SOURCE: PetFirst Healthcare

October 04, 2007 09:22 ET

Tails Wag for Animal Welfare Week

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN--(Marketwire - October 4, 2007) - On average, eight to 10 million pets stray from their homes each year according to the Coalition for Reuniting Pets and Families, which is why the first week of October is dedicated to animal welfare. While many love animals, it's important to keep in mind what it really means to care for a pet.

Experts say being a responsible pet owner goes beyond ensuring the pet has food, water and a safe place to sleep.

"Responsibility starts at the initial selection of a pet for purchase or adoption," said Brent Hinton, former Kentucky Humane Society director and current PetFirst Healthcare CEO. "Bringing a pet into the family is a big decision. Taking the time to research different breeds and determine the best match for the pet and the family is essential."

Hinton recommends asking key questions before selecting their lifelong family companion:

--  Is it compatible with the family lifestyle -- active or non-active?
--  Is it compatible with children?
--  Is it healthy; are there any breed-related health or personality
--  Is it an outside or inside animal and is the pet owner's home

Once a pet is selected, it's important to take the time to know and understand the personality of the pet. Hinton said this ensures any changes in behavior are immediately identified since they can be warning signs of illness or injury.

Maintaining a schedule of routine pet care is also important. Responsible owners keep up with vaccinations and take preventative measures for fleas, ticks and heartworms. One valuable benefit rising in popularity among pet owners is pet health insurance, which can reimburse policyholders for accidents, illnesses, as well as routine care.

"A pet becomes a member of the family and insuring that family member becomes a priority for responsible pet owners," said Hinton.

Sylvia Lepine has two dogs, Hunter and Shelby, who have been insured on PetFirst plans since 2006.

"Pet insurance makes sense to me because the cost for vet care is almost as much as my own healthcare," said Lepine. "Just one sickness can more than pay for years of pet insurance premiums. The fact that routine care is included makes the insurance that much more valuable to me."

About PetFirst Healthcare

PetFirst Healthcare is a privately owned pet insurance company based in Jeffersonville, Ind. Underwritten by an A-rated insurance carrier and available nationwide, PetFirst provides affordable and reliable coverage for dog and cat medical expenses, and fast and effective claims processing. For more information about individual and family plans and pricing, visit or call 1-866-937-PETS.

Contact Information

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