Questions For The Doctor - Dr. Velez: The Forbidden Fruit, Pet Insurance and Portion Control

Questions For The Doctor - Dr. Velez: The Forbidden Fruit, Pet Insurance and Portion Control
Questions for the Doctor: a series about what to ask your vet  and what our vet says about it.
For centuries, parents with young children have been wishing that manuals came attached to their babies. Parents of fur babies share the same sentiment. We admit that it can be tough knowing just what to do in any given situation. Breathe a sigh of relief because although you’ve got questions, PetMio has you covered, and Chief Veterinarian Dr. Arlianne Velez has answers. Here is what to ask your vet.
I’ve heard that I shouldn’t feed my cat or dog from my plate, but if it’s good for me then it can’t be that bad for him, right?
Dr. Velez urges pet parents to resist Fido’s whines. “While we might think that the food we prepare is healthy and nutritious, the seasonings and add-ons that we use to make our meals taste great aren’t always easy for our pets to digest,” she says. “Actually, they often do more harm than good.”
Still, as a pet lover, she understands the desire to include our beloved felines and pooches at mealtime. So, she gives the okay for slipping loyal tail-waggers a piece of undressed tomato from a fresh salad. She says, however, that owners should steer clear of these foods listed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA): 
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee and Caffeine Products
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raw or undercooked meats
  • Citrus
  • Dairy
  • Nuts
  • Aromatics like Onions, Garlic and Chives
  • Bones (Sorry, Fido)
There are many more human foods that can be toxic to animals, so be sure to add this to the list of what to ask your vet, and check the ASPCA’s website in the link above before treating your pup or cat.
Is pet insurance really worth it?
“The number one piece of advice that I could give my clients is to make sure that their pets have insurance … I can’t stress this enough,” says Dr. Velez.
As a veterinarian, she sees firsthand how one accident can balloon costs with routine surgeries costing upwards of $10,000, excluding aftercare and medications. As a matter of fact, veterinary care and over-the-counter medicines costed pet owners $30.9 billion in 2016 according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA).
Unsure of where to begin shopping for insurance? Dr. Velez suggests starting close to home: with your employer. “Most people don’t realize that their pets can be covered by the insurance provider their employer offers,” says Dr. Velez. “And one inquiry can save a lot of headache in the long run.”
It feels like every time I look around, my cat is meowing and leading me to an empty bowl, but I follow the instructions on the back of the bag. Is she just being greedy?
“Maybe. But it could also mean that your cat’s nutritional needs aren’t being met,” says Dr. Velez.
First, she wants to ensure that pet owners remember to only use the feeding guidelines as suggestions. Actual feeding recommendations will vary from pet to pet. Therefore, whether your furry sidekick seems to be eating more or less than what is generally suggested, Dr. Velez strongly advises pet parents to speak with their pet’s veterinarian.
“They might find that their pet has allergies and that’s why they’re eating less. Or they may learn that a specific brand doesn’t have enough of one component that their pet really needs, which may be why they’re eating so much,” she says. “The best thing will always be to discuss their pet’s dietary habits with their veterinarian.”
Figuring out what to ask your vet can be tricky. Stay tuned for more Questions for the Doctor in the future to help you out!