Pet Insurance Blog

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 29, 2014

Apple + Carrot Dog Treats

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Want to make a special treat for your dog? Whip up some Apple + Carrot Treats. They’re simple to make and healthy for your best friend.

Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup grated carrots
1 egg
½ cup unsweetened applesauce

Instructions
1. Mix it all together and roll dough into small balls.
2. Press down gently to make treats about ¼-inch thick.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

Let them cool down and then let your pup have at ‘em! If you have a tasty recipe your dog or cat laps up, share it with us on Facebook.


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.


Tuesday September 2, 2014

How's your dog's hearing?

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With Dog Deaf Awareness Week this month (9/21-27) , it’s a great time to check on your dog’s hearing. Signs of hearing loss can include:

1. Turning the wrong way when called
2. Not responding to commands
3. Excessive barking or head shaking
4. Discharge from the ears
5. Pawing at the ears

If you suspect your dog is having problems hearing, contact your veterinarian. And don’t miss these tips to prevent and treat dog deafness.


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!


Monday August 4, 2014

3 Easy Tricks for Good Dog Behavior

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As kids start heading back to school, what better time to teach your pooch a new trick? Here are 3 fun tricks you can teach your dog that also reinforce good behaviors.

Trick #1: Hand Targeting
Training your dog to touch his or her nose to your hand is a neat trick and very handy when you need to lead your pup somewhere.

1. Hold an open hand near your dog’s nose
2. As soon as nose touches palm, say, “Yes!”
3. Offer a treat with your other hand
Tip: Keep practicing until you have a dog magnet on your hand.

Trick #2: Ready-Set-Down!
Work on your dog’s ability to obey even when excited with this trick. It’s also a great way for both of you to get some exercise.

1. Have your dog sit, then say, “Ready, set, go!”
2. Run together, then yell, “Ready, set, down!” and stop
3. If your dog lies down, offer a treat. If not, lure your dog down with a treat
Tip: Take a brief rest and do it again until your pet gets the hang of it. 

Trick #3: Hide and Seek
Remember playing hide and seek as a kid? Now you can play it with your dog! It’s a fun interactive game that gets your dog thinking and moving.

1. Start by having your pooch sit or stay
2. Then hide and say your dog’s name once
3. When your pup finds you, celebrate!
Tip: Keep your hiding places easy at first, so your pet won’t get distracted and stop playing. Then increase the difficulty as your dog gets the hang of it. If you have children, get them involved too!

What kind of tricks have you taught your pet? Tell us in the comments below or share them on Facebook


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.


Monday July 21, 2014

Common Skin Problems in Dogs

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A dog’s healthy skin is a great indication of his overall health, and it is important to visit your veterinarian at the first sign of any abnormality. Keep an eye out for excessive scratching, chewing and/or licking, as they may be signs of a skin problem.

Common causes of skin irritations for dogs include:

Fleas
Ringworm
Parasites, such as ear mites and lice
Seasonal allergies
Food allergies
Bacterial or yeast infections
Sarcoptic mange
Grooming products
Stress or boredom
Metabolic or hormonal problems
Seasonal changes

Our friends at the ASPCA® have some great information about allergies, mange and hot spots.


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.


Sunday July 13, 2014

Customer Story: Grover is Covered, Just in Case

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“I live on a limited income and have coverage for Grover just in case something happens with his health. ASPCA Pet Healthy Insurance has been easy to use, and it came in handy when Grover had to have a gingival mass removed a few years ago.

I adopted Grover shortly after I lost another Sheltie to cancer. Grover needed a new home because his owner had become quite ill and could no longer care for him. Shelties get very attached to their owners, so Grover had a hard time adjusting to the change. When I saw his lonely and hurt face, I got down on my knees and talked to him like a person, explaining what happened and that I would be taking him to his new forever home.” –Cheryl K., Doylestown, PA

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


Monday June 2, 2014

Q&A: Why does my dog hide food?

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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 dog hide food?

A: Your canine may be hiding meals to save for later. This is an instinctual drive (called caching) inherited from wild ancestors who couldn’t always count on their next meal and had to hide leftovers from scavengers. It’s like creating a “food bank.” Shy or timid pups who feel anxious around other animals may also secret away food to eat by themselves later. 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 May 19, 2014

Q&A: Why does my dog walk in circles before lying down?

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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 dog walk in circles before lying down?

A:  It mostly means your dog is ready for bed. Your furry friend is going old school, walking around to find a spot for a final pat down before resting.  However, in some cases, it may be a sign of discomfort from arthritis or an upset stomach. If your canine is looking uncomfortable when circling, give your veterinarian a call. Learn more about compulsive behavior in dogs 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.

Monday May 12, 2014

Q&A: Why does my cat head butt me?

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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 head butt me?

A: Cats use this familiar move to show affection and possession. Glands in their foreheads leave a subtle gift of scent behind. So, the next time your cat sneaks up and starts head bumping, think of it as his or her way of saying, “I love you, you’re mine.” 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 April 28, 2014

Disaster Planning with Your Pet in Mind

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Calamity can strike at any time. Whether it is a flood, tornado, blizzard or heat wave, it is important to keep our pets in mind when making disaster preparedness plans. Our friends at the ASPCA® offer some great advice on how to prepare for a disaster.

It is especially important to keep in mind these top tips:

•   Plan Ahead for Evacuation - Know your exits and keep emergency kits and leashes handy.
•   Find a Safe Haven- Research pet-friendly shelters or emergency animal shelters in your area ahead of time.
•   Update Identification- Be sure to include your telephone number and any urgent medical needs on your pet’s ID tag.


Monday April 21, 2014

Q&A: Why does my dog roll around in stuff that smells?

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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 dog roll around in stuff that smells?

A: A popular theory is that your rolling dog is trying to get rid of other scents. Canines have a more sensitive sense of smell than humans, and a strong fragrance may drive your poor pooch crazy. To cover up the troublesome odor, your dog might dive into your dirty clothes or garbage. If you find your dog rolling in feces, it could signal a behavioral issue that you should discuss with your veterinarian. 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.