Posted at 9:38 pm by nbartell85, on October 9, 2019
Hey Everyone, I wanted to first start by saying thank you to those that have been a part of this blog I know it has been short lived but it has been fun. I may still post a few things here and there but for the most part we are focusing on building ourselves with Instagram and creating our following. I have also landed into something new and fun that I am building over the next few months and I will be making more announcements as the end of the year approaches and I hope you will stay tuned for more updates. In the meantime follow Lily and I on Instagram to keep up with our everyday lives.
Posted at 8:00 am by nbartell85, on September 18, 2019
As humans we don’t give a second thought when it comes to
insurance, whether it be for our health, our car or our home. So why would our
pets be any different? Though pet insurance has been around for awhile a lot of
individuals still do not know a lot about it. So, this week we are going to
break it down with some numbers and go over things to consider if you are in
the market for a pet insurance provider.
Pet insurance has been around longer then you probably
think. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association
(NAPHIA) the first policy was written by Claes Virgin in 1890. Now at that time
he was more focused on horses and livestock. However, thirty-four years later
in 1924 the first dog in Sweden received insurance coverage and that was soon
followed by a policy in Britain in 1947.
Now I am sure we all remember Lassie; I mean who doesn’t. Whether you
grew up watching him or have had your parents tell you stories you probably at
least know of the name. Did you know Lassie was the first dog in the United
States to be issued a pet insurance policy that was issued by Veterinary Pet
Insurance? Fast forward twenty-five
years to 2007 and the NAPHIA was founded in order to establish and maintain
universal and professional standards for terminology, best practices, quality
and ethics in the pet insurance industry.
Now I will admit prior to adopting Lily I really did not
understand pet insurance. I had heard of it, like I am sure most people had,
but I wasn’t knowledgeable on how it could protect me. Now looking back I wish
I had discovered it sooner. There are a few things you should be looking for
when it comes to finding the right pet insurance company. Now one big thing for
me was my out of pocket expenses. Most insurance for pets is a reimbursement
program, meaning when something happens you pay everything up front at the vet
and then submit the claim for your money back (minus the deductible you
choose). For this reason, I have chosen to go with Trupanion, they pay the vet
directly, minus my deductible (I pay that to the vet). One big difference
between insurance for people versus pets is there are no in network or out of
network vets. You can take your pet to any vet you choose. You will also what
to see if the companies you are looking at have a cap on what they will pay
out. My very first company I was with when I adopted Lily had an annual cap of
$5,000. Now I know that probably sounds like a lot, but if you have ever been
through anything serious with your animal it really isn’t a lot. Look at the picture below it will give you a
rough estimate of just some of the situations that can add up to a lot money.
A lot of companies out there will provide you insurance with
no cap, including the one I have Trupanion. That way you can sleep better at
night knowing if the worst happens you are well prepared and won’t find
yourself in a financial hardship choosing between taking care of your pet or
other household obligations.
Now let’s break down some of the other items to consider
with pet insurance. Most if not all companies will have a waiting period.
Meaning that so many days, depending on the company, must pass before your
coverage begins. This is especially important if you are switching companies,
make sure you are still covered by your old provider while the waiting period
for the new provider is in effect. Keep
in mind there may be different waiting periods for different circumstances; one
for illness and one for injury.
Also, as with insurance for people, pet insurance companies will not cover any pre-existing conditions your pet has. This is very important and for this reason it is crucial to insure your pet as early as possible. Most of us probably assume that nothing will happen to our pets till they are much older, but that isn’t always the case. If they develop anything early on and you have waited to get insurance, they will not cover any current illness or disease. Also with pet insurance the majority, if not all companies, will not cover your routine visits (check ups, vaccines, annual exams). Some might include dental cleaning, but once you have narrowed the field down to a few companies you can read right on their website what items they will cover. Of course if there is any confusion you can always call directly.
You will have deductibles for pet insurance, just as we do
for ourselves. You will be responsible for the deductible regardless of the situation.
But there is also something else you will be responsible for and that is the
co-pay. Consider this example. Say Daisy has swallowed a foreign object, as
stated above we know that runs about $3,000. Daisy has coverage with a $500
deductible and 80% reimbursement (meaning her co-pay is 20%).
So, for the above example you will basically be responsible
for $1,000 and you will get $2,000 reimbursed back by your insurance company
for Daisy. Now I know being responsible
for $1,000 is still a lot, but also keep in mind as your pet ages things can
happen, just as with people when we age. Below I will give you a real-life
Before Lily came into my life, my parents and I had rescued two chihuahuas, a black one named Morgan, pictured on the left and a white and brown one named Snowy, pictured in the middle. They loved going for rides in their stroller.
Unfortunately, we were not aware of the importance of pet insurance and how it could have saved my parents thousands in the long run. Morgan and Snowy unfortunately have recently passed with the last few years, both from cancer. Here is what we went through.
Creek (xrays to find cancer)
Pasco Animal Hospital
Cypress Creek (infected
Blue Pearl Heart Test
Cypress Creek EKG
Blue Pearl Annual Heart Test
Cypress Creek Blood Test/X-rays
Blue Pearl Cancer Test
Blue Pearl Chemo (2 Treatments)
As you can see above the expenses racked up pretty high and fast between tests, x-rays and treatments. Just a little over $10,000 and it was all out of pocket, no reimbursement by anyone. This is why I stress pet insurance or some other back up to be ready. I love Lily more than anything and I do not ever want anything to happen but unfortunately it isn’t a matter of if it will happen, but when it will and being prepared to save her life.
Now if you are considering a pet insurance company, according
to Consumer’s Advocate here is a list of the top ten insurance companies of
Prudent Pet Insurance
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
Healthy Paws is rated the best overall company. Here are
some benefits to being a Healthy Paws customer:
#1 rated company for customer satisfaction
A+ BBB accredited with over 97 out of 100 rating
Comprehensive illness and accident coverage
Unlimited lifetime benefits and no claim caps
Free mobile app and no claims form to fill out
If you still feel unsure about pet insurance, it is okay. There is much information and choosing the right company for your pet can be difficult. You may choose one and find a better one later. That’s okay too. If you rather not go the route of insurance at least be well prepared if someday the need for surgery arises. I cannot stress enough the importance of making sure you don’t find yourself in a financial hardship by getting a loan you cannot afford or a second mortgage on your house just because your beloved pet is very sick. Instead of buying a policy on them, pretend you have. Take what you would have spent monthly and save it. Most policies average between $35 and $50 each month (depending on the age of your pet and other levels of coverage you choose). Take that money and open a savings account at your local bank and just forget it is there. Hopefully when the time comes to use it, you have built up enough to help your pet out.
Bottom line is that the value of pet insurance depends on
the level of illness and injury claims you make. “If you use it, it has value.
If you do not use it, it doesn’t.” -NAPHIA
Consider this final picture below of just a highlight of things we have discussed when it comes to finding insurance if you should choose this route. Keeping our pets safe is our number one priority and everyone is different. You need to choose not only what is best for your pet but also your family. No matter what you choose, just have a plan and stick to it.
Posted at 8:00 am by nbartell85, on September 4, 2019
Hello everyone and thanks for checking out this week’s post. This week we are talking pet safety. This is a topic I feel very passionate about and I hope if you’re not doing some of these things maybe you will pick up a few things along the way.
I’ll start first with traveling with your pet. This really applies to anyone whether you’re going out for the day some place local with your pet or you are taking a cross country trip in your RV for three weeks. Regardless of the mode of transportation there are things you can do to keep your pet safe. According to The American Humane Society, an estimated 100,000 dogs die from riding in truck beds alone each year. And that doesn’t include the dogs that die from jumping out of car windows or dogs who are unsecured in the car during a collision. Keeping your pet secured in the car is one of the most important things we can do. And I admit I did not even know about car seat belts until about three years ago, now I would never not use it. Especially since recently. At the end of June, I was rear ended at a traffic light. Now luckily Lily was not with me but if she had been, she would have been secured in the back seat. Without a pet seat belt, you have a higher risk of your dog getting severely injured or worse. Now below on the left is the type of seat belt I prefer. It hooks right into the buckle on your car back seat and the clip on the other end attaches to the harness. Now please keep in mind attaching this to the clip on your dogs’ collar could end up choking them. In an accident the motion will likely push the body forward and with the collar cause them to choke, but with a harness on they would not be choked in that same motion. The picture on the right is also a pet seat belt but not my favorite. Of course, something is better than nothing but with this one instead of a clip on the end that hooks to a harness it has a loop. I just do not feel that would be as secure for the dog.
Now again my preference is the one on the left, but I strongly believe that something is going to be much better than not using anything. Personally, what I do is whether Lily is going to the dog park (which is 2 miles from my house) or for a longer car ride she doesn’t get in the car without her harness so I can buckle her up securely. Just makes me feel better as a fur-momma. Also check out under the Resources tab for an additional link. I found a great article on Rover that discusses some additional types of pet seat belt options and booster seats if your little one is smaller. Did you know that some of them have even crash tested? That is awesome.
Next I just wanted to mention what I call the “Pet Pack”. When Lily leaves the house, we need to have certain things on hand just in case, especially if we might be gone for a few hours. Think of it this way you do not leave your house without your purse (for women), cell phone, maybe you grab a bottle of water and you check to see how much gas you have in your car. Well your dog needs certain things too. So, I take my Pet Pack, which is just a little bag with things I may or may not need. First in my bag is going to be dog wipes. These things as I have recently discovered are quite amazing. They are great for just everyday use in between grooming’s, but if you are out and about you never know what your dog may get into and you want to have them clean before getting into the car. I get mine from PetSmart. They are almost always buy one get one 50% off and each pack comes with one hundred wipes. They are made by Top Paw and the pack of one hundred is $9.99, check them out here. I also carry my Furminator brush, water bottle and of course treats. And regardless where you go the other important item to have is a copy of your dog’s medical records including update copies of the vaccines. Again hopefully you have a fun, safe outing with your dog but if something should happen you will more than likely not be close to your vet and you may need to go elsewhere and they will need to know specific things about your dogs health. Also, if your dog is on any medication make sure to have that as well.
Next I did want to touch upon pet safety for storms. Like I have said I live in Florida where hurricanes are a common worry and being prepared for yourself and your pet is a priority, especially if you live in a flood zone. Parts of Florida flood even after a few hours of heavy rain, and I know other parts of the country are the same. Whether you deal with, hurricanes, tornados or heavy rain and flooding knowing what to do could save you and your pets lives.
According to FEMA things you should keep in your pet emergency kit are the following, food and water for three days, medications medical records and first aid kit, collar with id tag, harness, leash (include backups), crate or carrier, a picture of you and your pet together, important documents (registration and vaccinations), familiar items (toys, blankets, treats and bedding), and plastic bags for cleaning up. In the event of an emergency make sure you bring them inside. Some pets may experience anxiety during storms so make sure to reassure them (this is where having those familiar items will sometimes help). Also, they suggest feeding your pet moist or canned food, this will prevent them from having to drink more. And lastly have some newspapers on hand will be helpful. Your pet won’t be able to go outside for a while, so you’ll want to keep things as sanitary as possible inside the home. Here’s a downloadable guide to help you build your kit for your pet, just click here.
I hope this information has been helpful or for some of you maybe just a refresher as we get into the stormy season across much of the country. I know here in Florida we are already rocking and rolling with are summer showers and hurricanes as of recently. I will also provide a PDF of my “Pet Pack” if you are looking for a quick checklist of suggestions of what to have for simple local day trips or overnight trips with your pets. Just check out the Resources tab above.
Posted at 7:56 am by nbartell85, on August 21, 2019
Lily and I have come along way. This year of 2019 we celebrated 3 years together and it has been adventurous.
After making Lily part of my family, we enjoyed living in Arizona for roughly two years. In that time we did some traveling and I learned very quickly that Lily’s favorite thing to do is lay on the couch with her mommy.
Our first adventure was going to California for Labor Day. I know what you’re thinking, why would I choose a holiday to go someplace that is going to be packed. And although that was very true for the Newport Beach area, I surprisingly found the best hotel rate I had seen in months. I always wanted to take a trip out to Cali, it was after all only 6 hours from Phoenix, but every time I looked for a hotel it was always just so darn expensive, so I passed. Once we finally got there, I wanted to go to so many places there just wasn’t enough time. First on our list was Laguna Beach, I had always heard it was so pretty and boy was it. Lily enjoyed playing at the dog park and making new friends.
Our next stop was our hotel in Newport, it was pretty nice and just about a 10 minute drive to Newport Beach and Balboa Pier. We found a nice quiet spot to lay out a towel and watch the waves roll in, or so I thought. I did not realize how rough the Pacific Ocean was and after a few minutes a wave came up and engulfed us before I could even comprehend what had happened. My beach towel became a prisoner of the ocean. I was however, able to react quick enough to pick up my bag which had my keys and phone inside. Lily on the other hand was incredibly freaked out, but I feel like she knew what was going to happen. She seemed hesitant to settle in at that spot in the beginning. So all in all I learned next time just listen to my dog.
We were only in Cali for two days but I really wanted to go visit the Santa Monica Pier. After circling the area for almost an hour I was finally able to find an over priced place to park. Though busy, it was still very pretty and the pier looked just like it did from pictures I’d seen, however we were not there long. Lily got a bit nervous with the large crowds and ultimately it was better for us to leave and start our drive back home.
My little girl is definitely a bit stubborn and I think she has learned if she doesn’t like something eventually I will give in to her. I guess I need to work on this.
Anyway our next adventure was a trip to the mountains. This was November of 2017 and by this time I knew I was moving back home the end of February of 2018. All I wanted was to enjoy a nice mountain trip where I could enjoy the peacefulness of a rustic cabin with a fire going in the background, but with some modern indoor conveniences like a bathroom.
Once again Lily proved to be stubborn. It takes her a while sometimes to warm up to new places and it was quite a while before she settled. But this trip went much better then our Cali trip. As you can see from the pictures below we were really set away from big towns and our cabins had a creek running right through the area. The crisp mountain area was very refreshing and definitely an experience I recommend to everyone. The area is the Christopher Creek Cabins located in Payson, AZ. It is pet friendly and budget friendly as well. You can bring your own food and supplies as you have a kitchen with a microwave and a refrigerator. They even supply camping style plates and silverware for use while you’re there. And if you are trying to escape the heat from Phoenix, at an elevation of 6800 feet, you will definitely find cooler temperatures.
After returning back from our mountain experience, we started the process to slowly pack up little things here and there over the next four months. And boy oh boy what a job that was. I though I was being diligent by starting so early to save time in the long run, but even in the last week before our departure there was still so much to do. I was so exhausted and I hadn’t even started the thirty-one hour trip from Phoenix, AZ to Tampa, FL yet.
The trip took three and a half days, which all things considering, was not too bad. We did make a stop along the way. One thing I will fill you in on is I love watching HGTV in my spare time so of course I went to Waco, TX to visit where Chip and Joanna Gaines started. Their shop was amazing! If I had only had more room in my car I would have definitely bought more. If you choose to go you must fast for a week first to make room for all the yummy cupcakes you will want to eat at the bakery. That is one stop you will not want to miss.
Along our journey home we ran into dust storms in Texas that actually blew tumbleweeds across the road. It looked like something out of a western movie. But we made it home to Florida safe and sound. Lily actually started to settle in quite well to her new home. She loves the extra attention she gets from having my mom and dad around, especially my mom who we call Granny. Granny gives Lily lots of extra lovin and yummies when I am at work.
And now here we are, all settled in to life in Florida. Since being home we did take a road trip to Charlotte, NC to visit my aunt. Lily had a blast. My aunt has a beautiful two story, brick house and Lily had it all to herself (no other doggies to share it with). You’ll see in the picture below she was quite comfortable there.
We hope to do a lot more traveling that we can share with all of you. And along the way share some tips and tricks and things I have learned along about pet parenting.
You now know the story of Lily and her mommy. I am looking forward to this new journey we are embarking onto together.