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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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 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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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.

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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)

 

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two dogs playing with a soccer ball

Enrolling your dog in daycare is a fantastic way to keep him from getting lonely or bored when you’re away from home. For large dogs living in small homes, daycare facilities are often a great way to ensure that dogs release their energy in healthy, non-destructive ways.

That said, not every dog is a good fit for daycare situations and every daycare facility is unique., It's worth looking at daycare facilities, if you have a playful, well-behaved dog who enjoys socializing at dog parks. Since there is no one-size-fits-all answer, be patient as you evaluate the options for your individual dog.

Finding the Right Fit

How do you know if your dog would do well in doggie daycare? Generally speaking, a daycare situation might be a good fit if your dog behaves well at dog parks and enjoys playing with other dogs. Of course, not all dogs are social, and not all social dogs are comfortable in every social situation. Personality plays a big part.

Ideal candidates for doggie daycare are:
   • Healthy
   • Spayed or neutered
   • Vaccinated
   • Well-socialized
   • Energetic

Dogs who are not usually well suited for daycare situations are:
   • Possessive about toys or food
   • Panicky
   • Shy
   • Constant barkers
   • Aggressive
   • Herders who are too pushy
   • Anxious when separated from owner
   • Fearful, tense or anxious around other dogs
   • Under-socialized

Learn more about doggie daycare and alternatives 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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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.


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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!

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Learn important holiday safety tips for your pet and get 3 chances to win at our Howliday Safety Twitter Party. The party will be held on Thursday, Dec. 12 from 8-9 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 Howliday Safety party, make sure you’re following ASPCA Pet Health Insurance and our co-host, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
• Twitter parties are easiest to follow if you’re using a dashboard like TweetChatTweetdeck, or Tweetgrid.
• Use the party hashtag (#PetSafety) in every tweet to be a part of the conversation.

No purchase necessary. See official rules here.

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cat playing with computer mouse

Technology can make our lives easier, but electrical cords can be a hazard to our pets. Check out these tips to keep your pets from chewing something they shouldn’t.

Here are some more safety tips from the folks at Dogtime:

• Protect wiring with tough plastic cable covers, aluminum foil tape or double-sided tape.
• When not using them, place electronics well out of a pet’s reach.
• Use a tough protective cover on outlets.
• Never place gadgets near your coffee cup or other liquids.


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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.