I am frequently asked what I think about pet health insurance. It used to be easy because there was only one company that offered it. Nowadays, pet insurance companies are like toothpaste, they come in all varieties. This only makes things more confusing.
My recommendations are: Research the company and get feedback from people who purchased their policy. Insurance companies, whether they are pet or human, are in the business to make money, not give your pet free vet services. Most companies refuse to pay for pre-existing conditions and they will try to find every way possible to link the current condition with a pre-existing illness. So called “pet insurance” from a corporate vet clinic is not health insurance. It is an attempt to sell you services at a reduced price that are not in the best interest of your pet (annual vaccinations, annual dental cleaning, etc). Purchasing pet insurance for older pets will probably not be a benefit due to the pre-existing clause as well as the waiting period. This leaves us with the reality that if you are considering pet health insurance, it is likely wise to start when your pet is young and healthy.
The best pet health insurance available is to re-condition yourself and break away from the current philosophy of pet health care. As a conventional veterinarian for many years, my idea of preventative health care was to get your pet into my office once a year so that I could do a quick, cursory exam and give it the annual vaccinations that I believed would protect your dog. If your pet was a senior pet, then, of course it would include some lab work in order to pick up conditions that did not readily appear on the physical exam.
This is not preventative pet health care. Preventative health care (natural pet health insurance) is much more than this. It starts with a better understanding that the pet is much more than the sum of its body parts and recognized that many things influence its health beyond the scope of conventional veterinary medicine.
Starting with the physical body, it is imperative that we feed the correct diet. Every chronic disease we find in the dog and cat can be directly linked to feeding an inappropriate diet. This does not mean grain-free kibble. It means feeding a balanced diet using wholesome food. There is no such thing as a healthy heat-processed kibble or canned diet. Whether the kibble cost $10 a bag or $80 a bag, it is still unhealthy. It is convenient for you, but not good for your pet. This is an enormous factor in pet health care from a preventative, pro-active perspective. It is easy, not expensive and a great way to keep your pet healthy.
The pet’s immune system function is critical in preventative health care. Without a balanced immune system, your pet cannot stay healthy. Immune system function begins at the level of the gut, so we must keep the gut healthy if we want to keep the pet healthy. The best way to keep the gut healthy is to feed a balanced, fresh diet, add digestive enzymes to help the gut and give a daily probiotic. This will keep the gut microbe (good bacteria) in balance and avoid harmful yeast overgrowth.
The other method to keep the pet’s immune system is to avoid over-vaccination. Although the national veterinary guidelines for immunization says that we veterinarians should not be vaccinating more frequently than once every three years, 41% of the vets here in the US still vaccinate annually. Over-vaccination has been linked to many diseases and is obviously harmful to the pet’s immune system.
The other recommendation I give to all my clients as a prevention is to avoid using chemical flea and tick control. These insecticides are harmful to pets and their use has been linked to many diseases. There are many natural methods in order to control fleas and ticks. Research those instead of using pesticides.
When we expand our awareness of the links to pet health, we have to include the overall health of the pet’s environment. There are many toxic chemicals that we routinely use in our homes and these, in time, will affect the pet’s health. These includes cleansers, detergents, air fresh products and so on. It would be wise to research those potential harmful chemicals and replace them with non-toxic products that avoid health issues with your pet and yourself.
Another very important factor with regard to your pet’s health care is harmful energy in the environment. Everything, including your pet’s body, is energy and energy has its own laws. Thoughts, emotions and feelings are also energetic. If the environment has a lot of ongoing stress, the energy in the environment becomes harmful and in time will appear as illness, both emotional and physical. We must be cognizant of the environmental energy. Even though we cannot see this energy, it remains there and is accumulative.
A good way to handle stress energy is to routinely smudge the environment. This Native American ritual is a great way to remove negative energy. Google how to do this. Using calming essential oils diffused in the environment will also help (avoid using them with cats in the room). If you are struggling with stress, find ways to remove the negative energy by meditating or other methods of raising energy levels that neutralize the negative energy from harmful thoughts and emotions.
If you want to insure your pet’s health, focus on a great preventative philosophy and you won’t have to rely on the pet insurance industry.
What about you? Have you been convinced to purchase pet health insurance? How did it work for you?
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