“We’re glad we have ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. It’s easier to make medical decisions for our dog knowing we have the insurance as a financial back-up.”

—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:
As I’m satisfying my $100 annual deductible, how can I tell how much has been applied to date?

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Answers:
You can track your deductible balance via the EOB (explanation of benefits) sent to you when we process each claim. This information is located in the top area of the first page under “Incident Summary.”

For a copy of your EOB, please visit our online Member Center.

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

In the News: Snuggling with Pets in Bed Could Be Bad for Your Health

Do you allow your pets to sleep in bed with you? If you do, it may be bad for your health, according to a study published in the February issue of the CDC’s journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The study details examples of people who contracted health problems, like parasites, meningitis and even worse diseases by sleeping in the same bed with their pets. For instance, in one case, a boy developed the plague after he shared his bed with his flea-infested cat, as fleas are  notorious for carrying this disease. Another case details a 60-year-old British woman who got meningitis after kissing her dog.    

This could be a problem for many pet parents. An estimated 21% to 33% of the 60 million pet dogs in the US sleep on or in their family’s beds and 60% of the 75 million cats do the same, as reported in a recent Los Angeles Times article.

But before we start kicking Fido and Fluffy out of our beds, veterinary experts weighing in on the issue reassure pet parents that while there is a risk, the likelihood of contracting a bad disease is extremely rare.

In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) President Dr. Larry Kornegay tells MSNBC, “I’ve been in practice for 40 years and I see the bond between people and their pets and the positive effects pets can have on humans, which I believe outweighs any risk, whether you sleep with a pet or not.”

The AVMA doesn’t have a formal recommendation when it comes to pets sleeping in human beds. Instead, the association advises pet parents to take their dogs and cats to the veterinarian for regular wellness exams, vaccinations and dental care. The association also encourages pet parents to wash their hands often, especially after handling feces and before preparing food.

What do you think of this study? If you share your bed with pets, will you stop doing so based on these warnings?

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

While some frisky kitties get a little too adventurous in what they choose to eat, they usually swallow items like dental floss or ribbon. But one recent discovery caught everyone by surprise.

A cat suffering from an upset stomach wasn’t getting any better, even after his pet parent gave him medication, so they went back to the animal hospital. With a series of X-rays, the veterinarian found a decaying lizard stuck in the cat’s esophagus!

The veterinarian suggested a specialist to remove it, but the cat passed the lizard before the appointment. Thankfully, the feline fully recovered.

The other silver lining of this story: It served as a good reminder of the unexpected and sometimes quirky things that can happen to pets. After this incident, the cat’s parent enrolled him in ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.

Have you recently bought ASPCA Pet Health Insurance for your pets after they experienced an unexpected illness or injury? Tell us about it!

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Customer Stories

Pet Blog - Pet's Teeth Tips

Our friends at the ASPCA® recommend you brush your pet’s teeth ideally once a day or at least several times a week. These pointers can help you get started.

1. Introduce your pet to the idea slowly. Start by simply massaging the gums gently with your finger or a cotton swab.

2. After a few massages, let your pet taste the toothpaste by dabbing it on the lips. Use toothpaste made for cats or dogs, since people paste can be harmful to pets.

3. Next, get your pet used to the toothbrush. Choose a toothbrush designed for pets, or buy one you can wear on your finger, if you prefer.

4. Finally, put some of the paste on the toothbrush, and brush using a circular motion at a 45 degree angle to the gum line.
 
5. Your pet may not be the best patient at first, but he or she will probably get used to the idea over time, and maybe even enjoy it! Try to make teeth cleaning a fun activity with lots of praise, attention, and affection.

Visit the ASPCA’s website to read more about dog dental care or cat dental care.

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ASPCA Happenings

Pet Blog - Photo Friday

“My dog has been with ASPCA Pet Health Insurance since 2008. With this insurance I’ve had help paying for her annual exams and dental cleaning. Just recently she got sick and the bill was $400! I’m glad I made the right choice to get ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.”

—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

Pet Blog - Labrador Retrievers Remain America’s Favorite Breed

The loveable Labrador Retriever is once again the king of the canine world. For the 20th consecutive year, the breed is the most popular in the US thanks to its playful and loyal reputation, according to registration figures compiled by the American Kennel Club.

While the top five breeds have remained relatively consistent over the years, this year the Beagle took over the No. 4 spot, pushing the Golden Retriever down to No. 5.

The bulldog is another big mover, edging the Boxer out of the No. 6 spot and into No. 7. Three years ago, bulldogs moved into the top 10 for the first time and, since then, the breed has been increasing in popularity because of its reputation as a family-friendly companion.

German Shepherds remain at No. 2 on the list, followed by Yorkshire terriers, a popular breed for city dwellers, at No. 3.

To see photos of the top 10 dog breeds in America, visit: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/41249142/ns/today-today_pets_and_animals/

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

Pet Blog - Brush Up on Dental Care for National Pet Dental Month

February is National Pet Dental Month, which makes it a great time to check up on your pet’s teeth, especially if it’s been awhile or you haven’t done it in the past. Problems in your dog or cat’s mouth can lead to serious health problems in the future. Fortunately, these can be prevented with some good old-fashioned dental care, like regular dental exams and tooth brushing.

The Ins and Outs of Dental Health
Food and plaque can build up on your pet’s teeth, much like your own. If it lingers there, it can cause bad breath, gingivitis, receding gums, loss of teeth, damage to the tongue and palate, and oral infections. Some of these problems can make it hard for your pet to chew and eat, and they can cause more complications down the road.

To help avoid these issues, bring your pet to the veterinarian at least once a year for a dental exam. The veterinarian will examine your pet’s mouth inside and out, and perform a professional cleaning. This can include anesthesia, X-rays, and ultrasonic teeth scaling. The cost of the exam can vary depending on the health of your pet’s teeth and gums. Our Level 4 coverage includes a yearly dental exam and cleaning.

5 Tips to Keep Your Pet Smiling
Here are some at-home suggestions for monitoring your pet’s dental health in between veterinary visits from our friends at the ASPCA. ®

1. The sniff test. Take a whiff of your cat’s or dog’s breath. It probably won’t smell fresh and lovely, but it shouldn’t smell foul or offensive, either. If you cringe at the scent, you should visit your veterinarian to make sure your pet isn’t suffering from digestive issues or gum disease.

2. Get a good look. Your pet may hide pain and discomfort, so it’s important to check his or her mouth regularly. Face your pet towards you, and gently lift his or her lips. Look around for inflammation, discoloration, ulcers, or loose teeth. If you see something that doesn’t look right, contact your veterinarian.

3. Brush regularly. Brushing your pet’s teeth on an ongoing basis may sound like a daunting task, but it’s an inexpensive way to avoid potentially serious health problems in the future.

4. Check your pet’s diet. The food your pet eats can impact dental health. Crunchy pet food or a combination of dry and wet food can keep your dog or cat’s mouth cleaner than soft food, which tends to stick more. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a pet food that’s good for teeth.

5. Offer chew toys. Pet toys made for chewing can perform double duty by satisfying your pet’s natural urge to chomp and by promoting dental health. Chewing massages the gums and can remove soft tartar. But be careful not to let your pet gnaw on hard toys that can injure his or her mouth or fracture teeth.

Later this month, we’ll share tips on how to brush your pet’s teeth!

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ASPCA Happenings

Pet Blog - Meet Your Match with the ASPCA

Valentine’s Day brings thoughts of true love, which is what our friends at the ASPCA® would like to help find between pets and potential adopters. To that end, they’ve developed a unique research-based program called Meet Your Match.®

With Meet Your Match, shelters evaluate pets for distinct “canine-alities” or “feline-alities” and assign them one of nine fun and descriptive labels. For instance, cats might be “Private Investigators,” “Sidekicks,” or “Party Animals.” Dogs can be “Couch Potatoes,” “Goofballs,” or “Go-Getters.” Adopters are given a survey to identify their own personalities and lifestyles. Then matches can be made.

Adopters who use Meet Your Match are less likely to return their new housemates to the shelter, while the pets are more likely to adjust easily to their new homes. The program is a great way to promote successful adoptions and, in some cases, find true furry love.

If you’re looking to adopt, ask your local shelters if they use Meet Your Match. If not, you can suggest it to them or read up on the pet personalities online and consider them as you look for your soul mate.

Learn more about Meet Your Match on the ASPCA’s website.

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ASPCA Happenings

Pet Blog - Photo Friday

“Cheyenne is the love of my life, and I would do anything for her. She is now 9 and has needed numerous visits to the veterinarian. Without ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, it would be so much harder to provide the medical care she needs now and in the future. Her well-being is worth every penny it costs, but receiving reimbursements from ASPCA Pet Health Insurance means we can share the long, healthy life she deserves.”

—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

WELCOME,
PET PARENTS!

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, an 8-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.