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

dog with stuffed turkey toy

Thanksgiving isn't just about giving thanks — it's also about eating! But be careful your pet doesn't eat something harmful.

For instance, avoid giving your cat or dog raw or undercooked turkey, fatty foods, or real bones that can splinter. And, of course, desserts like chocolate are off limits. But that doesn't mean your pet has to be left out of the feast! It's safe to offer your pet a bit of white turkey meat without skin or small pieces of raw carrots or green beans.

Learn more about keeping your pet safe during the holidays. And remember, if your pet does get into a jam over Thanksgiving, your plan can help you afford needed veterinary care.

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pet parents

dachsund puppy dressed as a bumble bee for Halloween plays with a toy flower pot

Halloween is right around the corner and do we have some scary claims to share with you! Before you start shaking in your boots, we want to let you know that all these stories have happy endings. But, it is still best to beware this All Hallows Eve so that your pet doesn’t end up in a similar sticky situation!

1. One Halloween night, a 4-year-old Labradoodle ate 20 small bags of M&Ms—wrappers and all! His pet parents rushed him to the veterinarian, where he luckily vomited the chocolate and wrapper remnants later that night without adverse effects.
2. Just last October we received a claim for a dog who ingested a clump of fall leaves. The leaves created a blockage, and the dog needed surgery to remove them. The total veterinary bill for this incident was nearly $2,800. That’s a lot of bones!

3. Last year, we received claims for pets who swallowed items like tennis balls, socks, bones, string, corn cobs, pacifiers, pillows, pieces of plastic, rocks, coins, a welcome mat, dog toys, gardening gloves and a hairbrush! We wonder if they are dressing as the Hungry Hungry Hippos this Oct. 31.
This Halloween, or any time of year, it’s good to be prepared for the unexpected with pet insurance. ASPCA Pet Health Insurance can help you afford the quality veterinary care your pet needs. After all, you have enough to worry about when your pet is hurt or sick than how you're going to pay the bills.

If your pet ingests a harmful substance, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 1-888-426-4435. Calls can include a $65 consultation fee, 90% of which is covered by ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plans.
The APCC reported that they see a 39% increase in calls involving chocolate exposures in the week surrounding Halloween, compared to the rest of the year.

They also typically see a threefold increase in calls about glow sticks and glow jewelry in the week surrounding Halloween. Luckily, these items are considered to be a low risk for toxicity!

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Hartville Group News & Info

dog in fall leaves

The arrival of fall brings cooler weather and changing foliage, along with its own set of potential pet dangers. From rodent poisons to toxic mushrooms, we have some great tips to keep your furry pal safe this season.

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pet parents

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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pet parents

Dog Paws Nail Care Tips

Is your pet ready for a manicure?

The ASPCA® recommends that dogs have their nails trimmed when their nails are long enough to touch the ground, and cats should get a clipping every couple of weeks.

If you cut your pet’s nails at home, go slow and be careful not to cut the quick, which is the pink area that contains blood vessels and nerves.

For dogs, the best time for their nail-trimming session is when they’re tired from vigorous exercise. For cats, try it when they’re relaxed and sleepy.

If you’re shy about clipping, visit your veterinarian or a professional groomer.

Read more nail tips for cats and advice for dogs from our friends at the ASPCA.

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pet parents

Screen Check
Before you open up your windows to let in that lovely spring breeze, make sure your screens are secure. Your pet could push them open and get hurt or lost.

Spring Cleaning
Be careful to keep potentially poisonous products out of your pet's reach as you do your spring cleaning chores and store them safely when you're done.

Garden Safety
If you're sprucing up your garden, remember that fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides can harm your pet. Read the directions and follow warnings closely.

If your pet ingests something poisonous, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center can help at 1-888-426-4435.

You can find more spring safety tips on our blog.

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines | pet parents

In our April newsletter, we offered some spring pet safety tips, including securing window screens and storing gardening products safely. Here are a few more to help keep your pet from harm this season.
Home Improvements
Doing some spring updates to your house? Be sure to keep potentially harmful paints and chemicals out of reach of your pet. Also, don’t leave tools where your pet could step on them, and clean up small objects, like nails or screws, which could be swallowed.
Little Critters
It’s the time of year when fleas and ticks can become more problematic. Talk to your veterinarian about a safe preventive program to keep those pesky bugs from bothering your pet. If you’ve been outside, check your pet for ticks before you come back in the house.
Allergy Alert
Pets can have spring allergies too! If you notice your pet sniffling and sneezing or breaking out in any kind of rash, contact your veterinarian. And remember never to give your pet any allergy medications without consulting your veterinarian first.
If your pet does get hurt or sick this spring, our plans can help cover the costs of treatment. Get a free quote to learn more. If you’re already a customer, you can see what’s covered by your plan online at the Member Center.

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

Pet Blog - Pet Safety Advice for National Poison Prevention Week

National Poison Prevention Week, which is March 20 to 26 this year, was established by Congress in 1961 to promote poison prevention in homes across America. This includes our pets as well.

In fact, the ASPCA®’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) fielded 167,000 phone calls about pets exposed to poisonous substances in 2010. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help keep your pets safe.

Common Poison Dangers
You may be aware of some poison dangers around your house, but some might come as a surprise. For instance, did you know that dryer sheets can harm your pets? They can contain detergents that cause gastrointestinal irritation, especially in cats.

Here are five other pet poison problems that could be lurking in your home. You should also ask your veterinarian for more advice about your particular pets.

1. People Pills
Prescription medications and over-the-counter painkillers, cold medications, and dietary supplements can be harmful to pets. Keep them out of paw’s reach in cabinets or high up on shelves. Pets can grab them off low nightstands or counters. Also, pick up dropped pills before your pets can gobble them up. And never give your pets any kind of medication without speaking to your veterinarian first.

2. Dangerous Dining
There are certain foods you should be wary of when it comes to your furry friends. Chocolate, grapes, raisins, avocado, and gum or candy containing xylitol can all be dangerous to pets. Why is chocolate so dangerous? It contains large amounts of methylxanthines, which can cause problems from vomiting to seizures. Other problematic foods include coffee, macadamia nuts, onions, salt, yeast dough, and garlic.

3. Perilous Plants
Plants that can harm your pets include lilies, azaleas, and rhododendrons. Lilies are very poisonous to cats, and can result in kidney failure even from a small nibble. Poinsettias can also be problematic, but they’re not as dangerous as you might think. They typically cause mild to severe tummy upset if eaten. Check the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants to see if your plants are safe, and find some good green choices for your home.

4. Cleaning Supplies
Household cleaners like bleach, detergents, and disinfectants can be irritating and even toxic to pets. They can cause tummy troubles, eye or skin irritation, or difficulty breathing if inhaled or ingested by your dogs or cats. Take precautions when using these products. For instance, put your pets in another room while you mop, dust, and scrub. And, of course, keep cleaning supplies in a safe place.

5. Bad Chemistry
Pet poisoning incidents involving chemicals, like those found in ethylene glycol antifreeze, paint thinners, drain cleaners, and pool or spa treatments are on the rise. These substances can cause stomach upset, depression, breathing problems, and chemical burns. Don’t let your pets near chemicals when you’re using them, and store them securely. Also, clean spills right away so your pets can’t lap them up.

Animal Poison Control Center
If you think one of your pets has been exposed to poison, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) can help. The APCC is staffed with specially trained veterinary toxicologists available around the clock. They have experience with more than 1 million cases and access to an extensive database to diagnose problems quickly and offer treatment advice.

Keep the APCC hotline—1-888-426-4435—in a prominent location. A $65 consulting fee may apply, but 80% of this charge is covered by ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. If you have any questions about your coverage, you can view your plan at the Member Center or call us at 1-866-204-6764.

Pet Insurance Blog - Holiday Cat Photo

‘Tis the season for holiday celebrations! But before you decorate the house or serve a feast, remember these safety tips from our friends at the ASPCA® to help keep pets protected while celebrating this time of year.

Do keep your pet on a regular diet, as well as a normal eating schedule, throughout the season’s hustle and bustle.

Don’t offer your pet raw or undercooked meat, which may contain salmonella bacteria. Also, keep animals away from raw bread dough, as their body heat can cause the dough to rise within their stomach. This could lead to vomiting or bloating and potentially a life-threatening emergency.

Do firmly anchor your decorations so they don’t fall and hurt your pet. For Christmas trees especially, a secured tree will help keep trunk water from spilling. Drinking the water could give your pet an upset stomach if he or she drinks it.  

Don’t decorate with tinsel as the shiny strips can be a choking hazard for your feline. In addition, avoid using holly and mistletoe as each can cause nausea if your dog or cat ingests it.

Do give your pet an interactive game that will keep him or her occupied while you’re busy entertaining guests! For kitties, fill a treat dispenser with dry food (try the Funkitty Egg-cercizer from the ASPCA online store) and for dogs, stuff kibble into a puzzle toy (try the Squirrel Dude from the ASPCA online store).

Most important, if your pet does ingest something hazardous, the ASPCA® Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) can help at 1-888-426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may apply, 80% of which is covered by ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!


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.