We often worry about our dog’s quality of life. To an extent, we are the provider of that life – it is not something they will necessarily find for themselves. This leads to questions like “how healthy are they?” or “do they have enough fun?” – among others. There always feels like more to do. Often, this isn’t the case. You are more than doing enough for your pup, and they no doubt live a great and healthy life. However, should this line of question need a resolution beyond self-assurance or you have the desire to maintain and promote the wellbeing of your pup, which you’ve fostered, there are things you can do. We will go over a few options for you and how they interact with pet insurance.
A good place to begin is with vaccines. These are effective tools to prevent problems from arising in the future. There are a number of vaccines that can help.
One is required by law in California: the rabies vaccine. All dogs must have a rabies vaccine before the age of five months and again at a year old unless they acquire an exemption. After this, a vaccine you must vaccinate once every year or every three, depending on which vaccine you opt for.
The kennel cough (Bordetella) vaccine should be boosted regularly as an adult after it is first administered as a puppy. It is best practice to frequently top it up if they go to day-boards or kennels often.
Leptospirosis is something humans and pets can contract. It is a bacteria found in soil and water, which can cause many issues like lung disease, kidney failure, and liver failure, among other things. It is not pleasant. A vaccine for this is available. If you live near rivers, lakes, or streams, or even on expansive land, as it can be caught from infected rodents and wild animals, it is best to get it done.
Distemper is the final one to vaccinate for, and this disease can be fatal.
These types of vaccines are not always a standard policy in insurance. This is the case for pet insurance for dogs and cats. (Cats require similar and different vaccines.) They can, however, be included as extras. Vaccines will be covered once this is done.
You will be cooking or eating something, and maybe your dog is sitting or lying at your feet, looking interested, and you’ll do a quick google to see if they can eat what you’re eating, so you can share. Or your dog has been eating plants or soil, and you google to see if you should be concerned. This is often where it can feel a dog’s diet could go wrong. This can be true. Getting a dog’s diet, truly, truly, wrong amounts to negligence rather than an unconscious decision. However, it can be relatively easy to keep feeding your pup. They get their meals and then treats too. This can add up, even when you’re exercising them, to them putting on the pounds and becoming overweight. This can contribute to issues for both joints and organs.
Additionally, certain types of food have different nutritional values – sat, fat, etc. – and you can alter your dog’s diet according to medical advice here too.
Insurance will not kick-in for dietary requirements for preventative measures, only if it is prescribed.
Dental care is where we go next. A dog will have one set of teeth, much like humans, but, unlike humans, dentures aren’t an option for your pups. There is specialist food that can help keep their teeth clean. However, you can brush their teeth. It’s not something you need expertise to do, per se – not like grooming, though even that you can do a little which can help. Simply grab a brush and some dog-specific toothpaste, and you’re good to go.
Annual physical examinations are another great way to ensure that your pup’s health is maintained. These examinations can be just a general go-over, or they can involve more test-based things, such as fecal and blood tests. These will allow the vets to see if anything we don’t want happening is happening in difficult places to see or feel.
If you decide to take out a preventative care policy, insurance companies will cover the cost of these annual exams, including the fecal and blood tests, and provide reminders for them. It’s an inclusive service that helps you ensure there are no major surprises or at least ones that can be treated early and means your pup won’t suffer and you, or the insurance, won’t have to pay large sums to deal with worst-case scenarios.