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From petrified pooch to confident canine – In seven simple steps

Oh Fido. It’s tough to see him frightened and not really have a clue as to how to help (or what he’s even scared of). From jumping at the slightest sound, to following you EVERYWHERE, and showing tell-tale signs of fear (such as a dropped tail, crouching and panting), it’s always pretty clear when you’ve got a nervy canine on your hands.

The question is, what can you do about it? And the answer, is to follow these seven simple tips.

1: Begin with firm foundations – set up good obedience during walks

Sit, stay, heel – these are the basic commands that your dog should know (and obey) during your walks. These cues, and the consequent treats that follow (such as being handed a ball or toy) are essential distraction techniques for when you spot a hazard looming. Speaking of which…

2: Worried during walks? Distract your dog

A cautious, concerned canine during a walk can lead to disaster around other dogs or unpredictable people. The solution? Distraction. By giving your dog something to do while walking (like chewing a bone or carrying your bag), you give him something to focus on. In doing so, he’ll hopefully remain distracted on what he’s ‘doing’, rather than what may happen (and being hyper-sensitive to all that’s around).

3: Switch items from scary, to something to salivate over

If your dog is scared of certain items, try ‘exposure management’. This might sound rather technical (and a little intimidating), but it’s actually really straightforward.

Simply take the item that your dog is afraid of, and place something on it that your dog loves (treats usually work best!). So if Sammy’s scared of skateboards, place a few treats on the top and encourage him to explore. Once he’s comfortable with that, move on to pushing the skateboard slightly (with items such as this, which are common in parks) it’s usually the movement that dogs are uncomfortable with. Remember, with exposure management – slow and steady wins the race.

4: Seek out fresh new places where your dog can taste success

Practicing and repeating problem behaviors only reinforces them. Staying cooped up inside isn’t helpful for anyone – not for humans, not for dogs. Getting out and about to new places can allow your dog to explore, and be fascinated, by the new smells and sights around him.

This may not necessarily mean a walk in a forest (some dogs aren’t comfortable out in the Great outdoors); it may mean a late-night wander in a dead-quiet park. But no matter the environment, it’s the newness of the place that will encourage his innate curiosity to explore.

5: Sign up for agility training

Agility training involves plenty of physical effort and dexterity on the dog’s part. And yet agility isn’t really the key skills being learned.

By showing them how to complete new tasks, and with your dog gradually working towards getting it right every time, their trust in you grows and their confidence in their own abilities increases. With each tunnel, pole or hoop successfully navigated, they’ll learn that what once seemed insurmountable, can be mastered. And so their confidence will (hopefully) grow and grow

6: Have a trial run with another dog

For dogs that don’t fear (or show aggression) to other dogs, a more confident canine pal can prove to be a real behavior-changer.

After all, dogs (much like humans) observe the actions and interactions of others, and can mirror behaviors that they come to see as appropriate.

A key pointer here is that some companionships are more effective than others, and it may take a few trial play dates to discover a dog that’s a natural, positive fit with yours.

7: Harness the targeting technique

Targeting is the practice of touching a specific part of your dog’s body to re-direct his attention to you. This becomes more effective than simply calling his name during a frightening experience, as it’s used less often.

To train him, hold a treat in your hand. Once he begins to sniff around it, say ”nose” and pass him his treat. Regularly practicing this will show your dog that bumping his nose on your hand, and giving you his focus, will result in a yummy treat being given.

Alaskan Husky struggling with dog anxiety? Stressed out St. Bernard? We’ve got just the thing. 100% natural CBD dog treats, that are packed not just with stress-exterminating cannabidiol, but also with plenty of good stuff to boot (good stuff such as potatoes, natural bacon flavoring, whole peas, sweet potatoes, potato starch, dried plain beet pulp, mixed tocopherols, carrots & rosemary extract.

Jennifer S.

Jennifer is the voice behind the FOMO Bones blog. She’s pretty sure in her past life, she was a Great Dane. However, we peg her as more of a labrador. Regardless of her breed, she’s a dog enthusiast who has 15 years experience training dogs and owners.

Awww, puppies – they’re fluffy, fun and full of love. But for every inch of cuteness, puppies are also darn hard work. They demand time, money and (above everything else) plenty of love and affection.

So there’s actually plenty to consider (and prepare) if you’re soon to welcome a new four legged friend into your home.

1. Get ready for the nipping, chewing and biting

Puppies have are incredibly inquisitive nature (and by virtue of this, they also have an appetite for chewing on sofas, shoes and just about anything else that takes their fancy).

At first, they’ll explore their boundaries by chewing up your personal items right in front of you. And as they gradually begin to learn that this behavior is met with a firm “no”, they’ll move on to chewing things out of your sightline (so you’ll need to keep a beady eye on them at all times – or move things out of their reach!).

It’s important that you hop onto this behavior while they’re in the act. Dogs can’t comprehend being disciplined for things that have happened a while back (even with you pointing at a slobbered up, chewed up shoe).

You could also try dousing your items with bitter apple spray, which is odorless, but leaves an unsavory tangy taste in the mouth.

Finally, bear in mind that dogs don’t chew and bite things to be naughty. They could also be teething, and it can be a sign of malnutrition or hunger.

2. Puppy-safe zone your home

While your new recruit is in training, you may want to consider zoning your house off. Many new dog owners buy baby gates and play pens, which protect certain rooms and create a safe space while they’re home alone.

3. Feed me, feed me! – How much?!

Puppy tummies are rumbling for food practically all the time. In fact, they actually need feeding as much as four times the amount as a fully-grown adult dog! But this isn’t so surprising when you consider that pups should be gaining at least one to two grams per adult pound per day.

There are special formulas of dog food for pups – and with good reason, too; they are enriched with vitamins, minerals and fats, as well as including a higher protein content.

You should also do your research into the breed of your dog, as some have unique dietary needs compared to others.

4. Walkies!! – How often?”

Pups generally require around 5 minutes of exercise per month of age until they’ve reached adulthood (at which time they’ll be able to get out and about for longer periods).

Some breeds – like huskies, border collies, boxers and dalmatians – will require more exercise than most (so it’s well-worth doing your research before deciding which breed you can commit to).

You’ll also need to bear in mind your pup’s jabs. Most vets don’t recommend letting your pup out until one week following their second jab. But don’t worry – if they’re yet to be fully inoculated, you can still play with them and exercise them at home.

5. Goodbye, farewell – is this forever??!?!

Puppies can be notoriously prone to separation anxiety. Training is the first step to showing your dog that you WILL return. This simply involves leaving them in a safe room, saying goodbye, and waiting outside. Do not return until your pup has stopped whimpering or barking. Once they’ve calmed down, enter the room, praise them and give them a treat.

Repeat this process over and over until they know that:

  1. There’s no need to shout and stress
  2. You ARE coming back
  3. It’s far better if they remain calm and collected

FOMO bones also help when the time comes to actually leave them all alone. With all-natural CBD, your dogs natural levels of calming cannabinoids are about to get a welcome boost.

FOMO Bones contain passion flower (for topping up their GABA, which can become depleted in stressful situations); Valerian Root (a herbal plant with mild sedative properties) and Chamomile (the white flower known for soothing nerves and lulling you to sleep).

This article by Jennifer is originally published at FOMO Bones.

Author bio: Jennifer is the voice behind the FOMO Bones blog. She’s pretty sure in her past life, she was a Great Dane. However, we peg her as more of a labrador. Regardless of her breed, she’s a dog enthusiast who has 15 years experience training dogs and owners.

Another great article by

What is the most common killer of dogs?  Would you be surprised to know that it is obesity-related problems?

Dog-obesity related problems are the number one killer of our pet dogs

The Statistics Are Concerning

Just look at the statistics and there can be no denying this worldwide trend.  The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) reports that, in 2017, an estimated 56% of dogs in North America are obese.  This is a truly shocking statistic and it tells us that there needs to be a major overhaul in the mindset of us pet owners.

A survey conducted by APOP also showed that, unbelievably, 95% of obese dog owners actually thought that their dog’s weight was within an acceptable range.  Some may be in denial but the vast majority are likely actually ignorant of what an acceptable weight should be.

What Can Cause Obesity in Dogs?

There are a whole host of issues that can cause obesity and it can be complex to unravel them.  Whilst there are medical conditions and other factors that can influence your dog’s weight, worryingly,  the most common problems stem from problems that human owners create for their dogs. The good news though is that this does mean that, if we are aware of these issues, we can actually do something to change things.

1. Over Feeding/ Free-Feeding

Our lack of ability to appropriately portion control and feed the right diet play a huge part.  There are so many dog foods on the market now and it can be difficult to understand what food may be the best, most healthy option.

Sometimes is just a lack of understanding or, even a lack of effort, to check what the actual feeding amounts should be.  Whilst every dog is different and feeding guides are exactly that, just a guide, it is a good starting point to work from.

It is extremely important to pick a high-quality diet and maintain proper portion control. Food should be weighed out and monitored, treats should generally not make up more than 10% of your dogs diet.

If you are using food for training, consider using their food as part of their rewards, make sure the treats are healthy and low fat and cut them into very small pieces, a little can go a long way.

Another bad habit is when people free-feed their dogs.  They want them to be able to eat whenever they are hungry.  By always leaving food out for your dog and constantly topping up the bowl this is a sure fire recipe for having an overweight dog.

2. Lack of Exercise

Another statistic that I found extremely sad and very surprising, is that a large percentage of dogs do not even receive one walk a day.

Not only will this lack of appropriate exercise undoubtedly contribute to a dog putting on weight more readily but it just seems downright cruel to deprive your dog of the stimulation and health benefits that come with regular exercise.

Making time to have at least one decent walk is crucially important to your dog and, ideally, they should have more than one walk and also their day should be filled with other activities that can help to keep them active and entertained.

The statistics around the number of dogs that don’t receive at least a daily walk are shocking

3. Human Psychology

Our perception of what is an appropriate weight has changed.  When every day you see dogs that are fat, it then morphs into this becoming the acceptable norm and people think that their dog is a good weight when actually they are overweight.

I am very conscious of my dog’s weights and always have been.  Cocker Spaniels are a notoriously greedy breed and it can be easy for them to become overweight if owners treat them too much.  I, surprisingly regularly, had people comment that they thought my Cocker Spaniels were ‘too skinny’, when in actual fact I knew and had also had confirmation from my vet, that they were a healthy weight.

Sometimes it is just that old expression of ‘killing them with kindness’. We see them begging cutely for some yummy table scraps and we can’t help but cave in.  We see spoiling them with food like this as a way to shower them with love when, in actual fact, we could be doing them a disservice.

4. Breed Predispositions

There are some breeds that are more likely to gain weight more easily than others.

There are also breeds that have a notorious reputation for being super greedy.  Breeds like Cocker Spaniels and Labradors.

Whilst it is recognised that there are breeds that are prone to put on the pounds more readily, this does not mean that this should be used as an excuse.  Owners of these types of breeds should just be more vigilant about their dog’s diet and exercise regime to help them maintain a healthy weight.

Some of the breeds that have been identified as being prone putting on weight more easily include Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Beagles, Dachshunds, Pugs and, as mentioned, Cocker Spaniels and Labradors.  Dachshunds are already more prone to slipped discs and, when they are carrying more weight, it puts them at a greater risk of developing debilitating back problems.

Pugs are a breed that is more prone to obesity 

5. Medical Conditions/ Certain Medications

Certain medications, just like with humans, can have a side effect of weight gain.  If you are being advised to use a particular medication to help manage a dog’s condition, it is important that you discuss the ramifications with your vet.  If weight gain is likely to be an issue, then careful monitoring and a potential change in diet or portion amounts may be required. It is always important to discuss any dietary changes with your vet if they have a condition where a change could have an adverse impact

Steroids are commonly administered to dogs and whilst these do not make them put on weight, they can significantly increase your dog’s appetite.  You can help your dog by feeding smaller portions more often in slow feeders or treat dispensing toysand this can sometimes give them the feeling that they are more full.

There are also diseases that can contribute to a weight problem, particularly those that affect the hormone balances of your dog.  Although hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels) is a common side effect of weight gain, there are a smaller number of cases of the disease occurring whilst a dog is of a healthy weight and, once they have it, it can cause the dog to start gaining weight more easily.

Cushings Disease is also another condition that can impact on your dog’s weight.  Advice from your vet should always be sought when dealing with a condition like this.

6. Age

Senior dogs whose metabolism may have slowed down and whose general exercise levels may have decreased can be prone to putting on weight more easily.

It is incredibly important to consider portion control in relation to the amount of exercise your dog is receiving and it may also be beneficial to consider a diet that has been specifically developed for Senior Dogs.

Senior dogs can have a propensity to put on weight more easily 

7. Can Neutering Make a Difference?

Neutering your dog is a big decision and there are lots of factors that need to be considered.  There is evidence to show that a change in metabolic rates can occur as a result of the removal of the sex hormones. This can result in dogs putting on weight if their daily feeding amount remains the same. There is evidence to suggest that neutering too early can also have an impact.

In my opinion, this should not be a deciding factor, but rather just something to be monitoring so that you can adjust your dog’s diet accordingly should they start to put on weight.

8. Boredom

Some dogs that are not getting enough stimulation can turn to eating to relieve their feelings of boredom.  This is a particular problem for those individuals that choose to free feed. It is extremely important, for all sorts of reasons, to ensure that your dog receives the right amount of stimulation in their daily lives. Not only can it help to reduce obesity issues but it can also prevent behavioural problems and it helps your dog to have a happier life.

The Long Term Effects Can Be Serious

There are a number of serious problems that can result in obesity in dogs.

1. Diabetes

This is a very common condition in dogs that are chronically overweight.  Obese dogs often end up secreting more insulin as a result of the higher blood glucose levels that carrying too many extra pounds causes.  Whilst this condition can be managed, it can impact on your dog’s quality of life and needs careful monitoring.

2. Cardiac Issues

Just like with humans, obesity in dogs can cause heart disease and problems with blood pressure.  Hypertension is relatively common in obese dogs and obese dogs are at greater risk of cardiac arrest.

3. Respiratory Issues

It is recognised that overweight dogs are at increased risk of having respiratory issues.  It can also further exacerbate existing conditions like asthma and laryngeal paralysis.

study published in 1994 evidenced that carrying too much weight increased the possibility of trachael collapse in small breed dogs.

Overweight dogs are more prone to breathing problems and overheating 

4. Increased Risk Under Anaesthesia

If your dog is overweight it puts them at increased risk of complications if they have to undergo a procedure that requires anaesthesia.

Because of the problems that obesity can create with the heart and lungs, when they are in surgery there is a greater risk of cardiac arrest.

Excess layers of fat can also, quite simply, make it more difficult for the vet to actually access what they might need to be operating on or around.

An overweight dog that undergoes surgery under anaesthetic is more likely to be at risk of complications 

5. Gastrointestinal Issues

Tummy troubles are much more common with dogs with a weight problem.  Overfeeding can result in constipation and flatulence is also a more regular problem.

6. Increased Risk of Cancer

Studies show that dogs that are chronically obese are at greater risk of developing certain types of cancer.

7. Likelihood of a Shorter Lifespan and Reduced Quality of Life

By keeping your dog at a healthy weight you will no doubt be improving their quality of life and giving them a better chance of maximising their longevity.  A studypublished in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2005 suggested that dogs that are kept on a healthier diet and at a more optimal weight were likely to live up to two years longer than a dog with a weight problem.

8. Lethargy and Depression

Dogs that are overweight have been shown to be more prone to depression.  Given that they may struggle more with activity and exercise and they may also have underlying obesity-related health issues this makes sense.

Dogs that are overweight can be more prone to depression and lethargy

9. Heat Intolerance

Dogs find it more difficult to regulate their temperatures and can struggle with the heat much more than humans and for obese dogs this can be an even greater problem. Fat insulates the body so it makes sense that an overweight dog is going to get hotter more quickly.

Whilst you are working on getting your dogs weight down make sure that you monitor your dog more carefully for signs of overheating and take steps to help them stay cool in warm weather.  Items like a cool coat and cool mats can be useful.

The brachycephalic, flat-faced, breeds like Pugs and French Bulldogs already have an increased risk of respiratory issues and heat stroke and, if they are overweight they are the group of dogs that are at the greatest risk.

10. Orthopaedic Problems

Bone and joint issues are one of the most common problems in overweight dogs.

Whilst there are supplements and medications that can possibly help to reduce the chances of developing  joint problems, if your dog is overweight there is a much greater probability.

study published in 2000 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association suggested that if a dog is overweight this can have a significant effect on the development of osteoarthritis in dogs.

It is not uncommon for obese dogs to require surgery to correct problems with torn ligaments in their knees.  This is caused by there being an unnatural amount of strain being put on that part of the body.

And the list goes on.  It has also been proven that the liver is put under strain in overweight dogs.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Overweight?

People often do not realise that their dog is overweight.   Obviously every dog is different in terms of their body shape and some dogs may be naturally slimmer than others.  Sighthounds like greyhounds and whippets have a naturally very slender physique and are much less prone to excessive weight gain, whereas breeds like bulldogs are much wider and stockier.

A general rule of thumb is that if you can feel their ribs when you check their body shape this is a good sign, unless you can also see them jutting out in a pronounced fashion and, in which case, they may actually be underweight.

If you cannot feel their ribs, they have a distended belly or there are excess rolls or deposits of fat then it is likely your dog is too heavy.  A dog should have an obvious waist when viewed from above and you should be able to see a tuck of their abdomen when they are viewed from the side.

If you are at all in doubt, take the time to go to the vet for some confirmation and clarification and also to get your dog weighed.  It is also important to look at other factors with your dog to help understand whether there may be a medical problem that is contributing to any weight gain.

If you have a long haired dog it can sometimes be more difficult to assess their body shape 

What Can I Do Help Them Lose Weight?

There are lots of things that you can do to help your dog reach a more healthy weight and maintain it.  If your dog is morbidly obese it may be better to make the changes under the guidance of a vet/ vet nutritionist.

a) Change or Reduction in Diet

This does have to be done with care and consideration.  It is not as simple as just drastically cutting back their food portions.  Patience, commitment and attention to detail are required when managing a weight loss programme.  It is a slow and steady progression and not one that you can rush.

For dog’s that are morbidly obese, we would recommend a diet plan that is worked out in conjunction with your vet/vet nutritionist.

Sometimes it can be useful to consider switching your dog to a special diet that has been developed to promote weight loss.

It is very important to stick to strict portion control, weighing out your dog’s food.

If you are giving your dog treats, make sure that they are healthy and low in fat and that they do not make up more than 10% of your dog’s diet.

b) Use of Treat Toys and Slow Feeders

It can help your dog to feel more full if you slow their feeding experience down.  Using good quality treat dispensing toys are a great idea.

The Classic Kong is the most common and popular treat dispensing toy.   There are lots of other options out there though. There are also lots of options for slow feeders too. A good value and popular option is the Outward Hound Slow Feeders.

c) An Exercise Plan

Again it is not as simple as thinking you can just start taking them out for long distance runs to shift those extra pounds.

If your dog is morbidly obese then more exercise has to be introduced very gradually.  They may have respiratory issues relating to their weight and pushing them too hard and too fast can put them at risk of overheating, put too much strain on their heart and lungs and also on their joints.

Once your dog is at a healthier weight, or if they just need to shed a few pounds, you could introduce exercise that is more active than just your average dog walk.

Consider taking up a dog sport like agility with your dog or running with your dog in Canicross. Not only can this be a great way to help them shed the pounds but it can also create a deeper bond between you both and to help them feel more stimulated.

Playing games with your dog like tug-of-war, fetch and hide and seek can also encourage them to be more active on walks.

Some very overweight dogs may also benefit from some physical therapy given the strain their joints will have been under.

Hydrotherapy sessions, where your dog exercises in water, can also be helpful and they put less strain on an overweight dogs joints.

Introducing your dog to a sport like agility can be a great way of helping to reduce your dog’s waistline 

d) Make Sure That They Do Not Lose Too Much Weight Too Quickly

It is very important to ensure that a weight loss programme is implemented gradually.  If you cut back your dog’s food too much, too quickly it can result in nutritional deficiencies and possible health problems.   Your dog can also start to lose muscle instead of fat if you go too quickly.

It is extremely important that a strict and gradual plan is put into place and, again, with very obese dogs it would be sensible that this is done in conjunction with helpful monitoring and guidance from your vet.  Slow and steady is the key.

e) Regular Weigh-Ins to Keep You on Track

Sometimes, like with human dieting, it can be easy to slip without realising you are doing it.  Maybe you have started giving them a few extra treats or chews here and there and before you know the weight has gone back on.

If your dog has a lot of weight to lose, by having regular weigh-ins at your vet it can help to keep you on track and it can also be a motivator.

It also helps a vet to advise on whether portion control or diet may need to be adjusted further.

Make Sure You Keep the Weight Off

Don’t forget too, that swinging from a low to high weight constantly is also very detrimental to your dog’s health.

Once the weight is off, help them to keep it off by continuing to strictly portion control and keep up a healthy exercise regime.

Keeping the weight off your dog will help them be healthier, happier and probably help them live longer too

Great Article by Kimberly Alt.


When a copperhead snake snuck up and bit Alyssa Singer’s Doberman, Miles, on the muzzle, she didn’t think twice about rushing her pup to the vet. But the $600 vet bill stopped her in her tracks. Miles was fine after a dose of antivenom and some TLC, but Alyssa’s bank account is still recovering.

Melissa Vincent’s Bichon Frise, Fenway, needed not one but two knee surgeries to repair subluxated patellas, a relatively common orthopedic problem in the breed. Melissa ended up shelling out more than $4,000 to get Fenway back up and running again.

Pet Insurance Reviews

Pet insurance has been a growing industry and a passion of ours since 2007. We work hard to bring you honest, unbiased reviews by conducting research and getting customer feedback.

Below are our top three picks for pet insurance this year, including our review criteria and factors we consider most important when it comes to your pet’s health and well-being.

We consistently update our reviews, so be sure to check in regularly for the most current information.

Best Runner-Up 3rd Place
Healthy Paws logo Pets Best logo FIGO logo small
4.65 / 5.00 4.55 / 5.00 4.50 / 5.00
Read Review Read Review Read Review
Visit Website Visit Website Visit Website

Finding the best pet insurance can be a daunting task. That’s why we’ve done in-depth research and spoken with real customers to bring you our top 3 picks.

Want to understand pet insurance? We’ve put together a checklist for you:

  1. Get Free Pet Insurance Quotes

    Open our pet insurance quotes to see an example of who offers the lowest prices.

  2. See how others compare to our top 3 by reading about the rest of the pack.
  3. Become an expert on pet insurance yourself by learning more.
  4. View our infographic to see some surprising statistics and fun facts.
  5. You may want to open up our pet health insurance terminologypage for an easy side-by-side reference.

Price Of Policy Ratings

Pet insurance stands out among our reviews in that the cost of each policy is unique to your pet and is calculated based on a vast number of variables, including but not limited to your pet’s age, breed, location (e.g., where you live), health conditions and so forth.

We calculate our “price of policy” ratings based on quotes we run in addition to reader and consumer feedback. Since the price for your pet may vary significantly from that of others for a given provider, we encourage you to get quotes from multiple companies.

1st Place: Healthy Paws

All scores are on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 paw being the worst and 5 paws being the best.

Healthy Paws logo 1st
Overall Ranking 4.65 / 5.00
Policy Coverage 4.25 paws Visit Website
Customer Service & Reputation 4.75 paws
Timeliness of Claim Payment 4.75 paws
Price of Policy 4.75 paws

Why Do We Consider Healthy Paws The Winner?

  1. Lots Of Plan Options With No Caps – Healthy Paws offers four annual deductible levels ($100, $250, $500 or $750), four percentage options for actual vet bill payouts (60%, 70%, 80% or 90%) and no cap (per-incident, lifetime or otherwise) on any of its claims.
  2. No Yearly Limits – Once you meet your annual deductible, all policy-covered incidents will be paid during that year, while most companies reimburse after you reach each incident deductible. So, if your pet is susceptible to trouble more than once a year or you just want to be on the safe side, this plan could be a good fit.
  3. The Best Customer Service – Healthy Paws has some of the best customer service reviews in the business.
  4. Low Premium Prices – Most consumers report lower premium prices for similar coverage (unlimited lifetime benefits with no claim limits).
2nd Place: Pets Best

All scores are on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 paw being the worst and 5 paws being the best.

Pets Best logo 2nd
Overall Ranking 4.55 / 5.00
Policy Coverage 4.75 paws Visit Website
Customer Service & Reputation 4 paws
Timeliness of Claim Payment 4.75 paws
Price of Policy 4.75 paws

Why Did We Choose Pets Best As Our #2 Pick?

  1. True Emergency Only Option – Pets Best offers an “Accident Only Plan” to cover you in case of unplanned emergencies, but it does not include exam fees or specialty treatments. This plan has a $10,000 annual limit with a $250 deductible and 90% reimbursement, making it one of the least expensive options for pet insurance.
  2. Low Pricing – Pets Best was consistently among the least expensive pet insurance companies when we ran quotes.
  3. Customer Service Options – It offers live chat, phone, email, fax and FAQs to help answer your questions. We’re also impressed with its 24/7 Pet Helpline, which allows you to speak with a vet expert any time of day.
  4. Customizable Plans Tailored To What You Want – You choose what coverage you want to pay for instead of paying more for stuff you don’t want. Deductible options are from $50-$1,000, reimbursement is available for 70%, 80% or 90%, and it offers two wellness plans.
3rd Place: Figo

All scores are on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 paw being the worst and 5 paws being the best.

FIGO logo small 3rd
Overall Ranking 4.50 / 5.00
Policy Coverage 4 and a half paws Visit Website
Customer Service & Reputation 4 paws
Timeliness of Claim Payment 4.75 paws
Price of Policy 4.75 paws

Why Is Figo Our #3 Pick?

  1. 100% Reimbursement Available – Figo is the only pet insurance company in our reviews to offer 100% reimbursement for claims. If you want your full claims covered, Figo may be the company for you.
  2. Low Pricing – Figo was consistently among the least expensive pet insurance companies when we ran quotes.
  3. Customer Service Options – You can reach Figo in many ways, including phone, text, live chat, email, fax, Facebook Messenger or Twitter.
  4. Fully Customizable Plans – Pet owners considering Figo can create a plan to best meet their needs and budget with a choice of maximum annual coverage amount ($10,000 to unlimited coverage), annual deductible ($100 to $750) and reimbursement rate (70%, 80%, 90% or 100%). Depending on location and age of pet, you may qualify for additional options including a deductible between $50 and $1,500 and/or a 60% reimbursement rate.

The Rest Of The Pack

Here’s a list of companies we include in our annual pet insurance reviews (goes above and beyond this comparison by including in-depth reviews of each provider with pros and cons) with their founding year:

  • First: Healthy Paws 2009
  • Second: Pets Best 2005
  • Third: Figo 2013
  • 24PetWatch 2000
  • AKC Pet Healthcare 2003
  • ASPCA/Hartville Pet Insurance 1997
  • Embrace 2003
  • Nationwide acquired VPI in 2014 and started selling pet insurance as Nationwide (VPI founded in 1982)
  • PetFirst 2004
  • Petplan U.S. 2003 (Petplan started in the UK in 1976)
  • Trupanion 2000

We Do Not Review New Entrants

Many new pet insurance companies are popping up due to the popularity and high demand.

In the past, we’ve seen new companies enter the pet insurance space at meager prices. However, after some time in business and paying some claims, these companies increase rates to make ends meet. This ends up hurting the customers because their premiums increase drastically — and if they submitted a claim, their pet now has a pre-existing condition. So, if they change providers, that condition will not be covered by another pet insurance provider. In the end, they may have been better off going with a different, more well-established company.

Because of these issues, we’ve decided only to review pet insurance companies that have at least 5 full years of national experience. We think this approach gives companies time to establish a consistent pricing system and reputation, which helps give customers and us a better idea of what to expect.

What Is Pet Insurance & Is It Worth It?

Still not sure whether you need or understand pet insurance? We created a pet insurance 101 guide, which includes:

  • What Is Pet Insurance?
  • How Does It Work?
  • Why Do I Need It?
  • What Does It Cover?
  • How Much Is Pet Insurance?
  • Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
  • Real Reimbursement Stories

This helpful guide gives you a good understanding of your options when it comes to insuring your furry family members.

What Are The Benefits Of Pet Insurance?

This video is a useful introduction to dog insurance and the benefits of owning a policy.

Reasons To Get Pet Insurance (Infographic)

Reasons To Get Pet Insurance Infographic

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

For those of you still on the fence, you’re probably wondering what kind of common scenarios your pup might get into when pet insurance would apply. Check out our list of common dog health issues to get an idea. For example, removing lumps and bumps is one of the most common surgeries for dogs and can cost more than $1,000 each time.

That’s a lot of money that you weren’t planning to spend, and most of us don’t have that amount of cash lying around. Insuring your pet can lift that weight off of you so you can focus on enjoying your time with your four-pawed friends instead of worrying about having to pay for unexpected medical bills.

A great article from Jennifer S.



Time to hit the road? Far from setting off into the sunset and enjoying a relaxing journey, travelling with a dog can be a fur-raising experience.

Fear peeing, puking and pooing; shaking, barking, whining and whimpering. Yeah, safe to say that hitting route 66 quickly turns into the road trip from hell when accompanied by your nervy canine. So, what can you do about it? Let’s work through our top waggly-tail tips.H

Plan well ahead for accommodation

We don’t know why, but not everyone is a huge fan of dogs (between you and I – they don’t know what they’re missing). Anyway, dogs are pretty much a no-go for many motels and hotels, so you’ll need to do a little legwork before you set off.

This page lists pet-friendly hotels in the USA, and allows you to search by date as well as book online. Easy peasy.

Make a list (check it twice, thrice, four times) and pack in good time

Packing for a smooth trip starts with getting organized and packing your bag at least the day before. Here’s a list of things to pop into your case for your pooch:

  • Dog food
  • Treats
  • Dog crate
  • Food/water bowls
  • Dog harness/seat belt buckle
  • Leashes
  • Up-to-date vaccine records (this will be required when entering Canada, as well as for staying at some accommodation)
  • Poo bags
  • Lint roller (for attempting to tackle that in-car dog hair)

Go for walkies before hand

A long walk will pay off big time before your journey (at least double the usual daily walk should do nicely). Give him a small treat or two once he’s home, but avoid feeding him his usual meal (a full belly is a sure-fire way to bring about car sickness).

Dogs can easily (and happily) go for a day without food, just so long as they have plenty of water to hand.

Safety first

When it’s time to set off, be sure to safely secure your dog with a seat buckle or place him in a good quality crate (don’t be tempted to let him hang his head out of the window – as this can lead to some pretty nasty eye injuries).

You should also make sure that he’s easily identifiable (at least through a collar tag and microchip). Ideally however you should go one step further, and fit him with a dog tracker (there are some great – and inexpensive – options out there that work with your smartphone – such as the Paw TrackerGibi Pet Locator and Link AKC Smart Dog Collar).

Finally, think about the weather. If it’s the midst of summer and your car is air-conditioning free you should plan to avoid travelling during the hottest times of the day.

Top up your gas at quiet stations

If possible, try to stop off for gas and toilet breaks at stations outside of built-up urban areas, as it’ll be more likely that you’ll discover a grassy space (which can encourage a reluctant pooch to open his bladder!).

Take a pitstop for a mid-way walk

Try to split your journey up every couple of hours or so with a 15-minute walk. This may take some planning, but it shouldn’t be too challenging to discover a nice walk just a short way off most main highways.

Pop in a CBD bone or two into your pouch’s packing

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that’s derived from all-natural, 3rd party tested hemp (e.g. it won’t make your canine stoned – it’ll simply calm their nerves and get them travel-ready).

CBD bones are made for everything from the terrors of fireworks to taking a road trip or plane ride.

FOMO bones team CBD with a formidable team of valerian root, chamomile and passion flower for one all-natural canine calmer.

Pack up the suitcase, through in the dog basket, blanket and FOMO bone – we’re hitting the road!

With FOMO, your dog can chow down on a CBD-infused treat – an entirely natural substance that can help with everything from a fear of scary thunder, onto plane rides and car journeys.