Employer-sponsored pet insurance?

Pet Care by PetWatch 916According to the New York Times it appears more employers are slowly starting to offer pet health insurance for their employees.   It sounds like a great idea except there are a few things to consider before signing up.  https://nyti.ms/2rSZ6Lq

If you go to your veterinarian office, they may offer their own internal Wellness Plan, which is for preventative care only.  Most of those plans include annual shots, dental cleanings and x-rays, and they may offer a small discount for visits for sickness or injury.

Unfortunately for the pet parents of seniors, such as myself with my 15-year old Chihuahua; I had to ask if that type of plan would be beneficial for us.  Recently Mia had some tumors removed, and my veterinarian told me she would not survive another procedure under anesthesia.  A Wellness Plan for Mia would not make sense financially because she will never again be able to have a dental cleaning.

Dental cleanings are now performed by a veterinarian and under anesthesia.  In 2012, under California Assembly Bill 2304, the California Veterinary Medical Board decided anesthesia free dental cleanings are more dangerous than cleanings under anesthesia.  It is now illegal for anesthesia free cleanings to be offered.  http://www.10news.com/news/10news-examines-anesthesia-free-pet-dental-care

Then there is the second option of purchasing Insurance for injury and disease, and that does not include preventative care.  Given Mia’s age, she does not qualify for Insurance because she is a senior.

Over all these new plans are very cookie cutter-ish, and do not take an individual animal’s health into account.

As a person who does not care to hand over my hard earned money to an insurance carrier, I would definitely recommend discussing with your veterinarian about what would be the best option for your pets.  In the case of Mia, we’ll be paying cash for her medical care.

If your employer offered pet insurance, would you sign up?  We would love to hear your thoughts.



Dogs and Hot Weather

Summer is almost officially here, and with that comes the hot weather.  With every heat wave comes to debate about leaving our pets in cars and how to handle these situations.

As a member of the Paws on Patrol volunteer group with the Elk Grove Police Department, we received the following information:

Recent changes in California law allow for citizens to remove an animal from a vehicle under certain circumstances, these would  include animals being left unattended during certain weather conditions. However, allowing local authorities to assess the animal is the recommended plan of action. They have received extensive training and have experience related to animals overheating.

If action must be taken to prevent further suffering or death of an animal the law requires you to:

  1. Check to see if the vehicle doors are locked.
  2. Have a good faith belief that forcible entry is needed because the animal is in imminent danger of suffering harm if it is not immediately removed from the vehicle, and, based upon the circumstances known to the person at the time, the belief is a reasonable one.
  3. You must contact local authorities, i.e. Animal Control, Fire Department, Police, etc. prior to forcibly entering the vehicle.
  4. Remain with the animal in a safe location, out of the elements but reasonably close to the vehicle, until an animal control, police officer, or other first aid responder arrives.
  5. Use no more force than reasonably necessary to enter the vehicle and remove the animal.
  6. You must immediately turn over the animal to an animal control representative or law enforcement official.

Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paw pads.

If you see an animal left alone in a hot car, take down the car’s color, model, make, and license plate number. Call 916-714-5111 and have someone keep an eye on the animal. Don’t leave the scene until the situation has been resolved.

If the animal is removed please provide water to drink, and if possible spray the animal down with cool water. If you can place the animal inside a vehicle with the air condition on if waiting for animal control or police to arrive. Be careful not to use ice or cold water, and don’t overcool the animal.

Keep Your Dog Safe in a Heat Wave

Dog Walking by PetWatch 916Now that outdoor temperatures are rising, it is important to remember to keep your pets safe from the heat.  Click on the link below for some good information from Petfinder.com:

Keep Your Dog Safe in a Heat Wave

Have you seen a dog left alone in a car on a hot day?  Click on the link below to find out how you can help a rescue a dog from a hot car:

4 Easy Steps to Help Dogs in Cars

How safe is your pet when riding in your car?

PetWatch 916While driving between pet sits this morning, I witnessed a huge German Shepherd riding in the bed of a truck on the freeway.  I often see dogs riding in truck beds, but what made this more disturbing was the dog was able to move around as freely as he wanted to.  He was able to perch himself up on the side of the truck, and half of his body was hanging over the side enjoying the 50 mph wind.

I don’t believe that securing your dog to the truck bed with a leash is much better, but more of a potential noose.

Even allowing your pets to freely sit in the cab of a car without being secure still makes them a potential projectile weapon in the event of a car accident.

They can even be ejected from your vehicle and may find themselves running around in traffic as seen in this video:  http://youtu.be/6Sbbx3JQTZk

In my search of trying to find a more safe way to transport pets, I stumbled upon the following article:  http://www.squidoo.com/dogcarsafety

I found the information to be very helpful, and I hope that you do too!  I would love to hear your thoughts on ways you keep your pets safe riding in the car, so please comment below!

Does your indoor cat sometimes appear to be sick for no reason?

Pet Sitting by PetWatch 916Does your strictly indoor cat sometimes have hair loss, increased appetite and thirst, irritability, vomiting, weight loss or increased vocalizing for no apparent reason?

According to this article from www.webvet.com your furniture may be to blame!


The article discusses how the flame-retardant checmical called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) may be the root cause.  This chemical can be found in your sofa, floor rugs and other fabrics that are found in your home.

I think it is a good article to read and be aware of just in case one of your pets may suddenly become ill for no obvious reason.  I can’t imagine cats as being the only ones who can suffer from this.

Has your pet suffered from illness that was found to be caused by PBDE?

Could 2012 be the worst year for ticks?

Dog Walking by PetWatch 916With the unpredictible weather, I think the creatures in our world are just as confused as we are.  One week we’re wearing shorts, and the next we’re carrying an umbrella.  Remember on June 5, 2011 when the Sacramento SPCA had their annual Doggy Dash event in the rain?  Or how about this past winter holiday season when it felt like fall weather in December?  Whatever the weather pattern used to be, it seems to be no more, and it is giving seasonal creatures more time to do what they do.  This is important because these creatures can be harmful to you as well as your pets.

If you and your pets are outdoors when the weather is nice, tick prevention is really important in order to prevent contracting diseases they carry.  I found this good article from MSNBC on “10 Tips to Beat the Ticks,” and thought it is worth sharing with you!  http://dailynightly.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/21/11309970-10-tips-to-beat-the-ticks

To take it one step further, if you do find a tick on you or your pet, here is an article from Dr. Fosters and Smith on how you can remove and kill it!

“To remove an attached tick, use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or special tick removal instruments. These special devices allow one to remove the tick without squeezing the tick body. This is important as you do not want to crush the tick and force harmful bacteria to leave the tick and enter your pet’s bloodstream.

  1. Grab the tick by the head or mouth parts right where they enter the skin. Do not grasp the tick by the body. 
  2. Without jerking, pull firmly and steadily directly outward. Do not twist the tick as you are pulling. 
  3. Using methods such as applying petroleum jelly, a hot match, or alcohol will NOT cause the tick to ‘back out.’ In fact, these irritants may cause the tick to deposit more disease-carrying saliva in the wound. 
  4. After removing the tick, place it in a jar of alcohol to kill it. Ticks are NOT killed by flushing them down the toilet. 
  5. Clean the bite wound with a disinfectant. 
  6. Wash your hands thoroughly.

Please do not use your fingers to remove or dispose of the tick. We do not want you in contact with a potentially disease-carrying tick. Do NOT squash the tick with your fingers. The contents of the tick can transmit disease.

Once an embedded tick is manually removed, it is not uncommon for a welt and skin reaction to occur. A little hydrocortisone spray will help alleviate the irritation, but it may take a week or more for healing to take place. In some cases, the tick bite may permanently scar leaving a hairless area. This skin irritation is due to a reaction to tick saliva. Do not be worried about the tick head staying in; it rarely happens.”

I hope this helps you to plan for a safe and fun summer!


Would you pay your groomer to brush your pet’s teeth?

Clean Teeth by Pet Watch 916When I take my dogs to our groomers, there is a sign posted on the front counter for teeth cleaning services by a dental technician that visits the shop once a month.  I have often wondered how they do it, and have asked but then was referred to call the person who performs the service.

I have also paid for my veterinarian office to do a thorough teeth cleaning for my dogs, and that cost around $300 because they use anesthesia to complete the service.  The service by the dental technician offered at my groomer’s shop cost $90, so there is a huge price difference!

There is much awareness these days in the benefits of brushing your pet’s teeth and how it is related to their overall health.  I did not know there was Assembly Bill 2034 recently proposed to allow your groomer to clean your pet’s teeth until I read this article California Groomers Rebuffed on Pets’ Tooth Care.  The bill was turned down, and not a single vote was in favor of it.

You would think that law makers and veterinarians would support this because there are pet owners that do not provide regular at home teeth cleaning for their pets.  If a pet owner does not clean their pets teeth, but is willing to pay their groomers to do it for them, then why not pass the bill?  Some cleaning is better than no cleaning.

If your groomer offered this service, would you pay for it?  If not, then why not?  I would love to hear your thoughts!