Taco and Rosie cuddling in the office

A picture is worth a thousand words already, so why add more?

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pet parents

How to Give Your Pet a Pill

Many pets will eat anything—except their medications. Our friends at the ASPCA® have some tips for what to try if all else fails. Here are some tricks to try first.

How to give your pet a pill:

Get Chewable- If possible, get your pet’s medications in flavored, chewable form.
Mix It Up- If your pet is an energetic eater, try mixing the meds in with his or her kibble.
Try a Disguise- Hide the pill in a soft treat, chunk of hot dog or cheese cube and offer it to your pet.
Use Bait-and-Switch- If your pet chews her treats instead of swallowing them whole, give her a few non-medicated treats first, then give one with a pill followed by one last pill-free snack.

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pet parents

3 Easy Tricks for Good Dog Behavior

As kids start heading back to school, what better time to teach your pooch a new trick? Here are 3 fun tricks you can teach your dog that also reinforce good behaviors.

Trick #1: Hand Targeting
Training your dog to touch his or her nose to your hand is a neat trick and very handy when you need to lead your pup somewhere.

1. Hold an open hand near your dog’s nose
2. As soon as nose touches palm, say, “Yes!”
3. Offer a treat with your other hand
Tip: Keep practicing until you have a dog magnet on your hand.

Trick #2: Ready-Set-Down!
Work on your dog’s ability to obey even when excited with this trick. It’s also a great way for both of you to get some exercise.

1. Have your dog sit, then say, “Ready, set, go!”
2. Run together, then yell, “Ready, set, down!” and stop
3. If your dog lies down, offer a treat. If not, lure your dog down with a treat
Tip: Take a brief rest and do it again until your pet gets the hang of it. 

Trick #3: Hide and Seek
Remember playing hide and seek as a kid? Now you can play it with your dog! It’s a fun interactive game that gets your dog thinking and moving.

1. Start by having your pooch sit or stay
2. Then hide and say your dog’s name once
3. When your pup finds you, celebrate!
Tip: Keep your hiding places easy at first, so your pet won’t get distracted and stop playing. Then increase the difficulty as your dog gets the hang of it. If you have children, get them involved too!

What kind of tricks have you taught your pet? Tell us in the comments below or share them on Facebook

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pet parents

How to Tell Your Pet’s in Pain

It’s often hard to tell pets may be in pain since they can’t tell us. For many pet parents, a cat or dog’s discomfort can be hard to spot—unless there are visible indicators like limping or bleeding.

Our friends at the ASPCA® have some examples of common pain indicators:

• Lack of normal behaviors, like grooming or eating
• Loud vocalizations, hiding or abnormal posturing
• Change in reaction to touch
• High heart rate or temperature change

If your pet is in pain or if you are unsure about a behavior change, contact your veterinarian. You can learn more about recognizing an animal’s pain here.

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pet parents

Do you like to spend your summer days with your pet at the shore? Here are some tips to help your four-legged friend stay safe and make the most of a day at the beach: 

Click here for a printable PDF!

Dog Days of Summer: 4 Tips to Make a Day at the Beach a Breeze

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pet parents

Do you plan to celebrate Take Your Dog to Work Day (June 20)? We bring our pups to the office every day, and it’s definitely a joy! Here are some tips to help make the office an enjoyable place for your four-legged friend as well as your two-legged co-workers.

What to Ask Before Taking Your Dog to Work

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pet parents

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Motherly Love Sweepstakes

We’re celebrating all moms with our Motherly Love Sweepstakes! Enter on our Facebook page for your chance to win a heart-shaped pendant necklace.

Prize ($34.99 value) courtesy of the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance program. Sweepstakes ends May 29, 2014. No purchase necessary. See official rules. Void where prohibited.

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pet parents

Disaster Planning with Your Pet in Mind

Calamity can strike at any time. Whether it is a flood, tornado, blizzard or heat wave, it is important to keep our pets in mind when making disaster preparedness plans. Our friends at the ASPCA® offer some great advice on how to prepare for a disaster.

It is especially important to keep in mind these top tips:

•   Plan Ahead for Evacuation - Know your exits and keep emergency kits and leashes handy.
•   Find a Safe Haven- Research pet-friendly shelters or emergency animal shelters in your area ahead of time.
•   Update Identification- Be sure to include your telephone number and any urgent medical needs on your pet’s ID tag.


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pet parents

happy dog with tongue out

Dogs and cats rely heavily on nonverbal signals to communicate their moods and needs. Their facial expressions, ear position, tail position and movement, as well as their overall body stance convey their feelings. It’s important to understand what a dog or cat is trying to tell you so you can best respect their needs. 

To understand your pet’s nonverbal cues, it’s important to take all of these components into consideration together. After all, one cue can convey different meanings when it’s paired with different nonverbal expressions. For example, dogs wag their tails when they’re feeling aggressive and also when they’re feeling friendly. Cats purr to indicate that they’re nervous and also to tell us that they’re content.

What are some easy ways to read a pet’s mood?

Generally speaking, the position and movement of a pet’s ears and tail are the easiest details to observe from a safe distance. These clues, along with body stance, provide the most information about the pet’s mood. Of course, some types of tails are more expressive than others! For instance, a Black Lab’s long, straight tail moves differently than a Pug’s shorter, curly tail.

Here are some common signs of a friendly, approachable dog:

   • Relaxed face, possibly slow panting
   • Corners of the mouth slightly turned up (smiling)
   • Relaxed body position
   • Tail wagging from side-to-side or in a circular motion
   • Standing: a neutral, happy stance (relaxed with weight evenly balanced) or a play bow stance (front end down, rear end up)
   • Sitting or lying down: one paw folded and tucked under

Here are some common signs of a friendly cat:

   • Eyes half-closed, blinking leisurely with narrowed pupils
   • Ears positioned slightly to a side and forward
   • Tail mostly still    
   • Paws kneading
   • Purring
   • Standing: tail straight up or curled forward at tip, possibly twitching side-to-side

Learn more about dog and cat body language here.

This blog post was written by guest blogger Kari Kells, a professional pet sitter and pet parent to Raggedy Andy, Emma and Rumi. Read more tips and advice from Kari on her blog.

 

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pet parents

Pet Poison Safety Twitter Party

Learn important poison safety tips for your pet and get 3 chances to win at our Pet Poison Safety Twitter Party. The party will be held on Wednesday, March 26 from 7-8 pm EST. Use the hashtag #PetSafety to join the conversation and play our trivia contest.

Tips for joining a Twitter party:

   • Sign up for a Twitter account 

   • Follow the party hosts. For the Pet Poison Safety party, make sure you’re following ASPCA Pet Health Insurance and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

   • Twitter parties are easiest to follow if you’re using a dashboard like TweetChat, TweetDeck, or TweetGrid

   • Use the party hashtag (#PetSafety) in every tweet to be a part of the conversation.

No purchase necessary. See official rules.

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pet parents

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, 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.