Canadians love their pets, especially cats and dogs. According to the Canadian Animal Health Institute, there were 8.2 million pet dogs in the country in 2018, and 8.3 million cats.
Pet ownership has been shown to provide both physical and mental benefits to humans: The need for dogs to go for walks can increases our fitness levels and the companionship of a pet, whether it be a cat, bird or gerbil, can lower stress levels and help with mental health.
Protect your pet and protect your home
Owning a pet is a responsibility. There are many risks and potential hazards in the home that can put pets at risk and curious animals can cause a lot of damage.
“You need to pet-proof your home,” says Natalia Hanson, marketing and communications co-ordinator for Humane Canada™, the country’s federation of humane societies. “If there is something of value, like purses, or shoes, keep them out of reach of the pet. When they are teething, they have a need to chew, just like a baby. Furniture that’s been scratched or clawed is a huge thing that we see. Cats are very smart. They cause more mayhem than dogs.”
So, how do you protect your pet and your home?
“The best advice I give clients is to establish a ‘safe haven’ type of setup,” says Dr. Colleen Wilson, a specialist in veterinary behavioural medicine. “This is a gated area like a mud room or another smaller area, or a crate. Inside this favoured area are all the great things dogs like, such as a bed, water bowl, treats, or puzzle toys to work on. Establishing this before needed, and using it daily, is of paramount importance.”
Hanson says the crate for a dog should be large enough so they can stand up and move around freely. A crate that’s too small will cause the dog to become anxious.
If you let your pet roam freely around the home, look for hazards. Something as simple as a rocking chair can injure your rabbit if it’s sitting near the runners, for instance.
- Place medications, cleaning products, and anything that is toxic onto high counters or in cupboards or containers that pets can’t open.
- Make sure oven burners are turned off. Hanson says she knows of several incidents in which cats were brought to the vet because their paws had been burned after jumping up on the stovetop.
- Make sure wires from computers, televisions and lamps are not dangling, and are out of reach.
- Install childproof latches for cabinets and baby gates for stairs if there are puppies or kittens in the house.
- Some common houseplants, such as English ivy, are poisonous. Keep them out of reach or don’t have them in the home.
- In the garage, move all harmful chemicals onto a top shelf. Many animals like the taste of antifreeze, but it’s highly toxic and kills thousands of animals every year. Make sure any antifreeze that has leaked from the car is cleaned up off the garage floor.
- Keep all sharp tools out of reach.
- Curious pets such as kittens can get anywhere in the home – make sure you don’t close your dresser drawer or closet or clothes dryer with your pet inside.
“Dogs that are left to run free in the home without supervision is like leaving a toddler to run loose in the home,” says Wilson. “You run the risk of them getting into all kinds of troubles, like chewing inappropriate items, counter-surfing, ingesting toxins like common headache medication that most of us leave lying around.”
Consider pet insurance
If your pet becomes ill or gets injured, veterinary bills can be costly – sometimes thousands of dollars. However, with insurance, pet parents can buy peace of mind, and it’s surprisingly affordable.
Accident and illness coverage is the most popular plan, he adds. The plan offers coverage for a variety of veterinary services including consultations, exams, hospitalization, prescription medications, surgery, and specialist referrals performed by a licensed veterinarian.
Plans are also flexible, allowing pet parents to choose from $7,500 coverage per year or $15,000 coverage per year. Depending on the type of pet and its breed, premiums range between $300 and $900 per year.
For some, this may be a small price to pay to give their beloved pet the best care possible in any situation.
“Pets can encounter similar medical issues as humans — cancer, seizures, vision problems, or bowel diseases, to name a few,” Fisch says. “Though the veterinary field has excelled in expanding and evolving care for pets, the drawback is modern treatments can be expensive. Pet insurance can help with these costs”
Disclaimer: This information and the opinions expressed in this blog are based on research and interviews with the authorities identified, conducted on behalf of Allstate Canada. They have been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as legal or insurance advice. *All pet insurance plans have limitation and exclusions. Specific products, features, rates, and discounts may vary by province/territory, eligibility, and are subject to change. This advertisement is an outline only, the actual policy issued Terms and Conditions will prevail. Medical Conditions that are noted, symptomatic or diagnosed prior to enrollment, or during a waiting period are pre-existing to Coverage and not eligible for reimbursement.
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