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(BPT) – Pet parents know that there’s nothing like the love of furry family members. Keeping your pets healthy is a priority because you want them to live as long as possible. However, health care costs for pets are expensive, and if you are dealing with additional expenses such as prescriptions for chronic conditions, it can become a burden to your budget.

Fortunately, there are several things pet owners can do proactively to keep pets healthy and save money on health care costs.
Invest in preventative care

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is just as applicable to pets as it is to their human caregivers. One of the most important things a pet parent can do to ensure the ongoing health of any animal is to bring them in for annual checkups whether they are experiencing health issues or not.
During wellness checkups, veterinarians can screen for a variety of health conditions. They provide insight on diseases, age-related concerns, dental health, nutritional considerations and so much more. Plus you’re able to provide your pet with important vaccinations. Regular checkups help vets identify problems sooner rather than later, and this can translate to more affordable health care costs to pet parents in the long run.

Get an Inside Rx Pets prescription card
Costs for managing your pet’s health can be a bear with pet owners spending more than $8 billion on prescription and over-the-counter medications annually. The Inside Rx Pets program offers savings on commonly prescribed medications such as insulin and antibiotics, as well as seizure, glaucoma and anti-inflammatory drugs. The Inside Rx Pets savings card is not insurance; it is a savings card you can use for certain human medications that may be prescribed for your pet. A complete list of the medications with which you can use the Inside Rx Pet card, as well as pricing information and other details, can be found at https://InsideRx.com/Pets.

Benefiting from these discounts is easy for pet parents: If your pet’s veterinarian writes a prescription for an applicable medication, simply download the free discount card from the Inside Rx Pets website and present it with the prescription at one of the 40,000 participating pharmacies located across the U.S. that fill prescriptions for animals. These include national chains such as Kroger Family of Pharmacies, CVS and Walgreens (yes, the same pharmacies you go to for your own medications).

Exercise and focus on nutrition

Obesity is a growing concern for many pets. Poor nutrition paired with limited exercise causes pets to put on additional weight. This weight can put them at higher risk for health concerns like diabetes, osteoarthritis and ligament injuries. These health concerns not only risk the quality of life for Fluffy or Fido, but also can deeply impact your pocketbook.

Pets, just like humans, require exercise and proper nutrition to stay healthy and feel their best. Whether that’s letting your rabbit out of the cage to run or going on a walk with your dog, be sure to make regular exercise a part of your fur family’s routine. If you’re unsure what is appropriate for your pet, call your veterinarian or bring it up at a wellness visit. They’ll be delighted you reached out for more information to keep your pet healthy.
Start an emergency fund

Choosing between a pet and an unexpected health expense is something no one wants to experience. Being prepared can make a big difference when facing difficult decisions, so it’s wise to have savings set aside in case of a rainy day.

Some people are starting pet health savings accounts (HSAs) that are similar to the accounts that people hold for themselves to pay for medical expenses. Whether you choose that path or a traditional savings account, when you have an emergency fund you won’t have to worry about any unexpected expenses, so you can simply focus on getting your pet well again.

Being proactive is important for keeping your pets healthy for many years. From scheduling annual wellness visits to taking advantage of the Inside Rx Pets discount card, there are many easy actions pet parents can take today to reduce costs so furry family members stay well.
Courtesy Brandpoint Content

Courtesy BrandPoint Content
(BPT) – Hi, I’m Spike, and recently, something scary happened to me. I started to be thirsty all the time and kept begging to go outside to use the bathroom. I even had a couple of “accidents” in the house. I also felt really tired – so tired that I didn’t want to play fetch with my dad, Josh, anymore, which is my favorite thing in the whole world to do.

One day, I was talking to my friend Sugar, who has pet diabetes, and she asked me if I was having any other signs, including drinking large amounts of water, frequent bathroom breaks and/or having “accidents” in the house, always being hungry, weight loss despite good appetite and acting sluggish or depressed. I’d been experiencing a couple of these signs for a while, so she suggested that I might have pet diabetes, too. So, I asked Josh to bring me to the veterinarian. It helped that Sugar’s family told Josh all about my friend’s diabetes and encouraged him to call the veterinarian. She ran some tests and diagnosed me with pet diabetes based on my blood sugar levels.

Both Josh and I were scared at first, but my veterinarian assured us that with the right care and control, pet diabetes is a manageable condition. That is why Sugar and I are working with Merck Animal Health to provide pet owners with the tools they need to help manage their pets’ diabetes.

What We Learned About Pet Diabetes

My dad, Josh, didn’t know anything about pet diabetes, but my veterinarian said she was happy that he brought me in to see her. She knew a lot about the condition and was able to answer all of our questions. And since Sugar’s diabetes has been well-regulated for almost a year now, she’s been a huge help too (she claims she is a purrfect patient). With help from my veterinarian and Sugar, we learned that:

* Diabetes isn’t just a human condition. Diabetes affects the amount of glucose, or sugar, in your blood whether you are human, a dog or a cat. This happens when your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it properly.

* Pet diabetes is more common than you think. Since 2006, the number of cats and dogs diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. has grown by an average of 49 percent – and those numbers are expected to continue to rise.

* Any dog can develop diabetes, but it is most frequently diagnosed in middle-aged to older dogs. Female dogs are twice as likely to be affected as male dogs, though the numbers are approximately equal in neutered populations.

* For cats, diabetes is most commonly found in those that are older, but it has been diagnosed in cats of all ages and breeds. Obese or inactive cats are also at higher risk for developing diabetes.

Diabetes is a Manageable Condition, with the Right Care and Control

If you ask Sugar, she’ll tell you to work with your veterinarian and educate yourself about how to take care of a pet with diabetes. My veterinarian helped Josh develop a diabetes management plan that fit my needs. Your pet’s plan may include a prescribed diet, exercise, glucose monitoring and an insulin injection routine, depending on the animal’s individual needs.

At first, Josh was really nervous about giving me insulin injections, but the veterinarian taught him how to help me relax by petting me for a few minutes before or giving me the injection while I’m eating. Now, I sometimes don’t even know that it’s happening!

You also can download the free Pet Diabetes Tracker app on your iPhone or Android, like my family did, to help keep track of your pet’s activity, water and food intake, blood glucose and more. The best part – the app can send the information directly to your veterinarian!

Visit www.SugarandSpike.com for more information about pet diabetes and tips to help you manage your pet’s disease. Or if you suspect that your four-legged friend may have diabetes, talk directly with your veterinarian.
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(BPT) – From their loyal ways to their silly antics, pets bring so much joy to homes. While you wouldn’t trade any of the cuddles and welcome-home slobbers, one thing most pet owners don’t find quite as lovable is all the pet hair!When you live with a furry friend, it’s inevitable that there will be pet hair everywhere-hiding under tables, collecting in corners and clinging to clothes and furniture. Cleaning up after it all can be hard work-but the good news is that there are some ways to keep it under control.

With a few simple steps, you can keep your home clean and free from pet hair (at least until that next shake).

1) Embrace your inner groomer. The best way to deal with pet hair in your home is to stop it even before it starts. Regularly grooming your pet will help control pet hair and shedding. Get into the habit of brushing your pet each day.Chances are, they’ll enjoy the extra attention, and you’ll be able to collect and dispose of their hair before it gets everywhere else. If your pet needs extra care, take them to a groomer every couple of months to really control the undercoat or longer hair.

2) Use a vacuum designed to pick up pet hair. After you’ve used a conventional vacuum that fails to pick up your dog or cat’s hair a couple of times, it’s probably safe to say that you’ve had enough.
Get your hands on a vacuum built for the job, like the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser® Lift-Off® Upright Pet Vacuum, which is engineered specifically for homes with pets. It combines the power of an upright vacuum with the cleaning convenience of a lightweight, portable canister, so you can clean tight corners, stairs and furniture easily. It also has a tangle-free brush roll, so you don’t have to worry about hair wrapping around it. When you’re done, you can empty the canister without touching the hair inside.

3) Strategically place throw rugs around the house. Carpet and rugs are a magnetfor pet hair-so use them to your advantage!

Place throw rugs in areas your cat or dog frequents and they can collect the lion’s share of the shedding before the hair infiltrates every nook and cranny in the rest of your home. Then you can easily vacuum those rugs!
4) Give your pet a designated hang-out spot. While your favorite four-legged companion is hanging out around the house, offer them an extra comfy spot or twoon the floor with large throw pillows or a pet bed so they have their own space.They’ll end up spending much of their time in these cozy spots and it will help you out by making the area you need to clean smaller.

5) Washable slipcover.

There’s no reason to cut out couch cuddles with your fluffy friend. A washable slipcover for your furniture can work wonders to protect furniture from hair and messes. And, it doesn’t have to be the unsightlyplastic covers people used to have -contemporary slipcovers are made of soft cloth, are easy to remove and look great. Most you can even throw in your washing machine to easily to remove the hair. In between washings, using vacuum attachments will help keep your couch hair free.After trying out these tricks, the only evidence that there’s a pet in your homewill be from the lovable, furry greeting they give you when you walk in the door!
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(BPT) – You’re an animal lover, and you’ve dreamed about your dog running through a field alongside a horse or watching your pup play with a pet goat. But how will your companions respond when they meet their new unique sibling?
To make sure your pets start their relationship out right, the experts at Tractor Supply Company, a nationwide rural lifestyle retailer celebrating Pet Appreciation Week Sept. 13-17, have five tips to make the introduction as seamless as possible.
Taking the appropriate steps to properly introduce your dog to another animal – such as a horse, pig, goat or rabbit – will drastically improve the chances of the two becoming friends.

1. Consider your pet’s personality
Dogs are instinctively pack animals and tend to get along well with others, especially ones that roam in a pack or herd such as horses, goats and sheep.

But teaching your dog to live with respect for members of another species will depend on several factors, including its age, breed and temperament.

While breed doesn’t always predict an animal’s personality, it can be insightful in determining likely traits. For instance, labs, retrievers and terriers are natural hunters and might be better friends with a goat or pig rather than a rabbit.
Also consider interactions your pet has had with other dogs to indicate how a future meeting with an unfamiliar animal might go.

2. Let the new pet get comfortable
Your dog isn’t the only animal dealing with a change. Remember your new flock, pet goat or rabbit may need a few days to get used to their surroundings. Giving animals some time to learn their environment can alleviate some initial skittish behavior.

3. Set up a controlled introduction

Whether introducing a small rabbit or big horse, start with a meeting where you have the control. Prior to orchestrating the first sniff, place your new animal inside a fenced enclosure that allows both your dog and the new friend enough space to observe each other.

Once your dog has taken in all of the initial sights and smells, it still may take several weeks for comfort to set in. Take it slow, be persistent, and remember that peaceful coexistence starts with familiarity.

4. Reward calm behavior
Chances are your dog will be suspicious of something new in its backyard domain. If your dog starts wiggling with excitement or whining, that’s normal!

Reinforce positive interactions by offering comfort and rewarding submissive body language, such as relaxed ears and a lowered head.

Be patient. Dogs are not trained overnight.

5. Leashed meeting
Next, using a leash, bring your dog to meet the new pet. Let them check each other out and interact in a safe way. Repeat this process for as long as it takes for your dog to relax.

This portion of the interaction will require close observation of your dog’s behavior. Any type of tension or aggression needs to result in a firm “no,” while good behavior should be verbally praised.

In the event that your dog shows signs of fear or aggression, increase your distance until you’ve reestablished a calm demeanor and then try again.

Continue this ritual until your dog and your new pet start to behave like old friends.

During Pet Appreciation Week, Sept. 13-17, Tractor Supply stores across the country will celebrate pets and animals as well as collect supplies for local animal shelters and rescues. As part of the main event on Saturday, Sept. 16, many Tractor Supply stores will also feature animal adoptions by community partners, demonstrations on pet nutrition and discounts on pet and animal products.

For expert advice on raising pets and other animals, visit TractorSupply.com/KnowHow.
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