Playing Like the Pros: Pets & Football Players Share Surprising Traits According to David Frei


Pet Expert David Frei and Petplan compare common qualities – and injuries – of pros and pooches

As we inch closer to the Big Game, Frei picked a pedigree that parallels some favorite playoff players—and Petplan named the injuries* they can have in common:

Tom Brady, QB, New England: Afghan Hound
Frei’s take: Intensity and intelligence. Both are hunters who are able to deliver.
Petplan says: Brady’s ACL injury in 2008 hasn’t hurt his game, but a pup’s CCL injury could hurt your wallet. The average cost to repair a tear: $3,480.

Kam Chancellor, Safety, Seattle: Airedale Terrier
Frei’s take: Like the “king of the terriers,” Chancellor is the king of the defensive backs. They’re both big, strong, hard-hitters who are defensive minded.
Petplan says: A groin injury sidelined Chancellor early this season. Hip and groin pain in dogs can be symptoms of hip dysplasia, which can cost as much as $1,850 to treat.

Tyron Smith, OL, Dallas: Alaskan Malamute
Frei’s take: Big and strong, the Malamute can be depended upon for protection, just as Smith takes care of his QB.
Petplan says: Back problems are on the roster for both of these giants; Smith’s been battling a back injury all season, while large dog breeds can battle Wobbler’s Syndrome, a condition of the spinal cord that typically costs $4,228 to treat.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York: Whippet
Frei’s take: Both are fast, athletic and can turn on a dime—they’re keys to making things happen for their team.
Petplan says: Beckham’s been plagued by hamstring injuries in the past, a condition (injured tendon) that could cost about $3,733 to treat in his canine counterpart.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas: Doberman Pinscher
Frei’s take: A powerful runner in a tightly wrapped package. A champion athlete and a happy guy.
Petplan says: Running backs arguably take the most hits of any player on the field, making them no stranger to concussions. The same injury in a dog can rack up a $623 vet bill.

Eric Berry, Safety, Kansas City: Siberian Husky
Frei’s take: A great athlete who can run fast and go all day long. Understands teamwork: the Husky as a sled dog and Berry not just on the field, but in beating cancer with his team of doctors and family.
Petplan says: Dogs get cancer at about the same rate as humans. It’s the second most claimed for condition and costs an average of $2,033 to treat.

Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta: Viszla
Frei’s take: Tireless. Not huge, but fast and can run.
Petplan says: Jones’ injured toe caused him to miss time this season, but despite the setback he’s still having a great year. Toe trouble wouldn’t keep a Viszla off the field for long, either—despite costing $675 to treat.

As David Frei’s pairings highlight, the talent to run fast and take on anything isn’t the only thing linking our pets with professional players.

“Pets are a lot like football players in that they take life at full speed and stop at nothing to play the game. But what makes a champion on the field and in your backyard can lead to serious injury,” says Petplan Veterinary Manager Elyse Donnarumma. “In fact, pets probably rack up medical bills as fast as any athlete—every six seconds a pet parent is handed a vet bill over $3,000! For pets and players, good preventive care is key…and it never hurts to have a little help paying the bills.”

*Source: 2015 Petplan claims data


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