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School is back in session! Head to the front of the class this year with these pet
health tips and stories purrfect for helping you fall into autumn safely, and stylishly.

Back to School Blues - Sending the kids back to school can leave an empty feeling at home, especially for furry family members. Some pets are sensitive to even the smallest changes in the environment and may show separation anxiety as a result – which can lead to destructive behavior, excessive vocalization, inappropriate elimination and even depression. To help your best friends cope, increase their exercise and playtime, and find ways to keep them engaged during the day with active toys or doggy day care. If your pet's symptoms become severe, consult your veterinarian.

Long Time No Hear - September 24-30 is Deaf Dog Awareness Week, the perfect time to help educate others on the myths surrounding deafness in dogs, as well as share the joys of having a special best friend in your life. Deafness can be caused by a number of factors ranging from genetic conditions at birth to ear infections and old age. In addition, some breeds are more prone to deafness, such as Dalmatians, Bull Terriers and English Setters. Despite their hearing disadvantage, deaf dogs make excellent family pets and can be taught to understand sign and body language from a patient parent. Visit the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund to learn more about these wonderful pets.

Rabid Response - September 28 is World Rabies Day. Although the majority of rabies cases in the world occur outside of the United States and Canada, due to the severity of the disease and the deadly dangers it poses to both animals and humans, it should always be a concern. Thankfully, rabies is preventable, so make sure your pets are up to date on their vaccines (a typical rabies vaccination schedule can be found here). In addition, since more than 90% of the rabies cases reported in the United States each year occur in wildlife, stay vigilant during walks and avoid encounters with wildlife to help keep your pet safe.

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

A Familiar Ring - Patchy kitties are a common sight in veterinary clinics during the summer and early fall months, largely due to a fungal infection called ringworm. Learn how these frustrating fungi worm their way under your feline's fur and why the infection poses a risk for pet parents, too, at the Vets for Pets blog.

Scratching the Surface - If you've ever had a pet with a penchant for licking her paws and itchy feet, you may have dealt with a bout of allergic pododermatitis, a condition that is generally secondary to seasonal allergies. Veterinarian Dr. Nina Mantione offers some advice for getting a foothold on this pesky problem in this blog post.

Heart Races - Keeping pace has never been a problem for most dogs, but for best friends suffering from heart block, it can be another story. Learn how a pacemaker (covered by Petplan!) helped one pet keep the beat here.

Barking Up the Post - Petplan is proud to introduce the newest blogger at The Huffington Post – our very own Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Natasha Ashton! Natasha's premiere post, "Pets Make Us Better," first appeared in late July, and most recently, she contributed another article on the benefits of taking a measured approach to your pet's food ("Give a Dog a Bone?"). Stay up to date on all of Natasha's blogs at The Huffington Post by subscribing to her RSS feed here.

Good Eats - Hungry for pet health news, paw-picked products and advice from the country's leading veterinary experts? Pick up the latest issue of fetch! magazine, available now at Barnes & Noble stores and online! Make some room on your plate and get ready to feast on our "Gourmet" issue, featuring a buffet of advice on nutrition, how to read pet food labels and a host of other health matters to munch on. Not yet a subscriber or a Petplan family member? Get in on the fun for only $10 a year here.

New Kids on the Block - Petplan was honored to accept the award for the Best New Exhibitor at the 2012 AVMA Annual Convention in San Diego, CA, last month. The Petplan booth was chosen to receive the award based on booth design, message and display. Didn't make it to the convention? Head over to our "Petplan on the Prowl" Pinterest board to see a picture of the booth and the award!

Play Cat and Mouse - Let kitty pounce and play with this sheep's-wool mouse featuring all-natural lanolin aroma – all while helping charitable causes with your purchase!

Cover Your Tracks - Kick your fall hikes off in style with this reversible camouflage-print raincoat with reflective tape for added visibility.

Tangled Up in You - Keep your best friend's leash from getting tangled around his legs thanks to this Coil Leash with comfortable neoprene handle.

Animal House - Nominations are now being accepted from college and university faculty members for the 13th Annual Animals and Society Course Awards, which recognize excellence in college courses about the human-animal bond, human obligations toward animals, the status of animals and related topics. Sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States and the Animals and Society Institute, the award carries a prize of $1,500 and is open to colleges and universities worldwide. For more information on the awards or to enter, visit The HSUS website.

Attention patriots: we're looking for paws-itively presidential pets to lead the pack this fall. Enter Petplan's Wag the Vote video contest for the chance to win $5,000 for yourself, PLUS $5,000 for your favorite animal charity! If your pet is ready to clean up America – one table scrap at a time – grab your camera and capture that presidential personality on film. Enter the race in three easy steps: upload your video to YouTube, fill out the form to nominate your pet, and rally your friends and family to Wag the Vote. The most popular tails from the campaign trail will be named finalists for the grand prize, so vote early and often!

Program not available in New York State. See GoPetplan.com/petplan-rewards for more information.

Furry Freshman - More and more universities are opening their doors to four-legged family members to help ease the transition to life on campus, but the university life can be quite a shock to both new students and their furry companions alike, especially when it comes to juggling your pet's unexpected medical bills along with student finances. With a host of pet health hazards around every corner, from being exposed to new surroundings to learning to deal with scores of strangers, the decision to bring a pet to school should be carefully considered with your family and veterinarian. For added protection for both your pet and your budget, consider enrolling your college-bound hound or kitty in a Petplan pet insurance policy before the semester starts.

Close to the Bone - Researchers have discovered a single gene mutation responsible for a rare but fatal skeletal condition in dogs called Mucopolysaccharidosis VII, a congenital skeletal dysplasia which leaves puppies unable to stand or walk. The condition affects a rare breed of dog known as the Brazilian Terrier (also known as the Fox Paulistinha) and is similar to a condition that affects humans, leading researchers to hope that a future cure for the condition in dogs could help humans down the road.

Kitty Code Blue - A recent study conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) revealed that while veterinary visits for dogs were up 9.2 percent over the past five years, trips to the vet for feline friends declined 4.4 percent. In fact, 45 percent of kitty-containing households didn't visit the vet at all last year! This is troubling news, as annual wellness exams are critical for detecting, treating and preventing problems before they become life-threatening — especially for cats, who are excellent at hiding illness and pain. Read more from the recent AVMA study here.

Spreading the Love - Our best friends have an amazing capacity for sharing love and comforting us in times of need, so it may come as little surprise that research is now showing that pets can even help children diagnosed with autism learn to share and comfort others. According to the study, autistic children introduced to pets at age four or five showed critical improvement in social skills such as sharing with others and comforting people in distress.

September 22 is the first day of fall, and nothing says "Hello, autumn!" like freshly picked apples. Let your best friend get in on the fall fun with these seasonably tasty treats.

Natural Apple Dog Treats

You'll need:
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 finely chopped or grated apple
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup cold water

To make this recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheets. Blend flour and cornmeal in large mixing bowl. Incorporate apple, egg, oil, brown sugar and water until well blended. Flour workspace and roll out dough to desired thickness. Cut cookies to desired shape and size. Place cookies on baking sheet and bake 35 minutes. After baking, turn oven off and leave cookies inside for another 30-45 minutes until crisp. Once crisp, remove cookies from oven and let cool. Transfer to zipper bags or airtight containers and freeze to preserve freshness.

Recipe provided by 17apart.com, and reviewed by Dr. Nina Mantione, one of Petplan's expert vets. Check with your veterinarian before trying a new recipe for your pet, to ensure your efforts – and your furry friends! – are appropriately rewarded. For more inspiring ideas, click here.
"Back to School"
Class is back in session for our two-legged kids, but that doesn't mean our furry family can't join in the fun. If your pet were to go to school, which subject, pastime or talent would they major in? Send your "Back to School" story to petplantails@gopetplan.com for a chance to win a $25 AMEX gift card!

August Story Contest Winner
(we asked for your pet adoption stories)

“In May of this year my husband and I became the parents of a wonderful dog from the rescue group, Senior Dogs 4 Seniors. After viewing the available dogs for adoption on their website, I was interested in meeting Oliver, a seven-year-old long-haired Chihuahua. His foster mom brought him over to our house for a meet and greet (which I call whiff and sniff) to see how we got along together. After just 30 minutes, I just knew Oliver was the one. Our house was bustling with excitement as we had been dog-less since our dear Cocker, Bingo, passed away suddenly from cancer three years ago. The change in my mood has been remarkable! Disabled with MS, my world has been getting smaller and smaller. Now with this darling, funny and well-mannered furry addition to our family, I'm less depressed, my blood pressure has gone down and I'm out and about in my electric scooter taking Oliver around our neighborhood. And get a load of this: my husband, who swears he is not a dog person, even lets Oliver sleep on our bed with us! Oliver is the best thing that's ever happened to us.”
– Heidi S., Kirkwood, MO

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 (2011).

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