Tips for Making the Right Choice for Your Pet Insurance

Owning a pet comes with a slew of responsibilities, including the basics like feeding and grooming that all pet owners understand. What can create some unrest in a home with a pet is the emotional and financial disruption of a medical issue that requires veterinary care. On average, pet visits to the vet cost £750, per condition, and this can represent a major cost to a pet owner if they aren’t well prepared. Some medical issues require even more veterinary intervention, such as surgery or ongoing treatment plans, which can cost several thousand more.

Pet insurance offers some respite from veterinary costs. Most pet insurance plans provide a percentage of reimbursement for a veterinary care visit, helping offset the expense of an emergency illness or injury. However, making the decision to obtain pet insurance requires some degree of understanding about how pet policies work, what they cover and exclude, and how to know which pet policy makes the most sense from a financial perspective.

Pet Insurance

Understand the Types of Pet Insurance
The first factor to consider when looking at pet insurance policies is the type of cover being offered. Pet insurance plans come in many different forms, with the most common including:

  • Annual policies: these pet insurance plans offer financial assistance for a pet’s medical issues on a 12-month rolling basis. Each year the policy is set to renew, pet owners may be given an option to switch to a new plan or maintain the coverage they currently have. Most annual policies do not cover pre-existing conditions, and while they may be less expensive than more comprehensive options, they may not pay as much to cover vet expenses.

  • Lifetime policies: these pet insurance plans offer the most comprehensive coverage, potentially offsetting the cost of injuries, illnesses, and chronic conditions. Lifetime policies provide for cover regardless of the pet’s age or health condition, but this means the policy will likely cost more for the pet owner.

  • Accident policies: these pet insurance plans provide cover for accidents that may lead to injuries, such as being hit by a vehicle. Although accidents may lead to higher-cost treatments, most pets in need of veterinary care require medical attention for illnesses instead.

Recognise Potential Exclusions or Restrictions
In addition to the type of policy being offered, pet owners also need to take a close look at the specifics of a pet insurance plan. Many pet insurers detail exclusions of a policy, which may include pre-existing conditions a pet had before getting insured. This means that should the animal need veterinary care for an excluded condition, the full cost of care falls on the shoulders of the pet owner, not the insurance company.

Similarly, pet insurance providers may also exclude certain treatments. Alternative medical care, such as physiotherapy or acupuncture may not be covered under a pet insurance plan. Some policies may also have waiting periods that must be met before insurance benefits are available. Others do not cover routine or preventative treatments. Insurers also set limits on reimbursements paid to pet owners, either per condition treated or as an annual or lifetime policy limit. It is crucial for pet owners to recognise these limitations before paying for a pet insurance plan.

Compare Policy Options for Cost and Benefits
A finance specialist from Money Pug, a website used to compare best pet insurance deals, shares that, beyond policy cover and exclusions, pet owners need to do their own cost analysis on a pet insurance plan prior to purchasing. Pet insurance comes at a cost each month or each year, and this ongoing expense can range significantly from one insurer to the next. The cost is based not only on the current health status of the pet and their age, but also the reach of the policy. Pet owners can do themselves a favour by comparing several different pet insurance plans, taking an in-depth look at policy benefits and exclusions weighed against the cost of the policy itself.

Having the right pet insurance plan can make a big difference in caring for a pet without spending an exorbitant amount of money out of pocket. However, pet owners must complete a review of the type of policy that makes the most sense for their needs, alongside the restrictions or limitations or the policy. Carefully reviewing these details as well as the premium amount due for the policy is necessary for making the best decision on whether or not to purchase pet insurance and from which company.

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Five of the Best Beaches in Cornwall for Dog Walks

If you and your dog are lovers all of the sea, sand, and sun, Cornwall is a great place to visit. With some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK and a warm climate, it’s ideal for doggy days out! To help you find some great spots, we’ve put together our five favourite dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall that you should definitely check out.

dog friendly beaches

Perranporth
Easily accessible and with a long stretch of sandy beach that’s perfect for dogs to run, jump, and play, it’s no surprise that Perranporth is a popular spot for dog owners! Bring a tennis ball for some great games of fetch and a towel to dry off your pup after a dip in the sea. It’s close to Perranporth village, making it great for those who can’t walk so far, and has a great seaside café so you can stay all day if you want! Just be aware that in July and August dogs have to be on a lead between 9am and 5pm. There are loads of great dog-friendly places to stay nearby including a great collection of holiday cottages, houses and apartments in Perranporth from Duchy Holidays. This way you and your dog can relax in your home away from home, close to this glorious sandy beach.

Watergate Bay
Another large stretch of uninterrupted sand, Watergate Bay is a seaside haven for dogs. All year round, your dog can run free on the beach, exploring rock pools, playing with other furry friends, and splashing in the water. When it’s time for a break, set down a picnic blanket and enjoy some well-earned treats, watching the tide go out in time for sunset. Stay nearby at one of the wonderful dog-friendly hotels nearby including the sea-front Watergate Bay Hotel.

Mawgan Porth
Pretty quiet and without so many tourists, Mawgan Porth is ideal for dogs who are a little wary of crowds. This is a Sunday Times award-winning beach, too, so you can be sure you’ve picked a good spot! The waves are great for surfing, there are plenty of walks you and your dog can enjoy, and the local area is full of fun things to do and dog-friendly restaurants. Many accommodation providers in the area also welcome pets.

dog friendly beaches

Porthkidney Beach
Just 2 miles from St Ives, Porthkidney is a pretty popular beach where dogs can be left to run free across the sand – just be sure to put them back on a lead when you’re on any of the footpaths. When the tide goes out, this beach stretches for almost a mile into the sea, making it perfect for dogs with long legs who really need to let off some steam. Just remember to bring plenty of snacks and water! The St Ives area is a wonderful place for a holiday, and you’ll be spoilt for choice for dog-friendly places to stay in the area.

Lantic Bay
If you and your dog love a bit of adventure, Lantic Bay is the perfect beach spot. To reach it, you’ll first get to enjoy a mile-long walk across the lush cliffs that shelter the beach and breathe in the fresh coastal air. Once you’ve reached the sand, you can relax whilst your dog runs free, or join them for a dip in the sea. Lantic Bay is near Polruan, across the water from Fowey, on Cornwall’s beautiful south coast where you’ll find a huge range of dog-friendly pubs, restaurants and places to stay.

Finding a great beach for you and your dog to enjoy isn’t always easy, but with these great spots in Cornwall you should find one in one time. Just pick a spot for a holiday and explore with your dog. But remember to check local information as many beaches have seasonal restrictions for visiting dogs.

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Thinking of travelling overseas with your pet this year?

Join Deborah Elliott, Head of Pet Travel from Eurotunnel as she talks about planning your holidays this year.

We are a nation of dog lovers, April marks National Pet Month and with the weather finally starting to take a warmer turn, many of us are thinking about getting abroad with our furry friends. Who better to advise than Deborah Elliot, Head of Pet Travel from Eurotunnel, who has overseen over two million dogs popping across to Europe for their holidays.

In the show we lay out exactly what you need to ensure your holiday with your pet goes smoothly. From how to apply for a pet passport, to how to keep your pets relaxed on a car journey, we cover it all.

We even have a look at “petiquette”, useful pet phrases, and the low down on on/off lead walks!

For more information
https://www.eurotunnel.com/uk/tickets/travelling-with-your-pet/ /

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The UK’s Top Dog Friendly Holiday Destinations

Whether you want to de-stress from a busy job or have a thirst for adventure, going on holiday is always something to look forward to. If you’ve got a dog, we definitely recommend bringing them along too! Not only do you get to explore a new place or relax by the sea, you get to do it all with man’s best friend by your side. If you think it’s time to get away with your pup, check out our top dog-friendly holiday spots in the UK for a bit of inspiration.

Dog Friendly Holiday Destinations

Cornwall
Undeniably beautiful and with plenty of incredible outdoor locations, Cornwall is a hugely popular UK holiday destination – and its very dog-friendly, too! There are over 100 beaches that you and your pup can choose from, which is perfect for getting outdoors and letting your dog run, jump, and swim to their heart’s content. A bunch of the big attractions also let dog’s in, such as The Eden Project, and with a warmer climate you can enjoy plenty of time outside.

Lake District
If you and your dog love going on long walks and enjoy beautiful scenery, the Lake District could be your next holiday spot. The wider area of Cumbria has 20 English heritage sites that’ll welcome your dog, including Ambleside’s Roman Fort, and the remains of Penrith Castle. There are also plenty of lakes and rivers that your four-legged friend can splash about in, and even a lake cruise out on Windemere that dogs can join in with for free!

North York Moors and Coast
With a ton of dog-friendly holiday properties to pick from, beautiful coastal towns, and rural moorland, the North York Moors and Coast are great spots for your trip away. Start your day with a walk along the beach before enjoying a traditional pub lunch, and head to the woods or moors in the afternoon for some stunning scenery. The best part? Your pup can enjoy everything with you!

Dog Friendly Holiday Destinations

Devon
Head to Devon for warmer temperatures and beautiful beaches – it’s another firm favourite for dog-friendly holidays spots in the South. From coastal walks along the South West Coast Path to the grounds of Powderham Castle, there are plenty of activities you and your dog can enjoy together. In fact, there are over 25 dog-friendly tourist attractions that you can explore, so you can be sure of a full itinerary whilst you’re there!

Anglesey
For an abundance of coastal trails, head down to Anglesey and let your dog explore the great outdoors. With over 125 miles of coastal walks, you’ll certainly be kept busy! The paths lead you to many interesting spots, including fishing villages, woods, cliffs, and, of course, a lot of wonderful beaches. Your pup will love spending all day outdoors, taking in the scents and sights, and meeting plenty of other dogs along the way.

All of these wonderful holiday destinations have plenty of dog-friendly cottages and holiday homes where you and your family can get away for a well-earned break with your four-legged friend. For inspiration visit the Dog Friendly Retreats website which is full of wonderful ideas for pet-friendly getaways all over the United Kingdom.

There a lot of dog-friendly spots around the UK that are perfect for a holiday, making it easy to get away from home without leaving your pup behind! So, if none of these catch your eye, be sure to check out what else is out there.

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Dog Food Allergies

So, your beloved pet is itching like crazy, biting himself all over, constantly shaking his head, and you even notice patches of fur missing. At first you think he might have fleas, but you’re always diligent with your monthly flea & tick treatment. So you rush him to the vet, and hear something new: you dog might have food allergies.

What is a Dog Food Allergy?
What does this mean exactly, and how in the world do you treat it? Well, allergies in both humans and dogs, in short, begin close to the same way. An allergic reaction happens when a dog’s (or human’s) immune system misinterprets a protein coming from a certain ingredient (n the case of food allergies) as a harmful foreign invader, and either attacks it or mounts some other kind of immune response.

Thankfully, dog food allergies are rarely life threatening, but can cause a wealth of irritating symptoms. Dog food allergies are actually caused by a genetic problem, and is triggered by initial exposure to the allergen. The most common dog food allergens are:

  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Wheat
  • Egg
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Soy
  • Pork
  • Rabbit
  • Fish

About 10% of all allergy cases in dogs are food related.

Dogs usually react to food allergens differently than a human might. With humans, we often hear of horrible cases where a person’s airway closes, and they might need extreme drugs like Epinephrine to stay alive. In dogs, on the other hand, an allergic reaction often appears in the form of irritated, itchy or inflamed skin, or sometimes produces gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhea.

In some very rare cases, food allergies can send a dog into anaphylaxis (severe, life threatening allergic reaction), similar to a human suffering from a severe reaction to a bee sting, although that is very uncommon.

Common Signs & Symptoms of Food Allergies:

  • Itchiness
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy ears

There are several food allergy symptoms listed here, but the most common sign you will see is non-seasonal itching, usually focused on either the entire body or limited to the ears and feet. You might see chronic or recurrent skin infections. It does take time for food allergies to develop, and they usually aren’t immediate; your dog could have been eating the same food for a while without any reactions.

‘Novel’ Protein
A ‘food trial’ with a hypoallergenic dog food, like the ones listed below, is the best and most common way to diagnose a food allergy. These trials use a ‘novel’ protein source, which is hopefully something completely new to your dog or different from what he has had before. This reduces the chance of an immune response, hopefully eliminating the specific protein causing the allergic reaction.

Hydrolyzed diets, in addition, are created when animal proteins are broken down into much smaller molecules, making it difficult for the immune system to recognize harmful allergens and drastically reducing the chances of an allergic reaction.

How are Dog Food Allergies Treated?
So, your dog is allergic to a certain ingredient in his food. You certainly don’t want to keep feeding him that food! The first step, and only one needed really, is eliminating that particular ingredient from his food. Since most dog foods are composed of many ingredients, the easiest way to do this is narrowing down those ingredients from many to a few.

Limited Ingredient Dog Food
In order to offer a wide range of nutrients, manufacturers often use many ingredients in their foods. In this case, it can actually be harmful to offer so many- at least until we figure out what the ‘culprit’ is, so you veterinarian might prescribe a ‘Limited Ingredient Dog Food’. These are exactly how they sound, foods with fewer ingredients meant to help treat a dog’s sensitive stomach.

First, your veterinarian will prescribe a certain limited ingredient food. If that doesn’t do the trick, they will switch to an alternate food made from different ingredients, and so on.

There are many limited ingredient foods out there, but most of them are lower quality and cheaply manufactured. Below, we’ve listed five quality names, known for producing good, nutritional dog foods.

Some Limited Ingredient Dog Foods:
Canidae Grain-Free Pure Limited Ingredient Diet
Earthborn Holistic Venture Turkey Meal and Butternut Squash Limited Ingredient Diet
Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Salmon & Sweet Potato
Nulo Freestyle Limited Plus Puppy and Adult Dog Food
Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet

Food Intolerance vs. Food Allergy
When most people think their dog is having an allergic reaction to food, the culprit is actually food intolerance. A food intolerance doesn’t involve an immune response, and doesn’t stimulate histamines. For example, some dogs might be ‘lactose intolerant’, meaning a dog’s body won’t process the lactose found in milk well. Many humans are lactose intolerant also. These intolerances can lead to GI issues.

A study done in 2017 estimated that out of all dogs seeing a veterinarian for any issue, only about 1-2% actually had a food allergy or intolerance. That being said, it isn’t very common. Even then, true food allergies are less common than intolerances.

Meat, dairy and eggs are probably the most common allergens in dog food. It’s usually a protein in these foods that is the problem, not the food itself. In the wild, animal meat makes up most of a dog or wolve’s diet, so you can assume how rare an allergy to it would be.

Conclusion: What to Do?
You see your dog itching constantly, acting strange; his behavior is actually starting to change. What should you do if you think your pup might have a dog food allergy? Bring your pooch in for an exam, and talk this over with your veterinarian! Your vet has the knowledge and experience needed to develop the absolute best plain of attack for your pet’s ‘itchy issue’!

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