Dr GoogleWow, how many dog and cat foods are out there now!  Did you know, in our grocery stores, pet food is the number one grossing item?  It outsells the next 6 items combined!  In 2013, dog and cat owners in the United States, spent $21,000,000 dollars on food. Twenty one million dollars! Dog and cat food is BIG business. So it no wonder that the number of companies making pet food has exploded.  Some of these foods are good, some are heavily marketed with unsubstantiated claims.  Buyer beware.

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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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As we get more news of winter storms causing havoc across the US (even in usually wonderfully warm Phoenix of all places!), we tackle the topic of winter dangers around this time of year. Not just the colder weather but also the holiday decorations, rich food, and overall busy-ness that can cause anxiety in our pets.

I would like to highlight some handy articles we have in The Water Bowl, the Embrace informational website on pet health and care:

Holiday Fare You Should NOT Feed Your Pet

Ten Doggy Exercise Tips for Avoiding the Winter Bulge

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Dr Riggs is sure to stir up some controversy with his post on pet food. All I say is educate yourself as best you can and make the decision you deem best for your pets.


It seems every day we hear about yet another recalled pet food. Why is this happening you ask? I really feel there are a number of reasons but here are the few that I think contribute the most.

The first one is actually a good reason. The pet food manufacturing plants are under scrutiny. They are being inspected more thoroughly, not only for our pets, but for better public health. Many of the recalls have been due to salmonella contamination from poor hygienic practices. Other recalls have been due to unbalanced diets that result in toxicities.

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The pet food recalls continue and another two people have become sick from the salmonella contiminating their pet's food making that 16 people. No-one knows how many pets have been affected [update: 2 cats in a Canadian shelter are known to have died after being fed Diamond Naturals cat food]. I thought I should alert you to the details of the recall in case it affects you or other pet lovers you know.

If you are just catching up on the news, there have been numerous pet food recalls over the last couple of weeks. The recalls are due to a potential Salmonella contamination and involve many brands of dry dog food manufactured at a Gaston, S.C., plant operated by Diamond Pet Foods of Meta, Mo.

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Usually I would say that "best" is in the eye of the beholder since what might be best for me might not be best for you. In the case of wellness with pet insurance though, it's hard to think of a situation where the Embrace Pet Insurance Wellness Rewards option isn't the best for everyone.

The Embrace Wellness Rewards works quite like a Health Spending Account and can save you a lot of money:

  • you pick one of the two Wellness Rewards options with your Embrace Pet Insurance policy - $200 or $400 limit
  • you can use the Wellness Rewards benefit the day you buy it - no waiting for the coverage to start the next day. That means you can buy it after your spay or neuter surgery and still have it covered if you buy the same day 
  • spend your Wellness dollars on wellness related care such as:
    • spay or neuter
    • flea or tick medication
    • routine vet visits and diagnostics
    • prescription diet foods (at the $400 Wellness Rewards Plus level)
    • and more
  • send in your claim form with your invoice and we'll reimburse you what you spent up to your annual limit
  • Best news of all? You do not have to pay a deductible and there's no copay percentage 

How do you save money? Well, the Wellness Rewards program costs less than the benefit you can get. And because we have no sublimits on each item and we pay you back exactly what you paid on your vet bill up to your limit, it's easy to max out your savings.

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Amos and Haylee
Too good to be true? Actually no.

Here's how it works. Add the Dental Rewards plan with an Embrace Pet Insurance policy and you'll get $400 of benefit for $299 cost annually ($101.00 savings) or $28.95 monthly ($52.60 savings).

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We shall see!

When we think of the term "pet behavior", we think of issues, like chewing or inappropriate urination or freaking out in a thunderstorm, not something more positive like getting your cat to walk on a leash. So I am taking up the challenge of training my cats to walk on a leash.

I have two indoor cats, Rocket and Rosie, who are 2.5 years old and have never gone outside. Here's a quick video introduction to them. 

I know they'd like to go outside but I'm committed to keeping them out of harm's way so we asked JoyKatz if we could test out some of their beautiful handmade walking jackets for cats.

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Myla loves barley 4Did you know that that spending on pets in 2011 topped $50 billion for the first time? That's a lot of dog collars, don't you think! 

Actually, we spend on everything from pet accessories and food to veterinary care and services such as boarding and pet sitting. To put $50 billion in perspective, the pet industry tops the book publishing ($31 billion) and women’s clothing ($41 billion) industries by a healthy margin.

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Have you been wondering recently why your veterinary care feels like it costs so much more than it used to? You are not alone.

I was digging into the inflation numbers over at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and I was fascinated by the difference between veterinary inflation (yes, they do track such a thing!) and the consumer price inflation.

For example (see graph below), if I look at January 2007 to March 2011 (just about as long as we've been selling pet insurance policies), while my wages went up 10% over that time (yay!), my vet bills went up 25% in the same period (ouch!). Vet bills are definitely taking up more of a bite out of my free cash than they used to. 

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