Pet Insurance Blog

Sunday March 22, 2015

Customer Story: A Shark Tale

S_Chadney.jpg

“We took our Poodles, Frank and Alice, to the vet for X-rays after we found them chewing on a shark mandible. We left the mandible on the table after visiting with some friends. We walked out of the room for a second and came back to Frank gnawing on it!

Luckily, Frank a very efficient chewer and they only found very small fragments in his stomach. Claire was also clear.” –Alexa G., Sacramento, CA

We'd love to hear if we've helped your pet. Share your story, and it may be featured on our blog.


Wednesday March 18, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Duke

duke.jpg

Duke keeps his nose to the ground while on patrol in the yard, and his heart on his sleeve when cuddling on the couch. He will also eat ANYTHING he can sneak. He once ended up in the emergency room after hooking himself on a fishing lure.


Monday March 16, 2015

10 Dangerous Pills for Pets

Pet Pill Safety.jpg

In recognition of Poison Prevention Awareness Month, we want to share with you this rundown of the top 10 most common human medication complaints as received by our friends at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. This article originally appeared on AVMA.org.

Anyone who takes medication prescribed for someone else puts themselves at risk of illness or even death - and this applies to your pets, too! Although there are many medications used in both animals and people, the effects, doses needed, and other things aren't always the same.

About one-quarter of all phone calls to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) are about human medications. Your pet can easily ingest dropped pills or may be given harmful human medications by an unknowing owner, resulting in illness, or even death, of your pet.

The APCC provided us with the 10 most common human medication complaints they receive. Here they are, in order based on the number of complaints:

  1. Ibuprofen – Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) is the most common human medication ingested by pets. Many brands have a sweet outer coating that makes it appealing to pets (think "M&M," but a potentially deadly one). Ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.
  2. Tramadol – Tramadol (Ultram®) is a pain reliever. Your veterinarian may prescribe it for your pet, but only at a dose that's appropriate for your pet – never give your medication to your pet without first consulting your veterinarian! Too much tramadol can cause sedation or agitation, wobbliness, disorientation, vomiting, tremors and possibly seizures.
  3. Alprazolam – Alprazolam (Xanax®) is prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication and a sleep-aid. Most pets that ingest alprazolam can become sleepy and wobbly; however a few will become very agitated instead. These pills are commonly ingested by pets as people put them out on the nightstand so they remember to take them. Large doses of alprazolam can drop the blood pressure and could cause weakness or collapse.
  4. Adderall® – Adderall® is a combination of four different amphetamines and is used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. This medication doesn't have the same effect in pets as it does in people; it acts as a stimulant in our pets and causes elevated heart rate and body temperature, along with hyperactivity, tremors and seizures.
  5. Zolpidem – Zolpidem (Ambien®) is a sleep-aid for people. Pets commonly eat pills left on the bedside table. Zolpidem may make cats wobbly and sleepy, but most pets become very agitated and develop elevated heart rates.
  6. Clonazepam – Clonazepam (Klonopin®) is used as an anticonvulsant and anti-anxiety medication. It is sometimes also prescribed as a sleep-aid. When animals ingest clonazepam they can become sleep and wobbly. Too much clonazepam can lower the blood pressure, leading to weakness or collapse.
  7. Acetaminophen – Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) is a very common pain killer found in most households. Cats are extremely sensitive to acetaminophen, but dogs can be affected too. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage. It can also cause damage to your pet's red blood cells so that the cells are unable to carry oxygen – like your body, your pet's body needs oxygen to survive.
  8. Naproxen – Naproxen (Aleve®, Naprosyn®) is an over-the-counter pain reliever. Dogs and cats are very sensitive to naproxen and even small amounts can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.
  9. Duloxetine – Duloxetine (Cymbalta®) is prescribed as an antidepressant and anti-anxiety agent. When ingested by pets it can cause agitation, vocalization, tremors and seizures.
  10. Venlafaxine – Venlafaxine (Effexor®) is an antidepressant. For some unknown reason, cats love to eat the capsules. Ingestion can cause agitation, vocalization, tremors and seizures.

As you can tell from this list, a medication that does one thing for people does not necessarily do the same for our pets. And although this may be the list of the medications about which the APCC receives the largest numbers of complaints, remember that any human medication could pose a risk to your pets – not just these 10.

You can keep your pets safe by following simple common sense guidelines:

•  Always keep human medications away from pets unless you are specifically instructed by a veterinarian to give the medication;
•  Do not leave pills sitting on counter or any place a pet can get to them;
•  Do not leave pill bottles within reach of pets (You'll be surprised how fast your dog can chew through a pill bottle.);
•  If you're taking medications out of the bottle and you drop any of it, pick it up immediately so you know your pet won't be able to eat it;
•  Always contact your veterinarian if your pet has ingested any medication not prescribed for them;
•  Never give your medication (or any medications prescribed for a two-legged family member) to your pet without first consulting a veterinarian.

...and last, but not least, always keep the number for your veterinarian and the APCC handy. You don't want to be looking for it in an emergency situation! Feel free to print this page, cut out the box below, fill out the info, and put it in a handy place (or maybe a few handy places).


Monday March 9, 2015

Gettin’ Crafty: Upcycled Pet Food Storage Container

Food Container Craft.jpg

A perfect project for pet parents who want a durable and adorable—not to mention environmentally friendly—place to store their pet’s food! 

Supplies

•  An empty popcorn tin or small metal trash can with a lid
•  A can of spray paint (any color)
•  A self-adhesive chalkboard label
•  Chalk

Steps

  1. Wash, rinse and dry your container.
  2. Turn the container upside-down in well-ventilated area like on the lawn or in an open garage atop a painter’s tarp or old towel.
  3. Spray paint the outside of container and it’s lid, and let it dry.
  4. Adhere chalkboard label to side of the container.
  5. Identify the contents by writing on the label with a piece of chalk.

Personalize your container by decorating the label with different colors of chalk, maybe even adding a cute paw print design, and getting a new food scoop to match your newly revamped container.

 


Sunday March 8, 2015

Customer Story: A Frightful Tale of Ingested Plastic

7.jpg

“I was scared when my cat swallowed a bit of plastic, and we took him to the veterinarian. It wasn't just the anesthesia, X-rays and other procedures that scared me, it was the price tag as well. Our ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan covered a lot of the claim, and everyone there was truly concerned about my cat's health. They asked about his health every time they called to go over the claim. It was really sweet, and they made it so much easier to deal with such a scary experience. Thank you!” –Jeni R., Dublin, OH

We'd love to hear if we've helped your pet. Share your story and it may be featured on our blog.


Wednesday March 4, 2015

5 Tips to Handle a Pet Poison Emergency

Pet Poison Tips.jpg

In our March customer newsletter, we listed three common pet toxins for Poison Prevention Awareness Month. While you can’t always prevent a poison accident, these tips can help you manage the situation.

  1. Avoid the urge to panic. Your pet needs you to think clearly and act smartly. Plus, if you’re calm, it can help your pet stay calm.
  2. Be careful handling a sick pet. Even the sweetest cats or dogs can react in an unpredictable manner when they are in pain, scared or upset.
  3. Seek medical help. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435) right away. Poison Control may charge a $65 consultation fee, but a portion of that may be covered if your pet is enrolled with ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.
  4. Have useful information handy. When you call the ASPCA APCC, you may be asked to provide your pet’s breed, age and weight as well as details about the incident.
  5. Don’t try to treat your pet yourself. It’s best to consult a professional first. If you try to treat your pet on your own, you could get hurt or cause further harm to your four-legged friend.

If your pet is exposed to a toxic substance, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance can help cover the costs of treatment. Need coverage? Start with a free quote now. Already covered? Visit the Member Center to see your plan details.


Sunday March 1, 2015

Customer Story: Surgery Required for Thumbtack Removal

3.jpg

“Buckley, our young Bichon, saw a piece of paper dangling from the wall and grabbed it before anyone could stop him. He then swallowed the thumbtack that fell with the paper. We rushed Buckley to the veterinarian for X-rays. He had to have surgery to remove the thumbtack and spent several days at the vet before returning home. As a result, we no longer keep anything close to the floor!” –Abby W., Staten Island, NY

We'd love to hear if we've helped your pet. Share your story and it may be featured on our blog.


Tuesday February 24, 2015

Veg Out with Your Pet

pet-safe-produce.jpg

Vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables can be a healthy way to supplement your pet’s regular canned or dry food diet. Just make sure they’re pet-safe, and always consult your vet before introducing new foods.


Monday February 23, 2015

How to Brush Your Pet's Teeth

dog.jpg

Brushing your dog or cat’s teeth might seem like a daunting task at first, but you'll both get used to it with a little time and patience. These tips can help:

  1. Pick a time when your pet is calm, for instance, after a long walk or an energetic game. It would be a good idea to get your pet accustomed to having his muzzle and mouth handled gradually before leaping into a full teeth cleaning.
  2. Go slow and stop if your pet starts to get upset, even if you haven’t finished brushing. You want to make sure your pet is comfortable during the whole session. You may want to contact a qualified professional if your pet shows signs of fear or aggression at any time during the brushing.
  3. Choose a quiet area and speak in a calm, soothing voice as you brush to help your pet relax and enjoy the experience. If you want to leash your pet during the session to limit his movement, keep the leash short (about 3 ft.) Also, make sure there’s enough slack so that your pet can sit or lie down easily.

Don’t forget to give your pet treats throughout the process and maybe even a new pet-safe dental chew toy at the end! Rewards will help your dog or cat associate good things with getting his teeth brushed.


Monday February 23, 2015

3 Pet Dental Health Myths Debunked

cat.gif

In honor of National Pet Dental Health Month, we’re debunking 3 common myths about pets and their pearly whites.

Myth 1: Pets are supposed to have bad breath.
While most dogs and cats don't have pleasant breath, very foul breath can indicate a health issue like digestive problems or a gum condition such as gingivitis. If you spot any sign of gum inflammation, a visit to the veterinarian is recommended.

Myth 2: You can use human toothpaste for pets.
People paste usually contains fluoride, which can be toxic for pets. Only use paste made for pets. Pet toothpaste even comes in a variety of flavors, like liver, mint, chicken and peanut butter, so you can experiment with a few flavors to find out which one your pet prefers!

Myth 3: Real bones are good for your pet's teeth.
Real bones can fracture teeth or splinter and cause injuries. Stick to hard kibble and pet-safe dental chew toys to help prevent the build-up of harmful plaque. Don’t forget to supervise your pet while he’s playing and immediately see your veterinarian if your pet consumes part of an inedible chew toy.

Many veterinarians advise annual dental cleanings to keep your dog or cat’s teeth healthy. Regular brushing can also help. Learn more about how to brush your pet’s teeth here.


Sunday February 22, 2015

Customer Story: Denver Learns Not to Tangle with Cords

4.jpg

“A bungee cord was lying on the table, and there was some exposed wire between the cover and the hook. All of a sudden, our cat Denver cried out and began running in circles and then under the couch. Evidently, he had chewed the cord and scratched the inside of his mouth. We took Denver to the veterinarian’s office so they could sedate him and examine his mouth. Luckily, it was only a scratch, and he was given antibiotics. It took 3 days for Denver to return to normal. We are very happy to have pet insurance!” –Sarah I., Greenwich, CT

We'd love to hear if we've helped your pet. Share your story and it may be featured on our blog.