September 2010

At ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, the health of your pets is important to us. We hope you'll find our updates useful for keeping your pets happy and healthy. Each month, we'll feature timely topics in pet health, tips for keeping your pet in top shape, and stories from animal lovers like you.

If there's something you'd like to hear about, please let us know! We look forward to helping you and your best friend for years to come.

Your Pet and Change

September is a time of seasonal change. It marks a lot of “ends” for your pets: the end of summer, the end of lazy vacations, and the end of continuous attention. These changes may come as a surprise to your pets. To their chagrin, your world suddenly stops revolving around them as extra cuddles and play time are replaced with back to work and back to school.

As humans, we rationalize these feelings of disappointment. We learn to adjust and we move on. Some pets may too. But if you notice unexplained behavior changes, such as vocalizing after you leave, uncharacteristic chewing or destroying, pacing or attempts to escape, excessive licking, hair pulling, or chewing, your pets may need help coping with change.

Sudden changes in a family's routine can interfere with your pets' regular habits. Undesirable behaviors often develop during times of change when your pets are frustrated or stressed. Initially, you may think your pets are acting out. They may appear to want one thing—your affection. And, if they don't receive this immediately, they might get aggravated.

Common causes of these behaviors include:

  • Being left alone for the first time, or the first time in a while.
  • A traumatic event (from your dog's viewpoint), such as time at a kennel.
  • Change in the family's routine or structure.
  • Loss of a family member or another pet.

Veterinarians can't pinpoint why some pets become stressed by change and others don't. If you notice any out of the ordinary behaviors, be sure to have your veterinarian give your companions a full exam to rule out physiological causes. If no physiological conditions are detected, your veterinarian may recommend simple changes in routine like increasing your pets' physical and mental stimulation.

  • Don't make a big deal about arrivals or departures — ignore your pet for the first 15 minutes before leaving or after returning home.
  • Create a safe place — give them their own room or a large confined area, complete with toys for distraction.
  • Leave dirty laundry. Believe it or not, even your scent can keep them calm.
  • Remember that punishment won't help and may make the situation worse.

It's important to remember that your pets' behaviors are part of a stress response. They aren't trying to punish you. Approach the situation with compassion and patience—soon your family dynamic will be back on track.

Tell a friend about ASPCA Pet Health Insurance!

Pet Speak: A Customer's Story


The first time our new puppy Gracie went swimming, she decided sand would be a tasty treat! We didn't realize she had a snack, so we put her in the car and headed on our way. Soon she began vomiting. We stopped to check on her, but she continued to throw up. I called our family veterinarian who told us to get her to the nearest veterinary hospital.

Upon arrival, the vet x-rayed Gracie's stomach and found a pocket of "granules," which turned out to be sand. She had to be given injections of fluids for dehydration and fortunately was better the next day. Thanks to ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, a large chunk of this unexpected $4,750 bill was reimbursed!

- Jasmine R., Monterrey, CA

At ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, we're committed to being there when dogs like Gracie get hurt or sick.
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For more information on keeping your pet healthy and happy, please visit and

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 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.

Plans are underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company and administered by Petsmarketing Agency, Inc., a subsidiary of the Hartville Group, Inc.