Tag Archives: pets

The Facts About Pet Insurance – Frequently Asked Questions Answered


Pet Health Insurance: Is It Right for You?

Is pet health insurance right for you?

Advances in veterinary careĀ  have given us the opportunity to keep our pet’s healthier and living longer than ever before. However, these advances don’t come cheap. They come at a cost; a very real cost that can adversely affect a pet owner’s wallet. That’s where pet insurance enters the picture.

Pet Health Insurance Versus Human Health Insurance

Most of us understand the value of health insurance for ourselves and our families. After all, even a short hospital stay for a minor medical procedure can run into the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. It makes sense, then, that purchasing health insurance for our pets might be a wise decision as well. And it might very well be.

Still, there are very real differences between human health insurance and pet health insurance. Understanding these differences is important in making an intelligent decision about insuring your pet.

Pet Health Insurance: What Company? What Policy?

Currently, there are several companies that offer pet health insurance. On top of that, there are many different types of policies available. There is an insurance option available to fit the needs of almost any pet owner but it is important for pet owners to understand exactly what they are purchasing, what the policy covers and what it doesn’t.

Common Pet Health Insurance Questions Answered

We’re fortunate in this episode of Animal Cafe to have Laura Bennett joining us. Laura is the CEO and co-founder of Embrace Pet Insurance. In this interview with Animal Cafe’s Dr. Lorie Huston, Laura shares some of her insights about pet health insurance. She talks about her experience being the first pet insurance actuary in the US and discusses the ins and outs of purchasing and taking advantage of pet health insurance.

Heartworms in Dogs and Cats – The Latest Recommendations

Search for heartworms on the internet and you’ll find tons of information. Unfortunately, as with many other things on the internet, not all of the information you’ll find there is accurate. And, in this case, what you don’t know can hurt your pet.

Adult Heartworms Removed from the Heart of a Dog

These are adult heartworms removed from the heart of an infected dog.

Dogs with Heartworms Must Be Confined for Months During Treatment

Dogs with heartworms must be confined for months during treatment.

Heartworms are parasites, worms that actually live inside of your pet’s heart and blood vessels. Currently, heartworm infections have been diagnosed in every state, in every county, and in every parish in the southern states, according to Dr. Sheldon Rubin, the immediate past president of the American Heartworm Society. See these heartworm incidence maps for more information about the prevalence of heartworms in your area of the country.

Unfortunately, even though preventing heartworms is easy, cheap and effective, there are a huge number of pets (both dogs and cats) that are currently unprotected and at risk for heartworm disease.

Dr. Shelly Rubin examines Larry at Blum Animal Hospital

Dr. Shelly Rubin examines Larry at Blum Animal Hospital

Listen to Dr. Sheldon speak about heartworms, how your pet can get them, how you can protect your pet and what can happen if your pet does get heartworms in this podcast interview with our own Dr. Lorie Huston.

Preventing heartworms for your pet can cost less than a couple of cups of Starbuck’s coffee every month. Why take the risk and leave your pet unprotected?

Grieving the Loss of a Pet: How to Cope when Your Pet Dies

Pet Loss and Grief

The loss of a beloved pet is one of the hardest things an animal lover ever has to experience.

Grieving from the Loss of a Pet

The loss of a pet is accompanied not only by grief but also often by feelings of guilt. This seems especially true when it is necessary for a pet owner to euthanize a pet. Most times, the guilt is unwarranted but that doesn’t stop us from feeling it. There’s always that small nagging doubt. “Could I have done more?” “Would it have made a difference if I’d done this or that differently?” We can’t keep those types of thoughts from entering our heads even when we know the decision was the right one.

And even when the pet’s death is a natural one, that doesn’t stop us from grieving, or from doubting and feeling guilty.

In addition, many pet owners dealing with the death of a pet feel isolated and alone. All too often, we hear comments from others that, though well-meant, make us feel even worse and even more isolated. Comments like “He was only a dog” or “You can always get another pet” are common.

Unfortunately, getting over the loss of a pet is not an easy process. We grieve for our pets in exactly the same manner that we would grieve for a lost family member or friend. And, in most cases, we grieve just as deeply, sometimes even more so.

Our pets provide us with unconditional love and companionship. For many pet owners, our pets are as much a part of our family as our spouse or our children. Why, then, is it surprising that we should grieve for their loss?

How to Deal with the Death of a Pet

Everyone handles death in a different manner. People grieve in different ways and for varying lengths of time. Often, even when we think we are recovered from the loss of a pet, something unexpected will remind of the pet and the feeling of grief and loss will return just as strong and fresh (and hurtful) as the initial loss.

While the grieving process may be painful, it is necessary to move through the different phases of grief in order to recover from the loss of your pet and move on with your life. To do otherwise is unhealthy, both mentally and physically.

But how do you do that? What are the phases of the grief process and how do you move through them? How do you even begin to recover from the death of a pet that you loved?

A 30 Day Guide to Healing from the Loss of Your Pet

Gael J Ross, author of A 30 Day Guide to Healing from the Loss of Your Pet, talks this week with our own veterinarian, Lorie Huston, about pet loss. In the interview, these questions as well as many others are discussed.

Gael speaks not only from her experience as a therapist but also from personal experience in dealing with the loss of her own beloved pet. She provides some excellent advice and a unique perspective.

Here’s the interview.


Don’t forget to join us again next week. Our travel correspondent Edie Jarolim will be here with another great guest and more wonderful pet travel tips.

Animal Abuse and Domestic Abuse: Using Art to Explore the Link

Link Between Animal Abuse and Domestic Abuse

"Safe Animals Safe Kids" Mural by BZTat

Last week, Mary Haight introduced to us Elephant Parade, a project which uses art to raise public awareness to the plight of the Asian elephant. This week, we’d like to introduce you to a similar but still very different project.

Okey’s Promise, like the Elephant Parade, uses art to raise awareness. However, in this case, the focus is on making the public aware of the link between animal abuse and domestic abuse.

Animal Abuse and Domestic Abuse and the Link Between Them

There is a strong link between animal abuse and domestic abuse. Those people who abuse animals are also likely to abuse people, particularly those weaker than themselves. Their victims may be children, spouses, the elderly, or other individuals incapable of defending themselves. Whoever their victims may be, the abuser may be themselves a victim of past abuse.

Most people tend to think of animal abuse as only a problem dealing with animals. Okey’s Promise seeks to change that perception by educating people about the link to domestic abuse and the fact that many times both forms of abuse are occurring simultaneously.

Okey’s Promise: Art for a Cause

Okey’s Promise uses art in many of its different forms to pass on its message. Whether through the paintings of artist Vicki Boatright (who prefers to be called BZTat) or through the dance of 13-year old Miah Thornton, the message, though ugly in its origin, is wrapped in a presentation filled with hope. BZTat is quick to point out that, though the images of abuse are ugly, she doesn’t like to paint ugly things. And her painting is anything but ugly, as evidenced by the image above.

Particularly noteworthy for Okey’s Promise is the involvement of the younger generation in passing on its message. Both BZTat and Miah believe that reaching the youth of today is one of the best ways to change tomorrow. And Miah, being a member of that younger generation herself, is a good ambassador, not to mention being a talented performer with a sense of purpose that is rare (and admirable) in one so young.

The Interview

This week, Lorie Huston, Animal Cafe’s resident veterinarian, talks with artist BZTat, dancer Miah Thornton and Miah’s mother and choreographer, Chloe Divita. Please take a few minutes to listen as they discuss Okey’s Promise: Art for a Cause.

Don’t forget to join us next week right here on Animal Cafe for another insightful interview. In the meantime, check out Okey’s Promise to learn more about the link between animal abuse and domestic abuse. Start the Change is also highly recommended.

You might also enjoy this video.

Pet Food Quandry: What’s Best for Dogs and Cats?

Pet Food and Pet Nutrition

When it comes to pet food and pet nutrition, there are as many opinions floating around as there are people who offer those opinions. The end result is a confusing mass of information for pet owners, much of which is contradictory.

How Do I Provide Good Nutrition in My Pet’s Food?

One thing is certain. All of us want the very best for our dogs and cats. We all want to be feeding the highest quality pet food. But what exactly does that mean? Some of the questions that seem most confusing include:

  • Should there be grain in my pet’s food or does a grain-free food provide the best nutrition?
  • What about corn? Is corn an acceptable ingredient in pet foods?
  • What about by-products? What are they? Do by-products provide good nutrition for my pet? Should they be part of a good pet food?
  • And what about quality control? How do we know whether a pet food is safe to feed to our dogs or cats? Could we have a repeat of the melamine incident that killed so many pets?

Expert Opinion on Pet Food and Pet Nutrition

This week, Dr. Marcie Campion joins us to discuss pet foods and pet nutrition. She answers all of these questions and more in her interview, which you’ll find below.

Dr. Campion, PhD., is a nutritionist and is currently the Scientific Relations Managers for Iams/P&G Pet Care. She joins us this week in an extremely informational interview and graciously offers her expert opinion on many different pet food questions.

Will everyone agree with Dr. Campion’s answers to these important pet nutrition questions? No, probably not. However, she answers them based on her experience and training as a pet nutritionist and an expert in her field.

During the course of the interview, Dr. Campion also shares with us a bit of information about a new line of pet foods being offered by Iams. One of the things that is really nice about this line is that it provides an alternative for those people who prefer a pet food that has no corn, meat by-products, fillers, preservatives, artificial coloring or artificial flavors. After all, regardless of anything else, it’s nice to have options and alternatives.

Sit back, relax and listen to the interview. And don’t forget to join us next Monday here at Animal Cafe for another great interview.

Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue/Flickr.com

Pet First Aid and CPR: Would You Know How to Save Your Dog or Cat in an Emergency?

Pet First Aid and CPR

Would you know how to perform CPR or provide basic first aid for your pet in case of an accident or emergency?

An emergency can happen in the blink of an eye. Tragedy can strike without warning. Being prepared for these types of events can make the difference between living and dying for your pet. That’s why every responsible pet owner should know the basics of pet first aid and CPR.

Pet First Aid and CPR

Knowing how to perform basic pet first aid and CPR can certainly help save your pet in the event of an emergency. However, it goes further than that also.

Knowing how to perform a health assessment of your dog or cat from nose to tail can help alert you to the presence of issues that may not be an actual emergency but still require medical attention for your pet.

Meet Jillian Myers, a Certified Pet First Aid Instructor

Jillian Myers is a PetSaver certified instructor. At Healthy Paws LA, she teaches pet first aid and CPR courses that are open to any pet owner or pet professional.

Jillian joined Animal Cafe’s resident veterinarian, Lorie Huston, for this week’s interview. The podcast is available below.

Jillian shared with us, in her interview, the tragic story of how she took her dog, Diego, to her veterinarian for what was supposed to be a routine “teeth cleaning”. Unfortunately, there were unexpected complications after Diego was sent home from the hospital and Diego ended up dying in Jillian’s arms as she rushed him back to the veterinary office.

At that time, Jillian knew nothing of pet first aid or how to properly perform CPR on a dog. That day changed Jillian’s life forever as she vowed to do her utmost to make sure that this scenario was not repeated for other pet owners.

Healthy Paws Pet First Aid and CPR Classes

The courses offered at Jillian’s Healthy Paws facility not only include hands-on exposure to basic pet first aid techniques but also teach participants how to care for their senior dogs and cats as well as focusing on proper oral care for pets. But Jillian talks much more about what her classes are like and what is covered in them in the interview, so have a listen.


Don’t forget to join the Animal Cafe team next week for another great podcast interview.