fluffy black cat using a closed litter box

Are you a new cat parent? Do you have questions about giving your furry friend the best care possible? Check out Pets Adviser’s 20 Common Mistakes List for some common mistakes new cat parents may make.

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Dog sleeping on law textbook

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Pet Blog Olympic Pet Parent Interview

We continue our conversation with Tony Azevedo, four-time Olympian and ASPCA Pet Health Insurance pet parent to Apollo. The first half of our conversation can be seen here.

1. We’re sure your Olympic medals hold a place in your heart, but what makes having a dog special?

Having a dog is the greatest joy. For me, the companionship and friendship we form with animals is an invaluable part of life. Seeing the love that my pets have for me makes me a more humble and an all-around better person. 

2. You’ve had Apollo for a number of years, what has he done that has made you laugh the hardest?

Sometimes when we are sitting out on our back porch, Apollo will come over and try to sit in my lap. Watching him try to maneuver his giant body into a tiny chair with me is absolutely hilarious. I think he’s a lap dog at heart. 

3. You’re entering your fourth Olympic Games. What are you looking forward to the most in London?

We are a really strong team this year and I look forward for the chance to compete at the highest level and hopefully bring back the gold. 

4. What attracted you to the sport of water polo?

I love the action and the physicality—it’s an exciting game. But it’s also a game of smarts, and I have always been attracted to the tactics and the technique that the best players develop and showcase. 

5. And, finally, if Apollo were an Olympian, what would his event be?

Maybe sailing because since we are such a water-oriented family he loves being near the water, but not necessarily in it. 


Are you on Twitter? Join us in cheering on Mr. Azevedo and the rest of the U.S. men's water polo team by  tweeting your support to @WaterPoloTony!

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Tony Azevedo with his American Mastiff Apollo

Tony Azevedo, four-time Olympian and ASPCA Pet Health Insurance pet parent to Apollo, spoke to us about his furry companion and his life as an Olympian.

Mr. Azevedo is a member of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Water Polo Team and the team’s current captain. Born in Brazil and raised in Long Beach, Calif., he will be competing in this summer’s Olympic Games in London.  

1. Please tell us about Apollo. What kind of dog is he?

He’s an American Mastiff.

2. How did you and your family come to adopt Apollo?

My mom found him at the local animal shelter when he was a puppy. He had been thrown out of a car window into a park.  The people who had abandoned him tried to come back to the shelter to reclaim him because they realized they could have sold him.  But my mom was already interested in adopting him and the shelter helped her win custody.

3. How did you decide on Apollo’s name?

Our other dog (who recently passed away) was named Olympia because we got her the year that I participated in my first Olympic Games (Sydney, 2000).  When we got Apollo four years later, we decided to continue with the Olympic theme and named him after the Greek god.

4. Does Apollo ever get in the pool with you?

Not the pool, but he has played with me the in ocean.  Olympia used to be obsessed with the water and swimming so we would take both of them to the beach to play.  Apollo would get in and enjoy the water but only where his feet touched the bottom.  If he got pushed out farther, he would panic.

5. The Mastiff is sometimes considered a layabout breed, how does that mesh with the active life of an Olympian?

Apollo is actually a very active dog.  He loves going for walks and runs or playing ball out in our front yard.  He is always ready for any activity that we have planned.

6. Does he help you train for the Olympics?    
When I’m at home I love to take him for runs, which serve as good cross-training since I’m always in the water.


Be sure to keep an eye on the U.S. Men's Water Polo Team as they go for the gold and visit us next week to learn more about Mr. Azevedo, Apollo, and more! To see part two of the interview, click here!

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Dog enjoying summer sunshine on a boat.

Don’t let the dog days of summer get you down! We’ve created a Facebook album of some of our favorite photos of summer-loving pets, sent to us by ASPCA Pet Health Insurance pet parents. Take a look on our Facebook page, and like us if you haven’t already!

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Customer Stories

Pet Photo Friday: Playful Pup

Photo Friday is a weekly column that showcases photos we receive from loving ASPCA Pet Health Insurance customers of their pets. If you want to see your pet featured, please email me!

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Customer Stories

Cat with toys

The snow and cold have arrived. If you are looking for fun winter activities for you and your pet, these ideas will chase Old Man Winter away:

• Create a pet playground with discarded gift boxes and wrapping paper.
• Play hide and seek with your pet by hiding treats around the house.
• Practice a new trick, like speaking, shaking hands, or rolling over.
• Give your pet a treat dispensing toy to knock around the house.
• Throw a small ball across the room for a good old fashioned game of fetch.

And don’t forget one of the best ways to warm up on a cold day – a good, long cuddle with your furry friend.

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines | pet parents

Haven't finished holiday shopping for your pet?  This list can help!  Below are some pet gifts that can be found at the ASPCA Online Store Keep in mind that 40% of the purchase price goes to support the ASPCA’s lifesaving work.  Happy shopping!

Holiday Squeaker Mat
Entertain your pup with a plush and squeaky holiday mat.

Exercise your kitty with a crazy string-flinging machine.

Royal Treatment Italian Pet Spa
Give your pet the royal treatment with organic bath products.

But remember, the best gift you can give your pet, and yourself, is the gift of protection! Our pet insurance can help you prepare financially for your pet’s health care costs in 2012 and beyond. Start now with a free quote.

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

Photo Friday - Cooling Off in the Pool

Photo Friday is a weekly column that showcases photos we receive from loving ASPCA Pet Health Insurance customers of their pets. If you want to see your pet featured, please email me!


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Customer Stories

Over the past few years, pet food manufacturers have been increasing the amount of sugar they add to pet treats to make them more appetizing, according to Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. According to this recent article from Businessweek, veterinary experts believe these sugary treats are one of the main causes for today’s pet obesity epidemic. 

As with human desserts, sugar improves the look and taste of pet treats. However, pet food companies generally do not have to list the amount of sugar they use in treats.

Del Monte Foods, one of the major pet food manufacturers, told Businessweek that when pet parents give their dogs and cats treats in moderation, treats simply enhance the bond between pet and pet parent, and do not contribute to weight gain.

Veterinarians encourage pet parents to avoid buying pet treats that list sugar as one of the first three ingredients on the packaging, and to remember that treats should only make up 10 percent of a pet’s daily calorie intake.

Probably like many pet parents, I give my cat Millie a few too many salmon-flavored treats when she does something cute. Instead, I’m going to reward her with a fresh catnip toy or a long play session with the laser pointer—both of which are calorie-burning activities!

Aside from treats, how do you reward your pet?

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines


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.