The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Pet Food The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Pet Food
Showing posts with label Pet Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pet Food. Show all posts

Friday, March 15, 2024

12 Best Urinary Cat Foods of 2023

Why would you move your kitty to a urinary cat food? How would you know that it might help with a problem, and what problem would that be!?

Well, are you noticing weird behavior in your cat lately? Has she been peeing around the house or refuses to use her litter box?

Cats do the most insane things and this makes them all the more lovable. But sometimes their strange behavior stems from underlying issues and one of the most common health scares is urinary health problems. But don’t panic, a simple diet change to one of the best urinary cat foods can fix this problem for your beloved moggy!

To read more on this story, click here: 12 Best Urinary Cat Foods of 2023


Sunday, January 15, 2023

If Your Dog Has An Upset Stomach, Try These Foods

At some time or another, most dog owners will have to deal with the occasional upset stomach in their pet.  Stomach upset can be caused by many things and when it happens, it can be miserable for both dog and owner.

Why do dogs get an upset stomach?

Dogs can get an upset stomach for many reasons and when symptoms are mild, most of the time it can be handled at home.  Some of the most common reasons a dog will throw up or get gas and diarrhea include:

To read more on this story, click here: If Your Dog Has An Upset Stomach, Try These Foods


Saturday, June 25, 2022

‘A SENSE OF RELIEF’: Meals on Wheels offers pet care assistance to clients

HANCOCK COUNTY — Peggy McConnell was moved to tears when she opened her Meals on Wheels delivery a couple months ago.

It wasn’t the sight of the food that made her emotional, but the flyer attached on top, announcing that Meals on Wheels of Hancock County would start offering financial assistance for pet food, veterinary care and pet boarding.

To read more on this story, click here: ‘A SENSE OF RELIEF’: Meals on Wheels offers pet care assistance to clients


Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Joys of Owning a Cat

Owning a cat can bring unconditional love and companionship to your life. Having a feline friend can also help to relieve stress and improve your heart health.

Owning a cat can be an extremely rewarding relationship. A cat has the ability to both calm your nervous system and provide an immediate outlet for fun and play. Although cats are independent animals who like to scavenge and explore on their own terms, they are also very affectionate with their owners and people they trust.

To read more on this story, click here: The Joys of Owning a Cat


Thursday, August 19, 2021

FDA Says Violations at Pet Food Plants ‘Likely' Contributed to Hundreds of Sick, Dead Dogs

The agency said it is aware of more than 130 pet deaths and more than 220 pet illnesses that are possibly be linked to brands of pet food manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods

Violations of federal protocols at manufacturing plants that produce multiple brands of pet food, nearly a dozen of which were recalled earlier this year, likely caused hundreds of pets to become ill and die.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced it warned Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. in a letter that inspectors found the company's food safety program to be inadequate, discovering salmonella and toxic levels of aflatoxin at four of its plants in Chickasha, Oklahoma; Waverly, New York; Evansville, Indiana; and Monmouth, Illinois.

To read more on this story, click here:  FDA Says Violations at Pet Food Plants ‘Likely' Contributed to Hundreds of Sick, Dead Dogs


Sunday, September 6, 2020

3 Types of Dog Foods Sold Nationwide Recalled Over High Levels of Mold Byproduct

Sunshine Mills has issued a voluntary recall of three dog food products due to high levels of aflatoxin, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring mold by-product and can be harmful to pets if consumed in significant quantities.

Family Pet Meaty Cuts beef chicken & cheese flavors premium dog food, Heartland Farms grilled favorites beef chicken & cheese flavor, and Paws Happy Life butcher’s choice dog food have been affected by the recall announced Wednesday. The products were distributed in retail stores nationwide.

To read more on this story, click here: 3 Types of Dog Foods Sold Nationwide Recalled Over High Levels of Mold Byproduct


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Nationwide Recall Issued For Dog Food Due To Possible Salmonella Contamination


On August 24, 2020 Sunshine Mills, Inc. issued a voluntary recall of Nature’s Menu® Super Premium Dog Food with a Blend of Real Chicken & Quail because of the potential to be contaminated with On August 24, 2020 Sunshine Mills, Inc. issued a voluntary recall of Nature’s Menu® Super Premium Dog Food with a Blend of Real Chicken & Quail because of the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

To read more on this story, click here: Nationwide Recall Issued For Dog Food Due To Possible Salmonella Contamination


Thursday, June 25, 2020

9-Year-Old Boy Sells Custom Pet Paintings For Food and Supplies For Shelter Animals

You don’t have to be supersized to do something wonderful. In fact, even the smallest of people can make a difference in this world. That is what you will see with this young child, who is stepping up to the plate and making a difference in a big way.

The nine-year-old Russian boy, Pavel Abramov, is doing his part to help animals at local shelters. He is an artist at such a young age who lives in the small city of Arzamas in Nizhny Novgorod. He has been busy painting pictures of pets but he isn’t collecting money to buy the latest gadget, he is exchanging the pictures for supplies and food to be donated to a local shelter.


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Lisbon Business Donates 50,000 Pounds of Pet Food

Pet food is considered an essential item here in Ohio and in Pennsylvania, and it can get expensive

LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – We’ve seen thousands of people go through food donation lines here in the Valley, but one thing that often gets overlooked is the need for pet food.

Pet food for dogs and cats was one of the items we saw people panic buying in March. During that time period, dog food sales spiked almost 54 percent, which made finding it difficult.

Pet food is considered an essential item here in Ohio and in Pennsylvania, and it can get expensive. Buying dog food when you’re unemployed or furloughed can be tough as the average bag costs about $20 to $30.

To read more on this story, click here: Lisbon Business Donates 50,000 Pounds of Pet Food


Monday, March 18, 2019

Human Food That is Safe (And Healthy) for Your Dogs!

We all like to give our dogs’ treats or even some leftovers from dinner.  Or sometimes you want to make or share something you’re snacking on with your dogs and aren’t sure if it’s safe for them.  There are many human food items that are good for your dogs and can even be a nice addition to their diet.  Of course, each dog is different, so always start slowly with any new food item to see how your dog reacts.

Below are just some of the many human food items that are safe and even good for your dogs:


Salmon is a fatty fish which is also a good source of omega- 3 fatty acids. These fats support the immune system and can be beneficial for your dog’s skin and coat. There has also been some indication that they may benefit dogs with allergies. You can feed salmon or salmon oil. If feeding salmon, make sure it’s cooked before serving, as raw salmon can carry a parasite that can make your dog sick.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber.  They also contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, beta carotene, and manganese. Sweet potatoes are great sliced and dehydrated as a chewy treat for your dog. They are known to help with your dog’s digestive issues (as is pumpkin- also listed).

To read more on this story, click here: Human Food That is Safe (And Healthy) for Your Dogs!


Friday, September 28, 2018

Does Your Dog or Cat Have Allergies That Last All Year Long? - They May Have a Food Allergy

Just as in humans, dogs and cats can have certain allergies to a specific type of food.  In fact, food allergies account for about 10% of all the allergies seen in dogs and cats. It is the third most common cause after flea bite allergies. Food allergies affect both males and females and can show up as early as five months and as late as twelve years of age.  Food allergies in dogs and cats can be cured with a little time, effort and change in diet.

The difference between food allergies and intolerance to food
There is a difference between food allergies and food intolerance. Food allergies are true allergies and show the characteristic symptoms of allergies such as itching and skin problems associated with canine and feline allergies. Food intolerances can result in diarrhea or vomiting and do not create a typical allergic response. Food intolerances in cats or dogs would be similar to people who get an upset stomach from eating spicy foods or sometimes dairy. Fortunately, both food intolerances and allergies can be eliminated with a diet free from whatever food it is that is causing the allergy.

The most common food that causes allergies
Several studies have shown that some ingredients are more likely to cause food allergies than others. The most common food that causes allergies in dogs and cats are beef, dairy products, chicken, lamb, fish, chicken eggs, corn, wheat, and soy. Unfortunately, the most common offenders are the most common ingredients in dog and cat food. While some proteins might be slightly more allergy inducing than others, many proteins are similar and therefore the allergic reactions are associated with the amount of each in the food.

Symptoms of food allergies in cats and dogs
The symptoms of food allergies are similar to those of most allergies seen in dogs and cats. The most common symptom is itchy skin affecting primarily the face, feet, ears, forelegs, armpits and the area around the anus. Symptoms may also include chronic ear infections, hair loss, excessive scratching, hot spots, and skin infections that respond to antibiotics but reoccur after antibiotics are discontinued.  It is sometimes difficult to distinguish food allergies from the more common allergies. One sign is if the allergies last all year round, it is probably a food allergy.

Diagnosis for food allergies in cats and dogs
The diagnosis for food allergies is very straightforward. But due to the fact that many other problems can cause similar symptoms and that many times animals are suffering from more problems than just food allergies, it is very important that all other problems are properly identified and treated prior to undergoing diagnosis for food allergies.  Your vet can determine if your dog or cat is just have a normal skin allergy.

Try to feed your dog or cat a new source of protein
A way to get rid of a food allergy is to feed your dog or cat a new food source of protein and carbohydrate for at least twelve weeks i.e. a protein and carbohydrate that your dog or cat has never eaten before. Examples would include be rabbit and rice, or venison and potato. There are a number of such commercial diets available on the market. In addition, there are specialized diets that have the proteins and carbohydrates broken down into such small sizes that they no longer would trigger an allergic response. Regardless of the diet route you choose, the particular food needs to be the only thing that your dog or cat eats for 12 weeks. This means no treats, no flavored medications, no rawhide, cat nip, only the special food and water.

Treatment for food allergies in dogs and cats
The treatment for food allergies is avoidance. Once you have been identified the offending food through a food trial, then they can be eliminated from the diet. Short-term relief may be gained with fatty acids, antihistamines, and steroids, but elimination of the products from the diet is the only long-term solution. .

If you choose to feed your dog or cat a homemade diet, then you can periodically change the ingredients off your food and determine which ingredients are causing the food allergy. For example, if your dog or cat’s symptoms subsided on a diet of rabbit and potatoes, then you can add beef to the diet for two weeks.

If your dog or cat still showed no symptoms, then you can add chicken for two weeks. If your beloved dog or cat now has symptoms, then chicken is clearly one of the things your dog or cat was allergic to. The chicken could be withdrawn and after the symptoms cleared up, a different ingredient could be added and so on until all of the offending ingredients were identified. A diet could then be formulated that was free of the offending food sources.

You can also you the same principal with very pure pet foods that are on the market and are chicken or beef based, and then add or switch accordingly.

As with all diets, make sure to check with your veterinarian to make sure that they agree with your basic diet and that all other allergies have been ruled out.


Monday, September 3, 2018

Here’s Why People are Upgrading Their Dog Food

Do you know what’s in your dog’s food? If not, the food you’re feeding your dog could be dangerous, and there’s certain things big dog food brands don’t want you to discover.

In some cases, your pup’s daily dinner could be as bad as fast food—every time you scoop kibble into his bowl or feed him a dish of wet food, you’re serving him a fatty burger and greasy fries. Luckily, there are hundreds of new healthy dog food companies that are desperate to give you great deals if you look in the right places.

If you’ve been buying dog food from the biggest pet food brands, Dogs Naturally Magazine reports that these “healthy” meals are hiding processed foods, harmful chemicals, and dangerously fatal ingredients in your dog’s food. Worse, the more affordable a dog food brand is, the more disgustingly unhealthy it is.

To read more on this story, click here: Here’s Why People are Upgrading Their Dog Food


Saturday, August 18, 2018

5 Mistakes People Make When Feeding Pets a Raw Food Diet

Raw food diets might be the oldest form of pet food; after all, they are very close to what ancient dogs used to eat. As more people become aware of the benefits of raw food diets for humans, more pet owners are switching their dogs to raw diets, as well, for a variety of reasons.

“As pet owners investigate what builds their own good health, they realize good food applies to the whole family—including the four-legged family,” explains Dr. Cathy Alinovi, DVM, a holistic veterinarian who is also certified in Veterinary Food Therapy and Chinese Herbal Therapy.

In fact, many dog owners switch to a raw diet because their dogs have health problems. This is exactly why dog owner Jessica Winstead put both her Chihuahua mixes on a diet of raw food mixed with canned pumpkin and sweet potato, even though the diet has had different, though positive, effects on the dogs. 

“My older dog moved in along with my boyfriend about five years ago and he was slightly overweight, but the raw diet leaned him out,” Winstead says. “He also seems to have more energy.”

Her other dog, a four-year old rescue, went on a raw diet to address hair issues. “He was missing hair on the back of his spine and was slightly underweight, but since he's been on the raw diet his hair has evened out and he even gained a little weight,” Winstead says.

“Our older chi-mix weighs about five pounds more, so we feed him a half portion more than our other mix—but he still leaned out and our smaller guy still gained weight!”

 Switching to a raw diet, however, is not always that simple. Here are five common mistakes owners often make when switching their dogs to a raw diet.

To read more on this story, click here: 5 Mistakes People Make When Feeding Pets a Raw Food Diet


Monday, February 19, 2018

Dog Food Recall: Here Are All the Brands and Products Being Withdrawn

The J.M. Smucker Company announced last week that it was recalling a number of popular pet food products after it was revealed that they may contain traces of a drug that is often used to euthanize animals. The drug, pentobarbital, does “not pose a threat to pet safety” in extremely low doses, but its mere presence is obviously a huge cause for concern.

The company has published a list of all the dog food products affected by the recall, including varieties of wet canned dog food sold under a number of different brand names. The brands, which include Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Ol’ Roy, and Skippy, are sold in a number of different can sizes and flavors. You can read the full list below.

To read more on this story, click here: Dog Food Recall: Here Are All the Brands and Products Being Withdrawn


Saturday, February 17, 2018

What Pet Owners Need to Know About the Dog Food Recalls

Pet foods from four companies were recalled by the Food and Drug Administration Wednesday after Salmonella showed up in a variety of products.

Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause pets to get sick or become carriers that infect people with the pathogen, which leads to salmonellosis in humans.

Fortune spoke with Bill Marler, a food safety expert who has been a foodborne illness lawyer since 1993, about what pet owners should know about how the disease is spread and what to do if you or your pet is affected.

To read more on this story, click here: What Pet Owners Need to Know About the Dog Food Recalls


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Federal Food Stamp Program Should, in a SNAP, Allow Pet Food Purchases

A heart-tugging issue has surfaced as lawmakers prepare to dig into details of the Farm Bill, a catchall package of items relating to agriculture and food policy in the United States.

Should recipients of food stamps be allowed to purchase food for their hungry pets with the finite federal support they receive through the program?

Edward B. Johnston, Jr., a 59-year-old Mississippian who gets by with the help of food stamps, has initiated a petition on Care2 that has attracted more than 83,000 signatures thus far. It calls on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to allow food stamp beneficiaries to buy pet food for their animals if they deem that essential. The food stamp program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), allows recipients to only buy food meant for human consumption.

To read more on this story, click here: Federal Food Stamp Program Should, in a SNAP, Allow Pet Food Purchases


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Rockville, Maryland: Montgomery County Humane Society is in Need of Supplies for the Animals – Please Share!

Montgomery County Humane Society: We are low on a few items:

*Toilet paper
*Paper towels
*Canned kitten food
*Dog & cat toys 
*trash bags (30 gallon)

If you can help us, our hours to drop off are from 
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily at 
601 S. Stonestreet Avenue, Rockville, Maryland

Thanks you guys so much for your support!

Please Share!


Thursday, October 6, 2016

How Are You Storing Your Dog’s Food? Mistakes That Could Make Your Dog Sick

Never Leave Your Pet’s Food Unsealed
To prevent unnecessary exposure to air and humidity, which can rapidly degrade food and increase risk of bacterial contamination like Salmonella, pet food should be sealed in a safe container after every feeding. If your pet eats dry kibble, this may very well be the original packaging if the top of the bag is folded securely. High quality pet food bags have been designed to keep out the elements and maintain its freshness for as long as possible.  If you want to store food in a plastic container, the best option is to use the original bag and place it in a plastic container. If pouring food into the container, you should purchase a food safe. It must be cleaned and dried very well when the container is empty. The oils and food will expire and could cause issues with palatability and GI upset when stored in a non-food grade container.

Never Leave Pet Food Sitting Out Too Long
How long dry food can be left out will vary depending on the food and manufacturer. Some companies use natural and artificial preservatives that generally are good until expiration, even when open. The best recommendation is to contact the manufacturer to find out the recommendation for your pet’s specific food.

Canned food, once opened, can be left out from 2 to no more than 4 hours. Any unused canned food should be immediately put in the refrigerator. Contact the pet food manufacturer to find out their recommendations for how long the food can still be fed once opened and placed in the refrigerator.

Ideally, unopened dry and canned foods should be kept at room temperature and away from heat, humidity and infestation. 

Don’t Forget To Clean Food Bowls Regularly
How often do you wash your pet food bowl -  Every week? That’s not bad, but the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) actually recommends washing pet food bowls, dishes, and scooping utensils with soap and hot water after each use. This is to prevent infectious agents such as Salmonella or Listeria from accumulating on the items. If you use a plastic container to store your pet food, wash  the container when empty, and make sure it is completely dry before adding new food. 

Never Allow Young Children to Handle Pet Food
Left unsupervised, children and pet food simply don’t mix. Kids tend to be less reliable in their sanitary habits before and after handling pet food and they are more likely to incorrectly measure an appropriate meal for your pet. This can harm both your child (exposing them to dangerous infectious agents) and your pet (promoting overeating and issues with obesity). 

Never Keep Pet Food Past Its Expiration Date
Pet food expiration dates (sometimes known as “best by” or “use by” dates) are established to ensure the safety of the food for your dog or cat. These dates are often found on the side or the bottom of the pet food package or can. Can’t find the date? Call the pet food manufacturer. They can easily instruct you as to where the expiration date can be found. Don’t take the risk by feeding your pet expired food.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Truth About Pet Food

The latest Pet Food privilege announced by the FDA is regarding prescription cat and dog food. All pet food consumers and veterinarians should take note of this recent FDA Compliance Policy.

For decades the FDA has strictly enforced their idea that drugs are the only cure or treatment for illness – refusing to allow any food to make health or wellness claims. A claim such as ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is forbidden.

But in the FDA’s infinite collusion with Big Industry, the agency allows pet food the same privilege of a drug (to claim it can cure or treat disease) without any of the requirements of a drug. Pet food is allowed to claim it can cure or treat disease without having to prove the effectiveness or even the safety of the pet food.

Kidney Function Canine Formula Dry/Kibble. This dog food, sold through a veterinarian, is allowed to make the claim of treating kidney disease in dogs.

Ingredients (bold added for emphasis): “Whole grain corn, brewers rice, dried egg product, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), sugar, dried whey, sodium caseinate, animal digest, calcium carbonate, vegetable oil, potassium chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, fish oil, salt, potassium citrate, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, niacin, manganese sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, garlic oil, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite.”

To read more on this story, click here: Truth About Pet Food


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Want a Pet? Living on a Budget? Tips on How You Can Do it…Without Burning a Hole in Your Pockets

There are few things cuter than a puppy or kitten, but for those seeking a new pet without giving an arm and a leg might want to consider adopting from a shelter.

Read on for some tips on how to welcome a four-legged friend into your home without burning a hole in your pockets.

Q: How can I save on food, toys and supplies?

Buying pet food in bulk is a good way to save over time, but you'll want to make sure you're buying quality.

"Food isn't an area you want to skimp on," Scott Giacoppo of the Washington Humane Society said. "I wouldn't recommend buying the cheapest food the same way I wouldn't recommend someone to serve Oreos at their Sunday dinner."

Giacoppo said your vet or employees at pet supply stores like Pro Feed, Petco or PetSmart should be able to recommend food and other supplies for your pet.

Also, remember that you don't need to buy everything for your pet all at once. You might be able to start out with just bowls, food, a collar and a few toys, and then learn more about your pet to determine what else he or she needs. Of course, a dog will need a leash, and a cat will need a litter box, but you don't need to spring for top-of-the-line models.

Sign up for deals websites such as Groupon, which often have deals on pet supplies and services -- just make sure you actually need the item; otherwise, you won't be saving money at all.

Also, search pet retailer websites for coupons or special discounts. For instance, offers 20 percent off for signing up to receive emails, and free shipping for orders of $49 or more.

Learn how to perform basic pet grooming skills yourself, such as nail clipping, to save on grooming fees. If you're able to, bathe your dog yourself in your bathtub or outside in the yard. If you can't, consider visiting a DIY dog-washing business, where you can use their shampoos and professional-grade tubs for about $20 -- still cheaper than paying for professional grooming.

Q: What are some preventative tactics I can take to avoid mishaps and large vet bills?

One way to cut costs before you ever see the vet is to adopt from a shelter, because "when you adopt, the animals are sterilized, they're up to date on vaccinations and they've been house trained," Giacoppo said.

If you buy a puppy or kitten from a breeder, you'll pay for these costs out of pocket. Sure, they're cute, but they can end up much pricier in the long run than adopting an older dog -- and by adopting from a shelter, you'll actually be saving two lives, not one (here's why).

The Washington Humane Society also provides one year of pet health insurance and low-cost spaying and neutering if your new buddy hasn't been altered already ($130 for dogs, $80 for cats).

Make sure to "pet-proof" your home so that any hazards or harmless substances are kept out of your new pet's reach. And remember that what's safe for humans might not be safe for dogs or cats. (See the Pet Poison Hotline's list here.) 

Q: Which breeds of dogs/cats tend to be cheaper to care for?

Generally, smaller ones. The cost of care for cats and dogs doesn't vary much based on breed (unless you have a breed that requires extensive professional grooming), but smaller animals simply tend to consume less food than larger animals. Same goes for items like toys, treats and beds -- larger ones usually cost more.

However, the best way to reduce costs is to take care of your pet well, both physically and psychologically. Giacoppo says Parvo, for example, is a life-threatening disease that can cost thousands of dollars to treat, but can be avoided for a small price.

"Take a Saturday once a year, wait in line for an hour and pay $10 for a shot that can save your pet's life," he said. The Washington Humane Society offers low-cost vaccinations Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Also, be sure that your pet has a social life and gets plenty of exercise. Leaving pets tied up or left alone leads to psychological problems and boredom, which can cause behavioral problems, damage to your home or property, and ultimately physical problems that need treatment.

Q: Where can I find affordable pet insurance (and is it worth it)?

Pet insurance can be tricky because there are a few different kinds, and it's not necessarily about what injuries or illnesses your pet could endure, as dog owner Sarah Kliff noted in a recent Vox article. Kliff pays $40 to $50 a month for pet insurance and says the real question is actualll "How much are you willing to pay to spend to save your pet’s life?"

For her, it would be a lot. "If I got a very large bill, I would likely pay it," Kliff wrote. "I would pay bills big enough to make it difficult for me to put a down payment on a house."

To sum it up, you might pay a premium for pet insurance that you never use to make a claim. But a few $400 trips to the vet or an unfortunate $3,000 surgery to remove your pet's favorite toy from its stomach could eventually surpass the price you paid for the insurance. Kliff also points out that many people pay renters' insurance and never file a claim, but the peace of mind can be worth it.

The website PolicyGenius advises people on which types of insurance they should buy, advising some pet owners not to invest in insurance at all.

Kliff writes that Jennifer Fitzgerald, the co-founder of the site, said the right consumer for pet insurance has "low ability to pay (to save their pet's life) but high willingness," so it's not for everyone.

Alternative options include pet wellness plans. For instance, PetSmart's Banfield Pet Hospital chain offers a wellness plan with a focus on prevention and early diagnosis, with potentially lower costs than traditional pet care services. Plans include a set number of wellness visits per year, may cover the cost of shots and offer discounts on other forms of care.

Q: If I need to travel, should I take my pet, hire a sitter or board at a kennel?

It depends. The cost of a travel crate can range from $30 to $100, and overnight care can be costly, too. Your best bet: Find friends or family member willing to do watch your pets. Or, get to know a pet-owning neighbor and offer to trade pet care: You'll watch their dog or cat for a weekend if they'll do the same for you another weekend.

If you're thinking of boarding your pet, check business reviews on a site such as Yelp. If you find several well-reviewed spots, call around to get the best rate. And don't be afraid to ask about any special deals: Will they give you a discount if you pick up your pet before a certain time, for example?

If you hire someone to watch your pet at home, beware of an apparent "bargain." Giacoppo said it's best to use a referral.

"You don't wanna hire someone who says they will just come over for five dollars," he said. "You have no idea how they will treat your pet."