Sleigh bells ring, which only means one thing... the holiday season is here!
Enjoy these gift-wrapped pet health tips sure to make your holidays both merry and wise.

Seasonal Disobedience - A crowded house is ripe with dangers for furry family members, especially around the holidays, when busy times and tables packed with treats may cause your pet to forget the house rules. To help your best friends stay safe and smart, brush up on basic obedience tips at Dog Training Central. You can also browse their extensive selection of paw-picked tips on crate training, chewing and more, perfect for keeping your festivities and furry friends full of joy (not tinsel, mistletoe and ham bones!).

Gift of Life - The decision to adopt a pet requires careful consideration. While a cute kitty or playful puppy may seem like the perfect present, a pet is for life - and a hectic holiday scene isn't the best place to introduce a frightened new family member. Plus, if your furry gift gets sick and requires an unexpected trip to the vet, it could spoil your festivities - and your budget for the upcoming year.

Make a List (Check it Twice) - It's the most wonderful time of the year and the purrfect time to start considering your New Year's resolutions. One important resolution you should always make is to visit the vet regularly, even if your pet is healthy! Pets hide illness well, but health checks, wellness exams and routine blood and urine tests can help your vet uncover a hidden issue or illness before it becomes a serious problem.

Vets for Pets
(November blogs to boost your pet prowess!)

Pawsing for Reflection - November was Pet Cancer Awareness Month, and Petplan expert vet Dr. Kim Smyth was on the job blogging about the diagnosis, treatment and types of cancer common in pets. Missed it? Head over to our Vets for Pets blog to get caught up!

Pupularity Contest - When it comes to best friends, there are few more popular than these top 10 most popular dog breeds. Swing by the Petplan blog to see if your pooch made the list! You can also visit our Condition Checker to see what hereditary and congenital conditions commonly affect these popular pups.

Hear Me Out - Although our pets seem to have good ears when it comes to someone opening the cookie jar, they can still be plagued by ear infections. Learn more about this common ear conundrum at the Petplan Vets for Pets blog.

Digging Up the Headlines - It's been a banner year for Petplan pet insurance and an exciting past month in the news! Over the past month, Petplan has been the trending topic on LinkedIn, made headlines on NFIB.com, More.com, Entrepreneur.com and CNNMoney.com (to name a few) and also graced the pages of the Wall Street Journal and Fortune Magazine! Most recently, our Thanksgiving advice made its way to Gothamist (and others) and Petplan VP of Veterinary Services, Dr. Jules Benson, offered up some tips on senior pet nutrition for How Stuff Works/Animal Planet. We also just released the results of our 2011 Holiday Survey.

Seasonal Servings - The holidays are meant to be a fun and festive time for all, but as Petplan claims data shows, Thanksgiving can be fowl for pets. Luckily, our expert vet team was on hand to dish out a healthy serving of tips to make Turkey Day safe for all. But just because the leftovers are gone doesn't mean our Thanksgiving tips, advice and recipes need to go to waste. The same advice can apply to any holiday filled with food, family and other hidden hazards for pets. For more great advice offered by Petplan VP of Veterinary Services, Dr. Jules Benson, visit our Health Tips section at GoPetplan.com.

All Systems Go! - Petplan is proud to announce the addition of our newest team member, Chuck Virtu! As our new Director of Information Technology, Virtu is well-prepared to apply his almost 30 years of experience and skills to Petplan, one of the fastest-growing privately held companies in America. Before joining Petplan, Chuck spent time overseeing all aspects of the technology used to support the Commerce Bank Capital Markets group and before that, 18 years with IBM. Learn more about Chuck in the Petplan Press Room.

 

 

Frosty Fun - Bring your game of fetch in from the cold with this squeaky Merry Moppy Snowman dog toy.

Tuckered Out - Let your pets snuggle up on cold winter nights on this Tuck Me In P.L.A.Y. bed - all while fighting breast cancer!

That's a Wrap - This candy-shaped dog toy stuffed with a squeaker gives pups a sweet treat to stash under the bed.

 

Love the peace of mind that Petplan brings to the holiday season? Spread the cheer! Help your friends point their paws to Petplan pet insurance by linking to us on your blog or website. Click here for more information!

Homes for the Howlidays - If you're heading over the hills and through the woods for the holidays, you may want to consider leaving your pet "home," either at a kennel or boarding facility, or with a pet-sitter. Before you do, make sure your pet is healthy and up-to-date on his vaccinations. You should also spend some time researching your options - and the best questions to ask - to ensure your best friend is treated like family no matter where he is.

Present Time - According to a recent Petplan holiday survey, over 89% of pet parents said they will include their four-legged family members in the gift-giving this year, and most of them plan to spend an average of $21-$50 on their fur-kids. What's more, 62% of those surveyed said their pets are included on the family holiday greeting card! And these lucky pets aren't just unwrapping toys and treats - some of the more interesting things pet parents said they have purchased in years past include spa days for their pets, new cars (for more paw-room) and of course, pet insurance!

Year of the Dog - While 2012 may not be the Year of the Dog (Fido will have to wait until 2019 for that), it may be the best year ever for veterinary science. That's because virtually every day a new breakthrough is made in how to better treat diseases and illnesses in our pets, such as cancer. Recently, research funded by the Morris Animal Foundation uncovered evidence of "breakpoint regions" on canine chromosomes associated with canine cancer, which could lead to a more successful discovery and treatment of cancer in both four- and two-leggers in the future!

Go green with your pets' treats this New Year by whipping up a batch of these Zucchini Tarts, made with coconut fiber, which is low in carbs and high in fiber for harmoniously healthy pets.

Zucchini Tarts

You'll need:
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
¼ cup applesauce
1½ cups grated zucchini

To make the tarts:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In medium bowl, combine coconut flour, baking soda and cinnamon.
3. Add eggs, applesauce and zucchini. Mix thoroughly.
4. Generously spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and lightly dust with coconut flour. Evenly distribute the batter.
5. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes. Cool.

Makes 24 tarts (17 calories per tart).

For more healthy recipes and nutrition advice for furry friends, check out Dr. Ward's Chow Down feature in every issue of fetch! magazine.

Recipe from Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs are Getting Fatter - a Vet's Plan to Save Their Lives (2010 HCI).

Going Long for Animals - The football season may be winding down, but helping pets is always a win-win situation. San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Braylon Edwards recently joined the The Humane Society of the United States to work on their Pets for Life Program, which helps improve the lives of both people and pets in underserved communities. The program, which operates in five major U.S. cities, offers free vaccination, training and spay/neuter services. Visit The HSUS website to view the video Edwards filmed and to meet his Rottweiler, Louis.

Petplan is seeking America's favorite vet, and it could be yours! The nominations for our Vet Awards are rolling in like snowballs — here's a snowflake-sized sample of what we've seen so far:

"Dr. Wendy Lilly-Bare and her staff at Pet Friends Veterinary Clinic exemplify what it means to have a family physician. She and her staff not only provide excellent service, but there is no question that they feel the true pains and joys of pet ownership. We have two pets and one went blind within the first two years of his life. Dr. Lilly-Bare comforted us and even encouraged us by letting us know that he would easily adapt to his disability and lead a healthy, happy life. He is now three and she was exactly right. Our other pet, Liberty, passed away this year at age 13. Dr. Lilly-Bare's staff not only comforted us in this passing but was incredibly helpful in explaining the necessary steps for burying her. They even offered to come to our house and get her to make it easier for us. WOW!! That is amazing to me. They also sent us a condolence card signed by every staff member with personal notes. I love my vet and she is truly deserving of my nomination!!"
- Nancy Criscoe, Columbia, S.C.

"Dr. Erik Tysklind at The Paw Patch is always willing to go the extra mile for clients. He works hard to provide the highest level of care for pets, and he always seems to be able to offer the client what she needs - whether it's good advice, words of comfort, a hug, or a smile. In addition, he gives back to the community, partnering with multiple rescue groups to provide the top-notch care of the practice at a reduced price. He is an extremely dedicated practitioner, and I can't imagine taking my pets anywhere else."
- Brooke Davis, Indianapolis, IN

Don't miss the chance to tell us how amazing your own vet is! For more information or to nominate your vet, visit www.GoPetplan.com/VetAwards.

The information contained in this website is for illustrative purposes only and coverage under any pet insurance policy is expressly subject to the conditions, restrictions, limitations, exclusions and terms of the policy documentation issued by the insurer. Availability of this program is subject to each state's approval and coverage may vary by state. Pet insurance policies are issued by AGCS Marine Insurance Company and administered by Fetch Insurance Services, LLC (Fetch Insurance Agency, LLC in Michigan), d/b/a Petplan (Petplan Insurance Agency, LLC in California). AGCS Marine Insurance Company, a member of the Allianz Group, is rated A+ by A.M. Best (2010).

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