How’s your dog’s hearing?

With Dog Deaf Awareness Week this month (9/21-27) , it’s a great time to check on your dog’s hearing. Signs of hearing loss can include:

1. Turning the wrong way when called
2. Not responding to commands
3. Excessive barking or head shaking
4. Discharge from the ears
5. Pawing at the ears

If you suspect your dog is having problems hearing, contact your veterinarian. And don’t miss these tips to prevent and treat dog deafness.

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pet parents

How to Prevent and Treat Dog Deafness

We previously covered 5 signs your dog might have a hearing issue, and here’s more on the causes, treatments and prevention of dog deafness. 

What causes dog deafness?
Hearing issues can be caused temporarily by wax buildup or other obstructions in the ear canal. Injuries, ear infections and other illnesses can result in permanent deafness. 

Which dogs are more prone to deafness?
Some breeds, like Poodles, have narrow ear canals that make them more susceptible to wax buildup. Breeds with furry ears, such as Cocker Spaniels, can be more likely suffer from hair and wax blockages. Deafness can also be an inherited problem, which is common in Dalmatians.

How can it be treated?
If your dog’s deafness is caused by wax or hair buildup, your veterinarian should be able to clean the ears and restore hearing. Ear infections can be treated with medication. Permanent hearing loss can’t be reversed, but deaf dogs can learn to respond to hand signals and have good quality of life.

How can I prevent it?
You can help avoid hair and wax blockages by keeping the fur around your dog’s ears trimmed and clean. Be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect an ear infection. You should also take your dog to the veterinarian annually for a full wellness exam, including an ear check-up. 

Yearly exams are covered by our wellness options. Get a free quote or view your plan details.

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pet parents

Frozen Treats for Furry Friends

These cold treats are the perfect way to cool off and entertain your pet on a hot day. Not to mention they are easy to make!

For dogs: Pour low-sodium chicken broth into a plastic bowl and add a small cube of cheese. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and freeze it.

For cats: Put a scoop of your feline’s favorite we food (the wetter the better!) into a plastic bowl. Mix in a few soft cat treats, cover and freeze.

After the treat is frozen, run a little hot water over the bottom of the bowl to slide the treat out. Then offer it to your pet to enjoy!

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Taco and Rosie cuddling in the office

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

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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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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

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.