Insurance or no Insurance? That is the question for many new pet owners. My answer to this question is simple. GET IT.
Now I know I am probably worst case scenario but I have three dogs;
Krueger has Atopic Dermatitis which is an on-going lifelong condition.
Myers also has Atopic Dermatitis and Anxiety which has required medication, both lifelong conditions.
Craven, the puppy, has cost me over $14000 and he isn’t even 1 yet. He will likely have on-going issues now as well.
There is absolutely no way I could afford to cover all the yearly vet bills without insurance.
Insurance inherently seems like a waste of money to some people and that putting away money each pay to cover vet bills is a better way of doing things. This does work if your dog never has any major issues. Ignoring Craven, for a minute, as he is an extreme case if I put $50 away each fortnight for Krueger (the cheapest of all 3 dogs) I would have $1300 a year for his vet bills. He is on Antigen Specific Immunotherapy, which cost $500 every 4 or 5 months. He also has Cytopoint about 6 times a year, which costs around $180 a time. Krueger is also particularly allergic to something in the Ohakune area so has medication to prevent flare ups when we go there once a year, which costs around $300-$400. Then there are the creams and antibiotics he needs occasionally. Sure we could avoid Ohakune and save money, and I could choose to use long term steroids to treat the symptoms of his allergies and save loads of money, but I want to give my dogs the best possible care. Long term steroids also can cause complications so need to be used with caution. All up Krueger has over $3000 spent on one condition in a year. Myers needs more and would probably cost me $5000-$6000 a year.
Lastly Craven cost over $14000 in the space of a few month. His insurance covers up to $10000 so it did leave me some extra to pay. If I had had to make a decision on his future based on money, I would have died a little inside.
In 2021 I spent over $22000 on vet bills, this is a conservative estimate based on their on-going conditions. If I put $50 a fortnight away I would have $1300 or $50 per dog would be $3900. I paid around $2600 in insurance premiums which covered $18000 worth of bills. The math is clear.
Over the life span of one dog (12 years for example) at $50 a fortnight I would have saved $15600 (if I didn’t spend anything on vet bills) or paid $14400 in insurance premiums and had up to $120000 worth of cover ($10000 a year cover).
Sure you may be one of the lucky ones that never has any issues with your animals and if you are, I may be a little bit jealous.
There are so many options when it comes to pet insurance these days but important things to look for included:
Range of treatments covered
Speed of payment
Amount of cover
Conditions that aren’t covered
Length of Lifetime coverage
Discounts for multiple animals
Don’t been fooled by getting discounts for routine procedures as this can cause reductions in cover in other areas.
Lifetime coverage for conditions doesn’t always mean it is actually for the life of your animal, some policies may only cover 3 years per condition. Using Krueger as an example – his cover for Atopic Dermatitis would have run out when he turned 6 last year.
Excess can be for each vet visit or for each condition per year. For example you could pay $150 each time you went to the vet regardless of what it was for and then claim everything above that amount back. Alternatively you could pay $150 per year, per conditions, and then everything over a $150 can be claimed, even if you had 10 visits for the same condition. This is great for on-going conditions. Some insurance companies offer a Co-Pay option where you pay 20% of every bill and they pay the rest. Co-Pay and Excess amounts are great ways to help reduce premiums.
Start young – pre-existing conditions are not covered.
Most companies will do a free trial which allows your new pet to be covered sooner with the stand-down periods tending to be shorter.
Shop around so you find a policy that covers what is most important to you.
Insurance won’t cover everything so definitely still save some extra emergency animal money.
Stay within your budget.
Your Puppy’s First Night
The day you get to pick up your new puppy is fast approaching and you have everything you need but how do you survive that first night (or maybe a week).
When you pick up your puppy it is highly likely it hasn’t spent much time at all away from its mum or littermates so it is a very scary time.
As I have discussed in the preparing for your puppy post I like to have something that smells of their previous home, littermates and mum so whether you breeder supplies all the puppies with a blanket or a toy, or I would send one for my puppy.
I would also have an Adaptil collar and/or a diffuser running in my home. The collar can either be put on at the breeder’s house the day before or when you pick him up. The puppy’s mum communicates with her puppies through smell or pheromones. These pheromones are called Dog Appeasing Pheromones. They are odourless messages that can only be perceived by dogs.
Adaptil replicates these very special pheromones which helps provide comfort and security to dogs of any ages. Therefore Adaptil can helps dogs and puppies feel reassured and relaxed. The Adaptil Collars last about 30 days and I would recommend using two consecutively from when you pick your puppy up. This would cover the scary first few days away from his family and as well as the critical period while he is being socialised to his new life.
Additional things I would have ready is his crate set up and ready to go as well as the area in which he will be sleeping. I set up a crate in my room for sleeping and I have it positioned so that he can see me. I don’t want to wait up the puppy is home before getting everything ready. We want our puppy to be as settle as possible and not upset by a lot of activity at the last minute.
In his sleeping area I include a couple of nice soft blankets, and would also put the blanket smelling of his family. I also put an old t-shirt of mine, which I have slept in for a few nights, so he has something that smells like me as well. My puppy also has two toys that are always in his sleeping area, Nighttime Bear which came with him, and Fluffface. Fluffface is a West Paws Rowdie and it wasn’t too much smaller than Craven when he arrived. I like to have a big toy for them to cuddle up too. You can add in a heat pad if the area is a bit cooler, your puppy will be used to sleeping with a pile of other dogs so can be reassured by the warm. A hot water bottle can be put in your puppy’s sleeping as well but just ensure it is well wrapped, tightly closed and only use water from the hot tap, NOT boiling water.
There are pillows created, (Mother’s Heartbeat) which you can use to simulate the heartbeat of the puppy’s mum to help comfort him. The sound of the heartbeat can be reassuring to a young puppy. This definitely isn’t necessary but can be helpful.
Stick to a routine. If your puppy had a set bed routine prior to you picking up try your best to stick to that. Feed him at the same time, put him out for final toilet and then bed at the same time. Routine or consistency breeds comfort. It is good for you puppy to know what to expect and when especially when his whole world has changed. So start as close to the breeder’s routine as possible and then slowly change it so it fits in with your life.
I announce bed time when it happens. Eventually this will become a que to settle down and sleep. I say, Bedtime Pup Pup just as I put him in his crate.
Crying is bound to happen, sometimes from you as well as the puppy. It can be heart-breaking to hear your puppy crying. Maybe I have been lucky but I don’t often get much crying with my puppies but I have used the same set up and technique for them all. Once I put them in their crate I will stay in the room with them, watching TV or something, until I am ready to sleep. If, and when, the puppy cries at first I will let it cry for a very short period of time, maybe only a minute to see if he will settle himself. If he doesn’t settle, I will talk to him in a soft cheerful tone. It doesn’t matter want you say, it just matters how you say it. If he still won’t settle after a couple of minutes I would sit next to the crate and talk to him. Once he settles and falls asleep I quietly move away. If your puppy wakes up and starts crying I would again see if he settles if he doesn’t I would pick him up and take him outside to the toilet without saying anything. Once he has toileted, and been praised, it is back to bed after a quick cuddle and Bedtime Pup Pup. I would repeat this routine as necessary throughout the night as required but I have never had a puppy cry for more than a few minutes using this technique.
In the morning the first thing I do is wake up and put the puppy out.
Things to remember
Don’t feed too close to bed time. A minimum of 2 hours before.
Toilet your puppy right before bedtime.
Don’t withhold water at bedtime.
It is a distressing time for your puppy so don’t let them continuously cry all night.
Slowly does it. Don’t push him.
Don’t expect miracles but be happy if they occur.
A ridiculously adorable and friendly Labrador and she has recently received her custom BUMAS muzzle, which means she is now back to running through mud puddles and rolling in unthinkable smelly things.
She is a super friendly dog and happy to meet people and dogs on her walk, so why does she need a muzzle?
Hannah has Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) but she also loves to eat basically anything she can put in her mouth. This makes walking a bit stressful for her owner.
Her owner decided to get Hannah a fancy BUMAS muzzle with added security straps so they can both still enjoy their forest walks together. Hannah is no longer able to put everything in her mouth so her owner can relax and enjoy the walk too.
Hannah is now also a diabetic along with her IBD so eating things that she isn't allowed is a triple threat to her health.
Muzzles aren't just for aggressive dogs, there are so many other reasons including medical and behavioural. Sometimes people put muzzles on their dogs to keep other dogs and their owners away because they have anxiety disorders and prefer not to have other dogs in their face.
Let's drop the stigma and start embracing muzzling our dogs.
Confident Canines is the NZ Reseller for BUMAS muzzles.
#embracemuzzles #bumas #stopthestigma #muzzleup #leadup
A solid Recall is essential for your dog but yet it is probably hit and miss for many dogs.
Come is most often used without teaching the dog what it means first, so it just becomes a meaningless word. Teach your dog to come on a lead when it's a puppy.
Many people call their dog back, ask them to sit and give them a reward. This rewards them to sit not to come. Don't ask them to sit. Just reward them.
Make coming back to you exciting! The world is full of wonderful things to see and smell, you need to be better than the rest of the world. Be exciting.
Don't always call your dog for boring and of fun things. Ask them to come and then let them run free again. Call them to you to play a game..