AVMA Shares New Pet Ownership Numbers for the U.S.

The American Veterinary Medical Association recently released its latest Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook.  The number of pets in the U.S. is increasing, including non-traditional exotic pets like birds and reptiles.

Here’s a summary of some of the key findings:

  • 57% of all U.S. households own at least one pet.
  • The number of households with dogs is at a record high (38%) with cat owning households coming in second (25%).

  • 13% of all U.S. households have some sort of exotic pet, an increase of 25% from the 2011 pet ownership survey.
  • The trend of keeping poultry as pets has been growing at a rate of 23% over the last 5 years.

  • The number of households with pets is highest in rural states, with Wyoming, West Virginia, and Nebraska at the top of the list.
  • The states with the least number of pets are Rhode Island, South Dakota, New York, and New Jersey.
  • Dog owners are more likely to take their pets to the veterinarian than owners of other animals.

The Sourcebook is available for purchase via the AVMA website, and AVMA members can download the Executive Summary at no cost.

 

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Vet Visit Checklist for Senior Cats

Cats are considered to be “seniors” when they reach 11+ years of age.  Senior cats can develop a variety of chronic health problems, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Dementia
  • High blood pressure
  • Thyroid disease

Other common health issues seen in older cats include weight loss, dehydration/constipation, and tooth and gum disease.

Because your senior cat is at a greater risk of developing chronic health problems than she did when she was younger, it’s important to make regular veterinary visits a part of your cat’s health plan.

Cat Care for Life is a feline health and wellness initiative from the International Cat Care charity.  They have created a handy senior cat checklist for cat owners to take with them on veterinary visits.  Checklists are a great way to remind yourself of issues and concerns you’d like to bring up with your vet.

You can download and print a pdf of the one-page senior cat checklist by clicking HERE!

 

Meet FACE Success Story Bear!

This sweet 4 year old Poodle-mix is named Bear, even though he looks more like a little lamb!

Bear presented to the Veterinary Specialty Hospital here in San Diego after his mom found him dragging his back legs. Upon consultation, VSH’s neurology team diagnosed Bear as having intervertebral disc disease, or IVDD. If not treated quickly, IVDD can lead to paralysis. Bear only had a small window to get surgery before his condition could rapidly decline.

Bear and his mom, Amber, are best friends. Bear came into her life during an extremely difficult time and has provided her with unconditional love and support for the last four years. Amber spent everything she had getting Bear diagnosed, and when she found out he needed surgery she was devastated. She couldn’t imagine losing her best friend simply because she couldn’t afford his care, but also had no idea where she could come up with the funds in such a short amount of time.

After talking with the staff at VSH, Amber quickly applied for assistance from FACE. After reviewing Bear’s application, we were able to provide a grant for his emergency surgery. We’re happy to report that Bear’s surgery was a total success and he got to return home with his mom to recover. Thanks to our supporters for helping us save pets like Bear every day!

 

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

 

 

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.