Arizona pet parents: Whether you’ve got a Tonkinese in Tucson, or a Pharaoh Hound in Phoenix, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll take you through the hidden gems and insider tips of being an Arizona pet parent, and while we’re at it, we’ll go through the ins-and-outs of pet insurance so you can keep your furry companion (and your wallet) covered.

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance helps cover the costs of your vet bills. You pay a monthly premium to the insurance company, and in exchange, you can care for your canine or feline fur fam without stressing about the costs.

With Lemonade pet insurance, there are a few different ways to customize your policy with our coverage options:

For starters, a base Lemonade pet health insurance policy will help cover the costs of tests, treatments, and medication if your dog or cat has an unexpected accident or illness.

A base policy is great for the unexpected things in your fur fam’s future, but Lemonade also offers preventative care packages designed to keep your pet healthy and helps cover expenses you’re probably already paying for. By adding this package to a Lemonade policy, you’ll also get access to live medical chat and be covered for all kinds of things—like your annual wellness exam, blood tests, vaccinations, and more. Some exclusions may apply.

 Lemonade offers a Preventative, Preventative+, and a Puppy/Kitten Preventative package. Depending on your pet’s age, this package covers things like spaying/neutering, vaccinations, microchipping, and flea and tick treatments.

The fun doesn’t stop there. You can also customize your Lemonade policy by adding a physical therapy or vet visit fees add-on to take the bite out of pricey treatments and trips to the vet.

Here’s an example of how a Lemonade pet insurance policy works:

  1. Buy a policy. You answer a few quick questions about your German Shepherd, Hoover, and build your pet’s policy with the help of our friendly AI chatbot. The monthly premium you pay is determined by a few factors, mostly things that you can customize, like your coverage package, your annual deductible, your co-insurance, and the annual limit on your plan. (If you want, you can take a deeper dive into how pet insurance works to help you build your perfect policy.) Pet insurance coverage with Lemonade can cost as little as $10/month. Here’s a handy breakdown of the whole (simple) process.
  2. Go to the vet. You rush Hoover to the vet after he broke his leg from going too hard at the dog park. The exam, x-ray, and cast cost you $1,000. Woof. But because you have pet insurance, you don’t have to worry about the full amount. Get the scoop on what we cover here.
  3. Get your money back. Hoover is safely on the mend, and you get up to a $900 reimbursement back in your pocket from Lemonade!

It’s worth noting that as your dog ages, they will require more veterinary care and treatments, which is why it’s worth it to take out a pet insurance policy for your dog as early as possible. If you try to sign your 13-year-old dog up for insurance for the first time, they might be declined due to their age; either way, they’re more likely to have pre-existing conditions that won’t be covered by insurance. But if you get your new puppy a Lemonade policy right away, you’ll be able to continue renewing their policy as they age.

Apply now to get your free pet insurance quote.

Safeguard your pet from Arizona threats

Snakes, spiders, and cacti, oh my! Arizona might enjoy a mild arid climate without the threat of too many natural disasters, except for the extreme heat. Still, if you’re an Arizona pet owner, you need to be aware of the local dangers to avoid an emergency care visit to the vet.

Bullfrogs

While you might not typically think of Kermit’s cousins as a threat, bullfrogs (Sonoran desert toads) can actually be highly dangerous to mammals. They have a toxic salivary gland substance which they secrete from their bodies. If your pet starts gnawing on a bullfrog because it looks like her favorite chew toy, she might be endangering herself and subject to absorbing the toxins from the bullfrog’s skin through her mucous membranes in her gums. The toxicity of bullfrogs is very serious. The initial signs of contact with the toxins are salivation and “brick red mucous membranes.” Be on the lookout for neurological symptoms such as shaking, walking drunkenly, or even seizures. If you catch your pet licking or mouthing a bull toad, rinse your pet’s mouth out with water and take your pet to a veterinarian immediately. Support care might include fluids for shock or fever, medications for shaking and seizures, and cardiac support. 

Snakes

Arizona is bountiful in snakes. With fifty-five species of snakes native to the region, Arizona comes second only to Texas in snake diversity. Arizona is home to around thirteen species of rattlesnakes. The Mojave rattlesnake is the most toxic, it is the Western diamondback rattlesnake that is responsible for the most bites and even deaths in the rattlesnake family. Arizonans know to be extra careful when “snake season” is upon them. When it starts getting warm, the snakes start coming out. But it’s best to be on the lookout all year round. 

The best way you can prevent your pet from getting a snake bite is to be aware. During daytime hours, snakes love basking in the sunshine on rocks and logs. If you’re hiking in nature, keep your dog on a leash so you can pull them back quickly if a snake is in the area. Piles of firewood, rock piles, tall grass, rock piles, leaves, and other debris are ideal hiding places for a slithering visitor, so keep those off your property. If you know that a snake has bitten your pet, don’t waste a moment trying to figure out whether it was venomous or not. Take them to the vet immediately. Don’t try to kill the snake to bring with you either—it’s unnecessary to determine the bite’s toxicity, and is dangerous for you too. Keep your pet as calm as possible, and keep the bitten area below their heart if you can. 

There are a few options for snakebite treatment for cats and dogs, including antibiotics, pain medication, intravenous fluids, and antivenom for the occasional severe case. The Phoenix Herpetological Society can be of help for snake removal and advice. 

This snake might look ready to party, but you’d be wise to keep your distance

Black widow and Arizona brown recluse spiders

It is well-known how poisonous the female black widow is. However, she will only bite under provocation. The Arizona brown recluse spider is nocturnal and is also not aggressive unless agitated. Dark and warm environments are favorite spots for both black widows and Arizona brown recluses, such as your shed, garage, or attic. Your feline could end up with multiple severe bites if they try to “catfight” with a dangerous spider, especially since they love playing with their prey. 

An Arizona brown recluse bite can lead to necrosis, which is severe local tissue destruction. Symptoms of brown recluse bites include pain, blistering, swelling, and a bullseye pattern around the bite (this is the cells dying from the venom). Black widow bite symptoms include tremors, extreme pain, muscle stiffness, and even paralysis. Both spiders can cause disease in cats and dogs, and both have the potential to be fatal in pets. If you suspect a spider attack, take your pet to the vet ASAP.

Black widow bites can be treated with pain medication, IV fluids, muscle relaxants, and antivenom. Treatments for Arizona brown recluse bites include a drug called Lepsone, antibiotics, and thorough antiseptic cleaning. 

Scorpions

Another concern from the arachnid family are scorpion stings, which are toxic to you and your pets. Of all the 1500 species in the world, the only venomous species, the Arizona bark scorpion, is (not surprisingly) a local resident of Arizona. Usually, they are only a concern in the desert. However, be on the lookout for scorpions hiding under debris or wood piles in your yard. 

Symptoms of a scorpion bite include redness in the bite area, drooling, and localized pain. Albeit rare, severe symptoms might be dilated pupils, shaking or tremors, a drunken walk, abnormal eye movements, or an abnormal heart rate. Contact the Pet Poison Helpline if you are concerned that your pet might have suffered a scorpion sting. 

Coyotes

You would think that coyotes are only a problem in the wild of the desert, but they regularly roam the suburbs. As humans expand their living areas closer and closer to the desert, coyotes have become our neighbors, too close for comfort. They have been known to attack small dogs and cats. Some of these attacks, especially with cats, can, unfortunately, end up being fatal. 

If you think a walled yard is what will stop Wile E. from visiting, you are mistaken. Coyotes can easily jump walls. To protect your pets, cats in particular, it is best to keep them inside. If your cat cannot be kept inside, a kitty door with a fully enclosed cat run helps. 

The spread of viruses or catching rabies are the most significant threats coyotes pose to dogs. The parvovirus is contagious to your furry best friend. Coyotes can transmit canine distemper (the symptoms are similar to rabies), canine heartworm, mange mite, or tapeworms.

Yards with abundant food on the ground and water sources attract them, so make sure you clear the outside areas of your home from fallen fruit, leftover pet food, or unsecured trash cans. Contact your local Arizona Game and Fish Department office for more information about dealing with coyotes. 

 Toxic plants and cacti 

Most fur parents are aware of the dangers of chocolate, onions, and tomatoes being toxic foods for their fur babies. But how many take into consideration the toxic plants found in nature? 

While it is not a toxic plant, cacti, which is more of a problem for Arizonian pet parents, in particular, can end up sending you on a visit to the vet. After getting pricked, dogs will try to remove cactus spines themselves with their mouths, leading to spines in their feet and mouths. There can also be “hidden” spines in other parts of their bodies. Usually, mild sedation or anesthesia is required to assist in removal. Spines that cannot be removed will form an abscess. In this case, your veterinarian will provide antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication to reduce any pain. 

Valley Fever

Another thing, which is not exactly a plant to be on the lookout for, is Valley Fever. Valley fever is a sickness that is caused by a fungus that is native to the desert environment. The disease is named after the Sonoran desert valley. 

How does Fido or Felix get this fungus disease? By inhaling the fungus, which subsequently can spread anywhere in the body. The symptoms of valley fever in dogs include skin lesions, eye infections, limping, seizures, and respiratory disease. Some dogs may have a decreased appetite and not be their usual energetic selves while not showing more severe symptoms. 

Valley fever in cats is less common. If they get it, they have similar symptoms as dogs. Other animals can also be affected by valley fever. Your vet will diagnose valley fever with an antibody test. Treatment with antifungal medication can be a long process, so be vigilant. Not all exposed pets will develop the disease. Many dogs can live their entire lives in the valley without getting sick.

Toxic Arizona plants

When your four-legged friend hangs out in the backyard, or goes for a walk, keep your eyes peeled for these plants commonly found in Arizona. Your pet should immediately be taken to the vet if you suspect they have ingested a harmful plant. The ASPCA animal poison control is also a good place to turn to. Here is their phone number: (888)-426-4435.

The list of toxic plants that are found in Arizona is long. This is not a comprehensive list of plants that are poisonous for your pets, but a few that are highly toxic are listed below. Contact your local veterinarian immediately if your fur babies ingest any plant that you are unfamiliar with.

Type of plantToxic to dogsToxic to cats
Jimsonweed
Water Hemlock
Chinaberry Tree
Arum Lily
Mexican Poppy
Mormon Tea
Oleander
Oleander, beautiful but deadly

Top Arizona dog parks

Energetic pup? Let them run wild in one of Arizona’s many off-leash dog parks. Just make sure your pup’s vaccinations are up-to-date and that they are spayed or neutered before you let them cut loose.

  • Cesar Chavez Park. If you are looking for a picturesque place with plenty of large shade trees to roam with Rover, this twenty-four-acre Phoenix dog park in Laveen Village is this place for you! You can enjoy a rejuvenating hike on the 2.4-kilometer loop trail around Alvord Lake, the largest fishing lake in Arizona. You have areas for small or large dogs. Let your socialite pups run wild in the off-leash area, which is behind the skate park. The park amenities include boating, group ramadas, a playground, sports fields, and a library.
  •  Grover’s Basin/ Echo Mountain Off Leash Arena. The Echo Mountain Off-Leash Dog Park, or EM-OLA for short, is in Grover’s Basin in Phoenix. The park has a fenced-in area and open areas as well as separate sections for smaller and large dogs over 2.3 acres of grassy area. The park features water fountains and dog waste dispensers in both of the areas. EM-OLA is a quaint doggy space where less is more!
  • Cosmo Dog Park. Named after the local K9 hero Cosmo, the first police dog in Gilbert, Arizona, this dog park is an oasis. Visitors get to learn how Cosmo inspired the park, and every child who visits gets to hear her story. There is a brick memorial of about 1,400 bricks, in remembrance of furry family members who have been lost. This dog park is not just a piece of a community park but rather dedicated only to dogs. It is also one of the rare parks in the entire country that boasts a doggy beach. Watch Dingo jump from the dock and make a splash!
  • Chaparral Park. This off-leash area park in Scottsdale is a doggie playground with concrete structures for playful pups who like to climb  and explore sandpits. There are areas for more passive pets and active dogs. Parents can relax on the benches while their best friends play. These 100 acres include a green belt pathway, a pool, a community center, a playground, ramadas, and a fishing pier on the lake where you can also go boating. If you’re feeling as sporty as Spotty, there are volleyball and basketball courts as well as a ten station exercise center so you can get in your workout too. 
  • Ivan’s Spot Dog Park. This Tucson park located inside Purple Heart Park is named in honor of the TPD Ivan, who was unfortunately lost in the line of duty. This well-maintained facility has separate parks for large and small dogs. There are water fountains for dogs and doggy pools in the summer. Enjoy the convenience of the park benches and pooper scoopers on site.
  • Purple Heart Park, one of the few parks located in the Southeast area of Tucson, also has a pool, volleyball courts, and a skatepark.
Desert pup, reporting for duty

Support Arizona-based pet businesses

Support small Arizona businesses while keeping your best friend totally pampered!

  • Fur Baby Pet Rental Service. Part of Anything for Baby Rental Service, if you’re visiting family or coming for a reunion in Scottsdale or Phoenix, Arizona, Fur Baby Pet Rental Service has everything you need for your fur baby. You can rent the best gear while traveling with your furry friend! You can rent items such as a pet stroller, a cat crate, a dog life jacket, a dog hiking pack, or a multi-purpose pet mat. Even if what you need is not listed, they offer you to give them a call and see what they can do. You can even make an appointment for pickup and drop-off while you are reserving gear online.  
  • Tactical Pet Services & Equine. Sometimes you need some pet care assistance. Located in Glendale, Arizona, Tactical Pet Services and Equine offer in-house dog sitting, cat sitting, or other pet sitting services, dog walking, dog or puppy training, and even equine care! One of their best services is probably the poop pick up in your yard. They are super professional and come highly recommended. 
  • Second Home Pet Resort. Does your kitty or pooch like to travel in style? Second Home Pet Resort is the only all-suite mountainside resort for pets! This ultimate pet vacation destination hosts pets from all over the Phoenix community and even across the country. Your spoiled Spot or finicky feline can enjoy upscale amenities and over an acre of play yards. All boarding accommodations are heated and air-conditioned to make sure your pet feels at home. The Splash and Play water park brings joy to water-loving dogs and features a waterfall and water-side decks. Your pets can relax to jazz and other calming music. There is even a covered entryway, so your pup does not burn his pretty paws on the blistering Arizona pavements. You will have no reason at all to feel guilty about leaving your furry love at Second Home Pet Resort (and you might even be a bit jealous)!
  • Golden Doodles of Copper Skye. Golden Doodles of Copper Skye is a locally owned and operated, family-owned business. The owner Deb Lipman has made it her life’s work to help families find the perfect Goldendoodle or Bernedoodle! She has a passion for the doodle breed and specializes only in this breed of dog. Copper Skye Doodles offers competitive prices, customized solutions, free consultations, and a three-year health guarantee after adoption. All pups have the best start at life, starting with well-cared-for parents through her Guardian Program. Check out the breeding schedule and available puppies. The gallery will make your heart melt from sweet fluffiness!
  • PetSmart. PetSmart, originally founded in Arizona, now has branches all over the United States and abroad. They provide a wide range of services for pets, including a grooming salon, training classes, PetsHotel boarding, doggie day camp, and the Banfield Pet Hospital. Their learning center offers care for dogs, cats, fish, birds, reptiles, and small pets. In addition, they offer pet adoption services. You can also purchase food, treats, and supplies there. PetSmart is a real pet capital!

Before we go…

Being a pet parent is just the best, isn’t it? The companionship, the kisses, the laughter! Pets add so much to our lives. The love that Arizona pet parents have for their furry companions is real. In fact, a University of Arizona study found that puppies are wired to communicate with people. That’s puppy love built into genetics. Of course, our pets are dear to us, but vet bills can really take a gnaw at our finances, which is why more and more pet parents decide that pet insurance can give you some peace of mind. Learn more about whether pet insurance is the right choice for you and how much it costs.

categories: #Pet

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