dog

Have you ever seen a dog yawn around a stranger? Lick his lips at the vet’s office? What about that weird fire hydrant obsession? All of these are common dog behavior that many of us may think odd, but each has a simple explanation.

Here are the top 10 strange things you may have seen your dog do and what they mean:

  1. Yawning: If you’ve ever been around a dog and caught them yawning, that’s not a sign that they didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Yawning in dogs has nothing to do with being tired—it’s actually a sign of stress. Dogs may yawn when they’re in a stressful situation, uneasy around someone new, or are placed in a tense or unfamiliar environment.
  2. Circling or chasing their tail: You may have laughed at one of the many YouTube videos where dog owners catch their dog circling over and over in a comical and entertaining fashion, but it’s not all fun and games. Circling behaviors should not be encouraged—if left untreated, this behavior can develop into a compulsive disorder.
  3. Curved body, sniffing tails: Dogs have many ways of interacting with humans, but they also use universal body language for communicating with other dogs. Circling with another pooch, curving their body inward, and wiggling while sniffing tails is a sign of a mutual friendly greeting. They may also initiate a playful greeting by bowing.
  4. Scooting on the floor: If you catch your dog dragging their bottom across the floor, this may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Allergies, worms, full or impacted anal glands, or some other source of discomfort could be causing your dog to seek relief in this way. Check with your veterinarian to get to the root of the problem.
  5. Digging: Dogs dig for many reasons—if they’re outside, they could be digging to escape, to track another animal, or to hide something of value. Sometimes, though, dogs will bring this behavior indoors, digging on carpet, rugs, or sheets. Digging habits can be annoying or destructive, but they aren’t inherently “bad.” Keep this behavior in check by discouraging constant digging and giving your pup an alternative activity or toy on which they can release their energy.
  6. Head pressing: If you ever catch a dog pressing their head against a wall or other hard object, don’t ignore it. Head pressing can be a sign of a serious medical condition, and requires immediate attention. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to determine if your dog is experiencing head pains or brain trauma that could be causing this strange behavior.
  7. Eating feces: Yes; it sounds gross, but eating feces is a totally normal behavior for some dogs! Dogs are natural scavengers, and feces are a source of protein. Dogs who do this may also just be curious, or may be mimicking behaviors they learned as a pup from their mother. The only cause for concern is if your pup isn’t receiving adequate nutrition—malnutrition or nutritional deficiencies may cause some dogs to eat their waste. Ensure they’re eating a well-balanced diet to rule out this possibility.
  8. Bowing: When a dog bows to you in a loose, playful manner, it’s time to play! He or she is begging for your attention, and is waiting for you to crouch back or grab a tennis ball.
  9. Licking: No, your dog isn’t licking his lips because they’re chapped—dogs will perform lip licking as an appeasement gesture. When a dog licks their lips and averts their eyes, it is usually a sign of being uncomfortable and stressed about their current environment. They are trying to soothe themselves and whoever else is in the immediate area, and to assure others that they are not a threat.
  10. Fire hydrant obsession: We always see cartoon dogs near fire hydrants doing their business, but this “obsession” is actually something of a myth—fire hydrants aren’t especially appealing to dogs, they just happen to be at the perfect height for your dog to lift his leg! If he sniffs before lifting, however, then it’s likely that another dog has been there before.

Layla, Now Lady, is a “Blessing” to her Adopter

Like many people who need to rehome their pitbull type dog,Jonathan feared people wouldn’t see past Layla’s breed. He knew how kind and sweet she is, but her looks can intimidating. Leaving her at a shelter was not an option, because he feared the worst would happen. He turned to getyourpet.com for help.

Within 24 hours of posting Layla’s profile, he had a message from Pat.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Layla, now called Lady, has been her new home for over a month. And Pat, Lady’s happy new mom, has kept it touch with us.

She says: I just can’t say enough great things about your organization. It’s a perfect concept to get a beloved pet from one loving home to another, without the heart ache of the dreaded middle man (a shelter). The way you transfer messages from the potential adopter to the current owner is great. I like that you monitor them, to insure both parties safety. The owners of Layla, Jonathan (and his family) are some of the truly nicest and kind folks I’ve met in my 64 years!!! They went above and beyond to help ease my concerns and traveled quite a distance to meet near my home with Layla (now Lady). It is a blessing to have given Lady a very kind and loving home…truly a divine intervention!!! Angela, thank you for the integral part you have played in making Joe (my other dog), Lady and myself as happy as we could possibly be, seriously!!!” 

Top Five Reasons Your Cat Isn’t Using the Litter Box

cat feet litter box

If your cat has suddenly stopped using the litter box, and they don’t show some sign of an obvious health issue, look for the explanation in one of the following reasons:

#1 Unclean Litter Box

The first thing to rule out is that your cat’s litter box may not be clean enough. It’s no secret that cats love to be clean — in fact, adult cats can spend up to 50% of their waking hours grooming themselves! So, if the litter box hasn’t been cleaned thoroughly or frequently enough, your kitty might decide they would rather not use it. If the litter box is cleaned regularly, then think about changing the type of litter you use. Some cats prefer clumping litter; others prefer softer, finer litter, maple-based litter, or even newspaper clippings. If you recently adopted your pet, be sure to check with your cat’s previous guardian about litter preferences.

#2 Improper placement

Litter box placement is a commonly overlooked but crucial factor when it comes to encouraging proper “bathroom” habits. Many people assume that their feline friend wants privacy when they use the litter box. So, they tuck the litter box away behind cabinets, in closets, or in other out-of-the-way places. Though it’s counter-intuitive for us, , cats see these hard-to-reach places as a threat to their safety. Instead, place the litter box in a more open area, where your cat won’t feel on edge about a possible ambush.

#3 Multiple pets in the home

Litter box issues often occur when multiple cats share the same space. A good rule of thumb is that in households with two cats or more, there should be one more box than there are cats. This prevents any confrontations or territorial behavior that might result in accidents.

#4 Stress

Stress can be caused by a change in routine, a recent move, tension or fear around other pets in the home, boredom or loneliness, or physical stressors due to medical issues. Any of these types of stress can discourage your cat from using their litter box. Try to identify and address any recent changes that may have caused your cat to feel uneasy or stressed.

#5 Medical issues

If all other possibilities have been exhausted, your cat’s litter box problem may be due to an underlying medical issue. Urinary tract infections, feline interstitial cystitis (inflamed bladder), and kidney stones can all trigger a change in litter box habits. If you’ve eliminated the simpler explanations, check with your veterinarian to see if your kitty needs professional medical attention.

Your cat doesn’t change their litter box habits to annoy you: they are trying to tell you something is wrong. Look for the more obvious solutions first, things that make them feel safe, clean and happy. Usually, that will do the trick, but if not, don’t hesitate to seek the advice of a professional.