The American Veterinary Medical Association says pet ownership has plummeted in this country, with two million fewer dogs and almost 8 million fewer pet cats than just six years ago. I've heard all sorts of reasons for the growing absence of the family pet. An obvious one is the lingering recession. When I see shoppers buy canned pet food these days, I no longer assume it's for the family dog. It could be for them! Another reason is downsizing. Fewer people live in homes which can accommodate furry friends; many people no longer live in homes. Then there is the all-to-common divorce or separation of a family. Children used to dream about a puppy or kitten. Now the distress of living in single-parent homes caused by the on-going war, the economy or the inability to sell a home when a job is offered in another place creates a big burden on the parent left behind. He or she doesn't need a dog to walk or a litter box to clean, on top of everything else. Worth her weight in gold But I heard another reason when my son came home from the vet's. A couple of shots, a check of… (continue reading......)
As if the obesity epidemic weren't already a weighty enough issue, it turns out we're not the only ones getting fat and risking our health. Our pets are getting pudgy, too, and they're paying a big price. Petplan, a pet insurance company based in Philadelphia, says its 2011 claims data show obesity-related illnesses and injuries for cats and dogs are on the rise. Claims for arthritis more than tripled last year, rising 348 percent from the previous year. Claims for diabetes more than doubled, up 253 percent. Claims for cardiac disease rose 32 percent, while injuries linked to obesity, such as cruciate ligament tears, neared the top of the list of conditions generating the most claims, Petplan said. All of those conditions can affect any pet, but fat cats and dogs are at higher risk. What's to blame? The same factors making people fat and boosting human health insurance costs are at work for pets -- too little exercise and too much food. More than half of the nation's dogs and cats are now overweight, according to a recent study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Its survey found 55 percent of cats and 53 percent dogs were overweight… (continue reading......)
We expect rich people to live high on the hog, but there are some animals that enjoy independent wealth as well. Many pets live plush lifestyles due to inheritances left to them by their owners (and they're likely to have comprehensive pet health insurance policies). Indeed, you may be surprised at some of pets that have more money than you do. Here are some of the world's 12 independently wealth pets: 1. Gunther IV When Carlotta Liebenstein, a German countess, died, she left a fortune to her dog, Gunther III. This dog had a son, Gunther IV. Thanks to shrewd investments on his behalf, Gunther IV's inheritance has grown quite a bit, to $372 million by some estimates. There are even reports that Gunther IV owns a home that once belonged to Madonna. 2. Toby Rimes When New York heiress Ella Wendel died in the first half of the 20th Century, she left $30 million to her poodle. That fortune has been passed down through the years to the descendants of the original poodle. Additionally, the fortune has grown over time, thanks to masterful handling of the dog's legacy. The current inheritor, Toby Rimes, is one rich poodle, reportedly worth… (continue reading......)
When I began working on my family disaster preparedness plan, I thought I had it all under control. Non-perishable food? Check. Plenty of water? Check. Extra medications, clothes, toiletries and other necessities? Check! I even made copies of my home insurance policy and other important papers -- just in case. I was feeling quite proud of myself until I looked down and saw my beloved cat twirling herself around my ankles, purring up a storm. My emergency evacuation plan was done for humans -- but how could I forget about my furry bundle of joy? Emergencies happen every day. You never know when your life plunge into chaos. The Insurance Information Institute recommends making your pets part of your family disaster plan by forming an evacuation protocol for them in the event of an emergency. I started with the basics. This included a carrier for my cat, cans of food, bottled water, a leash and a small box of cat litter. Those basic necessities might get her through a few nights, but what if we were stuck away from home for a while? When creating an evacuation plan, remember the long-term things you might need. Have a copy of your… (continue reading......)
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