Pet Insurance Blog

Monday November 30, 2015

How to Help Your Pet Lose Weight

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Do you have an overweight pet on your hands? Even a few extra pounds can negatively impact your pet’s health by causing joint issues, heart problems and even diabetes. Here are five simple tips to help your pet fight the battle of the bulge.

Weigh In

It’s best to set up an appointment with your veterinarian for an official “weigh-in”. This way, you’ll know your pet’s starting point and can get recommendations for a healthy pet weight loss plan. Your veterinarian can also check for health issues that may be causing weight gain or might interfere with weight loss.

Portion Control

One of the keys to helping your pet lose weight is to reduce calories. To do that, you need to make sure you’re offering your pet the right amount of food at mealtimes. Ask your veterinarian what portion size is right for your pet. You should also use a measuring cup rather than a scoop for better accuracy, and avoid leaving food out for your pet to nosh on freely. Get more pet nutrition tips.

Reduce Treats

Cutting back on treats is another important way to reduce your pet’s calorie intake. Offer treats sparingly, and check the ingredients and calorie count on your pet’s favorite ones. You may be surprised how much sugar and fat they contain. Keep in mind treats should be a very small percentage of your pet’s calorie intake. Try these simple dog treat recipes.

Offer Fruits and Vegetables

Packed with vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables are a healthy alternative to store bought treats. You can offer your pet apples, carrots, broccoli and other pet-safe picks from the produce aisle (see our infographic for a full list). Be sure to wash them first and remove any seeds or pits. You can also cut them into small pieces to help prevent choking.

Increase Exercise

In addition to decreasing calories, you’ll need to increase the amount of exercise your pet is getting. Start slowly at first, especially if your pet has been a bit of a couch potato. Go at your pet’s pace initially, then gradually lengthen walks and playtime as your pet gets stronger. You may even notice your waistline shrinking!

Wednesday November 25, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Bailey


Bailey, nicknamed Moo Moo for her spots, was adopted from the shelter when she was a puppy, but her pet mom says Bailey is the one who picked them. Bailey loves cuddling, watching Animal Planet, and outsmarting her brother Duncan.

Monday November 23, 2015

Invite Your Pet to Thanksgiving Dinner

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Thanksgiving isn't just about giving thanks—it's also about eating!

Your pet can be included in your tummy-filling feast, but be careful he or she doesn't eat something that could be harmful, such as sweets. We see a significant spike in claims for chocolate/candy ingestion during the holiday season.*

Learn more about our plan options, including coverage for injuries and accidents!

Foods to Avoid

Never offer your pet raw or undercooked turkey, onions, garlic, fatty foods or real bones, which can splinter and cause choking or injury. Raisins, chocolate, and desserts or candy sweetened with Xylitol are also toxic for pets. See why chocolate is so dangerous for pets.

Foods to Enjoy

Serve your pet a healthy Thanksgiving dinner with bits of white turkey without the skin. Small pieces of raw carrots, cut up green beans and mashed sweet potatoes with no butter or salt are also safe options for your pet. Get the full list safe fruits and veggies you can add to your pet’s holiday plate.

Simple Homemade Treats

While you’re cooking your Thanksgiving sides, whip up a batch of homemade cat snacks or tasty dog treats. These pet recipes are easy to make with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. If you don’t have time, pick up a special treat at the store. Just don’t go overboard, since too many treats can lead to stomach upset or obesity.


Reminder: Treats such as these should not make up more than 10% of a pet’s caloric intake.
* Source: Internal Claims Data, 2009-14

Monday November 16, 2015

25 Tips for a Clean and Pet-Friendly Home

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The holidays are upon us, and that means company is on its way! These tips can help you prepare your home for visitors and make your house cleaner and safer for your furry friends already in residence.


One of the best things you can do to help keep your house clean is to keep your pet clean and well groomed.

  • 1. Brush your pet frequently to reduce shedding and help prevent hairballs in cats.
  • 2. Trim fur between your pet’s paw pads, around the backend and on the belly so that they won’t collect dirt.
  • 3. Clip your pet’s nails and file any rough edges that could tear upholstery or other fabric around the house.
  • 4. Wipe your pet’s face after mealtime and don’t forget to clean floppy ears if they dip into water or food bowls.
  • 5. Be sure to wipe those paws every time your pet comes in from outside and towel your furry friend off completely on wet days.


  • 6. If you’re looking into new flooring, keep in mind that tile, sheet linoleum, and laminate flooring are easy to wipe clean.
  • 7. Consider replacing wall-to-wall carpeting or covering well-travelled sections with machine washable area rugs.
  • 8. Have a pet-friendly carpet-cleaning product handy to remove stains.
  • 9. If you have unsealed hardwood floors, seal them with polyurethane to prevent them from absorbing odors.
  • 10. Put an absorbent placemat under your pet’s food and water bowls to make clean up easier.
  • 11. Place a small washable area rug near entryways, though make sure it’s non-slip.
  • 12. If you have a teething puppy, roll up and store rugs with fringe, which can tempt pups to bite and chew.
    13. Put away vegetable-dyed area rugs until your pet is fully house-trained. The dye can run and stain if it gets wet.


  • 14. If you’re painting, choose washable semi-gloss paint because it’s easy to wipe down.
  • 15. Keep in mind that washable vinyl-backed wallpaper is easier to clean than traditional paper-backed wallpaper.
  • 16. Protect antique wallpapers or fabric wall treatments by having them only on the top half of walls. You can paint or hang a washable wall covering below.


  • 17. Use pet-friendly window treatments, like fabric shades, café curtains, and valances.
  • 18. Avoid vertical blinds, pooling drapery and ornate tassels. Pets can get tangled up in them and cause everything around to come crashing down.
  • 19. Tie up long cords to avoid accidental strangulation.
  • 20. Think twice about mini-blinds, which can get bent beyond repair when they block a curious pet’s view.
  • 21. Make sure all of your windows screens are installed securely. Cats especially can lean on loose screens and fall out.


  • 22. Choose patterns, tweeds and dark colors for your upholstery, if possible, because they won’t show stains or fur as much as light and solid colors.
  • 23. Keep your pet’s nails well trimmed if you have leather or Vinyl furniture, which can get scratched and damaged.
  • 24. Encourage your furry friend to stay off forbidden furniture by setting up a cozy pet bed nearby.
  • 25. Cover the couches and chairs your pet likes to snooze on with a throw or removable slipcover you can put in the wash.

Also, don’t forget to download our free pet-proofing guide. Some of the biggest dangers to your pet are common, everyday things.

If your pet does have a mishap, such as falling through a window screen or ingesting cleaning products, are they covered? Get a free, personalized quote!

Thursday November 12, 2015

5 Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pets


It’s a great time of year to celebrate with family members—and that includes those of the four-legged variety. Here are some tips to help make sure your celebrations are safe for your pet.

1. Check your decorations.

It’s fun to decorate for the holidays, but try to make them as safe as possible. For instance, if you’re hanging lights, tape down any wires that might be tripped over or chewed on and use battery powered candles rather than the real thing.

2. Offer pet safe food.

Your pet can join the feast, but be sure you only offer pet safe foods. Mashed sweet potato or skinless turkey meat are good choices. Browse this blog for some yummy pet recipe ideas!

3. Watch those bones.

Never give your pet real turkey or chicken bones. Your pet could choke on them or they could splinter apart and injure your pet’s mouth.

4. Keep chocolate out of paw’s reach.

This goes for chocolate bars and candies as well as desserts that contain cocoa, like brownies or chocolate cake. Keep in mind that goodies sweetened with Xylitol can also be harmful to pets. 

5. Set up a peaceful retreat.

If the festivities are at your house, give your pet a cozy place to get away and rest. Put a favorite blanket in a room with some water and a few toys so your pet will be comfortable there.

It can also be a good idea to have your pet stay in that room while groups of guests are coming or going. Pets can get stepped on during the commotion or scoot out the door unexpectedly.

Pin our Thanksgiving Safety Tips infographic to Pinterest for easy reference!

Thanksgiving day pet safety tips

Thursday November 12, 2015

Planning a Holiday Trip with Your Pet

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Here are three things you can do to make holiday travels with your pet a little easier for both of you.

1. Make a list

You can help avoid forgetting something your pet might need by making a list and checking it off as you pack. Your list could include food and water bowls (collapsible ones are great for travel!), food, treats, a few favorite toys, any medications your pet is taking, a leash, a collar, etc.

Also, remember to put an ID on that collar, which can be a big help if your pet gets lost while you’re travelling. If your pet has a microchip, be sure the registry has your current contact information.

2. Check ahead

Staying at a hotel? It’s a good idea to call in advance to confirm that they’re pet-friendly. You should also ask if there are any extra charges or specific restrictions for pet guests.

If you’re staying with friends or family, don’t assume they know your pet is coming with you. Let them know and ask them about any related issues, like household members with pet allergies, other pets in the home, or children who may be anxious around pets.

3. Consider pet travel services

Pet travel services, like Global Pet Plus, can help you plan your trip or deal with issues while you’re away from home. Their services are available to ASPCA Pet Health Insurance customers at no additional cost and include: 

  • • Concierge Services – From finding pet friendly hotels to arranging pet airport pick up, Global Pet Plus can help.
  • • Veterinary Referrals – They can provide referrals for veterinarians or veterinary specialists in the area where you’re staying.
  • • Prescription Assistance – Forgot your pet’s prescription at home? No problem. Global Pet Plus can provide assistance in getting it filled.
  • • Missing Pet Help – If your pet gets lost or goes missing while you’re travelling, they can help connect you with local authorities and animal shelters with microchip reading services.
  • • Emergency Transport Assistance – Global Pet Plus can arrange for ground transport if your pet needs emergency veterinary assistance in an area where a facility isn’t available within 100 miles.

You can call them 24/7 at 1-855-435-6057 or learn more at

A little extra thought and planning can help make holiday travels with your pet smooth sailing!

Wednesday November 11, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Amelia


Ever a bundle of energy, Amelia adores hiking and even traversed part of the Appalachian Trail with her pet mom last summer. A few of her other favorite things include cuddles, food, and talking.

Monday November 9, 2015

Stories of Service Animals Helping Humans

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Service animals, like these, help their human partners navigate day-to-day activities and can greatly enhance their quality of life. They also give the phrase working like a dog a whole new meaning!

Leading the Blind

Guide dogs were first trained in Germany to help veterans who lost their sight in World War I. Today, there are many breeds of dogs who help lead the blind, including Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and German Shepherds. But not all guide animals are dogs. In 1999, miniature horses also started to be trained for this task.

Listening In

A lot of hearing dogs are mixed breed rescue pets. They’re trained to alert the deaf or hearing impaired to sounds like smoke alarms, doorbells, phones, and their names. These dogs are trained to make physical contact with their deaf partners and take them to the source of the sound.

At Your Service

Some service dogs are trained to help individuals with mobility or balance issues. These dogs can help by providing their pet parents with added stability, pushing wheelchairs, turning lights on and off, picking objects up off of the floor and other essential daily tasks.

Offering Help

Therapy animals, which can include dogs, cats, horses and other good-natured animals, can provide comfort, offer emotional support, and even promote learning for children with autism or disabilities. There are also seizure alert dogs and cats who can detect oncoming seizures and seek out assistance.

Service animals require specialized and sometimes intensive training to do their jobs. While your typical household pet doesn’t need quite this much education, he or she should understand basic commands and etiquette. These pet training tips can help you train your pet.

Keep in mind, even the best-behaved pets can get into mischief. Is your pet covered?

Wednesday November 4, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Biggie


Biggie’s size may be intimidating, but he is the biggest sweetheart you may ever meet. He really likes to hang with chickens, but he is scared of toads. Biggie often sits on the couch like a human, his four-legged brother Karl is his idol, and his favorite toy is a glow ball, because it’s the only one he can find at night.

Monday November 2, 2015

Top 4 Tips to Train Your Dog

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It’s important to train your dog to respond to basic commands and behave appropriately, but it can take some time and effort. These tips can help you get there with less frustration for both you and your dog.

1. Use Praise and Rewards

Relying on praise and rewards rather than reprimands can make dog training more effective and enjoyable. Just remember to go easy on the treats. They can be high in calories and cause your dog to gain weight.

2. Be Consistent

Promote learning and avoid confusion by being consistent. For instance, make sure everyone in the household agrees to the rules, such as whether or not the dog is allowed on the living room couch. Also, make sure you use the same commands. If you use “off” and your spouse uses “down,” you could end up with one confused pup.

3. Take Baby Steps

Training a dog can take time. Be patient and follow your dog’s ability and pace. Some dogs learn quickly while others need more repetition and practice. If you or your dog start getting frustrated during a training session, take a break and try again later.

4. Seek Help

If you need assistance or don’t have the time to train your dog yourself, there are a couple dog training options you can consider:

  • Group Sessions – Training in a small group is a great way to teach basic skills and socialize young puppies. It an also be less expensive than one-on-one training.
  • Private Lessons – Personalized training can be particularly helpful if your dog has a specific issue. A private trainer can focus solely on your dog and customize the training plan based on his or her needs.

Ask your veterinarian about the best training option for your dog and dog trainer recommendations.

Keep in mind, even the best-behaved pets can get into mischief. Is your pet covered?

Wednesday October 28, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Mayonnaise


Mayonnaise, Mayo for short, was the cutest, fluffiest and cuddliest puppy there was, according to her pet dad. That is why he knew he had to rescue her. This Saint Bernard has gone from barely filling the passenger seat to taking up nearly the whole back end of the SUV when on road trips with her sister Melo, a Newfoundland. 

Monday October 26, 2015

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

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Don’t let a scary accident happen to your pet around Halloween! Protect your pet from potential hazards that may be lurking around the corner with these Halloween pet safety tips.

• Door Patrol

Take care that your pet doesn’t scoot out the door when you answer the bell for trick-or-treaters. Consider putting your pet in a separate room during busy trick-or-treat times.

• ID, Please

Keep your pet’s collar and ID tag on just in case your furry friend does get out. A microchip can also be helpful if your pet gets lost.

• Fire Safety

Make your jack-o-lanterns glow with battery powered “candles.” A curious pet might knock over a real candle and get burned or start a fire.

• Pumpkin Tips

Place pumpkins out of paws’ reach. While they’re generally considered non-toxic, they can still cause tummy upset if your pet eats too much.

• Candy No-No’s

Store bags and bowls of candy safely. Chocolate and candy sweetened with Xylitol can be toxic to pets. Learn more about harmful food for pets.

• Dress Up Fun

If your pet will be wearing a costume, make sure it’s safe with no pieces that can be chewed off and swallowed. Your pet should also be comfortable and able to breathe easily.

Of course, unexpected pet accidents can still happen at Halloween or any time of year no matter how hard you try to prevent them. That’s why every plan we offer includes important accident and injury coverage! Get your free quote.

Be sure to pin our infographic for easy reference!

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Wednesday October 21, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Bruce


Bruce loves to take long naps cuddled up right next to his pet dad. His empty water bottles are his favorite toys, and he loves to play with his big brother Hank. Bruce LOVES coming to work and has been known to type a few emails when he accidentally falls asleep on the keyboard.  

Monday October 19, 2015

Should Your Pet Watch TV?

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Some pets could care less about what’s on TV, while others lap it up. Whether watching TV is good or bad for pets hasn't been proven either way, but it may have its benefits. 

Lessen Separation Anxiety

If your pet gets upset when left home alone, you can try leaving the TV on while you’re out. The lights and noises may be comforting and make your pet feel a little less lonely.

If your pet gets more than just upset, however, and is exhibiting signs of unwanted or compulsive behaviors while you’re gone, it may indicate a behavioral condition. Such conditions can be harmful to pets and disruptive to families. That’s why we include behavioral coverage with Level 3. It can reimburse you for consultations, exams, lab testing, and medications to diagnose and treat these conditions—and help get your pet back to his or her happy-go-lucky self!

Prevent Boredom

Indoor or shelter pets without access to windows may benefit from a little tube time to keep them entertained. TV can also help with cabin fever when it’s too cold or rainy to get outside with your pet. 

Reduce Bad Behavior

Since TV watching can help alleviate boredom and anxiety, it can also help keep your pet out of trouble. After all, who wants to dig through the garbage or chew on a shoe when there’s a good show on TV?

What to Watch

Some pets love watching wildlife on the Nature Channel, while others enjoy the human companionship of a soap opera. There are even shows created specifically for pets. Experiment with different channels to find your pet’s TV favorites.

And while a little TV time should be fine, don’t forget to get that couch potato up and moving too. Check out these 8 fun indoor pet games that can be played during commercial breaks:

  1. Create a pet playground with discarded gift boxes and wrapping paper.
  2. Play a fun version of hide and seek by hiding pet treats around the house.
  3. Throw a small ball across the room for a good old-fashioned game of fetch.
  4. Don't leave those interactive cat toys lying around. Pick them up and shake them around for your frisky feline.
  5. Use a treat as a lure to start a game of chase running from room to room with your pet close behind.
  6. Grab an old T-shirt and use it for a brisk game of tug-of-war with your dog.
  7. Crumple up newspaper and throw it for your cat to pounce on and bat around the house.
  8. Set up an obstacle course and entice your dog or cat to run through it with a treat or toy.

Monday October 19, 2015

Partnering to Help Pet Parents

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At ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, we’re committed to helping our customers take great care of their pets! That’s why we’ve partnered with the PetPartner App and Global Pet Plus. Here’s how they can help you and your dog or cat.

PetPartner App

Manage your veterinarian, groomer, and boarder easily from your iPhone or Android with the free PetPartner App. It simplifies your pet’s care by letting you:

• Request and confirm appointments

• Get reminders for upcoming appointments

• Track your pet’s care, such as vaccination history, in one place

Spend less time handling appointments and more time with your pet! Find out more and download the app at

Global Pet Plus

Are you planning holiday travels with your pet? Then you should know our customers have access to useful pet travel services through Global Pet Plus at no additional cost. Services include:

• Pet-friendly trip planning

• Prescription assistance

• Out-of-town veterinary referrals

• Help finding a missing pet

• Pre-trip checklist

• And more!

Call them for help before or during your trip at 1-855-435-6057. They’re available 24/7. You can also learn more at

Not a customer yet? Get started now with a free quote.

Monday October 12, 2015

Healthy Benefits of Pumpkin for Pets

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Many are celebrating the healthy upgrade a few major coffee shops recently made by adding real pumpkin to their fall-themed drinks. But, us humans aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a little pumpkin in our diets!

A serving of cooked, fresh or pre-prepared pumpkin can provide a number of nutritional benefits for pets. Unlike a leftover Halloween pumpkin that is often in a state of decay and harboring bacteria or mold. The latter form of pumpkin can cause a toxic effect if ingested by your dog or cat.

Why should you share pumpkin with your pet? Here are 5 reasons:

1. Fiber

The sense of fullness promoted by fiber can assist in weight loss for an overweight pet since it reduces the urge to consume larger amounts of food. The increase in stool bulk as a result of increased dietary fiber can also help with feline constipation and colitis (a.k.a. large bowel diarrhea often caused by ingesting something one should not).

2. Potassium

One cup of cooked pumpkin can provide more potassium than a banana, which is great for active pets since electrolytes are essential for muscle recovery following activity.

3. Vitamin C

A serving a day may help keep the veterinarian away! This is due to the antioxidant and immune system supporting effects resulting from a diet rich in vitamin C.

4. Carotenoids

Beta-carotene is a type of carotenoid that is found to be quite bountiful in a serving of pumpkin. Food-based beta-carotene has been found by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to yield a greater anticancer effect than supplement based forms.

5. Moisture

Pumpkin is composed of 90% water, and it can help improve a pet’s hydration levels and reduce heat in the body whether it's added to a meal or supplied as a snack. 

If you’re looking for a fun way to incorporate pumpkin into your pet’s diet, try this festive fall snack:

Pumpkin Dog Biscuit


• 1 c. plain pumpkin puree
• 1/2 c. peanut butter
• 2 c. rice flour
• 1 t. cinnamon
• 2 eggs 


Combine ingredients into a dough. Roll out onto a flat surface. Use a cookie cutter (a Halloween one if you have it!) to cut out shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes then let cool.

Did you know our plans cover everything from toxic ingestions to general upset tummies? Get your free quote today!

Reminder: Treats such as these should not make up more than 10% of a pet’s caloric intake. Also, stomach upset may occur in pets who do not tolerate dietary changes well.

Monday October 12, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Dakota


Dakota, a Pointer mix, is a uniquely vocal pup. He tends to growl at his reflection, and his snoring sounds as though there is a microphone nearby. His favorite pal is his dog sister Amelia, and his favorite place to sleep is on top of his people.

Wednesday October 7, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Fiona


Fiona is a fun loving girl who likes to greet her family by howling and grabbing hold of the ends of their shirts. From time to time, she will come up from behind and push her mom’s knees so that she can stand in between her legs. She loves to smile, and her nickname is Snaggletooth J. Fiona’s favorite toy is the laser light and her Nylabone. 

Monday October 5, 2015

Quirky Pet Behaviors Explained

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If you’re asking yourself, “Why does my pet do that?” we may have the answer. Here are explanations for quirky pet behaviors that might have you shaking your head.

Clothes or Face Licking

Lots of cats like to shower their pet parents with rough-tongued kisses while they purr and knead their laps. Some experts believe this behavior is linked to being weaned or orphaned too early in life. It may also be comforting when cats are stressed, sick or bored—or it might just be their way of relaxing.

Dirt Digging

Plenty of dogs love to dig into dirt, rugs and even furniture. The urge to dig may have been passed down from wolves and foxes who scoop out dens to protect their pups from extreme temperatures and wild predators. Dogs also dig to bury special treasures, hunt ground animals or entertain themselves. Who doesn’t love a good hole? 

Faucet Sipping

Does your cat prefer to put his or her furry face right under the faucet, rather than drink from a water bowl? This behavior may have evolved from your cat’s wild ancestors. For them, moving water was a safer and healthier choice than stagnant water, which could contain contaminants.

Chewing Around

Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs. Puppies use their teeth and mouths to explore the world and relieve teething pain. Older dogs gnaw to keep their jaws strong and teeth clean. Chewing can have its bad side if it’s destructive or causes a dog to choke or swallow something harmful. Offer your dog safe chew toys to help curtail the problem.  

Bumping Heads

Cats head butt their pet parents to show affection. It’s their way of saying, “Hey, I love you!” and showing possession. Cats have glands in their face and foreheads that secrete pheromones, which have a very subtle scent. By leaving leave their pheromones behind, they let other cats know you’re taken.

Round and Round

It can be dizzying to watch, but some dogs just can’t seem to stop spinning around in tight circles chasing their tails. This is a compulsive behavior, like pacing or fly snapping, and may be a response to stress, frustration or boredom. These behaviors can also indicate a health issue, so consult with your veterinarian if your dog keeps going round and round. 

Up All Night

Does your cat like to sleep all day and play all night? Our housecats are domesticated creatures, but they can still get the urge to romp at night like their ancestors. It’s easier for wild cats to hunt and prowl at night when the light is low and more critters are out and about.

If your cat wakes you up during the night, try wearing your frisky feline out before bedtime with an energetic interactive game. You can also offer your cat a meal or snack before bed to avoid being roused by a hungry kitty.


Dogs like to greet one another by sniffing each other’s faces. When a dog jumps up on you, he or she is trying to give you the same canine greeting. You just happen to be taller and harder to reach. 

You can train your dog to stop jumping by waiting to greet your excited friend until all four paws are on the floor. Wait patiently until your dog complies, and then offer plenty of praise and a treat when he or she gets it right. Get more dog training tips.

If you’re concerned about your pet’s quirky behavior, be sure to talk to your veterinarian or a certified animal behaviorist. Behavioral issues can be covered with an ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. See your options now.