Love is in the air! Help your furry Valentines enjoy the sweet life with these hearty
health tips and paw-picked products sure to earn you kisses for months to come!

Pucker Up - Love to smooch your pooch? While sharing kisses with your pet normally doesn't pose a major health risk, you should be aware that the myth that a dog's mouth is cleaner than ours is just that - a myth. If your best friend is like many others, there's no telling what they last put in their mouth, especially if you've got a curious friend who likes to sample unsavory litter box treats or pick from the garbage. That being said, if you're keeping up with your best friend's dental care and vaccines, a few kisses probably won't hurt - and can go a long way in enhancing the human-animal bond you share with your besties.

Sweet Treats - February 23 is International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day (yes, really!). Before you reach for that big box of store brand biscuits, research what you're feeding your furry family member. Many commercial treats are full of sugar, preservatives and excess calories, and if your four-legger is carrying a few extra pounds, you could be feeding the problem. Instead, look for treats made with healthy, natural ingredients, like The Honest Kitchen's Smooches or Lincoln Bark's Sweet Little Butterpup™ treats, and limit treats to 10% of their daily calories.

The Tooth of the Matter - Poor dental health can be a real kick in the teeth - both for your pet and your budget! Just ask the parents of HaTivka, a 7-year-old Canaan Dog from Utah who recently underwent a $1,500 root canal ($1,300 of which was thankfully reimbursed by Petplan). Visit the Petplan Virtual Clinic to brush up on the basic tenets of home dental care to keep your pet's pearly whites shining bright - and don't forget those preventative exams and dental cleanings!

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

Nothing to Sniff at - Nobody "nose" how to sniff out trouble better than working and service dogs who rely on their sniffers to keep two-leggers safe. Learn more about these olfactory-enhanced heroes at the Petplan blog.

Picky Palates - Is your pet a picky eater? Learn why picky eating can be a sign your pet's health is in a pickle in this blog post from Petplan vet Dr. Kim Smyth.

Color Me Calico - Have you ever heard the rumor that all calico cats are female? Follow along as Dr. Smyth takes a closer look at the cat-tale from the Petplan Vets for Pets blog.

Front Page Pups - Pet insurance is growing in pup-ularity, which is why USA Today and The Philadelphia Inquirer recently turned to Petplan to learn why protecting best friends makes cents (and keeps dollars in your budget). Missed the print edition? Click here to see why some employers are turning to pet insurance as a perk for employees and why more pet parents are utilizing pet insurance to help care for their best friends.

Conference Call - Our team had such a fantastic time at the NAVC conference in Orlando last month that we're doing it again - and this time, we're heading out west! We will be attending the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) in Las Vegas on February 19-23. Stop by the Petplan booth (#2013) and say (or bark) hello! Bring the whole family for a few days of fun, education and, of course, the opportunity to meet your friends from Petplan!

Vetting the Vets - We're getting closer to naming the Petplan Veterinarian of the Year! From nearly 2,000 nominations sent in by pet parents across the country, we've narrowed it down to our top 10. Our accomplished judging panel will be selecting three finalists from that short list, and they'd love to hear from you! If you'd like to support your vet's nomination, place your vote on our website at GoPetplan.com/2012-Shortlist. Scurry over there now! Voting will only be open until February 10!

Ramblin' Rose - Sweet talking plush rose toy says "I Love You" three times when squeezed - if only people did the same!

Think Pink - Take your 15 lbs. of furry love (or less) along for the ride in the Blossom Pink Sleepypod and help fight breast cancer - $10 of the purchase price goes to research and awareness programs!

Crazy Heart - Let kitty bite, lick and bunny-kick her way to bliss this Valentine's Day with this heart-shaped toy stuffed with organically-grown catnip.

If you're passionate about being part of the Petplan family, spread the word! Help your friends and family point their paws to Petplan pet insurance by linking to us on your blog or website, or referring them to Petplan. If they buy a policy, you'll get a $25 AMEX gift card (and there's no limit to how many friends you can refer)!

Into Thin Air - Traveling with pets can be a challenge, especially if your pet becomes anxious or nauseous during trips. For some pets, even the most rigorous travel acclimation won't quell their queasiness. If your vet has prescribed a sedative to help with car trips, don't expect to be able to rely on that for your next flight together. Increased altitude pressure from flying can increase your pet's risk of heart and respiratory problems, especially under sedation. If you are concerned about your pet's ability to travel tranquilizer-free, schedule an appointment to discuss the matter with your vet well in advance of your trip.

Bark Once for Yes - It turns out our best friends may know what we're thinking after all, especially when it's time for dinner! A new study reveals dogs are as skilled as six-month-old infants in picking up our intentions, showing that best friends may be more in tune to two-leggers than previously thought. So next time you want your dog to listen to you, speak up!

Heart of Spays - In the Los Angeles area, statistics show that cats have a hard time finding forever homes. In fact, cats entering Los Angeles area shelters have a 75% chance of being euthanized according to this infographic produced by Found Animals. In addition, only one in 10 domestic cats entering animal shelters are spayed or neutered. February is Responsible Pet Owners Month and also National Prevent a Litter Month, and one of the best ways to be a responsible pet parent is to spay or neuter your pets. Not only will it help keep the pet population down, but it can benefit their health!

Berry Tasty Treat - Strawberries are a popular treat choice for two-leggers on Valentine's Day, especially those dipped in chocolate. While strawberries themselves are a healthy snack for pets at only 23 calories per half cup, that toxic chocolate coating can easily spoil the fun. Instead, whip up this fruity smoothie from Dr. Ernie Ward; not only is it a festive way to involve your furry friend in the Valentine's Day fun, but it's also an excellent treat for soothing your pet's throat and gums after a dental cleaning.

Strawberry Smoothie

You'll need:
½ cup strawberries
½ cup plain nonfat yogurt

To make this smoothie:
1. Place the strawberries and yogurt in a blender.
2. Blend on high until smooth.
3. Evenly pour the mixture into 8 small paper cups.

11 calories per smoothie

For more healthy snack ideas, recipes and nutrition advice for furry friends, check out Dr. Ernie 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).

At Home on the Range - Two-leggers aren't the only ones keeping tabs on natural animal refuges. Canine conservationists, many of whom come from shelters or rescues, have been lending a paw at refuges like the Roaring Creek Ranch in Montana, protected through conservation rights by the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust. Working in tandem with organizations such as Working Dogs for Conservation, the Humane Society relies on these canine conservationists to help sniff out and monitor the area's animals. Learn more about their efforts at the HSUS website.

Take heart in your pet's health! Tell us what you love most about your pets for a chance to win a Nordic Naturals package featuring an 8 oz. bottle of Cod Liver Oil, an excellent source of DHA and EPA for pets, and a sample of their award-winning Omega-3 Pet Oil capsules, which provide essential fatty acids to maintain optimal health and wellness.

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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