April is Pet Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

Even though you might have pet insurance to protect against costs from unexpected health events, the ideal situation is that your pet has no unexpected health events at all. Wouldn't that be nice?

To that effect, we're focusing this month on overall pet health and preventing health events as best we can.

And while we are talking of pet health this month, here are some excellent articles on the Embrace pet health site, The Water Bowl

And here's one final one for some Easter fun with your dog:

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March is Pet Nutrition Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

When you think about it, our bodies, and those of our pets, are incredible machines. For example, these machines fix themselves (most times) when things break, and we don't have to eat precise diets to stay alive (not like my car that only takes a very certain type of very expensive liquid and my mechanic loves that my car doesn't fix itself.)

It doesn't mean though that all that we eat is good for us in the long run, and eating a better quality of food is one way we can improve our health without having to go to the doctor. It's very much the same situation for our pets, yet some people are still unaware that the quality of the food we feed our cats and dogs is incredibly important. Better and more appropriate foods really do make a difference for our pets.

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Guest Post: why do a dog or cat dental cleaning?

Embrace friend and advisor, Dr Rex Riggs, talks about why you should go ahead with the expense of a dental cleaning under anesthesia with X-rays. It's needed people!


Periodontal disease is the most common disease seen in our pets. Think about it. If we did not brush our teeth, used no mouthwash, ate whatever we can put in our mouth including, for dogs, that tasty hors d’ourve, the ever popular cat turd, what would our teeth look like? Put on top of this chomping down on deer antlers, bones, and nylabones, and you get a lot of chipped and broken teeth.

How many of us have had root canals?  They are a result of tooth root abscesses and they hurt like a mother. Dogs and cats have these same tooth root abscesses and continue to eat. They are great at hiding their pain.  How they do that is beyond me.  Did I mention tooth root abscesses hurt like a mother? 

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February is Pet Dental Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

Did you know that you cannot tell if your cat or dog has periodontal disease by the color of his or her gums?

I did not know that until a few weeks ago. Wouldn't you think that you would see more inflamed gums in pets with periodontal disease?

So what is periodontal disease then? Our friend, Tracy Libby, elaborates:

Periodontal disease is the progressive loss or destruction of the tissues that hold the teeth in the jaws. It starts the same way in dogs as it does in humans - with plaque buildup around and under the gum line. One milligram of dental plaque contains millions of bacteria! 

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January is Pet Training Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

Just as understanding how you can maximize your pet's health is part of pet parenting, so is maximizing the quality time you spend together. Training isn't just for tricks; training also:

  • strengthens the bond between you and your dog or cat
  • integrates your pet seamlessly into your family life and the outside world
  • improves the effectiveness of your communication with your pet
  • lets you give your pet more freedom and fewer restrictions
  • and reduces stress and increases happiness of having a pet in the household

Friend of Embrace, Liz Palika, talks about why you should train your dog in her article No Training? Why Not? Rules are important for your dog's social well-being, as well as your own, plus he/she is safer if she's not dashing up the road every time you open your door. And training can be fun - it's not boot camp for either party.

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Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Winter Dangers

It was rather a chilly 8 degrees here this morning in sunny Cleveland so it made me think of my podcast with Dr Mahaney on winter dangers. Here are the questions we discuss: 

Carrie: pancreatitis is common during the holidays due to dietary indiscretions; eating holiday decorations; stranger fear if a pet is anxious. Any other holiday dangers to watch out for?

Adrienne: How about the hidden dangers pets may encounter in a snow-covered landscape - whether at home or out hiking on a trail or in the woods. And how can you tell if your pet may be getting too cold when they are outside.

Jessica: what can you do to protect paws of dogs that refuse to wear boots?

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Guest Post: Have a Safe and Happy Holidays from Dr Rex Riggs

Happy Holidays to everyone! It is a great time of the year that gives us an opportunity to spend cherished time with our family and friends. Enjoy the season.

Holidays can also be fun times for our pets, with all the new people around to spoil them with all the attention. But, as always (isn’t there always a but), there are also things we need to remind our guests. They can love our pets all they want with petting, but please don’t share the Christmas treats.

Max from the GrinchRemember Max, the Grinch’s dog, did not eat any of the “roast beast “or “the who pudding” and he had a great Christmas. In contrast, who could forget what happened to the lovable dog “Snot”, at the Griswold’s house. He drank the tree water and then enjoyed the Christmas trash. He then deposited his “present” under the dining room table. Not a jolly event.

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Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on pet cancer

Continuing on the topic of pet cancer this month, Dr Patrick Mahaney and I talk about the ins and outs of cancer in dogs and cats. Some of the questions we cover are:

  1. Do you think cancer is becoming more prevalent in pets, or do we just know more? If you feel it may be becoming more prevalent, besides genetics, do you think there are any specific environmental factors that contribute to this?
  2. What is the prognosis with cancer in cats and dogs? Can you cure cancer or are you just delaying the inevitable?
  3. What about early detection? What are the signs and what regular diagnostics should we be doing?
  4. What does he think of new product such as apocaps, which supposedly stimulate apoptosis which targets cancer cells?
  5. What other new or newer cancer treatments there are?
  6. Which dogs are more prone to cancer than others? How can cancer be hereditary?

Click on the link below for the podcast.

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Guest Post: Cancer Sucks, For Pets as well as Humans

Dr Riggs talks about cancer and some of the interesting developments in the human world of cancer that might help our pets.

Cancer sucks. It sucks when someone we know gets it. It sucks when our pet gets it. It just sucks. So what exactly is cancer?

We hear the word, but do we understand what is going on? Cancer is the proliferation of cells from any normal tissue of the body that has undergone a transformation into abnormal cells, which grow at a faster rate then the surrounding normal cells. A benign cancer will stay in one area. A malignant cancer spreads to other parts of the body, through either the blood stream or the lymph system.

Cancer causes problem when it crowds out of normal cells and disrupts the organ’s natural functions. Whether it causes a problem just depends on where it is. A benign tumor on the skin often causes little problems if it is small enough to be removed. A small tumor in the brain may cause big problems if it puts pressure on specific parts of the brain.

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November is Cancer Awareness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

Several of the Embrace staff members (aka Embracers) are or recently have been going through cancer in their dogs and cats and all the physical and emotional toll that takes.

This month we are going to address this difficult health issue with a discussion by Dr Rex Riggs, and a podcast with Dr Patrick Mahaney, as well as some aspects of cancer treatment that pet insurance can definitely help you with.

In the meantime, check out the Morris Animal Foundation's "Golden Retriever Lifetime Study" that has just got going.

Morris Animal Foundation's Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is a groundbreaking effort to learn how to prevent cancer and other diseases. It is the largest and longest observational study ever undertaken to improve the health of dogs. The study will enroll up to 3,000 Golden Retrievers and will last 10 to 14 years.

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