Pet Insurance Blog

Wednesday September 30, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Reese


Duuun dun duuun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun... it's not a shark, it's just Reese delivering a kiss! Our little pal likes to chew on sticks, shoes and socks. She loves to sleep in late in the morning and looks great in pink. 

Monday September 28, 2015

All About Whiskers

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The thick, bristly bunches of hair shooting off your pet’s snout not only give them character, but they also provide them with important information about their surroundings.

Whiskers serve many important purposes for both cats and dogs. The tactile hairs allow pets to determine if a space is too narrow to fit into or through, help pets balance and their positioning (i.e. forward or flattened) can act as an emotional barometer. Whiskers even help cats, who are naturally farsighted, determine the position of their target once it’s in their grasp.

5 Fun Facts

1. Chameleon Characteristics

Just like humans, our pets go grey with age. The aging process also applies to whiskers. That is why you may see a white whisker on the muzzle of a Black Labrador.

2. Basic Anatomy

Whiskers are like regular body hair in that they can fall out and grow back, but, unlike body hair, they are embedded in follicles filled with blood vessels and nerves.

3. Shun the Shears

Trimming a pet’s whiskers can affect how your pet feels around their face. Whiskers may appear unkempt to some, but they serve an important purpose.

4. Tip to Tail

Whiskers go way beyond just the nose. The fine filament may also appear on a pet’s chin and above their eyes. Cats can even grow them behind their wrists.

5. Practical Protection

Long grass or other potentially pokey objects are detected by whiskers and, thereby, kept from harming your pet’s eyes or nostrils. Whiskers also aid night vision.

Wednesday September 23, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Nelly


Nelly's favorite foods include melon, cucumber and green peppers. She adores walks in the woods, and she prefers to turn right if there is a fork in the path. She only fetches if there is a swim involved and loves to get dirty.

Monday September 21, 2015

3 Banana-tastic Dog Treats

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Bananas are a great source of potassium, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber, biotin and copper, in addition to being low in sodium and cholesterol. Any of these three recipes will have your pet drooling for more of this highly nutritious berry.

PB & Banana Dog Cookies

A sweet pairing of potassium and protein.


• 1 very ripe banana
• 2 T. creamy peanut butter
• ¾ c. oat flour
• 1 egg


1. Preheat oven to 350˚.

2. Mash banana in a bowl using a fork.

3. Add remaining ingredients and mix.

4. Drop onto a greased cookie sheet

5. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

6. Cool completely before serving.

Banana & Carrot Crispies

Fruits and veggies all rolled into one.


• 1 ½ c. whole wheat flour
• 2 very ripe bananas
• ½ c. grated carrots
• 2 T. plain yogurt
• 4 eggs


1. Preheat oven to 350˚.

2. Mash banana in a bowl using a fork.

3. Add remaining ingredients and mix.

4. Roll out and cut with cookie cutter.

5. Place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

6. Bake for 20 minutes.

7. Cool completely before serving

Banana Pupkin Biscuits

Your pup will go bananas for these treats!


• 2 very ripe bananas
• 1-15 oz. can of pumpkin puree
• 1 ½ c. oat flour
• 1 t. baking powder


1. Preheat oven to 350˚.

2. Mash banana in a bowl using a fork.

3. Add remaining ingredients and mix.

4. Roll out and cut with cookie cutter.

5. Place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

7. Cool completely before serving

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 September 16, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Skeeter


Skeeter's full name, bestowed upon her by her 5-year-old former pet parent, is Dew–Wop Hot Dog! Skeeter makes funny little crying noises, and her body swings with her tail when she is excited.

Monday September 14, 2015

What You Need to Know About Cat Deafness

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Cat deafness can be present at birth, present itself gradually or be the very sudden result of an illness or accident. It also does not solely manifest as total hearing loss, sometimes only one ear is affected or only partial hearing is lost.


Temporary hearing loss can be caused by a mild infection or from side effects of certain drugs, like amino-glycoside antibiotics or diuretics. Ear mites are another common cause of temporary hearing loss, as well as tumors or polyps.

Permanent deafness can be caused by a variety of factors, including old age, continued exposure to loud noises, injury or severe, untreated ear infections.

Additionally, all-white, blue-eyed cats are born deaf.


Regularly monitoring and cleaning a cat’s ears can help prevent infections. If your cat does start to exhibit any of the following signs, however, a visit to the veterinarian may be in order.

• Persistent scratching and pawing of the ear area
• Sensitivity to touch
• Head tilting or shaking
• Loss of balance and disorientation
• Redness or swelling of the ear flap or canal
• Unpleasant odor
• Black or yellowish discharge
• Accumulation of dark brown wax
• Hearing loss
• Bleeding


A licensed veterinarian should be consulted if your cat is exhibiting signs of an ear problem. They will examine your feline friend for infections, mites, inflammation or injury.

A common test used to evaluate hearing is the BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response). Small electrodes are placed under the skin during the procedure to measure electrical activity in the ear and brain. The test is not painful, and your veterinarian may suggest a referral to a veterinary neurologist to have it performed.

Treatment & Prevention

A veterinarian might recommend regular cleanings and medication for a mild infection or ear mites. But, permanent hearing loss cannot be reversed. Luckily, cats are extremely adaptable and can utilize their other senses to maintain a high quality of life.

Regular cleanings are a great way to prevent ear problems in addition to being an effective treatment. It is also important to remember never to use over-the-counter medication or insert a cotton swab into your cat’s ear canal without a veterinarian’s prior instruction.

Have a dog at home too? Learn how to prevent and treat dog deafness.

Information courtesy of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®).

Wednesday September 9, 2015

10 Top Pet Insurance Questions Answered

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September is Pet Insurance Month, which reminds us of how much we love what we do! It’s a privilege to help pets across the country get the care they need.

In honor of this month, we wanted to give you answers to top pet insurance questions.

1. Is pet insurance worth it?

We often hear from customers about how happy they are that they covered their pets (read reviews). Like car, homeowners and other kinds of insurance, our insurance offers financial support in an emergency. We help pet parents afford to give their pets the best medical care possible!

2. What’s covered?

All of our plans cover treatment for all sorts of accidents and injuries. We also have plans that cover illnesses and two options for wellness care. Explore our plans.

3. What’s not covered?

Like all pet insurance providers, we have exclusions to help keep premiums more affordable. For instance, pre-existing conditions aren’t covered, which is why it’s so important to insure your pet before something happens. Learn more.

4. Can I stay with my current veterinarian?

Yes, you can visit any licensed veterinarian in the US or Canada! This also means your pet is covered when you’re away from home.

5. Do plans cover emergency visits and specialists?

Of course! If your pet has an emergency, you can take him or her to any animal hospital with licensed veterinarians on staff. Veterinary specialists, like dermatologists, cardiologists and ophthalmologists, can also be covered.

6. How do I file a claim?

It’s easy to file a claim online at our Member Center. You can also fill out a simple form and send it to us by email, fax, or mail with your invoice. Your veterinarian’s signature is not required.

7. How will I receive my reimbursements?

If you choose our direct deposit option, we’ll put your money right into your bank account. We can also mail you a check if you prefer.

8. How does wellness coverage work?

You can add wellness coverage to any plan for as little as $10 a month. It pays a set amount for a list of wellness treatments that can include vaccines and spaying or neutering. Learn more.

9. How does the deductible work?

We have an annual deductible that only needs to be met once a year no matter how many claims you submit. Some providers ask you to meet a deductible for every incident, which can get expensive.

10. How much does it cost?

Your cost depends on several factors, like the age and breed of your pet. You can also choose different deductible and co-insurance options to help your premium fit your budget better.

Start a quote now to see how affordable it can be to cover your pet.

Wednesday September 9, 2015

10 Top Customer Questions Answered

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September is Pet Insurance Month, which reminds us of how much we love what we do! It’s a privilege to help your pets get the care they need. In honor of this month, we wanted to give you, our customers, answers to your top pet insurance questions.

1. What’s the quickest way to get reimbursed?

To get claims to us quickly, submit them online at the Member Center. You can also sign up for direct deposit to avoid waiting for checks in the mail.

2. Can I help speed up the process?

Yes, you can help avoid delays by making sure your form is complete and you’ve included an itemized invoice. Submitting medical records can be helpful too.

3. What’s covered and not covered by my plan?

That depends on the plan you selected when you signed up. You’ll find all of the details in your policy, which you can view anytime at the Member Center.

4. How does my deductible work?

Your base plan has an annual deductible, which only needs to be met once a year regardless of how many claims you submit. We automatically subtract the deductible from your reimbursements and note it on your Explanation of Benefits.

5. Does my plan cover emergency visits?

Of course! If your pet has an emergency, you can take him or her to any animal hospital with licensed veterinarians on staff.

6. What about specialists?

Yes, veterinary specialists, like dermatologists, cardiologists, and ophthalmologists, can also be covered.

7. How do I submit a claim for wellness care?

If you have wellness care coverage, you can submit those claims the same way as any other claim. Either submit it online at the Member Center or send us a claim form by email, fax, or mail with your invoice. Just be sure to check Wellness Care for the claim type.

8. I haven’t filed a claim yet. Is coverage worthwhile?

Of course! Like other kinds of insurance, pet insurance is meant to be there when you need it. And with a pet, you just never know when something will come up and you’ll be faced with an expensive veterinary bill.

9. What happens at the end of my policy period?

We’ll notify you before your yearly expiration date. We’ll also automatically reissue you a new policy at the Member Center or by mail and let you know if there are any changes you need to know about.

10. How can I add a pet to my plan?

If you have a new pet or an uncovered furry friend at home, you can add them to your plan at the Member Center or by calling 1-866-204-6764. You save 10% on your base plan premium for each additional pet!

Have a question that wasn’t answered here? Give us a call at 1-866-204-6764 and we’ll be happy to help.

Wednesday September 9, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Ciara


Ciara may be a Toy Poodle, but she barks loud and deep like a Bassett Hound! She loves squirrels and is determined to make them love her. She stands at the base of the tree in her play stance with her tail wagging, and sometimes she even tries to jump up into the tree. The squirrels have yet to show any interest, however. 

Monday September 7, 2015

The Back-to-School Blues

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Fall can bring with it a major shift in routine if your family includes school-age children or an education professional. Such a change may trigger separation anxiety in your dog, who misses the lively daytime companionship. Here is some information to help you better understand and identify this affliction, and some tactics to help your pet cope with your new routine.


There is no conclusive evidence as to why dogs develop separation anxiety, but the loss of an important person or group of people is believed to lead to it. Less startling changes can also be trigger separation anxiety.

• Living Arrangements

Moving to a new house, being surrendered to a shelter or joining a new family can bring about separation anxiety.

• Schedule

Going from spending all day with humans to being alone for six more hours at a time, such as when kids return to school, can be jarring.

• Household Membership

Death, divorce and adult-age children leaving the nest can transform a dog’s daily life in an upsetting way.


Dogs with separation anxiety may exhibit symptoms such as those listed here.

• Urinating and Defecating

This typically occurs when the pet is left alone, and should be distinguished from instances that occur in front of you.

• Barking and Howling

This type of vocalization is normally persistent, and the trigger doesn’t appear to be anything except being left alone.

• Chewing, Digging and Destruction

Self-injury, broken teeth, cut paws and damaged nails can all result from destructive behavior exhibited towards inappropriate items such as doorways, window sills and household objects.

• Escaping

Dogs with separation anxiety may attempt to escape by chewing through doors or windows when his pet parent is away.

• Pacing

Some dogs walk or trot in a fixed pattern, such as in circles or back and forth in a straight line when left alone.

• Coprophagia

This occurs when a dog defecates and then eats all or some of their waste. If a dog does so because of separation anxiety, he probably doesn’t do it in the presence of his pet parent.


Basic counterconditioning may help reduce or resolve the problem if your dog’s separation anxiety is mild. Such counterconditioning employing coping tactics (see below for ideas) to make your dog associate good things with his time spent alone rather than fear or anxiety.

• Hide treats around the house for your pet to find during the day.
• Give your pet a treat-filled or interactive toy to keep busy.
• Consider leaving the TV or radio on to soothe a lonely pet.
• Hire a pet sitter or dog walker to break up the day.
• Schedule at least one fun activity with your pet a week.

Easing your pet into the transition, if you are able, can be very helpful. You can try leaving your pet alone for 15 minutes and gradually extend the absence for longer periods.

If your pet is really stressed out by the change, you may start noticing a compulsive behavior, like excessive licking or pacing, and a call to your veterinarian may be in order. Get the facts on these behaviors and coverage for them.

Information courtesy of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®).

Wednesday September 2, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Midnight


Midnight is known to army crawl around the floor and chase his tail until he collapses. He will also play fetch with a ball until he passes out from exhaustion. When on walks, he tries to chase cars and make friends with every bird and squirrel he passes. 

Monday August 31, 2015

5 Ways to Keep Cats Happy

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Happy cat, happy life… or something like that.

Regardless, cat parents know that a happy cat is less likely to exhibit destructive behaviors and is more likely to live a long, healthy life. Emotional health is just as important to our feline friends as it is to humans.

We’ve compiled a list of ways cat parents can keep their cats happy, in addition to lots of love and cuddles.

1. Regular Veterinary Visits

Annual checkups are very important for cats, who are well-known for hiding symptoms. These clues can also help you tell if you should take your cat to the veterinarian for an exam.

2. Well-Balanced Diet

Cats should be fed an appropriate amount of food that matches their size and energy output. It is OK to pamper your cat with a special treat now and again, like one of these homemade snacks.

3. Stimulating Environment

Mental stimulation and physical exercise are key components to pets living happy, healthy lives. Cat parents can encourage activities such as bird watching or paper bag exploration in addition to providing ample toys.

4. Sleeping Accommodations

Cats sleep 70% of their lives, so having a variety of slumber spots can be important. Prime locations features the most sunlight and heat available, such as window sills, a warm bed or next to a fireplace.

5. Feline Friendship

Though they may seem aloof at times, cats love socializing—especially with other cats. Adopting a second pet can seem a bit daunting, but these tips will help make the introductions go smoothly.

Share a photo of your happy cat with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Tips courtesy of the ASPCA®.

Monday August 24, 2015

Back-to-School Nutrition for Pets

Have you studied up on your pet’s nutritional needs? These tips on how to feed your dog or cat can help keep your pet in top shape while you settle back into your hectic school year schedule.

1. Two Square Meals a Day

The ASPCA® suggests most pets get two square meals a day. Offering portioned servings at specific times, rather than letting your pet graze freely, can also help prevent obesity.

2. Safe Fruits and Veggies

There are plenty of fruits and vegetables you can offer your pet as healthy snacks. For instance, apples, carrots and sweet potatoes are all safe for dogs and cats. Cut them into smaller pieces to make them easier to eat and avoid choking.

3. Tasty Treats

Pets love treats, but don’t go overboard. Treats can be packed with sugar and fat, and too many can lead to obesity. As an alternative, you can make homemade dog treats or tasty cat snacks in your own kitchen. They’re simple and healthy!

4. Water, Water Everywhere

Good old H2O makes up 60 to 70% of an adult pet's body weight making it the most important nutrient for your pet. It’s even more important than protein! Always make sure there's always plenty of fresh water in reach.

5. People Food No-no's

Cookies can be harmful to your pet, especially if they contain chocolate, raisins or nuts. Also, avoid feeding your pet fatty or spicy foods, which can cause tummy upset. And never offer real bones, since they can splinter and hurt your pet. 

If your pet does eat something poisonous, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435. A consultation fee may apply, part of which can be covered by an ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. See your plan options.

Don’t miss these tasty ideas for pet-friendly after-school snacks!

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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 August 19, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Raven


Raven is the true definition of a Velcro dog, as she follows her pet parents everywhere. Her favorite game is keep away, and her favorite toy is anything she shouldn’t have. She’s bright and friendly and loves treats.

Monday August 17, 2015

3 Simple Homemade Cat Treat Recipes

Get your cat’s motor running with these easy-to-make homemade cat treat recipes. They’re made with simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.

Tasty Tuna Crackers

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What cat doesn’t go wild for tuna? Whip up these crackers and give your feline a special treat.


• 6 oz. undrained tuna

• 1 c. cornmeal

• 1 c. flour

• 1/3 c. water


Mix ingredients together. Roll into 1/4-inch pieces. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350° for 20 minutes. Cool and let your cat dig in!

Chicken Rollovers

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Your cat will get the protein they crave, and you’ll sniff the benefits of breath-freshening parsley.


• 1/2 c. ground chicken

• 1/3 c. oat flour

• 1 T. parsley, minced


Stir ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Spray a non-stick baking sheet. Roll ingredients into ½-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes, and let cool before serving.

Cheesy Cat Treats

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Calling all feline cheese connoisseurs! These cheesy delights will make your cat come running.


• ¾ c. shredded cheddar cheese

• ¾ c. whole-wheat flour

• ¼ c. plain yogurt

• ¼ c. cornmeal

• 5 T. grated Parmesan cheese


Combine ingredients into a dough. Roll it out to about 1/4 inch. Cut into one-inch pieces and bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350° for about 25 minutes.

Looking for other healthy cat snack ideas? You can try offering your cat 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.

Friday August 14, 2015

Get the Facts on Behavioral Conditions and Coverage

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Just like people, pets can get stressed out when their routines change. It’s not always easy for our four-legged friends to adjust to a new home, the arrival of a noisy baby, or shifting schedules during back-to-school time.

Pet’s who are anxious can start showing unwanted or compulsive behaviors such as:

 • Destructive chewing
 • Excessive licking
 • Harmful scratching
 • Nonstop barking
 • Pacing back and forth
 • Spinning in circles
 • Tail chasing
 • Going outside the litter box

What should you do?

If your pet has a behavioral condition, set up an appointment with your veterinarian. The doctor can check to see if there are any underlying medical or physical issues, like an allergy, parasite, or infection, which might be causing the behavior.

Once these are ruled out, your veterinarian can recommend ways to help stop the behavior. It might be as simple as giving your pet time to adjust to the new situation or medication to reduce anxiety. Increasing the amount of mental and physical stimulation you’re pet is getting can also be helpful.

Can behavioral issues be covered?

Behavioral 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!


Wednesday August 12, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Ace


Ace has a great sense of location, especially on trips to grandma’s house. He’ll perform almost any trick for a treat, but if you don’t have one, you can forget about it. Ace loves to burrow under legs when people are sitting down, and he licks himself clean like a cat.

Monday August 10, 2015

3 Simple Homemade Dog Treat Recipes

These healthy and easy-to-make homemade dog treats are a great alternative to the store-bought kind, which can be packed with fat and sugar. They’re sure to make your dog’s tail wag!

PB&Y[ogurt] Balls

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Any dog who loves peanut butter will live for these tasty, protein-rich and easy-to-make treats. 


• 2 c. flour

• 2 T. peanut butter

• 12 oz. plain yogurt 
(with no artificial sweeteners, which can be toxic to dogs) 


Combine ingredients and let set for five minutes. Form small balls and place in a muffin pan. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. After they cool off, let your dog dig in.

Pumpkin Nibbles

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The high fiber content found in pumpkin can help promote good digestive regularity in dogs.


• 1 lb, lean ground turkey

• 1/2 c. pumpkin puree

• 1/4 c. parsley, minced


Cover baking sheet baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir ingredients together in a mixing bowl, and roll ingredients into 1-inch balls. Place on baking sheet and indent with thumb. Bake at 350° 15 minutes, and let cool before serving.

Carrot and Apple Treats

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Carrots and apples are packed with healthy vitamins and make delicious homemade dog treats.


• 1 c. whole-wheat flour

• 1 c. grated carrots

• 1 egg

• 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce


Mix it all together, and roll dough into small balls. Press down gently to make treats about 1/4 inch thick. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes. Let them cool, and let your pup have at ‘em!

You can also offer your dog these safe fruits and veggies as a healthy snack.

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 August 5, 2015

How to ‘Work Like a Dog’


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.


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

• 9 a.m.


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

• 10 a.m.


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

• 11 a.m.


Time for a team meeting!

• 12 p.m.


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

• 1 p.m.


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

• 2 p.m.


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

• 3 p.m.


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

• 4 p.m.


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

• 5 p.m.


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


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.