Trends for Pets in 2021
I don’t think too many of us will be sad to see 2020 go. However, many pets found their forever homes during the pandemic which is good news for all those furry companions and the humans who they make happy. What will 2021 bring for our pets? Let’s look at three trends that are sure to be big in the new year.
- Organic pet foods and Eco-friendly pet toys. While the word “organic” evokes food that is wholesome and environmentally friendly, the term is not well defined in the veterinary and pet food industry. So, while organic pet foods likely contain high quality ingredients, the word organic does not guarantee that the foods are pesticide-free nor do most organic foods have significantly higher nutrient content than non-organic diets. They also tend to cost more. If you feel strongly about buying organic for both yourself and your pets, do your research and do make sure that the food you’re buying is NOT grain free (grain free diets have been linked with a type of heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy and are not currently recommended) and that the food has an AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) seal of approval on the label meaning it meats proper nutritional requirements for keeping pets healthy.
- With the organic food trend, also comes a desire for more natural toys. Toys made from natural rubber, cotton, or recycled materials are all the rage. Do use caution with “natural” chew toys like bully sticks, real bones, hooves and antlers. Make sure you choose products made in the United States—some foreign products have undesirable preservatives and there have also been cases of bacterial contamination. Use caution with items like antlers and bones—these may actually break your pet’s teeth and bones can splinter or harbor bacteria.
- Pet insurance. Pet insurance has been around for a long time, but we are seeing an uptick in the number of people purchasing insurance for their pets. Many different plans exist—some are strictly accident/injury plans, others include wellness riders. Basically, you pay a monthly premium for coverage. If your pet has an illness or other qualifying expense, you submit your claim and receive money back once your deductible is met. They can be helpful in defraying costs of unforeseen surgeries or illnesses your pet may encounter. Look for reputable companies such as Trupanion, Nationwide and the ASPCA and check out plan options to find the best fit for your fur baby before committing.
- Telemedicine. With Covid-19 restrictions, virtual doctor visits have replaced many in clinic exams. Telehealth is available for our furry friends, too. Virtual vet visits are not good for all types of illnesses, but they may be useful if your pet has a “visual” issue like a skin problem where photos can be submitted or a minor illness such as a cough or diarrhea. Pets may still need to visit the vet if their problem cannot be solved virtually. Nothing is more important than a hands-on exam for diagnosing many illnesses. But, if you are concerned about venturing out or if it is difficult to get your pet to the vet, consider checking to see if a virtual visit might be right for you. Patton Veterinary Hospital uses a service called Televet—more information is found here or on our website www.pattonvethospital.com.
Hopefully, we’ll all have a happy and healthy 2021. Remember, your veterinarian is always your best source of information regarding the health of your pet. Ask any of our vets or staff for their recommendations or to answer any questions you may have about your pets. We’re here to help!
This blog brought to you by the Patton Veterinary Hospital serving Red Lion, York and the surrounding communities.