Pet Insurance Blog

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.

Causes

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.

Symptoms

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.

Treatment

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

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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. 


Wednesday August 19, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Raven

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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.


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

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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.


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 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.


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.


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.


Wednesday May 20, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Major

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When he’s not napping, Major is a champion ice cube chaser. He spends his breaks at work outside playing with Sammie, a fellow office dog and German Shepherd. Major enjoys being around children, munching on carrots and riding in the car.


Wednesday May 6, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Zyra

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Zyra got her name from the "League of Legends" video game. Her favorite spot in the house is on her pet mom's bed, and she "has more energy than the Energizer Bunny". She must have lost a sock in the dryer because she only ever wears three. Kidding! She has three white paws and one black one.


Wednesday April 29, 2015

Office Pet of the Week: Lucy

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Lucy, a Golden Retriever/Chow mix, is always sporting an ear-to-ear grin, sometimes even when she's napping. She is happiest exploring hiking trails or winning a great game of tug-of-war. Lucy loves to snack on Brussels sprouts, green beans and bits of banana.