Orange cat playing with a toy

Has your cat put on a little extra weight during these cold winter months? We’ve found some tips to help you get your kitty back on track.

Your Cat is Not Alone
Nearly 58% of cats are obese, according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). When determining whether your pet is overweight, the best way to judge is on a scale at the veterinarian’s office, but you can use points 3 & 4 from our friends at the ASPCA® to assess your pet at home.

Visit Your Veterinarian
Any time your cat is dealing with obesity, consult with a veterinarian first to rule out any medical conditions such as hypothyroidism or other disorders. Your veterinarian can help you gauge your cat’s body condition and create an approved weight loss program for your cat.

Practice Patience 
A cat’s diet should not be changed drastically overnight, and you should be sure to follow your veterinarian’s nutrition recommendations. A staged food transition could take approximately two weeks. To help your furry family member adjust and accept his new meal plan, try to spice his chow up by adding ketchup or salmon juice.

Get Moving
Unlike our canine pals, cats aren’t the perfect companions to take along for a morning jog or swim. They’re more of the relaxing type. One great motivator to get your cat moving is to use their mealtime as exercise time. Try walking around the home with their bowl for a few minutes before giving them a portion of the meal. See if you can stretch mealtime out to 20 minutes with this tactic.

As with humans, cats also need some motivation to lose weight. These cat toy ideas from our friends at the ASPCA may be useful to help your cat get and stay active. 


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pet parents

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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close up of cat's eyes

There’s nothing like the bright eyes of a cat to catch your attention. But what if your cat’s eyes become crusty or cloudy? Our friends at the ASPCA® have some great tips to keep your cat’s eyes healthy.

These symptoms may indicate something is amiss:

• Discharge
• Watering
• Red or white eyelid linings
• Crusty gunk in the corners of the eye
• Tear-stained fur
• Closed eye(s)
• Cloudiness or change in eye color
• Visible third eyelid

As always, check in with your veterinarian for any questions about your feline’s eye health.


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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

The holiday season can be a dangerous time for pets. In fact, we’ve found that claims for chocolate and candy ingestions spike around this time of year. Check out this handy, printable pet-proofing infographic to help keep your pets safe during this hectic time of year.

Click here for a printable PDF!

infographic to pet proof your home

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pet parents

little dog in a plastic jackolantern

In addition to keeping your pet away from harmful treats, like chocolate and candy containing xylitol, here are a few more safety tips from our friends at the ASPCA®:

• Be careful your pet doesn't scoot out when you answer the door for trick-or-treaters. You may want to keep him or her in a separate room during peak hours.
• Consider using battery powered "candles" to light up your jack-o-lanterns. Curious pets can get burned or knock real candles over and start a fire.
• Pumpkins are considered non-toxic, but they can still cause tummy upset if your pet takes a bite. Keep them safely out of pet's reach.

Read more safety tips on our website

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pet parents

lost dog

In honor of National Animal Safety and Prevention Month, we offered pointers for dealing with a found pet in our October Pet Matters newsletter. But what if you’ve gotten the pet safely into your home or at a shelter, but the pet parents can’t be found?

Here are a few suggestions to get the word out:

• Paper the town. Hang up flyers at nearby businesses, like grocery stores and pharmacies. Be sure to ask permission from the owners first. 

• Cast a social net. Post a photo and description of the pet on Facebook and Twitter, and ask your friends to spread the word. 

• Place an ad. Put an ad in your local print or online newspapers. Some publications may run the ad at no cost to you.

If you still can’t find the pet parents and are interested in keeping the pet, talk to your local shelter or humane association for information on the laws and process in your area.

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pet parents

cat vet visit

Vet visits can be stressful for cats, especially if they're not used to leaving the comforts of home. These tips can help make the next visit easier for your kitty.

Get your cat used to the carrier by leaving it open in your house.
Take your cat for rides in the carrier to other places besides the vet.
Bring along your cat's favorite treats, toys and blanket.
Reward good behavior at the vet with praise, treats and petting.
Stay calm during the exam to encourage the same from your cat.

If your cat (or dog) has an extreme dislike of veterinary visits, talk to your vet about techniques that might make future visits more relaxing.

 

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pet parents

We just can't get enough of adorable pet pictures - but who can?

Taking photos of our furry friends can be just as fun as looking at them, and these tips can help you snap a perfect moment in time.

pet photography tips infographic

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pet parents

dog wearing a scarf sitting in front seat of car

 

Some dogs get the treat of a car ride most days, while others may only ride along for special trips to the veterinarian or park. Regardless of how often your pup gets to ride shotgun, Dog Care Journey has some important tips you should read before hitting the road.

If you’re planning an extended journey with your dog, our friends at the ASPCA® have a great checklist available with all sorts of travel tips. They also have information available if your furry friend is afraid of riding in cars.

Safe travels!

 

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pet parents

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.