It’s National Pet Insurance month and when you want to learn about all things pet insurance, you go to the experts. We’re still waiting for the day when Laura Bennett is asked to do a TEDtalk on pet insurance, but in the meantime, listen in as she and Dr. Patrick Mahaney answer your questions on everything from top claims to alternative therapies.

Laura shares with us:

  • What is the (estimated) number or percentage of pet owners in the U.S. who have insurance for their pets?
  • What are Embrace’s top canine and feline health claims?
  • What are the main reasons pet owners give for establishing health insurance for their cats and dogs?
  • Why should a pet owner get pet insurance (ability to have pet undergo diagnostics, treatment, etc.)?
  • Does the typical pet owner keep their pet on Embrace insurance throughout the pet's life?
  • Does Embrace cover any pre-existing conditions?
  • Does Embrace cover complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), such as acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic, etc.?

And, Dr. Mahaney tells us what veterinarians think about pet insurance and how it has changed over recent years.

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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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Have you been watching the Olympics with your pets? Dr Riggs is a big fan of the Olympic Games and that led him to ponder - what if animals were allowed in the Olympics?

I love the Olympics!   Maybe I am a naive optimist, but it seems the only time the world gets together and is as one.  Seeing all the athletes of the world in one place congratulating each other, laughing with other athletes of countries with opposing political and religious ideals… makes me wonder. Hmm…  Yes, well, back to the blog. 

It is amazing to see the athleticism of all the athletes.  The amazing speed and grace of American’s Micheal Phelps, Missy Franklin and China’s Sun Yang.The phenomenal courage and skill of the gymnasts. How do they get the guts to do the things they do???  I am in awe every time I see the smoothness and apparent ease of Usain Bolt breaking another world record.  What about the tiny weightlifters who clean and jerk three times their body weight over their head? The endurance of the cyclists blows me away. It is a testament to their dedication, hard work and skill. Their accomplishments are to be commended.

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Have you ever had that late night sudden discovery of some concerning pet medical issue and you wished you could ask a vet to let you know if you needed to make that late night visit to the emerg room? I had one of those a couple of weeks ago and had a great experience with VetLive, our partner for round-the-clock veterinary advice. 

Here's what happened.

Our outdoor cat, Lily, showed up at the house with a smear on her neck. I didn't think much of it as she'd recently come home covered in mud for some unknown reason (I know, she's a strange cat). The next day though, I did take a closer look and saw she'd actually cut her neck somehow. I gave the wound a wipe with a wet paper towel  to see how it looked and there was no hissing, no upset cat, only a little blood and it didn't look like an animal bite. All good so I thought.

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Today we have a guest post from Dr Jennifer Coate, an associate of Dr Rex Riggs who has regularly guest posted on the Embrace blog.

Dr Coate talks about what causes a dog's eyes to turn gray and if it is something to be concerned about or not.

Many times our clients notice their older pet’s eyes are starting to have a bluish-gray haze and they assume that their old dog is going blind. But what is really happening in the eye?

The pupil of the eye is normally black. What you are seeing in the pupil is the lens, which lies just behind the pupil. Just like in a camera or eye glasses, the lens is a clear structure used to focus images as they pass into the eye to your pet’s retina.

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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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Today, we have a guest post from Dr. Rex Riggs on the topic of allergies. Ironically, Dr. Riggs is allergic to cats! But he does talk about how allergies happen and what can be done about them. Dr. Rex Riggs is the owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is a veterinarian, and an Advisory Board member of Embrace Pet Insurance.

Allergies. I hate allergies. I have tree pollen allergies in the spring. I have grass allergies in the summer and house dust mite allergies all winter long. To cap it all off, I have cat allergies all year long! Oh well, it is what it is.

And What Exactly Are Allergies?

Allergies are bad for everyone including our pets. 

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Nametag This is not the time to be modest so here goes.

We often find our Embraced pet parents telling us how they rave about Embrace with their friends and family.

It warms the cockles of my heart, it surely does.

Some even expound our virtues to their veterinarians and bug them about not having any Embrace brochures in their clinics.

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Today, Dr. Rex Riggs talks about hereditary conditions in dogs. Dr. Rex Riggs is the owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is a veterinarian, and an Advisory Board member of Embrace Pet Insurance.

>Dolly and rose-terrianderson-dalmatians2 When we talk about pure bred dogs and cats we need to realize that along with the individually beautiful traits, specific to a breed, hidden harmful genetic traits can often be lurking.

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Today, we have a guest post from Dr. Rex Riggs, talking about how to tell if your dog needs a dental cleaning or more. Dr. Rex Riggs is the owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is a veterinarian, and an Advisory Board member of Embrace Pet Insurance.

>It has been estimated that 85% of all animals seen at a vet’s office have dental disease.  I would go further and say 40% of dogs have bad dental disease.  It always surprises me at the shock in people’s faces when I pull up their pet’s lip and…voila….a mass of dental mayhem.   So I have decided to list the top five ways to know if your dog needs a dental.

5) Your Pet might need a dental if……. it’s breath smell like a sewer

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