That’s how many times we went to the vet last year, according to my year-end credit card statement. Twenty-one times.
Now, I don’t have any idea how many times most (normal?) people see their vet in a year. And I know our twenty-one visits are spread over two dogs, three starting in December. But when I tallied it up, that just seemed like a lot.
Their annual exams were in there, of course. Plus all of Emmett’s cancer checks. Then all his liver stuff (still ongoing). Then there was the time Lucas got kicked by a horse. And Cooper has mange. And so on. (And, no. Sigh. We don’t have pet insurance. I think it’s probably too late for Emmett, but the other guys… maybe! As long as no insurer reads this post. Ha!)
So, ultimately, we went to the vet 21 times in 2010.
But here’s the thing: I actually don’t mind.
I want the boys to be healthy, of course. I want them to have their annual checks, and I want to have every lump checked out – we’ve become very sensitive about lumps around here.
And on top of that, we have a rockstar vet. Seriously. Rockstar.
Here’s why you need a rockstar vet: You never know what might happen. We never could have predicted Emmett’s cancer situation. We never could have predicted the horse thing or that we’d adopt a puppy who started losing his fur a couple weeks later.
And if the unexpected happens, isn’t it better to have a rockstar in your corner than someone whose office is convenient to your work or whatever?
I know I can call over there and get my boys in right away, and I know when I get there, it’ll be fun for them. They actually enjoy going to the vet! How great is that?
I know she’ll call me with test results and explain them really, really clearly. And I know she answers my emails and all my questions. And most importantly, I know she takes great, great care of my guys.
We’ve already been twice in 2011; Cooper got his last round of shots, and Emmett is still having tests done to determine what’s going on with his liver/urine situation. But I know that no matter what comes up, they’re going to be well taken care of.
What’s your relationship with your vet like? Do you have a rockstar in your corner?
Today, for Part 2 of the Pet Health survey, I’m taking a look at nutrition and preventative health because, really, the two go hand-in-hand.
I asked: What kinds of preventative health measures do you take for your dog(s)? (Select up to 3.)
- An annual checkup at our vet, plus additional visits if something comes up. (91%, 42 Votes)
- Healthy food, including snacks and treats. (83%, 38 Votes)
- Lots and lots of exercise. We’re in great shape! (48%, 22 Votes)
- Mental stimulation. My dog’s a veritable Einstein! (35%, 16 Votes)
- I brush my dog’s teeth regularly. (20%, 9 Votes)
Really, these answers weren’t too shocking except… 20% of you brush your dog’s teeth regularly! My jaw dropped at that one. I am seriously, honestly impressed. And here’s where I confess: I can’t brush Emmett’s teeth. Lucas, maybe a little. Cooper, we’re hoping to start down the right path with him. But Emmett? Nope. No can do. He clamps down on that toothbrush so firmly the second I head towards his mouth. Instead I use this oral rinse stuff and he chews on dental bones, but for those 20% of you: How do you do it?? Any tips or tricks? And how regularly do you brush your dog’s teeth? I know anyone who struggles with this as much as I do would LOVE to know!
I also asked: What do you primarily feed your dog(s)?
- Commercial dry kibble (54%, 25 Votes)
- A mix of dry and wet (17%, 8 Votes)
- Homecooked (11%, 5 Votes)
- BARF or raw diet (11%, 5 Votes)
- Something else entirely (7%, 3 Votes)
- Commercial wet food (0%, 0 Votes)
The first thing I noticed is that no one feeds a solely wet food diet. In a lot of the puppy stuff I’ve been looking up, it seems to be recommend for puppies, but… my guess is that it’s too cost prohibitive to continue long term. I’m also guessing (from the comments) that everyone who voted for “something else” feeds a dehydrated diet.
As far as raw or BARF diets, there was a lot of interest from commentors in moving to a raw diet… check out the super helpful comment left by Nichole on tips for making the transition.
Someone pointed out in the comments on yesterday’s post that these results indicate that the people who read dog blogs are people who take really great care of their dogs. That is so incredibly true! I wanted to pose these questions because I constantly find myself asking: Am I feeding them the right things? Are we getting enough exercise? Am I doing enough to ensure that my guys are happy and healthy?
I sort of wanted to take the temperature of pet health, and I’m incredibly impressed with the results and very thankful to everyone who took the time to answer the questions! Plus, I’m inspired to tackle some of the areas in which we fall short (New Year’s is right around the corner, after all!) like adding in more exercise and finally nailing down a tooth-brushing habit!
Are these results what you would have expected? Did they bring up any more questions for you? Or are there any pet health survey questions you wish I would have asked?
Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer my three survey questions. The results are in, and… it was fascinating! I wanted to share the results and my interpretations, and – of course – hear how you interpret the data.
First up in our pet health discussion: Exercise!
47 people answered this question, and here’s how the results broke down:
- Thirty minutes to an hour usually. (49%, 23 Votes)
- We’re power walkers! Over an hour every day! No matter what! (23%, 11 Votes)
- It totally depends on the weather. (15%, 7 Votes)
- It’s more of a weekly or monthly thing for us. (11%, 5 Votes)
- Less than thirty minutes. (2%, 1 Votes)
Now that Emmett is having another round of health problems, I’m back to intensive health and wellness research. And I would love your help! If you have a minute, would you please take these three quick questions? I’m going to compile all the answers and share the results the week after Thanksgiving! Thank you so much for your time!
Several weeks ago, there was a discussion about pet health insurance on the Oh My Dog! Facebook page. It seemed like everyone had many, many questions about plans, companies, how it works, etc. I struggled with this same thing – and still don’t have it all figured out – because both of my boys have specific health issues. So while I’m researching and working out a plan for Emmett and Lucas, I was lucky enough to hear from Heather at Trupanion, a pet insurance company. She offered to tell us about her company and how pet health insurance works.
*Note: As I mentioned, Emmett and Lucas do not have health insurance by Trupanion or any other company, for that matter. This is simply a guest post, not sponsored or anything like that!
As you read Heather’s guest post, please weigh in! Do you have pet health insurance? Any questions beyond what Heather addressed here? Fire away, and I’ll make sure we get all our questions answered!
First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Heather Reynolds and Maggie has given me the pleasure of guest-blogging here on Oh My Dog. I am a huge fan of Maggie’s and the work she is doing, so I am very appreciative of the honor. I own two rescue pups myself, one a purebred Italian Greyhound named Ava and one a Spaniel mix named Jackson. I have traveled all over the country with these two, living on the East Coast and West Coast, and recently settled in Seattle, Washington.
I work at Trupanion, a pet insurance company, and that is what I want to discuss today. I know there is a lot of skepticism about pet insurance and there are many misconceptions out there that can lead to misunderstandings. So I thought it would be fun to write a little Q&A here to answer some of those questions. At Trupanion, we really like to make things as simple as possible, and be completely transparent, so if there is something you are concerned about that I haven’t addressed here, let me know!
What is covered in a Trupanion pet insurance plan?
Trupanion will cover veterinary costs that arise from a pet getting sick or injured. Items such as surgeries, medications, and diagnostic tests are typically covered.
What is usually excluded in a pet insurance plan?
Pre-existing conditions are commonly excluded with pet health insurance plans. Some plans will exclude hereditary and congenital disorders as well, but Trupanion will cover these conditions as long as they are not found to be pre-existing. Trupanion will cover hip dysplasia as well, but it’s offered as additional insurance, and only for pets under one year of age.
Do you cover all types of pets?
We only cover cats and dogs.
How much does it cost?
You pay a monthly fee that is customizable with our flexible deductible option. You pick your per incident deductible (anywhere from $0 to $1,000) so that your pet’s monthly premium fits your budget.
How does it work?
As your pet insurance company, Trupanion pays for 90% of covered healthcare expenses for your pet, with no limits per claim, per incident, or per year and no lifetime payout limit. You pay the remaining 10%, as well as your monthly premium, examination fees, and routine preventative care.
What does a pet insurance policy look like?
We include a sample policy on our website. This sample policy includes our agreement and any limitations and exclusions you may have concerns about.
What is involved in processing a claim?
A fully completed claim form must be submitted within 90 days of the treatment date. Actual receipts setting out the itemized costs involved must be included. For a pet’s first claim, we need your pet’s complete medical records from both current and previous veterinarians and emergency clinics. This can take 7-10 days. All claims average 24 hour processing time.
Will my premium increase as my pet ages?
Our premiums do not increase due to a pet’s aging. Once enrolled, your premiums will be locked into the age category at the time of enrollment. However, premiums will increase over time based on inflation of veterinary medical costs.
Why don’t you cover wellness exams or dental care?
We don’t feel that wellness coverage is ever in the best interest of a pet owner, as it doubles premiums without adding additional value. We also believe that periodontal disease is preventable through routine dental hygiene. However, we do cover the cost of extractions of damaged teeth and of reconstruction of upper and lower canine teeth if resulting from injury caused by an accident.
So what have I missed? Have I answered a lot of your big questions? Are there others that I failed to include? I’d love to hear from you!
Heather Reynolds is a pet lover and internet journalist at Trupanion, a pet insurance company. Feel free to contact her with any questions related to pet insurance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hey, guys! This is the first time I’ve ever posted twice in one day, but I thought this was really important. I received an email expanding the recent P&G pet food recalls and wanted to be sure everyone had access to this information. The press release with contact info is copied below.
Contact: P&G Consumer Relations – 877-340-8823
July 30, 2010
P&G Expands Voluntary Limited Recall of Specialized Dry Pet Foods
Due to Possible Health Risk
CINCINNATI, July 30, 2010 – The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) (NYSE:PG) is voluntarily expanding its recall to include veterinary and some specialized dry pet food as a precautionary measure because it has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. No salmonella-related illnesses have been reported.
The following dry pet food products are included:
|Product Name||Version||“Best-By” Dates||UPC Codes|
|Iams Veterinary Dry Formulas||All dry sizes and varieties||01Jul10 – 01Dec11||All UPC Codes|
|Eukanuba Naturally Wild||All dry sizes and varieties||01Jul10 – 01Dec11||All UPC Codes|
|Eukanuba Pure||All dry sizes and varieties||01Jul10 – 01Dec11||All UPC Codes|
|Eukanuba Custom Care Sensitive Skin||All dry sizes||01Jul10 – 01Dec11||All UPC Codes|
The affected products are sold in veterinary clinics and specialty pet retailers throughout the United States and Canada. No canned food, biscuits/treats or supplements are affected by this announcement. A full listing of UPC codes can be found at www.iams.com.
These products are made in a single, specialized facility. In cooperation with FDA, P&G determined that some products made at this facility have the potential for salmonella contamination. As a precautionary measure, P&G is recalling all products made at this facility.
Consumers who have purchased the specific dry pet foods listed should discard them. People handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.
Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.
For further information or a product replacement or refund call P&G toll-free at 877-340-8823 (Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST).
I’ve said it before, and I’m positive I’ll say it again: I am obsessed with my dogs’ food.
When you start researching, really digging into commercial dog food, the situation is both overwhelming and disgusting. For a variety of reasons, I’m not willing to put my dogs on a raw diet, so I work really hard to piece together the most appropriate, healthy meals that I can – which, of course, means that commercial dog food plays a large role for us.
Recently, Proportions reached out and offered to let Emmett and Lucas taste-test their food. After thoroughly reviewing their website and ingredients listing, I thought it was worth a try!
Here’s how the food works:
You receive your dog’s customized food in the mail, and you mix together three parts (kibble, stew, and freeze-dried veggies). I tried the photograph the whole experience Pioneer Woman style, but Lucas was drooling so much after I opened the bag of stew, I skipped a few steps!
Emmett and Lucas loved Proportions. They licked their bowls clean in no time at all. The food is pretty healthy with a lot of high-quality ingredients, and their website is fantastic. Definitely click over to check out all the resources they have – not only about dog food, but about dog breeds, too. The only drawback is the cost – at about $1.50 per meal, it’s a pricier dog food, especially if you have multiple dogs. However, the nutrition is great, and from what I could tell from their reactions, the flavor is, too!
Sigh. Emmett has a lump on his back. We are nearing the homestretch, coming in on one year of him being cancer free. And now this lump. It’s small; the vet says it’s probably nothing, that if it were on any other dog she’d “wait and see,” but because of his history she wants to play it safe. So today he goes in for another surgery. Once again, I’m reduced to a helpless, anxious, neurotic mess.
I believe in the power of positive thinking, so please send happy thoughts Emmett’s way today!
For those of you who are new to this blog, a quick little background note: My darling Emmett was diagnosed with a nerve-sheath tumor last July. It’s a soft-tissue cancer that is, thankfully, low-grade malignancy. After vets, oncologists, surgeons, and a specialist/angel/hero, Emmett had the tumor removed. We’ve been doing regular follow-ups — monthly with our vet and quarterly with the oncologist. I linked to the whole saga HERE if you’re interested in reading more.
Last week, I drove Emmett up to Indianapolis for his nine-month checkup. The tech got Emmett from our little waiting room to go do the x-rays. After 20 minutes she came back and said that Emmett was such a good boy. She said she had forgotten that Emmett actually jumps up onto the x-ray table and waits for his tests – the only dog they have who does that! I’m always so proud of my little guy…
Anyway, the GREAT news is that everything came back clear!! His legs, his lungs, his lymph nodes are all good. In fact, we don’t need to go back for the next round for six more months! All great, wonderful, exciting news!
This whole thing has been so difficult, so challenging, so exhausting. Every time he has an appointment, we get nervous, all the “what if’s” start swirling. But, man. We have been so incredibly lucky.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about dealing with canine cancer, and I’ve had the chance to chat with a woman locally who went through a lot of what we’re going through. So just throwing this out there, but if you are facing the same thing, please don’t hesitate to email me to ask any questions, gripe, vent, cry, anything. It’s tough, and we’ve been so incredibly lucky to have an amazing support system in place. And Emmett is so lucky to have so many kind, caring, supportive friends and family.
As soon as the appointment was over, we flew to Maryland for our darling nephew’s baptism and got back late last night, so I’m a little behind. But there are some great things coming: another giveaway, some fun springtime activities, a little link love later in the week, and guest posts!