Screen Check
Before you open up your windows to let in that lovely spring breeze, make sure your screens are secure. Your pet could push them open and get hurt or lost.

Spring Cleaning
Be careful to keep potentially poisonous products out of your pet's reach as you do your spring cleaning chores and store them safely when you're done.

Garden Safety
If you're sprucing up your garden, remember that fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides can harm your pet. Read the directions and follow warnings closely.

If your pet ingests something poisonous, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center can help at 1-888-426-4435.

You can find more spring safety tips on our blog.

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines | pet parents

In Case of Emergency: Tips for National Poison Prevention Week

It’s National Poison Prevention Week, so it’s a great time to take steps to protect your pet in case of an emergency. 

In the event that your pet ingests a hazardous substance, you may notice symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, lethargy, trouble breathing, or seizures.

Here are some pointers to follow if your pet is ill:

•  Stay calm, and don’t try to induce vomiting on your own. It may not be necessary, and you could risk injuring yourself or your pet.

•  Get help by calling your veterinarian or the ASPCA®’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 1-888-426-4435. The APCC may charge a $65 consultation fee, 80% of which is covered by ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.

•  Have information ready, like your pet’s age, breed, what they were exposed to, when it happened, and any container or packaging information.

Also, a pet first-aid kit can come in handy for following treatment instructions from your veterinarian or the APCC.1

It should include hydrogen peroxide with 3% USP to induce vomiting, a large syringe to administer it, saline eye solution and artificial tear gel to lubricate eyes after flushing, and a mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid to wash contaminated fur.

But remember never to treat your pets without consulting a veterinarian first.

To get more tips and information on pet poison prevention, visit the APCC online. 

1 This blog entry is not intended to provide advice on individual pet health or behavioral matters or to substitute for consultation with a veterinary doctor.

Empty 2.5-pound Bag of Raisins Signals Start of Puppy’s Emergency

Sonya V., of Worchester, Mass.,* returned home one morning after an exercise class to find an empty 2.5-pound bag of raisins on the floor. Immediately, she knew her puppy was in trouble.

“My dog, Amigo, had a rough beginning, so he’s a little food-obsessed,” Sonya told us recently. “We’re careful, but sometimes he gets his paws on things he shouldn’t, like the bag of raisins.”

She immediately called the ASPCA®’s Animal Poison Control Center at her veterinarian’s recommendation. The APCC’s specialists had Sonya rush Amigo to her veterinarian with a protocol ready for his treatment.

“I understand now that it was a serious emergency and if I hadn't acted quickly, Amigo most likely would’ve died from kidney failure,” Sonya told us. “I’m glad I wasn't gone too long, so he didn't have time to digest most of the raisins.”

Luckily Amigo survived, although he was in the hospital for three days.

“I’m so thankful to have ASPCA Pet Health Insurance because this raisin ordeal was very expensive,” Sonya said. “Before Amigo, I never considered pet insurance and ended up spending thousands of dollars on my cat’s medical care. So when I got Amigo, I just knew that this little guy needed insurance.”

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Customer Stories

Pet Blog - Pet Safety Advice for National Poison Prevention Week

National Poison Prevention Week, which is March 20 to 26 this year, was established by Congress in 1961 to promote poison prevention in homes across America. This includes our pets as well.

In fact, the ASPCA®’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) fielded 167,000 phone calls about pets exposed to poisonous substances in 2010. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help keep your pets safe.

Common Poison Dangers
You may be aware of some poison dangers around your house, but some might come as a surprise. For instance, did you know that dryer sheets can harm your pets? They can contain detergents that cause gastrointestinal irritation, especially in cats.

Here are five other pet poison problems that could be lurking in your home. You should also ask your veterinarian for more advice about your particular pets.

1. People Pills
Prescription medications and over-the-counter painkillers, cold medications, and dietary supplements can be harmful to pets. Keep them out of paw’s reach in cabinets or high up on shelves. Pets can grab them off low nightstands or counters. Also, pick up dropped pills before your pets can gobble them up. And never give your pets any kind of medication without speaking to your veterinarian first.

2. Dangerous Dining
There are certain foods you should be wary of when it comes to your furry friends. Chocolate, grapes, raisins, avocado, and gum or candy containing xylitol can all be dangerous to pets. Why is chocolate so dangerous? It contains large amounts of methylxanthines, which can cause problems from vomiting to seizures. Other problematic foods include coffee, macadamia nuts, onions, salt, yeast dough, and garlic.

3. Perilous Plants
Plants that can harm your pets include lilies, azaleas, and rhododendrons. Lilies are very poisonous to cats, and can result in kidney failure even from a small nibble. Poinsettias can also be problematic, but they’re not as dangerous as you might think. They typically cause mild to severe tummy upset if eaten. Check the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants to see if your plants are safe, and find some good green choices for your home.

4. Cleaning Supplies
Household cleaners like bleach, detergents, and disinfectants can be irritating and even toxic to pets. They can cause tummy troubles, eye or skin irritation, or difficulty breathing if inhaled or ingested by your dogs or cats. Take precautions when using these products. For instance, put your pets in another room while you mop, dust, and scrub. And, of course, keep cleaning supplies in a safe place.

5. Bad Chemistry
Pet poisoning incidents involving chemicals, like those found in ethylene glycol antifreeze, paint thinners, drain cleaners, and pool or spa treatments are on the rise. These substances can cause stomach upset, depression, breathing problems, and chemical burns. Don’t let your pets near chemicals when you’re using them, and store them securely. Also, clean spills right away so your pets can’t lap them up.

Animal Poison Control Center
If you think one of your pets has been exposed to poison, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) can help. The APCC is staffed with specially trained veterinary toxicologists available around the clock. They have experience with more than 1 million cases and access to an extensive database to diagnose problems quickly and offer treatment advice.

Keep the APCC hotline—1-888-426-4435—in a prominent location. A $65 consulting fee may apply, but 80% of this charge 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 us at 1-866-204-6764.

Pet Insurance Blog - Holiday Cat Photo

‘Tis the season for holiday celebrations! But before you decorate the house or serve a feast, remember these safety tips from our friends at the ASPCA® to help keep pets protected while celebrating this time of year.

Do keep your pet on a regular diet, as well as a normal eating schedule, throughout the season’s hustle and bustle.

Don’t offer your pet raw or undercooked meat, which may contain salmonella bacteria. Also, keep animals away from raw bread dough, as their body heat can cause the dough to rise within their stomach. This could lead to vomiting or bloating and potentially a life-threatening emergency.

Do firmly anchor your decorations so they don’t fall and hurt your pet. For Christmas trees especially, a secured tree will help keep trunk water from spilling. Drinking the water could give your pet an upset stomach if he or she drinks it.  

Don’t decorate with tinsel as the shiny strips can be a choking hazard for your feline. In addition, avoid using holly and mistletoe as each can cause nausea if your dog or cat ingests it.

Do give your pet an interactive game that will keep him or her occupied while you’re busy entertaining guests! For kitties, fill a treat dispenser with dry food (try the Funkitty Egg-cercizer from the ASPCA online store) and for dogs, stuff kibble into a puzzle toy (try the Squirrel Dude from the ASPCA online store).

Most important, if your pet does ingest something hazardous, the ASPCA® Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) can help at 1-888-426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may apply, 80% of which is covered by ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

pet insurance pets

Keeping your pets safe on Halloween doesn’t have to be tricky.

Our friends at the ASPCA® offer these 5 tips to help pet parents keep their pets safe while celebrating this October. If your pet does ingest something poisonous, the ASPCA® Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) can help at 1-888-426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may apply, 80% of which is covered by ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.

Tip #1: No Sweets for Your Sweetie.
Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets, such as candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol and chocolate, especially baker’s and dark chocolate. Symptoms of chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination, heart rhythm abnormalities, and even seizures.

Tip #2: Watch out for those wrappers.
Cats love to play with candy wrappers, but ingesting aluminum foil or cellophane can cause intestinal blockage and vomiting.

Tip #3: Careful with costumes!
If you dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit your pet’s ability to move, hear, see, breathe or drink. A smart alternative is a simple, festive Halloween bandana.

Tip #4: Decorations can be dangerous.
Re-think putting candles in Jack-O-Lanterns. Pets can easily knock them over and start a fire. Also, prevent your pets from having access to wires and cords from holiday decorations. If chewed, a wire can damage your pet’s mouth or deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock.

Tip #5: Trick-or-treating is for kids, not pets.
During trick-or-treating hours, it is best to keep pets in a room away from your front door or else they may escape during the flurry of activity. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with tags and/or is microchipped.


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.