dog breath

Our dogs have some of the biggest, happiest grins we’ve ever seen, but sometimes their breath just about knocks us off our feet! Dental care may help prevent “doggy breath” and this article in DogTime features advice from the American Animal Hospital Association on how to care for your dog’s teeth.

Also, did you know that annual dental cleanings are covered by the Advanced Wellness option available with select ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plans? Learn more.

dog with stethoscope

It can be a challenge to tell if your furry friend requires an unplanned visit to the vet since cats and dogs can often hide their pain and discomfort.

Here’s a handy list from Vet Depot of five common, subtle symptoms of illness in pets. As always, check with your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet.

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pet parents

Black and white Border Collie-Retriever mix puppy

“My Border Collie-Retriever mix is young and healthy, but she sometimes gets cuts on her paw pads from our active lifestyle. I got ASPCA Pet Health Insurance after spending several hundred dollars on vet visits to check out her injured paws. I later found a lump on her tongue. It was benign, but I was glad not to worry about how I would pay for treatment. I could focus on making the best medical decision for her, rather than the cost.”

— Veronica K., St. Paul, MO

Share your story!

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Customer Stories

Cat at the veterinarian

Are you looking for a veterinarian for your feline friend? The article, “6 Tips for Choosing the Right Veterinarian for Your Cat,” from Catster offers some good advice about what to look for in a veterinarian for your cat.

You can also check out our Veterinary Locator to find some veterinary practices in your area.

Remember, with ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, you’re free to visit any licensed veterinarian in the US or Canada—even emergency clinics and specialists.

Pet Speak: Thank You for Protecting My Girl

“My dog Miley is 6 and would love to be a star someday! She's been covered by ASPCA Pet Health Insurance for about 3 years, and for what I pay a month, it has more than paid for itself. Everyone is always nice and helpful. I tell everyone about it. Thank you for protecting my beautiful girl!”

— Lydia K., Nyack, N.Y.

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

Sneezing Basset Hound

One of the best ways to help an allergy-prone pet is to try to prevent exposure to allergens. Here are some pointers to make your pet’s environment a little healthier:

• If the pollen count is high, keep your pet inside or limit time outside.
• Wipe off your pet’s paws after going outdoors to remove pollen.
• Put plush toys in the freezer occasionally to help kill off dust mites.
• Wash your pet’s bedding regularly with a gentle fragrance-free detergent.
• Dust and vacuum frequently, especially in your pet’s favorite spots.

Be sure to visit your veterinarian to identify the source of your pet’s allergies and get specific treatment advice. Visit our blog for more tips on what to do if your pet has allergies.

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

Prevent Pet Disease by Vaccinating

Vaccines are recommended to help dogs and cats stay healthy.

In a previous blog post and our June Pet Health Matters newsletter, we discussed the benefits of vaccinating your pet. Here are a few more key points you should know about vaccinations:

When should pets be vaccinated?

Puppies and kittens are often vaccinated starting at 6 to 8 weeks of age and given a series of vaccines in 3-  to 4-week intervals until they’re 16 weeks old. Adult dogs and cats might need to be revaccinated annually or every 3 years. Talk to your veterinarian about when and how often your pet should be vaccinated.

Which vaccines are necessary?

Pet health specialists recommend that all pets receive the core vaccines that protect against easily transmittable diseases found across North America. For dogs, these are distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, and rabies. For cats, they are distemper (panleukopenia), feline calicivirus, feline herpes virus type 1 (rhinotracheitis), and rabies. You should also know that the rabies vaccine is required by law in most states.

Are any vaccines are optional?

Depending on factors like age, breed environment and lifestyle, your pet may not need some of the non-core vaccines. You should ask your veterinarian which non-core vaccines are right for your pet. For dogs, there are non-core vaccines for kennel cough, Lyme disease, and leptospirosis. For cats, they can include vaccines for feline leukemia virus, Bordatella, Chlamydophila felis, and feline immunodeficiency virus.

Levels 3 and 4 of our pet insurance plans offer coverage for a range of standard and advanced vaccines. To learn more, explore our plans or see the options available for your pet now.

If you’re a customer and have questions, you can view your plan at the Member Center or contact our Customer Satisfaction team at 1-866-204-6764.


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Hartville Group News & Info

Pet parents can help their dogs and cats stay healthy by vaccinating them against illness.

Vaccinations are an important part of keeping your pet healthy and safe from various diseases. You should consult with your veterinarian about vaccinating your particular pet, but here are some important points to keep in mind.

Why should you vaccinate your pet?

Vaccinations contain agents that resemble disease-causing microorganisms. They mildly stimulate your pet’s immunity system, so it can more easily recognize and fight off diseases in the future. In addition to providing valuable protection for your pet, vaccines help humans by controlling the spread of dangerous diseases, like rabies, that can be transmitted to people.

Do vaccines have side effects?

It’s important to remember that vaccines don’t cause the diseases they’re designed to prevent. However, they can cause minor reactions such as fever, lethargy or soreness at the injection site. In less common cases, pets may experience more serious problems like immune response disorders. Ask your veterinarian about potential issues when you vaccinate your pet.

Does our pet insurance cover vaccines?

Yes! Vaccines are included under our wellness care coverage offered with Levels 3 and 4 of our pet insurance. Our routine wellness care option covers vaccines for coronavirus, canine or feline distemper, and rabies. Our more advanced option covers these vaccines as well as those for Lyme disease, Bordatella, feline leukemia, and feline infectious peritonitis.

Be sure to check back later in the week as we continue our discussion on vaccinations.

In the meantime, you can also find more information about vaccinations for dogs or for cats in the Pet Care section of the ASPCA’s website.

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Hartville Group News & Info

Arkansas Pet Hospital Looks to Help Pet Parents

Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital in Arkansas believes in the importance of maintaining its connection with pet parents both in person and online.

For an Arkansas veterinary practice, caring for patients doesn’t end when a pet sadly passes away.

One family wrote on Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital’s website, “I just wanted to thank you for everything you did for us when we lost Harley. The flowers you sent and the memorial you made in his memory was very nice and more than I ever expected.”

Like many clinics Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital has found that sympathetic gestures, as well as regular information about pet care, are an important part of building relationships with pet parents.

“It’s important that pet parents are updated on diseases, protocol, prevention, and end of life decisions,” said Toufic Diab, Hospital Administrator at the practice in Jonesboro, Ark. “For our clients, knowledge is power in order for them to make the best choices for their beloved pets.”

The staff hosts bi-monthly meetings with their five veterinarians to brainstorm ways to convey information to their clients. They email monthly newsletters to clients, featuring topics such as camping with your pets, five ways to protect your dog’s hearing, making the decision to say goodbye, and questions to ask when considering which pet health insurance to buy. The hospital also uses its Facebook page to share helpful pet information and tips.

Most recently, the pet hospital partnered with the local newspaper, Jonesboro Sun, to feature a Jonesboro veterinarian’s pet health column each week.

The efforts are all part of a campaign to give pet parents accurate information they can use.

“Our clients can find such a mix of misleading content online these days,” Mr. Diab said. “That is why we’re so dedicated to conveying the correct information to them and helping them during difficult times through a variety of touch points.”

In the next few months, the staff will begin a monthly education series, led by one of the hospital’s veterinarians. They’re also hosting a bereavement class every quarter to provide support and coping techniques to pet parents. 

Learn more about Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital.

Do you love your veterinarian? Tell us why!

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Veterinary Clinic Spotlight


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.