When you make your holiday wish list and check it twice this year, will you be adding the Puppy Tweets dog tag to it?

Topping the collection of hottest gifts for 2010, this device from Mattel allows pet parents to monitor what their best friend is doing at home via Twitter.

Does this mean your dog is actually tweeting? Well, not exactly.

Puppy Tweets is a plastic tag that you add to your dog’s collar. Based on your pooch’s activity, the tag transmits signals to a corresponding USB drive that you plug into your computer. One of 500 entertaining tweets will be automatically triggered based on your dog’s current activity. The message will then appear on the Twitter feed you create specifically for your pet.  

For instance, if your puppy was sleeping, you might see: “Had a wonderful dream about you. You were bringing me snacks!” Or if he’s playing: "Uh oh! It's getting late and I haven't finished scattering my toys all over the room for you to trip over when you get home."

From the recent article in the news, as well as a bunch of online reviews, it seems the verdict is still out on whether pet parents like this product. If she had her say, I’m sure my cat Millie’s repertoire would be pretty limited: “I want to be fed now!” and “Quit bugging me! I’m trying to sleep.”

What do you think your pets would tweet?

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

Submitted by: An ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Pet Parent*

Photo Friday is a weekly column that showcases photos we receive from loving ASPCA Pet Health Insurance customers of their pets. If you want to see your pet featured, please email me!

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Customer Stories

A Pet Parent Asks:
How do I add an additional pet to my plan?

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Answers:
Congratulations on your new family member!

Adding a pet to your plan is simple. Just contact Customer Service at 1-877-204-6764 and they can get your new pet enrolled today.

Also, you’ll receive a 10% multiple pet discount if you enroll your new best friend on the same level as your other pet. The discount excludes Level 1 and Continuing Care.

Thank you for protecting all of your pets with us!

Pet Parent Q&A is a regular column that answers customer questions in an effort to educate others. This is not a forum to receive responses to specific inquiries. Please call Customer Service at 1-866-204-6764 or email cservice@aspcapetinsurance.com for immediate assistance.

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Hartville Group News & Info

We told you recently about the growing demand for pet blood donations and the efforts many local veterinary practices are making to help. One practice, Far Country Animal Hospital in Palmer, Alaska, set up a local pet blood donation program as a major initiative for its region.

“Before we started our Canine Blood Bank Program, blood products had to be flown in from California, which sometimes meant life or death for the pet,” said Michael Whittington, a veterinarian at Far Country Animal Hospital. “During emergency situations, we’d bring in our own pets and do a spot transfusion, meaning the injured dog would be on one table and our donor dog would be on the next.”

While this worked as a last available option, the practice saw a need for an official program. To set up the program, a member of the veterinary team took the initiative and received advice from a veterinarian who had experience with blood banks in the past. With this direction, Far Country Animal Hospital was able to open its own Canine Blood Bank in 2009. 

Today, the hospital has a growing pool of pet parents who commit to bringing their pets in to donate blood every 2 or 3 months, allowing the practice to have a ready supply of blood products on hand at all times. In addition, the veterinary practice extended its hours until 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and around the clock over the weekend to accommodate as many pet patients as possible.

Far Country Animal Hospital also supplies products to other practices in Alaska for a reduced fee. These practices now have the option to receive their blood products much faster than before Far County’s program started.

To be eligible to donate blood, dogs must weigh at least 50 pounds, be in fine health, have a good temperament, be up-to-date on canine rabies and distemper-parvo vaccinations and not be taking any prescribed medications or have a history of pregnancy.

In return, the charitable canines’ parents can expect rewards such as $300 worth of yearly blood testing, one unit of blood or plasma for every unit donated should their dog ever need it and a “Canine Hero” blood donor bandana for their pooch. After the first year of donations, dogs receive a “Canine Hero” ID tag, which identifies them as an official donor.

To read more about Far Country Animal Hospital and its Canine Blood Bank program, visit http://farcountrypets.com/index.php

To submit a story about a veterinary practice, email me!

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Veterinary Clinic Spotlight

While many pet parents get their dogs blessed at church on World Animal Day (Oct. 4), more places of worship are opening their doors to dogs beyond this occasion.

The trend is about more than praising puppies: It’s also a novel way for congregations to attract worshipers, just as many companies—including the Hartville Group—allow employees to bring dogs to work to encourage camaraderie and improve morale.

A recent Chicago Tribune article on this subject points out that going to church—or any new place for that matter—and not knowing anyone can be a nerve-wracking experience. But if you can show up with your pet in tow, not only do you feel less alone, but the attention is more on the animal than yourself. That way, a pet’s presence builds a bridge for you to begin a friendly conversation with someone new.

As more companies and groups recognize pets as a significant part of our families, it’ll be interesting to see what parts of our daily lives will also become more pet-friendly.

What are your thoughts?

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines


As we’re dedicated to making a difference for pets, we want to keep you informed about pet health topics and your ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. Our blog will provide you with fresh, interesting and informative topics—from pet health tips and customer stories, to the latest industry news and a Pet Parent Q&A column. Most of all, we encourage you to share comments and join the discussion!

Meet the Author

Julia H.

Social Media Coordinator

Pet Parent to:

Lucy, a 7-year-old rescued Golden Retriever/Chow Chow mix

Blog Guidelines

While we’ll strive to present all viewpoints on this blog, comments will be reviewed before posting. Offensive or inappropriate language, off-topic remarks and comments containing personal policy information will not be featured.

Also, conditions discussed in this blog aren’t necessarily covered by every ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. For full coverage terms, conditions and exclusions, please refer to your plan.

As always, if you have a question about your plan, call us at 1-866-204-6764.

*Note: While these testimonials may include examples of recent claims payouts, reimbursement is subject to the terms and conditions of your plan. Identifying information has been changed.