Zooeyia: Doctors Outline the Health Benefits of Companion Animals

Here’s a good word of the day for animal lovers: “zooeyia”—a combination of the Greek words for animal and health.  It describes the human health benefits of companion animals.  And there are a lot of them!

An article for physicians in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine lists the many physical and emotional health benefits of living with companion animals.

Here are some key ways that the presence of pets in our lives can help us:

  • Pets reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation by providing us with companionship, attachment, and opportunities for social connection.
  • Having pets in the home can reduce harmful health behaviors like smoking because we don’t want to put our pets at risk.
  • Walking dogs and playing with pets provides people with daily opportunities to increase their amount of exercise and physical activity.
  • The presence of a companion animal can decrease stress and blood pressure. Pets can also reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and increase our sense of self-worth.

The article notes that physicians should educate pet-owning patients about the possible risks of animals, such as the transmission of zoonotic diseases, but stresses that the health benefits outweigh the risks.

Does your doctor ask you about your pets?  According to the authors, talking to patients about their animals is a great opportunity for doctors to improve the quality of patient care!

 

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Pet Ownership Trends for 2019

What will the hottest pet trends be in 2019?  The Michelson Found Animals Foundation surveyed 1,000 dog and cat owners and compiled a list of pet trends to watch in the coming year.  Here are the highlights:

Pet-related technology will play a greater role in the daily lives of our pets.  What are the most popular pet tech items?

  • Pet health and nutrition apps
  • Pet servicing apps (pet sitting, dog walking, etc.)
  • Pet monitoring cameras
  • Smart pet toys

Alternative therapies for pets are on the rise.  What types of treatments are our pets receiving?

  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic
  • CBD oil (aka cannabidiol oil, a non-intoxicating compound of the cannabis plant)

Pet food trends will continue to mirror human food trends.  Here’s what we’re feeding our pets:

  • Special diets for health and fitness
  • Organic pet food
  • Protein-rich diets
  • Pet food subscription services

 

 

Meet FACE Success Story Pinky!

This adorable Poodle is the pampered pet of Chris, who opened her heart to Pinky after her previous owner passed away.

When Pinky began to have trouble walking, Chris took her to the vet where she was diagnosed with ruptured cruciate ligaments in both of her back legs.

Pinky’s double-leg surgery would cost several thousand dollars and her loving family began fundraising efforts to help pay for it.

They reached out to the FACE Foundation for a grant, and we partnered with Banfield Pet Hospital to get Pinky the treatment she needed.

Pinky is now recovering and doing well.  She even made the local CBS News here in San Diego!  Watch her heartwarming story now:

 

Is Pet Insurance the Right Choice for You?

The start of a new year is the time when many us of make resolutions to take better care of our health.  But what about our pets?  Do your wellness plans for your best friend include getting pet health insurance?

Many dog and cat owners consider pet insurance, and some employers even offer it as part of their employee benefits package.  But is it the right option for you?

The decision to get insurance for your pet depends on many individual factors.  Here are some questions you can ask yourself—and any potential insurance companies—before you buy.

What is the annual cost of pet insurance?

This can depend on your particular situation, including the cost of living in your area and the breed and age of your pet.  Consumer advocates warn that the cost of your annual premium may be higher than the benefits you receive.

One study found that while the cost for coverage is around $500 a year, most pet owners saw only around $275 in paid claims.

Do you own a “high-risk” dog breed?

Cats are generally less expensive to insure than dogs, but not all dogs cost the same to insure.  Some breeds are much more expensive than others.

The experts at the website I Heart Dogs report that some large breed dogs like the St. Bernard and Irish Wolfhound are especially pricey to insure.

They recommend choosing a plan that covers inherited and chronic health conditions (such as hip and elbow dysplasia).  Make sure the plan covers all aspects of treatment for an illness or injury (like overnight care).

What’s covered and what’s not covered?

Make sure you understand what each insurance plan covers and what is excluded.  All plans vary but there are some general guidelines to keep in mind.

According to the website Wag! you should be prepared to cover a lot of preventive care yourself.  This includes things like dental cleanings, parasite prevention, vaccinations, spay/neuter, non-traditional therapies, and prescription diets.

What should be covered under a good plan?  Farmers Insurance notes that plans should cover treatment for accidents and injuries, and certain illnesses like cancer, arthritis, and diabetes.

Remember to review plans carefully for details on coverage of hereditary and pre-existing conditions.

How can you compare insurance plans?

Ready to look into getting pet health insurance but not sure where to start?  Check out this veterinarian-reviewed, comprehensive guide to pet health insurance plans from the website lendedu.com.

 

New California Pet Store Law Helps Shelter Animals

January 1, 2019 was the first day that a new animal welfare law went into effect here in California.  Under this law (called the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act), pet stores cannot sell dogs, cats, or rabbits unless they are from animal shelters or rescue organizations.

This law prevents pet stores from selling animals sourced from commercial breeding operations, known as puppy mills.

According to the Sacramento Bee, pet stores in California must publicly display documentation on each animal’s origins in the area where the animal is housed.

Pet stores in violation of this law will have to pay a fine of $500 for each pet that is sold illegally.

Here’s a video on the new law from NBC News: