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.

Tags: , , , , ,

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.


Tags: , , , ,

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.

 

Tags: , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , ,

pet parents

While some cat and dog behaviors can be quite amusing, others can be cause for concern. Here are four you shouldn’t ignore:

1. Excessive belching– Your pet might suffer a burping spell after drinking too quickly, but a lot of belching can be a sign of acid reflux.

2. Obsessive licking– Constant licking may be due to a simple skin irritation, but left untreated it can lead to sores and infections.

3. Compulsive pacing– Pets sometimes pace or circle when getting ready to sleep, but done obsessively, it can indicate anxiety.

4. Litter box issues– Going outside the box could be your cat’s way of telling you it needs cleaning. However, it can also point to a bladder problem.

Behaviors like these can result in stress for the whole household. That’s why we include coverage for behavioral issues with plan Levels 3 and 4. Get a quote to see your plan options.

And, be sure to consult with your veterinarian if your pet has these or any other concerning behaviors.

Tags: , ,

pet parents

Orange cat playing with a toy

Has your cat put on a little extra weight during these cold winter months? We’ve found some tips to help you get your kitty back on track.

Your Cat is Not Alone
Nearly 58% of cats are obese, according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). When determining whether your pet is overweight, the best way to judge is on a scale at the veterinarian’s office, but you can use points 3 & 4 from our friends at the ASPCA® to assess your pet at home.

Visit Your Veterinarian
Any time your cat is dealing with obesity, consult with a veterinarian first to rule out any medical conditions such as hypothyroidism or other disorders. Your veterinarian can help you gauge your cat’s body condition and create an approved weight loss program for your cat.

Practice Patience 
A cat’s diet should not be changed drastically overnight, and you should be sure to follow your veterinarian’s nutrition recommendations. A staged food transition could take approximately two weeks. To help your furry family member adjust and accept his new meal plan, try to spice his chow up by adding ketchup or salmon juice.

Get Moving
Unlike our canine pals, cats aren’t the perfect companions to take along for a morning jog or swim. They’re more of the relaxing type. One great motivator to get your cat moving is to use their mealtime as exercise time. Try walking around the home with their bowl for a few minutes before giving them a portion of the meal. See if you can stretch mealtime out to 20 minutes with this tactic.

As with humans, cats also need some motivation to lose weight. These cat toy ideas from our friends at the ASPCA may be useful to help your cat get and stay active. 


Tags: , , ,

pet parents

A bite of chocolate may make our day, but it can mean trouble for our pets. Learn more about the danger chocolate poses to your pet in this handy, printable infographic.

Click here for a printable PDF!

What You Need to Know About Dogs & Chocolate

(click to enlarge)

 

Tags: , , , , ,

pet parents

close up of cat's eyes

There’s nothing like the bright eyes of a cat to catch your attention. But what if your cat’s eyes become crusty or cloudy? Our friends at the ASPCA® have some great tips to keep your cat’s eyes healthy.

These symptoms may indicate something is amiss:

• Discharge
• Watering
• Red or white eyelid linings
• Crusty gunk in the corners of the eye
• Tear-stained fur
• Closed eye(s)
• Cloudiness or change in eye color
• Visible third eyelid

As always, check in with your veterinarian for any questions about your feline’s eye health.


Tags: , , ,

pet parents

Dog tangled in ribbon

The holidays bring family, friends and full bellies all around! As you’re celebrating this wonderful time of year, don’t forget to take some extra safety measures to make sure your pet has a healthy and happy holiday, too. 

• No Bones About It
The aftermath of a delicious holiday meal leaves many bones. Don’t give in to your dog’s begging or let your cat’s curiosity cause trouble. A ham or turkey bone can splinter and damage your pet’s mouth or get stuck in the throat or stomach. If you want to include your pet in the feast, offer safe foods like bits of cooked turkey or plain mashed potato. Learn more

• Our Door Is Always Open
With holiday guests coming and going, your door may be open more often and longer than usual. For an adventurous dog or speedy cat, this can be the perfect opportunity to flee. You may not even notice your fur ball sneak by. To prevent an unwanted escape, put your pet in a quiet room while family and friends flood the foyer. Learn more

• Keep Your Paws Off The Decor
Decorations are a great way to get into the holiday spirit. But keep on eye on your pet around those lights and baubles, particularly breakable ornaments, exposed electrical cords and lit candles. You should also be aware of holiday plants (like holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and pine needles) that can make your pet sick, if nibbled on. Learn more

Remember, if your pet has a poison emergency, the ASPCA® Animal Poison Control Center can help at 1-888-426-4435. They’re available 24/7, including holidays! For more safety tips, check out our website.


Tags: , , , ,

pet parents

If you are planning a trip with your pet north across the border, AAA has some tips to help make your crossing a bit smoother.  

Also, don’t forget you can visit any licensed veterinarian in Canada as well as in the US with your ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan!

Tags: , , , ,

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.