Pet Insurance Blog

Monday October 13, 2014

Pet First-Aid Prep

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Do you know what to do if your pet has an accident? These tips can help you be better prepared.

Set a plan – Ask your vet about an emergency protocol, especially if your clinic isn’t available 24/7.
Make a kit – Have a pet first-aid kit ready with gauze, non-stick bandage pads and tape, saline eye flush and other useful items.
Be careful – Handle an injured pet with caution. Even the sweetest dog or cat can act out when hurt. And try to stay calm, so you can think clearly and avoid upsetting your pet even more.

For more advice on what to do in an emergency, visit 101 Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Pet.


Monday October 6, 2014

Fire Safety Advice

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Are you prepared for a fire emergency? Here are a few tips to help get you ready.

Watch those flames – Always keep an eye on your pet around open flames, like candles, fireplace and fire pits.
Pet proof your home – Address issues, like unsecured electrical wires, that can sometimes cause pets to inadvertently start a fire.
Have an exit plan – Hang a collar and leash near both the front and back doors in case you need to evacuate quickly.

You should also affix a pet rescue alert sticker where it can be seen by emergency responders, so they’ll be aware of any pets in your home.

Get one free through the ASPCA®’s website.

For more pet safety tips, visit 101 Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Pet.


Monday September 8, 2014

Prevent Cat Falls

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As summer heat wanes, you may be more likely to open a window rather than crank the A/C. But remember to take care that your cat doesn’t tumble out.

Even a fall from a 1- or 2-story home can cause injuries like a shattered jaw or punctured lung. Help keep your cat safe by making sure window screens are secure. 

Visit 101 Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Pet for more pet safety tips.


Monday August 25, 2014

Treats for Furry Friends

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These cool treats are the perfect way to show your pet you care. Not to mention they are easy to make!

For dogs: Pour low-sodium chicken broth into a plastic bowl and add a small cube of cheese. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and freeze it.

For cats: Put a scoop of your feline’s favorite we food (the wetter the better!) into a plastic bowl. Mix in a few soft cat treats, cover and freeze.

After the treat is frozen, run a little hot water over the bottom of the bowl to slide the treat out. Then offer it to your pet to enjoy!


Sunday August 10, 2014

Customer Story: Pam's Alley Cat Antics

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“Pam, my indoor cat, and I live in an apartment with an alley in the back. Once Pam got out and ventured into the alley. Soon I heard a cat fight. I was so worried! Pam had been inside her whole life, and I didn’t know if she would be able to defend herself.

I rushed out into the alley, and I saw Pam hissing and pushing away a huge male cat. Luckily, I got Pam inside, but she kept licking her paw, and I could see it was bleeding. We went to the vet right away, and I was told Pam needed minor surgery.

I was very nervous about how much it would cost. I’d had an ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan for Pam, but I hadn’t used it so far. Thank goodness for that policy!

After I paid the deductible, my pet insurance plan paid about 80% of the remainder. I would have been out several hundred dollars without it, and I don’t have that kind of money.

Pam has been lucky since then, but there is nothing like the reassurance I feel because she is covered. I will never have to choose between her health and money.” –Calista M., Calabasas, CA

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


Monday August 4, 2014

How to Give Your Pet a Pill

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Many pets will eat anything—except their medications. Our friends at the ASPCA® have some tips for what to try if all else fails. Here are some tricks to try first.

How to give your pet a pill:

Get Chewable- If possible, get your pet’s medications in flavored, chewable form.
Mix It Up- If your pet is an energetic eater, try mixing the meds in with his or her kibble.
Try a Disguise- Hide the pill in a soft treat, chunk of hot dog or cheese cube and offer it to your pet.
Use Bait-and-Switch- If your pet chews her treats instead of swallowing them whole, give her a few non-medicated treats first, then give one with a pill followed by one last pill-free snack.


Monday July 28, 2014

Common Skin Problems in Cats

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The state of a cat’s skin can be a great indicator of her overall health, which is why it is important to visit your veterinarian at the first sign of any abnormality. Signs there may be a skin problem include excessive scratching, chewing and/or licking.

Common causes of skin irritations for cats include:

Ringworm
Fleas
Parasites, such as ear mites and lice
Seasonal allergies
Food allergies
Grooming products
Seasonal changes
Environmental factors, including certain chemicals and fabrics
Bacterial or yeast infections
Tumors
Stress or anxiety

Our friends at the ASPCA® have some great tips for skin care that could help your cat avoid many issues.


Sunday July 20, 2014

Customer Story: Two Cats Triumph Over Cancer

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“My sister’s beloved dog was hit by a car. My sister recounted how she carried her dog, wounded and bleeding to the veterinarian’s office. It was a horrible experience, but she was grateful to have had pet insurance to help with the bills.

That made me pause and realize that my two cats weren’t insured. I shopped around and compared plans offered by a couple providers. I decided to buy an ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan that covered accidents and illnesses. My plan also has coverage for chronic conditions.

Four months later, I took one of my cats to the vet for a checkup. I pointed out a small bump I’d felt on the tip of her tail. I was surprised by the doctor’s concern. It was biopsied, and I was stunned to hear it was cancer.

Our vet amputated a part of my cat’s tail, and now, years later, she’s in good health. My other cat also had a cancerous growth removed, and she’s doing well also.

I’m grateful that I didn’t have to worry about unexpected veterinary bills at these stressful times.” –Jenny C., Fayetteville, NC

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


Monday July 14, 2014

How to Tell Your Pet's in Pain

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It’s often hard to tell pets may be in pain since they can’t tell us. For many pet parents, a cat or dog’s discomfort can be hard to spot—unless there are visible indicators like limping or bleeding.

Our friends at the ASPCA® have some examples of common pain indicators:

• Lack of normal behaviors, like grooming or eating
• Loud vocalizations, hiding or abnormal posturing
• Change in reaction to touch
• High heart rate or temperature change

If your pet is in pain or if you are unsure about a behavior change, contact your veterinarian. You can learn more about recognizing an animal’s pain here.


Monday July 7, 2014

How To Make Homemade Cat Toys

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If you’ve ever lived with cats, you probably know how much fun they can have with a paper bag. Here is a list of some of the other common household items that make excellent cat toys.

•   Plastic Eggs- Fill them with unpopped popcorn kernels, peppercorns, dry beans, grains of dry rice or coins. These are great for visually impaired cats, and all cats love the sounds.
•   Empty Cardboard Rolls- Pull treats or toys through the opening or place them inside the roll. Your cat will have fun chasing the rolls or swatting at the toys inside. 
•   Crinkled Tin Foil- Crumple up a sheet of tin foil to provide an interesting change in texture and sound from a cat’s usual ball toys.
•   Rope/Cable/Tubing- To make string-like toys that are safe for unattended play, use materials that are thick and short, such as mountain climbing rope, bicycle break cables (with caps on the ends) and flexible plastic tubing. 
•   Drinking Straws- Look for straws in colors that contrast your flooring. Brightly colored straws are very popular with kittens!
•   Driftwood/Firewood- Both are excellent, natural scratcher options that can last for decades. 
•   Corks- Corks are loads of fun to chase, and they also absorb scents. Store them in a bag of catnip for a few weeks to make them an even more enticing toy.
•   Tissue Boxes- Place toys or treats in side to make these recyclable options irresistible to curious cats. Most pet supply stores carry studier, ready-made holey boxes.
•   Finger Puppets- These toys are especially fun when filled with catnip and sewn shut. Be sure the puppets don’t have loosely attached beads, buttons or other baubles. Also, painted features should only contain non-toxic paint or fabric dye.
•   Wrist Watches- Offer your cat your old, broken watch before throwing it out. Cats love them because your scent is on the band.
•   Pom-Pom Balls- It is important to select balls that are too large to be a choking hazard. You can store pom-pom balls in catnip for an extra treat.

What other toys have your cats found around the house? Share with us in the comments or on Facebook!

Find more ideas about homemade cat toys here.

This blog post was written by guest blogger Kari Kells, a professional pet sitter and pet parent to Raggedy Andy, Emma and Rumi. Read more tips and advice from Kari on her blog.


Monday June 30, 2014

Q&A: Why does my cat knead his paws?

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Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why does my cat knead his paws?

A: Taking so many naps is hard work, and for some cats, kneading against the floor is like a nice stretch after a well-earned rest. They may also do it to mark territory, comfort themselves, as an instinct to start a mother’s milk or, if the kneading is done on your lap, as a sign of affection. For females, it can also indicate that they’re in heat and ready to look for a suitable mate. Learn more

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.


Monday June 23, 2014

Q&A: Why did my cat go to the bathroom outside the litter box?

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Our pets can do some quirky things, but even the strangest behaviors may have reasons behind them. Here are explanations of some common pet behaviors. Does your furry friend have any of these habits? Tell us about it in the comments!

Q: Why did my cat go to the bathroom outside the litter box?

A: Litter box issues can be a sign of a medical condition, like a problem with the urinary bladder or kidneys. Be sure to check in with your veterinarian just in case. However, it also may be as simple as the litter box needs to be clean or moved to a more private location. It could also be a behavioral issue caused by stress or anxiety related to a new baby or guests in the home, for instance. Learn more from our friends at the ASPCA®.

Note: Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s specific behavior. Your veterinarian can give you advice about your individual pet's needs and rule out any potential medical issue.


Sunday June 22, 2014

Customer Story: A Tale of Two Cats

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“I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for the compassion, attention to detail and response time exhibited by the folks at the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance program. I lost my job in February, and in May I sadly lost a young cat to cancer. I would not have been able to give Kit a dignified and humane end without his insurance plan. The customer service representatives were so compassionate during my time of grief. The kind words and the beautiful card I received helped me get through that awful week.

In December, my other cat was diagnosed with a blockage, and the thought of losing another young cat in the same year—on Christmas Eve no less—was unbearable. I took him in right away and got him the proper care he needed. He's now back at home and doing well.

I will always cover my pets with pet insurance. I've recommended the plan to several people. They’ve all had a wonderful experience enrolling.” -Grace V., Peekskill, NY

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