Pet Insurance Blog

Wednesday August 5, 2015

How to ‘Work Like a Dog’

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Work Like a Dog Day (8/5) exists to recognize the hardest work among us. For us, many of these individuals are literally dogs.

Lucy (Golden Retriever/Chow Chow) and Melo (Newfoundland) are two such ‘working dogs’ that put their snouts to the grindstone as members of our Department of Cuteness. Here is a typical day-in-the-life of these dedicated employees.

• 8 a.m.

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Lucy always starts the day off right with a healthy breakfast.

• 9 a.m.

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Melo gets a jumpstart on the morning by returning a few phone calls and emails.

• 10 a.m.

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A mid-morning constitutional always helps to get the blood flowing!

• 11 a.m.

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Time for a team meeting!

• 12 p.m.

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A nutritious lunch gives Lucy the energy she needs to keep working hard.

• 1 p.m.

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Melo finds an afternoon power nap helps restore her mental alertness.

• 2 p.m.

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Lucy has put together a standout presentation for the higher-ups.

• 3 p.m.

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A tasty snack helps Melo avoid the infamous 3 p.m. slump.

• 4 p.m.

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Entertaining visitors is a top priority for the Department of Cuteness.

• 5 p.m.

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It’s important always to be home in time for dinner with the family!


Wednesday August 5, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Miss Kitty

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Miss Kitty’s very characteristic and adorable floppy ear is the result of an ear hematoma that she had to have surgery to correct. Ever the devoted, sister, she taught her brothers how to scratch on the scratching post rather than the furniture, and she will often bring her gray, tattered mouse toy as a gift.


Monday August 3, 2015

Birthday Recipes Fit for Fido and Fluffy

Even the most pampered pet deserves an extra-special treat on their birthday, and these treats will have your four-legged friends dancing in circles for more—our office pets can attest!

DOGust Cake

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The universal birthday for shelter and rescued dogs is celebrated on August 1, a.k.a. DOGust.

Ingredients

Cake

• 1 c. whole-wheat flour

• 1 t. baking soda

• 1/4 c. peanut butter

• 1/4 c. plain applesauce

• 1 t. vanilla

• 1/3 c. honey

• 1 egg

Frosting

• 1 c. peanut butter

• 1 T. honey

Decoration

• 1/2 c. carrot shavings

• 1 apple, sliced

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix together flour and baking soda, and mix in remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture into greased 9-inch cake. Bake for 40 minutes and let cool. Combine frosting components and spread atop cake with butter knife or spatula. Decorate with carrot shavings and apple slices before serving.

Kitty Kupcakes

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Never to be overlooked, these cupcakes will have your feline friends purring loudly for more.

Ingredients

Cake

• 1 can tuna, drain water

• 1/4 c. shredded cheese

• 1/4 c. oat flour

• 1 egg

Frosting

• 1/2 c. plain mashed potatoes

Decoration

• Handful of favorite treats

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Break up tuna with a fork, and mix together cake ingredients. Fill 2-3 cups of a greased muffin tin with mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes and let cool. Spread mashed potatoes atop each cupcake, and decorate with treats.

Looking for healthy snack ideas you can share with your pet regularly? Check out these safe fruits and veggies.

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.

 


Wednesday July 29, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Duncan

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Because of his chocolate coloring, Duncan got his name from Duncan Hines Company. He weighs almost 100lbs. and acts like a lap dog. Duncan also snores exceptionally loud, so loud that it periodically wakes up his pet parents. His favorite game is tug-of-war, and he adores his sister Bailey, a Pit Bull.


Monday July 27, 2015

Keeping Cool with Pets

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Summer is starting to sizzle, but the rising temperature doesn’t have to get in the way of you and your pet having fun in the sun! Here are some fun ideas to beat the heat and important tips to keep everyone safe.

For Dogs

• Freeze chicken or beef broth in an ice cube tray.
• Fill up a plastic kiddie pool just for your pup.
• Cover your pal with a damp towel while they nap.

For Cats

• Give your cat a few ice cubes to bat around the house.
• Fill a hot water bottle with cool water for your cat to lie on.
• Turn on a small fan next to your cat’s favorite place to nap.

For All

• Provide plenty of water and shade away from direct sunlight.
• Limit exercise on hot, humid days to early morning or evening.
• Know the signs of heat-related issues and what to do next.

Additionally, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to check out these pet first-aid basics just in case your pet does get injured or ill and don’t forget to get a free quote!


Wednesday July 22, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Bertie

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Bertie has never met a snack she didn’t like, including napkins and socks. She likes to ride in the car and go places, and she also likes to lean on everyone or everything. Her nickname is "wildebeest" because she sometimes forget her size when excited.


Monday July 20, 2015

Pet First-Aid Basics

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Nobody wants to get caught off-guard by an emergency. Luckily, we have the information you need to be better prepared for when the unexpected happens.

Set a plan

Ask your vet about an emergency protocol, especially if your clinic isn’t available 24/7.

Be careful

Handle an injured pet with caution. Even the sweetest dog or cat can act out when hurt.

Stay calm

Try to keep your cool, so you can think clearly and avoid upsetting your pet even more.

Make a kit

Have a pet first-aid kit ready. See below for a full list of what you may need according to ASPCApro.

Get insured

Our plans cover injuries, like broken bones, swallowed objects, car accidents and bite wounds.

For more advice on potential dangers, visit 101 Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Pet and don’t forget to get a free quote!

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Wednesday July 15, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Thunder

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Thunder doesn't realize he is small in stature and loves to play with dogs of all shapes and sizes. He loves to go on road trips, and the office is his second home. He will sleep all day on his pet parent's office chair, cuddled up behind her. His personal theme song is AC/DC's "Thunderstruck"!


Monday July 13, 2015

Pet-Friendly Summer Fun

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Are you and your pet getting a little bored of the same old games of fetch and tug-o-war? Try livening up your playtime with these fun activities.

Outdoor Games:

Synchronized Swim– If your pet's a swimmer, go for a dip in the pool or a lake together. Do some laps or see if you can come up with a routine that rivals the Olympic swim dancers.

Bubbles Chase– Blowing bubbles may sound like child’s play, but dogs and cats love chasing bubbles too. You can even buy pet bubble soap that smells like bacon or chicken!

Bob for Toys– Drop a few toys in a kiddie pool and let your pet knock them around. Just be sure to keep a towel handy and supervise this activity at all times.

Indoor Games:

Living Room Slalom– Set up an obstacle course by tossing pillows on the floor or moving the furniture around. Then encourage your pet to bob and weave through the course in a fast game of chase.

High Jump– Get your pet jumping up high by holding a tasty treat or favorite toy in the air. Gradually move it higher to see how far your friend can fly—the records for dogs is 68 inches, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Treasure Hunt– Hide your pet’s favorite treats around the house. Show your pet the first hidden gem and then encourage him or her to find the rest. Your pet may need some help at first, but should eventually catch on.

Looking to add more purpose to playtime? Why not try chasing a few world records!

• The most separately thrown flying discs held in a dog’s mouth at one time is 7.
• The loudest purr ever recorded hit 67.7 decibels, nearly as loud as an electric shaver.
• A Jack Russell Terrier managed to pop 100 balloons in just 44.49 seconds.
• One dog walked 100-meters while balancing a can on her head in 2 minutes and 55 seconds.
• How many dogs do you think can skip rope at once? The answer is a record-setting 13!

Tweet us (@ASPCAPetIns) to let us know which activity your pet likes best!


Wednesday July 8, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Odessa

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Odessa, a.k.a. Dessi or Doodles, loves to wrestle with her older brother Trouser. Odessa won’t eat until Trouser has finished his dinner. And, she enjoys carrying her food bowl upstairs to her pet parents’ bed to eat her food, dropping a food trail the whole way up the stairs.


Monday July 6, 2015

Sweating Out the Summer

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Everyday activities can be risky for pets when it's hot out. Since pets can't sweat like people do, they can be more susceptible to heat-related issues.

For instance, we recently saw a claim for an English Bulldog who suffered from heat stroke – just while he was resting in the shade. He was in the hospital for two days, and the veterinary bill was more than $1,200. In another claim, a Black Labrador suffered from heat stroke after joining his pet parent on a jog.

What are the symptoms?

Excessive panting and a bright red tongue can be initial signs of heat stroke. Other symptoms can include restlessness, agitation, drooling and lethargy.

What should you do?

Take your pet out of the heat and into a shady or air-conditioned place. Offer water, and try cooling your pet with a wet towel. Contact your veterinarian immediately.

Which pets are at risk?

All pets are at risk – even indoor cats, especially if they don't have access to air conditioning. Some pets may be at higher risk, like those with health issues or dogs with short muzzles. Ask your veterinarian about your pet specifically.

Can you still have fun?

Just because it is hot outside doesn’t mean your pet can’t enjoy the sunny weather. Be sure to keep an eye out for warning signs and make sure to keep plenty of water within paw’s reach. Considering a day at the beach? Check out these tips.

What about road trips?

While traveling, think twice before leaving your pet in a parked car – even if you crack the windows and are gone for just a few minutes. This chart illustrates how fast your vehicle can heat up on a seemingly cool day.

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Hopefully, your pet will keep cool this summer. But if your furry friend does have trouble in the heat, our accident coverage can help you manage the costs of care. Get a free quote today!


Wednesday July 1, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Tanner

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Tanner is extremely loving. He hash a huge heart and is very cuddly with both his pet parents and his feline siblings. Tanner is a little uncoordinated and has extra long tufts coming out of his paws. It is quite entertaining to watch him try to run and slide around on the wood floors! 

Tanner also has a very strange interest in sneaking nuts. He, unfortunately, got on top of the fridge and ate almonds a few years ago which made him very sick. We have to continually make sure that all nuts and nut products are put away or he manages to always find them.


Monday June 29, 2015

Take the Fear Out of Fireworks

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While many of us ‘ooo’ and ‘aww’ at fireworks displays, who hasn’t jumped at an unexpected boom or bang? Every loud explosion is unexpected and scary for our pets, especially if that pet already has a fear of noises. That’s why it is so important to keep pets at home in an escape-proof room while you enjoy the festivities. 

Sometimes, however, that’s still not enough. Here are some ideas to help keep your pet calm during holiday celebrations.

· Keep comfortable.

Keep your pet safely tucked away in a familiar room or, even better, their crate with the A/C on.

· Get a workout.

Take them for a walk, play fetch, just do any safe activity to tucker them out beforehand.

· Divert attention.

Give your pal a new bone or toy to help distract them from the festivities going on outside.

· Drown it out.

Shut all windows, blinds/curtains and doors, and leave the TV on to help mask the noise.

Companionship can make all the difference. If you can stay home, try petting your nervous pal from head to tail in a long, slow motion and talk to them in a calming voice. Just like babies, some smaller pets may respond positively to a reassuring swaddling too – but do not try to force them if they are not up for it. A Thundershirt may work well for larger pets or pets left at home alone.

Also, make sure all cats and dogs are wearing proper fitting collars with tags in case they do escape. This goes for all pets, even those with a microchip!

For more information on holiday dangers, check this out.

Don't forget to pin our infographic for easy reference!

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Wednesday June 24, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Kirra

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Kirra loves people as much as treats. She especially likes carrots and swimming, and she is the kind of best friend everyone dreams of--fun, loyal and smart.


Monday June 22, 2015

Top 10 Pet-Friendly Honeymoon Destinations

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Pets are becoming an integral part of wedding ceremonies for deeply devoted pet parents across the country, and many more cannot imagine leaving their furry pals at home while whisking away on honeymoon. It is for these faithful folks that we’ve teamed up with our friends at GoPetFriendly.com for a list of the top pet-friendly vacation spots.

We’ve also tossed in two hidden gems that double as great spots for a destination wedding!

The List:

10. Rapid City, S.D. – Tropical beaches may be the first thing that comes to mind for many people when discussing honeymoons, but camping trumps this white sand beach dream for many dog lovers. And, it’s for those people that we recommend the Black Hills.

9. Savannah, Ga. – Nestled on the South Carolina-Georgia line, Savannah’s 22 parks/squares and quaint riverfront are perfect for strolling leash-in-hand-in-hand. The pedestrian-only City Market is bustling with life, from local artists to restaurants and the like.

8. Jackson, Wyo. - America’s least populous state happens to be home to one of it’s most beautiful national parks. The Grand Tetons is ideal for any pair of pet lovers looking to get away from it all after the excitement a wedding brings.

7. Geneva, N.Y. – At the top tip of Seneca Lake, the western-most member of the Finger Lakes, sits the college town of Geneva. Grab a local craft brew or glass of wine off the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and cuddle up on the banks of the calming waters of this renowned region.

6. St. Augustine, Fla. – The oldest city in the United States features a couple prime honeymoon must-haves: beaches and beautiful weather. A unique shortlist addition for any couple with their whole future ahead of them, the Fountain of Youth!

5. Portland, Ore. – The locals may advocate to “Keep Portland Weird,” but we would like to add a line about staying pet-friendly, too. In addition to the sights and sounds of this inland Pacific Coast city, there’s plenty of nature to explore.

4. Austin, Texas – Say ‘Austin’ and someone will inevitably respond with ‘SXSW’, but there’s so much more to this capital city. For instance, businesses on Rainy Street encourage canine companions. There’s even a fenced dog park in one of the beer gardens!

3. Victoria, B.C. – Simply, a place so lovely our pals at GoPetFriendly.com had a hard time putting it into words. Check out their photo tour to see what we mean. Learn what its like to cross the northern border with your pet here.

2. Provincetown, Mass. – Looking to make once-in-a-lifetime memories? Check out the dog-friendly whale and dolphin watching excursions setting sail right off the tip of Cape Cod. The beaches even offer off-leash hours for those looking to show off their doggy paddle.

1. Sonoma, Calif. – So many sites on our list tout beautiful views, unique lodgings and a variety of activities, but the real standout for us is near the heart of California’s Wine Country. Sonoma wineries host events especially for dogs and many have a stock of treats right next to the wine behind the bar.

BONUS:

- Carmel, Calif. – Halfway up the California coast and just a stone’s throw from Pebble Beach is Holman Ranch. Vineyards, views and away from the noise of a big city, this venue comes highly recommended by some of our four-legged friends. 

- Asheville, N. C. – Looking for a historic locale with old world charm? Check out the Biltmore Estate! Not only are the grounds of this French-style chateau dog-friendly, but kennels available so pet parents can explore the grounds while their pals take a nap.

Before you hit the road, get prepared with help from these tips for your traveling with your dog! Also, don’t forget pets with ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plans can visit any licensed veterinarian in the US or Canada. Use our Vet Clinic Finder to find one near you.

Special thanks to Amy Burkert and GoPetFriendly.com for assistance compiling this list!


Wednesday June 17, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Otis

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Otis LOVES playing in water, whether it's in the water dish, shower or sink. He is also a champion cuddler, typically laying on his pet parents' faces, chests or heads. He is always climbing on or into things and is a good swimmer as a result, as he always falls in the bathtub!


Monday June 15, 2015

Doggone Delicious Wedding Cake

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Pets are playing prime parts in weddings nowadays, from proposals to engagement photos to even walking down the aisle. So, shouldn’t they also have their own place at the dessert table?

This simple dessert will have your four-legged wedding party drooling… more than usual.

Ingredients

Cake

· 1 c. whole wheat flour

· 1 t. baking soda

· 1/4 c. peanut butter

· 1/8 c. vegetable oil

· 1/2 c. applesauce

· 1/2 c. pumpkin puree

· 1 egg

Frosting

· 1 c. low-fat cream cheese

· 1 T. honey

· 1 T. low-fat yogurt

Decoration

· Bananas, sliced

· Strawberries

· Blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Lightly grease a 9-in. cake pan
  3. Sift flour and baking soda into large bowl
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  4. Add remaining ingredients and mix well
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  5. Pour batter into greased pan
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  6. Bake for 30 min. or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  7. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting
  8. Blend cream cheese, honey and yogurt in a bowl
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  9. Use an icing spatula or butter knife to frost
  10. Slice fruit and decorate
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Bonus Tips!

· If you don’t plan on sharing this treat with your pet, you can use their favorite treats as decoration.

· Planning a full pet-friendly spread? Here are a few more recipes to try:

            · Frozen Appetizers

            · Turkey Feast

            · Apple + Carrot Treats

Bon appétit!


Monday June 15, 2015

5 Clues to Detect Cat Illnesses

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It can be hard to tell if a cat is sick since our notoriously independent friends may mask or hide their symptoms. These clues can help you tell if you should take your cat to the veterinarian.

Clue #1

Messy Coat Some cats stop grooming when they don’t feel well and may have a dull or oily coat. Over-grooming can also be a sign of anxiety or illness causing bald patches and red, irritated skin.

Clue #2:

Weight Change Cats who start turning their nose up at their food bowls may be sick. Sudden weight gain can also be a sign that something is up. What looks like extra pounds could actually be abdominal swelling. 

Clue #3

Eye and Ear Issues A cat’s eyes and ears can reveal a health issue. The eyes should be bright and clear with no cloudy film, and the ears shouldn’t show any signs of discharge or inflammation.

Clue #4

Mouth Trouble Do you cringe at your cat’s breath? That could be a sign of a problem. Very stinky breath or discolored gums can be a symptom of gingivitis or tooth decay, which can lead to infection.

Clue #5

Behavioral Problems If your typically social kitty has suddenly become shy and irritable, you may have a sick feline on your hands. Litter box issues can also point to a problem, like a bladder infection or blockage.

If you detect any signs of sickness in your cat, be sure to call your veterinarian. Need to find a veterinarian for your cat? Our Vet Clinic Finder can help you locate one in your area. Also, if your cat isn’t covered, you can learn more about our plans.


Wednesday June 10, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Jake

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Jake's full name is “J&S Faithful Jake”, and he is the son of a famous competition Super Retriever Series Champion. He is daddy’s best friend, and a bed hog, taking everyone’s covers.