Pet Insurance Blog

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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Monday May 25, 2015

Making Friends: Introduction & Socialization Tips

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Are you adding a pet to your home? Maybe you’re moving in with a new roommate, combining households with a spouse or giving your current pet a furry brother or sister. Whatever the reason or combination of pets, these tips can help make the transition less hairy.

Introducing Adult Pets

Dog Meet Dog

When introducing two dogs, keep the initial interactions short and sweet, and never leave the dogs unsupervised. Watch for signs of aggression, like low growling, and separate them at the first sign of trouble. Offer plenty of praise and rewards when they get along well together.

Cat Meet Cat

For two cats, a staged approach is best. Start by keeping them in separate rooms so that they can get used to the sounds and scents each other. Then let them spend time a little time together in the same room, but only under your supervision. You can continue to let them interact more if that works out well.

Cat Meet Dog

With this combination, it’s best to do everything to make the introduction as calm and stress-free as possible for everyone involved, especially the cat. For example, you may want to tire the dog out with a long walk beforehand, and use a leash during the first encounter. Let the cat set the pace, and never force interaction.

It can take time and patience, but even cats and dogs have been known to live happily ever after. If you have any issues or concerns, don't hesitate to talk with your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist who can offer advice on your specific situation.

Socializing Puppies

Adult pets are one thing, but bringing puppies into the home can bring with it a whole new set of adventures. Whether your dog is expecting a litter, you’re bringing home a newborn puppy or you’re fostering puppies for a local shelter, these tips can help you take care of newborn puppies and socialize them as happy members of the family.

Still Nursing

During the first few weeks, new puppies can’t do much more than suckle and sleep, but it’s a good idea to keep visitors to a minimum. Some mother dogs can get aggressive when they feel their little charges are being threatened. Give mom and her pups lots of space and quiet time.

Recently Weaned

When the puppies reach 3 weeks old, they’ll be mobile and alert. This is a great time for them to start getting to know people of different sizes, ages, sexes and ethnicities. Keep these meetings calm at first to avoid overwhelming the puppies. You can expose them to more activity and handling as their comfort level increases.

If the mother dog is still showing aggression during this stage, you should put her in another room when visitors or potential adopters arrive. This will help keep the peace and avoid teaching the new puppies that aggressive behavior, like growling, is acceptable.


Puppies shouldn’t be taken away from their mom and siblings until they’re at least 8 to 10 weeks old, if possible. However, if you’re taking care of an orphan puppy, you’ll need to help your puppy learn about life as a dog.

For instance, puppies in a litter get pushed and stepped on by their siblings, which helps teach them how to deal with frustration. You can help your pup learn these lessons by throwing a few minor bumps in the road, like pulling away the bottle for a moment during feeding.

You can also introduce your puppy to a healthy female dog who may step in and correct your puppy’s manners with a little motherly advice. In addition, you can help socialize your puppy by arranging puppy “play dates” or signing up for a puppy socialization class in your area.

We wish you the best of luck with your growing household and encourage you to keep in mind that you may be eligible for a 10% discount for multiple pets from ASPCA Pet Health Insurance! Get your free quote now.

Tuesday May 12, 2015

What to Expect at Your Pet’s Check-up

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A health problem caught in its early stages is more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty and better success—this is why regular check-ups are so important for our pets!

We know these visits can seem a bit scary, especially to new pet parents and their adopted pals. That's why we've mapped out what you can expect at your pet’s annual exam to help eliminate any unnecessary apprehension.


Your vet will typically start by gathering information from you about your pet. After all, who knows your pet better than you? Specific questions will vary depending on your pet’s age, breed and medical history. If you have any questions about your pet’s health or care, this is a great time to ask.

Physical Exam

Your pet will be examined from whiskers-to-tail. Your vet will check the eyes, ears, skin and fur, paws, joints, teeth and mouth, stomach, heart and lungs. The doctor will be on the look out for any abnormalities or signs of health problems, such as skin conditions, ear infections or weight gain.

Preventative Care

Depending on your pet’s vaccination schedule, your furry friend may need to get a vaccine or booster shot during this visit. Vaccines are one of the best things you can do for your pet’s health since they can protect against serious diseases. Your vet may also have some wellness care recommendations, such as dental care tips, diet adjustments and exercise ideas.

If you have wellness coverage with ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, an annual exam and vaccines are covered. See your plan details at the Member Center. If you’re considering wellness coverage, you can learn more by starting a free quote.

Monday May 4, 2015

Moving with Your Pet

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Have you found a new place to call home? Congratulations! Moving can be an adventure, especially if you have pets, but these tips will hopefully make the process a smooth one.


When packing with pets, safety should be a top priority. It is important to keep packing peanuts out of paw’s reach and check boxes for sleeping cats before taping. You should also know which box contains veterinary records in case of an emergency.

Your pet may also need some time to adjust to this big change. Try bringing in moving boxes early and keep your pet in a familiar room that you plan to pack up last. Later on moving day, give your pet some quiet space in a room with a door that shuts or at a friend’s house. Doing this will help to keep your pet calm and avoid any attempted escapes through propped-open doors while the truck is being loaded.


If your pet hasn’t spent much time in crates or cars, gradually acclimate them to their crates in the weeks or months leading up to the big trip. Our friends at the ASPCA® recommend first placing your pet’s food inside an open crate and eventually having them eat their meals in it with the door shut. Also, practice carrying your pets around the house in the crate or taking a short drive.

Dog owners should help their canine pals burn off some energy with a brisk walk around the block or a rousing game of fetch in the backyard before hitting the road. In addition to making for a much calmer ride, this will give your dog a chance to relieve himself one last time too. More tips for traveling with you dog are available here.

Once you’re packed up, use a crate or a harness to keep your pet safe in the car. If your pet is the excitable type, a treat-filled puzzle toy can help provide a distraction.

Settling In

It may be tempting to let your pet loose in your house right away, but this may be overwhelming for them. Take it one room at a time, allowing them to adjust slowly. Try establishing a “home base” that includes their favorite toys, treats, water and food bowls, and litter box for cats. Your cat’s litter box can be slowing moved to a different room if need be.

You should also make it a priority to find a new veterinarian, especially if you have a pet that requires specialized care or is accident-prone. Our Vet Finder can help you locate a licensed veterinarian or ask around—it can be a great way to meet neighbors!

As you prepare for exciting and sometimes overwhelming undertaking, we wish you the best and don’t forget that you can use any licensed veterinarian in the US or Canada with our pet insurance. Get your free quote now.

Sunday March 8, 2015

Customer Story: A Frightful Tale of Ingested Plastic


“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.

Sunday March 1, 2015

Customer Story: Surgery Required for Thumbtack Removal


“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.

Sunday February 22, 2015

Customer Story: Denver Learns Not to Tangle with Cords


“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.

Sunday February 15, 2015

Customer Story: Otis’s Dumpster-Diving Debacle


“Otis got out of the house without our knowledge and got into a neighbor’s trash can that had been tipped over by the wind. His sides were bulging when my wife found him. She took Otis immediately to the emergency veterinary clinic. They had to induce vomiting multiple times, but he had no after effects, thankfully. We’ve never had pet insurance before, but we’re glad we do now!” –Norman H., Medford, MA

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

Sunday February 8, 2015

Customer Story: Belle’s Recovery from Mouth Cancer


“Belle was recently diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her mouth and had to have all but two teeth extracted. I have submitted four claims so far for Belle and have received my reimbursements within two weeks. I've spoken with representatives a couple times with questions and each time they were courteous and knowledgeable, and they voiced compassion and concern for Belle. My girl is on the road to recovery, and there has been no recurrence of the tumor so far. The small monthly fee is well worth it as I could never have afforded the surgery and aftercare necessary to keep her alive and well. Thank you to the caring folks at the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance program!” –Charlotte S., Potsdam, NY

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

Sunday February 1, 2015

Customer Story: Coverage for All Stages of Life


“I have had an ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan for three years now, and I cannot say one bad thing about it. I have used it over and over for my 10-year-old cat and my two 2-year-old cat. I adopted my 10-year-old when he was 8 and added him to the insurance without any issues, which is great because I had no idea of his previous medical history. I have recommended ASPCA Pet Health Insurance to many people and will continue to do so. Thank you for helping me provide my boys with the best medical care possible!” –Damien M., York, PA

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

Monday January 26, 2015

Pets & Cancer


According to the Animal Cancer Foundation, roughly 6 million dogs and a similar number of cats are diagnosed with cancer each year. Cancer is a scary word, but new treatments and preventative tactics are helping us win the fight against the disease.

Early detection is key and knowing the symptoms can make all the difference. Be sure to keep an eye out for:

  • • Lumps
  • • Swelling
  • • Persistent sores
  • • Abnormal discharge from any part of the body
  • • Bad breath
  • • Listlessness/lethargy
  • • Rapid, often unexplained, weight loss
  • • Sudden lameness
  • • Black, tarry stools
  • • Decreased or loss of appetite
  • • Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating

For more information about cancer in pets, visit our friends at the ASPCA®.

Sunday January 25, 2015

Customer Story: Sully’s Sudden Illness


“We lost our beloved Welsh Corgi 6 months ago. He became very ill very quickly and had to undergo multiple tests over a number of days. X-rays and blood tests revealed nothing unusual, but an ultrasound showed an abscess in his liver that was probably masking a tumor. Because of his age and overall physical condition, we determined that euthanasia was the best option. I did not even consider the cost of any of the tests or treatments at the time. We just wanted to do what was best for our dog. I was pleased we had an ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan after the credit card bill arrived with all of the veterinary charges. The loss of our beloved Sully was hard enough. At least the bills were manageable thanks to our pet insurance plan.” –Yolanda K., Eureka, CA

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

Sunday January 18, 2015

Customer Story: Focusing on What’s Important


“I am very glad I have an ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. When Carolina became ill, I was able to focus on what was truly important, her medical care and our time together, not the cost of the care. Carolina has since passed away, and now my elder cat Seneca is facing the typical challenges many older cats experience. Again, I can focus on providing her quality care and our time together. I depend on our ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan.” –Sheryl B., Roanoke, VA

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

Monday January 5, 2015

Bath Time Tips


Bath time doesn’t have to be a battle. Use these tips to make the cleansing process more fun for both you and your furry friend!

  • Temperature- Just like Goldilocks, you’ll want to find a lukewarm temperature that’s just right for your pet.
  • Toys- Rubber duckies aren’t just for children! Bath toys can help keep your dog entertained while you concentrate on the task at hand.
  • Treats- Hand out a small snack before, during and after a good scrubbing to help your pet associate tub time with fun time.

Want more? Check out our friends at the ASPCA® for further information about bathing your dog and cat.

Monday December 22, 2014

5 Boredom Busting Winter Activities


If your pet is showing signs of cabin fever, try these fun activities to brighten the day.

  1. Offer a treat-filled puzzle toy
  2. Arrange a pet play date
  3. Play fetch or chase inside
  4. Set up a treat hunt around the house
  5. Go on an outing to a pet store

Check out even more fun ideas here!

Saturday December 20, 2014

Beat the Winter Doldrums with Indoor Fun


The snow and cold have arrived. If you are looking for fun winter activities for you and your pet, these ideas will chase Old Man Winter away:

  • • Create a pet playground with discarded gift boxes and wrapping paper.
    • Play hide and seek with your pet by hiding treats around the house.
    • Practice a new trick, like speaking, shaking hands, or rolling over.
    • Give your pet a treat dispensing toy to knock around the house.
    • Throw a small ball across the room for a good old fashioned game of fetch.

And don’t forget one of the best ways to warm up on a cold day – a good, long cuddle with your furry friend.

Monday December 15, 2014

7 Safety Shortcuts for a Happy Holiday


With so much going on this time of year, it’s not always easy to keep your pet safe and sound. Here are a few shortcuts to help make your holidays vet visit-free.

  1. Give a Special Treat – With all the festive foods around, why not make something special for your pet? Check out this recipe for Apple + Carrot Dog Treats.
  2. Avoid Harmful Sweets – Speaking of holiday goodies, remember to keep your pet away from troublesome treats, like chocolate and desserts sweetened with Xylitol.
  3. Raise Your Glass – Place glass ornaments and fragile decorations out of paws reach so your pet can knock them down or bat them around and break them.
  4. Enlist a Helper Elf – If you’re the host, ask a trustworthy guest to keep an eye on your pet. This way, your furry friend will be safe while you focus on the festivities.
  5. Provide a Respite – Parties can make some pets anxious or uncomfortable. Set up a warm and quiet spot out of the way where your four-legged friend can retreat.
  6. Lift the Gifts – Is your pet nosy? Put the presents atop a sturdy table. You can also help satisfy your pet’s urge to open with a treat-filled gift of his or her own.
  7. Wind Them Up – Holiday light cords can be troublesome for pets. Consider tucking them away in a cable box or winder, which you can buy at a hardware store.

If your pet does get into trouble during the holidays, an ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan can help you manage the costs. Get a free quote.

Monday December 8, 2014

Frosty Outside? These Cold Weather Pet Tips Can Help!


It's cold outside, but these tips can help keep your pet healthy and safe in spite of the chill.

For cats:

  • • Keep your cat inside if possible, since felines can freeze, get lost, or suffer injuries outdoors in the cold.
    • Antifreeze has a sweet taste cats tend to like. Help avoid an accidental poisoning by cleaning spills or leaks.
    • Cats love sleeping in warm places. Prevent burns by protecting your cat from fireplaces, stoves and heaters.

For dogs:

  • • Wipe off your dog after being outdoors to remove salt and other chemicals that can be harmful if licked and ingested. Also consider using pet-safe de-icing salt.
    • Trim longhaired dogs to avoid ice and salt clinging to them, but don't go too short or they might get chilly.
    • Consider a coat or sweater, especially for shorthaired pups, to help retain body heat and prevent dry skin.

Also, be sure to offer a nutritious diet with plenty of protein to help make sure your fluffy friend's coat and health are in top shape.

Monday November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Safety


As you plan your family’s Thanksgiving menu, keep in mind what to leave off your pet’s plate. Here are 5 expensive examples of commonly swallowed objects.+

Swallowed Object Approx. Claim Amount
Turkey Bones $2,600
Cornhusk $4,500
Plastic Baggie $4,800
Ribbon $4,270
Almonds $4,570

We’re thankful we could help these pets get the care they needed. Visit 101 Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Pet for more holiday safety tips.

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Friday November 7, 2014

Fiona's Mushroom Misfortune


“I came home from training classes with two of my German Shepherds and another, Fiona, was laying in the hallway. I noticed Fiona didn’t get up as she usually would when we passed. She was lethargic and glassy-eyed with a very high heart rate. Apparently, Fiona had gotten into some mushroom residue left from when the lawn was mowed earlier in the day. I rushed her to the emergency veterinary hospital immediately.  She ended up vomiting a tremendous amount of grass and mushroom clumps, and her liver enzymes were very high. She returned to her normal self after a couple of days of IV therapy and medication.” –Deacon W., Bakersfield, CA

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