Pet Insurance Blog

Monday July 27, 2015

Keeping Cool with Pets

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Summer is starting to sizzle, but the rising temperature doesn’t have to get in the way of you and your pet having fun in the sun! Here are some fun ideas to beat the heat and important tips to keep everyone safe.

For Dogs

• Freeze chicken or beef broth in an ice cube tray.
• Fill up a plastic kiddie pool just for your pup.
• Cover your pal with a damp towel while they nap.

For Cats

• Give your cat a few ice cubes to bat around the house.
• Fill a hot water bottle with cool water for your cat to lie on.
• Turn on a small fan next to your cat’s favorite place to nap.

For All

• Provide plenty of water and shade away from direct sunlight.
• Limit exercise on hot, humid days to early morning or evening.
• Know the signs of heat-related issues and what to do next.

Additionally, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to check out these pet first-aid basics just in case your pet does get injured or ill and don’t forget to get a free quote!

Monday July 20, 2015

Pet First-Aid Basics

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Nobody wants to get caught off-guard by an emergency. Luckily, we have the information you need to be better prepared for when the unexpected happens.

Set a plan

Ask your vet about an emergency protocol, especially if your clinic isn’t available 24/7.

Be careful

Handle an injured pet with caution. Even the sweetest dog or cat can act out when hurt.

Stay calm

Try to keep your cool, so you can think clearly and avoid upsetting your pet even more.

Make a kit

Have a pet first-aid kit ready. See below for a full list of what you may need according to ASPCApro.

Get insured

Our plans cover injuries, like broken bones, swallowed objects, car accidents and bite wounds.

For more advice on potential dangers, visit 101 Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Pet and don’t forget to get a free quote!

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Monday July 6, 2015

Sweating Out the Summer

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Everyday activities can be risky for pets when it's hot out. Since pets can't sweat like people do, they can be more susceptible to heat-related issues.

For instance, we recently saw a claim for an English Bulldog who suffered from heat stroke – just while he was resting in the shade. He was in the hospital for two days, and the veterinary bill was more than $1,200. In another claim, a Black Labrador suffered from heat stroke after joining his pet parent on a jog.

What are the symptoms?

Excessive panting and a bright red tongue can be initial signs of heat stroke. Other symptoms can include restlessness, agitation, drooling and lethargy.

What should you do?

Take your pet out of the heat and into a shady or air-conditioned place. Offer water, and try cooling your pet with a wet towel. Contact your veterinarian immediately.

Which pets are at risk?

All pets are at risk – even indoor cats, especially if they don't have access to air conditioning. Some pets may be at higher risk, like those with health issues or dogs with short muzzles. Ask your veterinarian about your pet specifically.

Can you still have fun?

Just because it is hot outside doesn’t mean your pet can’t enjoy the sunny weather. Be sure to keep an eye out for warning signs and make sure to keep plenty of water within paw’s reach. Considering a day at the beach? Check out these tips.

What about road trips?

While traveling, think twice before leaving your pet in a parked car – even if you crack the windows and are gone for just a few minutes. This chart illustrates how fast your vehicle can heat up on a seemingly cool day.


Hopefully, your pet will keep cool this summer. But if your furry friend does have trouble in the heat, our accident coverage can help you manage the costs of care. Get a free quote today!

Monday March 16, 2015

10 Dangerous Pills for Pets

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In recognition of Poison Prevention Awareness Month, we want to share with you this rundown of the top 10 most common human medication complaints as received by our friends at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. This article originally appeared on

Anyone who takes medication prescribed for someone else puts themselves at risk of illness or even death - and this applies to your pets, too! Although there are many medications used in both animals and people, the effects, doses needed, and other things aren't always the same.

About one-quarter of all phone calls to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) are about human medications. Your pet can easily ingest dropped pills or may be given harmful human medications by an unknowing owner, resulting in illness, or even death, of your pet.

The APCC provided us with the 10 most common human medication complaints they receive. Here they are, in order based on the number of complaints:

  1. Ibuprofen – Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) is the most common human medication ingested by pets. Many brands have a sweet outer coating that makes it appealing to pets (think "M&M," but a potentially deadly one). Ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.
  2. Tramadol – Tramadol (Ultram®) is a pain reliever. Your veterinarian may prescribe it for your pet, but only at a dose that's appropriate for your pet – never give your medication to your pet without first consulting your veterinarian! Too much tramadol can cause sedation or agitation, wobbliness, disorientation, vomiting, tremors and possibly seizures.
  3. Alprazolam – Alprazolam (Xanax®) is prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication and a sleep-aid. Most pets that ingest alprazolam can become sleepy and wobbly; however a few will become very agitated instead. These pills are commonly ingested by pets as people put them out on the nightstand so they remember to take them. Large doses of alprazolam can drop the blood pressure and could cause weakness or collapse.
  4. Adderall® – Adderall® is a combination of four different amphetamines and is used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. This medication doesn't have the same effect in pets as it does in people; it acts as a stimulant in our pets and causes elevated heart rate and body temperature, along with hyperactivity, tremors and seizures.
  5. Zolpidem – Zolpidem (Ambien®) is a sleep-aid for people. Pets commonly eat pills left on the bedside table. Zolpidem may make cats wobbly and sleepy, but most pets become very agitated and develop elevated heart rates.
  6. Clonazepam – Clonazepam (Klonopin®) is used as an anticonvulsant and anti-anxiety medication. It is sometimes also prescribed as a sleep-aid. When animals ingest clonazepam they can become sleep and wobbly. Too much clonazepam can lower the blood pressure, leading to weakness or collapse.
  7. Acetaminophen – Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) is a very common pain killer found in most households. Cats are extremely sensitive to acetaminophen, but dogs can be affected too. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage. It can also cause damage to your pet's red blood cells so that the cells are unable to carry oxygen – like your body, your pet's body needs oxygen to survive.
  8. Naproxen – Naproxen (Aleve®, Naprosyn®) is an over-the-counter pain reliever. Dogs and cats are very sensitive to naproxen and even small amounts can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.
  9. Duloxetine – Duloxetine (Cymbalta®) is prescribed as an antidepressant and anti-anxiety agent. When ingested by pets it can cause agitation, vocalization, tremors and seizures.
  10. Venlafaxine – Venlafaxine (Effexor®) is an antidepressant. For some unknown reason, cats love to eat the capsules. Ingestion can cause agitation, vocalization, tremors and seizures.

As you can tell from this list, a medication that does one thing for people does not necessarily do the same for our pets. And although this may be the list of the medications about which the APCC receives the largest numbers of complaints, remember that any human medication could pose a risk to your pets – not just these 10.

You can keep your pets safe by following simple common sense guidelines:

•  Always keep human medications away from pets unless you are specifically instructed by a veterinarian to give the medication;
•  Do not leave pills sitting on counter or any place a pet can get to them;
•  Do not leave pill bottles within reach of pets (You'll be surprised how fast your dog can chew through a pill bottle.);
•  If you're taking medications out of the bottle and you drop any of it, pick it up immediately so you know your pet won't be able to eat it;
•  Always contact your veterinarian if your pet has ingested any medication not prescribed for them;
•  Never give your medication (or any medications prescribed for a two-legged family member) to your pet without first consulting a veterinarian.

...and last, but not least, always keep the number for your veterinarian and the APCC handy. 

Tuesday February 24, 2015

Veg Out with Your Pet


Vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables can be a healthy way to supplement your pet’s regular canned or dry food diet. Just make sure they’re pet-safe, and always consult your vet before introducing new foods.

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

How Cold is Too Cold?


There’s a chill in the air, and you may be wondering if it’s safe to take your pet outside. While cats should never be put out in the cold, many dogs can handle low temperatures. Just keep these tips in mind.

  • • Always supervise dogs during super cold temps and don't let them stay out too long even if they’re having a ball.
    • Is your pooch the shivering sort? A cozy jacket or sweater might help. Dog boots can also be useful to keep paws warm and injury free.
    • Puppies and small breeds may need to stay inside on very cold days. Consider placing a training pad near the door until it warms up.

Read more cold weather tips here.

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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Monday October 27, 2014

Top 3 Halloween Safety Tips


These tips can help your pet have a happy Halloween without a scary accident:

1. Spooky Lighting– Make jack-o’-lanterns glow with battery lights, not candles, to prevent accidents.
2. No Quick Tricks– Watch that your pet doesn’t scoot out the door when you open it for trick-or-treaters.
3. Ghoulish Treats– Keep chocolate, candy with Xylitol and other toxic foods out of paw’s reach.

Learn more about why chocolate is so dangerous for your pet.

Monday October 13, 2014

Pet First-Aid Prep


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


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


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 July 14, 2014

How to Tell Your Pet's in Pain


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 April 28, 2014

Disaster Planning with Your Pet in Mind


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.

Saturday March 1, 2014

Pet Poison Safety Twitter Party!


Learn important poison safety tips for your pet and get 3 chances to win at our Pet Poison Safety Twitter Party. The party will be held on Wednesday, March 26 from 7-8 pm EST. Use the hashtag #PetSafety to join the conversation and play our trivia contest.

Tips for joining a Twitter party:

   • Sign up for a Twitter account 

   • Follow the party hosts. For the Pet Poison Safety party, make sure you’re following ASPCA Pet Health Insurance and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

   • Twitter parties are easiest to follow if you’re using a dashboard like TweetChat, TweetDeck, or TweetGrid

   • Use the party hashtag (#PetSafety) in every tweet to be a part of the conversation.

No purchase necessary. See official rules.

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