Podcast: Winter/Holiday Dangers with Dr. Patrick Mahaney

Winter DangersIt’s only mid-November and Embrace’s HQ is already experiencing record snowfall and subfreezing temperatures. While this is all part of living in the Midwest, some of our Embracers and pet parents have real questions and concerns about the upcoming winter. Thankfully, Dr. Patrick Mahaney is ready to help us with snowpocalypse prep.

Topics include:

  • What is the safest way to clean rock salt or de-icers from our pet’s feet?
  • How concerned do I need to be about my dog’s safety during another polar vortex, even for a 30 second potty run? Is there such thing as it being too cold to walk your dog?
  • The truth about flea and tick medications. Are they necessary in the wintertime?
  • How can we keep our pet’s weight in check, in spite of the cold temps keeping them from their regular walks?

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Guest Post: Giving Puppies and Kittens as Holiday Gifts

Is it the holidays again, so soon? I remember my mom saying, “time goes faster the older you get.” She was not a prophetic woman, but you know… she was right. We all need to slow our lives down and enjoy what the holidays are all about. But holidays seem to rush by faster than ever with all the buzz of the season. We all have the office and neighborhood parties, the gift shopping, the travel plans, and all the decorating. It is truly a hectic time of the year.

So, why would any sane person think about bringing an energizer bunny of a puppy or a kitten into the mix? Are you crazy? I blame it on all the Hallmark commercials! Let me set the scene. A perfectly wrapped box, trembling under a glittering Christmas tree. Was that Santa scurrying up the chimney? I think it was! Enter the excited children running toward the box. What could it be? The moment of truth. The box is opened to find a perfect, happy, little puppy waiting to lick their faces. Could it be any better?

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November is Winter/Holiday Dangers Month

My attempt at winterizing Kayden for the
polar vortex in 2014.

Even if we can manage to ignore the holiday music and candy in stores and the ramping up to black Friday sales, it’s impossible to ignore the real signs of impending winter. Cooler, shorter days and bare trees have us breaking out the dog coats while our pets fight over the sunny window napping spots.

With winter weather and the holidays, we certainly see changes in the types of claims that roll in. Everything from ice-induced lacerations, cats injured in car engines, and turkey and stuffing overload can send our pets to the emergency vet. As always, we hope expert articles will provide some gentle advice on how to safely enjoy the holidays and long winter months that follow:

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2014 Claims System Updates

At Embrace, we are always looking for ways to improve your experience, whether it be doing things faster, with fewer errors, or just to make you go “wow.” As part of that process, we recently launched our new claims system and I wanted to go over the benefits of the new system and the status of the implementation.

The benefits of our new system are many:

  • Faster and more efficient processing - our goal is to process 95% of all claims within 2 days of receiving all the info (compared to the 5-10 days we were at before the new system)
  • More efficient collection of medical information - effectively gathering the medical history, and knowing when you have it all, is a surprisingly complex process given veterinary records are rarely electronic and certainly not coded like in the human world
  • Fewer errors - for example, always noticing when we have a claim form for Fluffy but an invoice for Fido, or always noticing when a pet parent is notifying us of an address change when filing a claim, and
  • More transparent online view of your claims status – your status looks more like tracking a Fedex package with regular updates of where things are at rather than the static view we had before

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Dilemma: Premiums increase as pets age

The saying “better with age” applies to wine and fine cheeses, but probably has never been said about pet insurance premiums. While Embrace will never reduce the coverage for aging pets, the premiums do go up a bit each year as our pets get older to account for the increasing risk of illness. While it’s good news that your coverage remains reliable even as your pet’s health begins to decline, the increase serves as more than just a reminder that your pet is getting on in years and can have some pet parents reconsidering the cost-benefit of their coverage.

Ditto - BeagleDitto - 2006

This was the case for the pet parent of Ditto, a 10 year old Beagle originally from Cleveland, OH and now living in Seattle, WA. Ditto was one of the first Embraced pets back in 2006 and we enjoyed getting photos and updates from this young lady. Fast forward to 2014 and Ditto’s rates have increased, despite her being relatively healthy. Her most recent increase was roughly 20%, an increase her pet parent felt was “steep” and he wrote in looking for advice on what to do with her coverage. While hesitant to drop the coverage, he seemed to wonder if it made sense to continue with the current coverage as is.

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