October 2010

Autumn is here! As the weather cools and you start on fall chores, you should be aware of some seasonal hazards that can harm your pets. At ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, the health of your pets is a top priority. We hope you’ll find this month’s newsletter useful for keeping the furry members of your family safe this season.

Your Pets and Autumn Hazards

With temperatures dropping, you may be prepping your car for icy weather and stocking up on cold remedies. While you get your family and home ready for the change in seasons, keep these tips in mind to help your pets stay safe. And take comfort in knowing that your pets are covered for poison ingestion as part of the accident coverage included in every ASPCA Pet Health Insurance level.

Antifreeze is deadly. Once the first cold spell hits, many of us race to prepare our cars. No one wants to get caught off guard by an early winter storm. But please remember that antifreeze and pets don’t mix. This toxic chemical tastes sweet, so pets are inclined to lick it up when spilled. Just one teaspoon can kill a cat and two teaspoons can kill a dog. After taking care of your car, be sure to take care of your pets by storing antifreeze safely out of reach. Also, check the surrounding area to be sure no antifreeze has spilled on the pavement.

Rodenticides can be unsafe. Be careful if you use rodenticides to keep pests from seeking warmth or looking for food in your house. Designed to lure and eliminate rodents, rodenticides may appeal to a pet’s sense of smell and curiosity. If your pets find birds, squirrels, or rats poisoned by rodenticides, they may inadvertently be exposed. When using rodenticides or pesticides, follow the instructions carefully, read all labels, and take every precaution to ensure your pets won’t be harmed by these potentially dangerous chemicals.

Candy is off-limits. According to the ASPCA® Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), Halloween candy and other decorative holiday items can make pets sick. Chocolate, especially dark or baking chocolate, is dangerous for both dogs and cats. Candy or gum containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can pose a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage if eaten by your pets. Also, while decorative pumpkins and corn are relatively nontoxic, they can upset your pet’s stomach if ingested.

Human medications can be dangerous. You may know about obvious pet poisons lurking around your home, but you may not realize that some of the biggest culprits are sitting on your nightstand—especially during cold and flu season. In fact, human medications topped the ASPCA’s list of common hazards for the past several years. Ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, and decongestants may help you fight cold and allergy symptoms, but they can make your pets very sick. Pets might grab interesting looking bottles off a counter or gobble down medication accidentally dropped on the floor. Be sure to keep all medications in a safe place.


This time of year, sweet treats are everywhere! Most people know that chocolate is toxic for pets, but did you know these foods are harmful too?

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Candy or sweeteners
    with xylitol
  • Alcohol
  • Avocados
  • Coffee
  • Fatty foods
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Salt

If you think your pet has ingested something poisonous, stay calm and call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 for help. The APCC is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A $65 consultation fee may apply, 80% of which is covered by ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. If you have any questions about your coverage, you can view your plan at the Member Center or call 1-866-204-6764.

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Pet Speak: A Customer's Story


One day, our adorable 6-year-old dog, Chelsea, decided to snack on some grapes. Grapes are toxic to dogs and can even cause renal failure! Our poor Chelsea got very sick and had to be rushed to the veterinarian. Thankfully, she recovered quickly with the help of good veterinary care. Chelsea is enrolled in Level 1, which covers accidents like poison ingestion, and $818.57 of our bill was quickly reimbursed! Today, we’re not only grateful for Chelsea’s recovery, but also relieved to know that we can count on ASPCA Pet Health Insurance to help us financially during stressful times.

—Amy S., Appleton, WI

At ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, we’re committed to being there when pets like Chelsea get hurt or sick.
Tell us your story!
For more information on keeping your pet healthy and happy, please visit www.aspca.org and www.avma.org.

Conditions discussed in this e-newsletter are not necessarily covered by every ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. For full coverage terms, conditions and exclusions please review your plan. Your plan is available online by visiting our Member Center at www.aspcapetinsurance.com or by calling our customer service department at 866-204-6764.

While the above testimonial may include examples of recent claims payouts, reimbursement is subject to the terms and conditions of your plan. Identifying information has been changed.