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Types of Pets

- Thursday, May 30, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Pets

Traditional Pets

When you hear the word ‘pet,’ you probably think of cats and dogs. You may even consider birds and fish. More traditional pets are ones that have been domesticated to live as pets. They are usually bred in captivity and haven’t lived in the wild for generations.

Over the course of history, pets were domesticated because of a few key factors:

  • They grow and mature quickly, making them efficient to raise
  • There are multiple periods of fertility within a year, making them efficient to breed
  • Plant-based diets make them easy to feed
  • They adapt easily to new environments and changes

Cats as pets. Cats are wonderful companions because of their easy-going nature and low-maintenance care. Plus, they are playful and curious, so they can be very entertaining pets.

Cats can be mixed-breed or purebred, and you can choose a cat based on its characteristics, behavioral traits, and fur patterns. They can be trained to use a litter box inside.

Dogs as pets. Dogs bond with their owners and make excellent companions. While they are more high-maintenance than cats, they are also easier to train in general.

Dogs don’t traditionally use litter boxes like cats do, so you’ll have to invest time in training your pet dog to use the bathroom outside. Be available over the course of your day to let your dog out for bathroom breaks and activities.

Types of Exotic Pets

There is no definitive way to identify an animal as “exotic” when it comes to pets. Traditionally, exotic pets were considered wild animals taken into captivity. However, the definition has expanded to include any animal not bred to be domesticated and live in homes.

Many states have laws outlining species considered to be exotic. Some breeds of pets are illegal to keep, so check your local and state laws before adopting an exotic animal. These laws are designed to protect exotic animals since they require specialized care. Some types of exotic pets include:

Amphibians: Species that make good pets include African Clawed Frogs, Dwarf Clawed Frogs, Fire Bellied Toads, and Northern Leopard Frogs.

Birds: Many birds like finches and cockatiels are domesticated, but others are considered exotic, including African greys, Amazons, Canary Wing Bee Bees, Cockatoos, and Lories.

Insects and arachnids: Breeds most frequently adopted include hissing cockroaches, praying mantis, tarantulas, and scorpions.

Reptiles: Species include Anoles, Bearded Dragons, Burmese Pythons, Ornate Box Turtles, and Chinese Water Dragons

Rodents: While some of these pets may seem to be common, they are still considered exotic. Many families adopt chinchillas, mice, gerbils, prairie dogs, ferrets, and rats.

Need pet insurance? Contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.


Safely Visit Oceans, Lakes, and Rivers

- Thursday, May 23, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Safely Visit Oceans, Lakes, and Rivers

The risks

While spending time in natural bodies of water—like oceans, lakes, and rivers—can help you stay active, it is important to know that the water we swim, play, wade, and relax in can also spread germs.

Germs found in the water and sand often come from human or animal feces (poop). One way germs can be carried into swim areas is by heavy rain, which can carry whatever it comes in contact with (for example, poop from animals) into swim areas. These germs can also come from humans or animals pooping in or near the water.

Water contaminated with these germs can make you sick if you swallow it. It can also cause an infection if you get into the water with an open cut or wound (especially from a surgery or piercing).

Steps to take

Taking a few simple steps when you visit oceans, lakes, rivers, and other natural bodies of water can help protect everyone from these germs.

Know before you go

  • Before you head out, check online to find out if the swim area is currently monitored, is under advisory, or has been closed for health or safety reasons. This is especially important after a heavy rain.
  • If your body's ability to fight germs is already affected by other health problems or medicines, check with your healthcare provider before swimming in oceans, lakes, rivers, and other natural bodies of water.

Stay out of the water if

  • Signs say the swim area is closed.
  • The water looks cloudier than usual, is discolored, or smells bad. Cloudy water can be a warning that there are more germs in the water than normal. Discolored or smelly water could mean there is a harmful algal bloom (HAB) in the water.
  • You see any pipes draining into or around the water.
  • You are sick with diarrhea.
  • You have an open cut or wound (especially from a surgery or piercing). If you do go in the water while a cut or wound is still healing, use waterproof bandages to completely cover

Once you are in the swim area

  • Don't swallow the water.
  • Keep sand away from your mouth and children's mouths.
  • Don't poop in the water.
  • Every hour, take kids on bathroom breaks and check diapers. Diapers should be changed in a bathroom or diaper-changing area to keep germs away from the water and sand.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds before eating food, especially if you have been playing in or touching sand.


Buying a Personal Watercraft: Beginner's Guide

- Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance

Personal watercrafts (PWCs) offer nimble handling and amazing performance in a package that’s affordable and easy to own. Some could argue that no boating option offers more value—or bang for the buck—than a personal watercraft. In much the same way Kleenex has became synonymous with facial tissue, a PWC is often referred to as a Jet Ski, WaveRunner or Sea-Doo—which are all known name brands of personal watercraft manufacturers including Kawasaki, Yamaha and BRP, sequentially. Buying the best PWC for your needs, similar to buying any boat, involves making a few important choices.

How to Buy a Personal Watercraft (PWC), Jet Ski or WaveRunner

  1. Determine the number of passengers you want to carry.
  2. Compare different models—rec-light, recreation, touring/luxury, performance, and stand-up.
  3. Decide if you'd like to buy new or pre-owned.
  4. Set your budget and explore financing options.
  5. Start shopping—find out where to buy.
  6. Research personal watercraft values and consult pricing guides.
  7. Work with a dealer—and close the deal.

Two-Passenger or Three-Passenger?

Almost all new PWC models are rated to carry three people, but not all are really comfortable with three adults on board. Mid-size three-passengers models can carry three adults in a pinch but two adults and a child is really more realistic. Some of the smaller Rec-Light-category models, and some high-performance PWC, are rated for two passengers. A three-passenger model offers seat room and buoyancy to comfortably carry two adults for a long cruise. That three-passenger rating is also a requirement when using a PWC to tow tubers or wake boarders in most states.

Compare Brands & Models

Rec-Light Models

These most-affordable PWC models can carry two adults (or two adults and a child), have a 60 to 100 HP engine, and can reach a top speed of about 45 MPH. They don’t really have enough power to tow a tube or boarder, and often don’t have some of the convenience features found on larger models. They also have a smaller and lighter hull that works fine in smooth water but can deliver a rougher ride when conditions get choppy.

Recreation Models

The mid-rage offered by PWC manufacturers, these models are larger and faster than the Rec-Light models, and can come with more features. Engine options may range from about 120 to 180 HP, good for a top speed of 50 to 60 MPH. Features offered on Recreation models include electronic reverse control, speed control options, performance options (such as a fuel-saving ECO mode), security systems, and optional audio systems. Some models can be set up for long-range cruising with a bolstered seat, or for towing with a tow-line pylon.

Luxury/Touring Models

These feature-laden models offer the most-powerful engines, with more than 300 HP available and a top speed exceeding 65 MPH. The large hull—over 11 feet long—is designed to offer a comfortable and stable ride in most water conditions. They also offer more storage and fuel capacity than the Recreation models. Electronic trim and reverse controls, adjustable speed and performance options, a touch screen display, a security system, adjustable handlebar angle are often standard equipment. There are models designed for specifically for touring, fishing and tow sports.

Performance Models

Designed for experienced riders looking for no-compromise performance inspired by competition, a Performance PWC is often the quickest and fastest boat on any lake. The hull and deck is often molded from special lightweight material, the jet pump is enhanced with special components, and the highest horsepower engine is placed under the seat. The result is not just top speed approaching 70 MPH, but eye-popping acceleration and razor-sharp handling. These are not machines intended for beginning riders.

Stand-Up Models

This is where the sport began—a narrow hull with a handlebar control mounted on a moveable pole. Riding a Stand-Up PWC requires some athletic ability and a lot of practice, but it’s that challenge that many riders find rewarding and entertaining.

Currently the Kawasaki Jet Ski SX-R is the only Stand-Up model available for recreational riding. The Yamaha SuperJet is sold only for closed-course competition. Pre-owned models are an option for those who want to give a stand-up model a try.

PWC Gear & Accessories

Trailer: Most PWC owners have a trailer to transport the craft, even if it’s kept on the water during the riding season. A trailer will be needed to transport the craft for service and off-season storage.

Life Jacket or PFD: A Type III PFD must be worn when riding a PWC—learn more here.

Riding Gear: Neoprene shorts or PWC trunks with a neoprene liner provide the PWC rider and passengers with a comfort and protection. A PWC wet suit can be worn for riding in cold water or for extending the riding season. Closed-toe boat shoes, water shoes or PWC riding booties provide better traction and protection than bare feet or flip-flops.


Tips for Choosing a Pet

- Friday, May 10, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Pets

Consider housing. Cats and dogs can roam freely, but fish and exotic pets require housing that looks and feels like their natural habitat. While some exotic pets, like ferrets, can roam free in your house like cats and dogs, others cannot. For example, reptiles carry diseases that are dangerous for humans, so they should be kept properly caged.

If you have to purchase a cage or tank, think about how large your pet will grow and purchase a home that will meet his needs long-term. If you adopt more than one of the same animal, they may require a larger home to share or separate homes depending on the species.

Turtles and amphibians may need tanks that have both water and “land” to be completely fulfilled. Since reptiles are cold-blooded, you may have to invest in a UV light to help regulate body temperature.

Veterinary costs. Cats and dogs require regular examinations and vaccinations, and so do many exotic pets. All pets have specific needs, so don’t assume that small pets like fish are easier to care for. Do your research and find a veterinarian who specializes in the care of your particular pet.

If you already have pets, talk to your veterinarian before adopting another one. Your vet can help you navigate local laws for exotic pets and ensure all your animals are compatible and will get along. They can also give you tips for introducing your new pet to the ones you already own.

Food. Pet food nutrition labels aren’t the same as those for human food but as with humans, quality is better. Cats are meat eaters and need diets that are high in animal protein. Your dog must have water, protein, fat, carbs, and some vitamins and minerals to be healthy. Other animals, like snakes, are carnivores and need to eat thawed, pre-killed rodents to meet their nutritional needs.

Some reptiles require a variety of fresh vegetation. You may be tempted to just give lettuce, but your pet will not get enough nutrients to thrive without variety. No pets should be given human food unless it is cooked meat or fresh fruits and vegetables that are safe for your particular breed. Processed foods are highly dangerous to many species. Fresh water is an important requirement no matter what kind of pet you adopt. Always check with your vet for advice on what is best for your pet's nutritional needs.


How to Take Care of Your Mental Health: Mental Health Awareness Month

- Friday, May 03, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance

Self-care means taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health. This can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy. Even small acts of self-care in your daily life can have a big impact.

Here are some self-care tips:

  • Get regular exercise. Just 30 minutes of walking every day can boost your mood and improve your health. Small amounts of exercise add up, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t do 30 minutes at one time.
  • Eat healthy, regular meals and stay hydrated. A balanced diet and plenty of water can improve your energy and focus throughout the day. Pay attention to your intake of caffeine and alcohol and how they affect your mood and well-being—for some, decreasing caffeine and alcohol consumption can be helpful.
  • Make sleep a priority. Stick to a schedule, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Blue light from devices and screens can make it harder to fall asleep, so reduce blue light exposure from your phone or computer before bedtime.
  • Try a relaxing activity. Explore relaxation or wellness programs or apps, which may incorporate meditation, muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises. Schedule regular times for these and other healthy activities you enjoy, such as listening to music, reading, spending time in nature, and engaging in low-stress hobbies.
  • Set goals and priorities. Decide what must get done now and what can wait. Learn to say “no” to new tasks if you start to feel like you’re taking on too much. Try to appreciate what you have accomplished at the end of the day.
  • Practice gratitude. Remind yourself daily of things you are grateful for. Be specific. Write them down or replay them in your mind.
  • Focus on positivity. Identify and challenge your negative and unhelpful thoughts.
  • Stay connected. Reach out to friends or family members who can provide emotional support and practical help.

Self-care looks different for everyone, and it is important to find what you need and enjoy. It may take trial and error to discover what works best for you.

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