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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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!

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pet parents


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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pet parents

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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pet parents

Vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables can be a healthy way to supplement your pet’s regular canned or dry food diet. Just make sure they’re pet-safe, and always consult your vet before introducing new foods.

 

The Go-To Guide for Vegging Out with Your Pet!

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kid holding a cat

Having a pet in the family is a personal choice, of course, but children can benefit from pets in many ways. In addition to being lots of fun, pets can also:

• Provide a source of emotional and physical comfort
• Help boost a child's confidence and self-esteem
• Support a connection to nature and a respect for living things
• Promote exercise with walks outside or interactive games
• Teach responsibility, especially to older kids who can help care for a pet

Browse the ASPCA® Kids and Pets Interaction Guide on the ASPCA's website for more information.

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pet parents

puppy giving kitten kisses

Are you adding a furry friend to the family? Maybe you've met your human love match and need to combine pet households. It can take time and patience, but even cats and dogs have been known to live happily ever after. Here a few tips to help:

Dog + Dog: Keep initial interactions short and supervised. Watch for signs of aggression and separate them if you sense trouble. Praise and reward them when they get along well.

Cat + Cat: Take a staged approach and keep them in separate rooms at first. Once they get used to hearing and smelling each other, let them spend time together under your supervision.

Cat + Dog: Make the introduction as stress-free as possible. For instance, consider keeping an energetic dog on a leash. Let the cat set the pace, and never force interaction.

Don't hesitate to ask your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist for advice on your specific situation. You can also find more suggestions from our friends at the ASPCA® on bringing together dogs and dogs, cats and cats or cats and dogs.


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pet parents

dog with blue graduation cap

If your canine hasn't earned a diploma from obedience school, you may be looking for some training help. In that case, there are a few options you can consider:

Group Sessions
Training in a small group can be great for teaching basic skills and socializing puppies.

Private Lessons
If your pet has a specific issue, one-on-one time with a pro may be the way to go.

Board-and-Train
Don't have time to devote to your dog's training? This may be a good choice for you.

Talk to your veterinarian about specific training recommendations for your dog. Our friends at the ASPCA® also have more advice at their website.

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pet parents

dog with re-fillable kong toy

Does your pup have a fillable KONG toy? If so, our friends at the ASPCA® have some great stuffing recipes you may want to try. 

If your dog doesn’t have a KONG, you can learn more about this non-toxic, dishwasher-safe rubber toy with a hollow center here. KONG toys make your dog work for their treat and, in turn, help ease boredom and reduce destructive behaviors.

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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, 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.