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Fall head over heels in love with this month’s pet health tips, perfect for keeping your best friends close at heart and in the best of health!

Spay Away - February is Spay/Neuter Awareness month, and February 26th is World Spay Day! Not only does getting your pet "fixed" help keep the unwanted pet population down, spaying can also benefit her health. For example, a female dog and/or cat who is spayed prior to her first heat has a drastically reduced chance of developing mammary cancer, as compared to an unspayed dog who will have a 25 percent chance of developing mammary tumors – half of which will be malignant.

Break the Ice - Just because our pets have four paws, that doesn’t mean they can traverse icy sidewalks or snow-covered roads without risk. A simple slip can easily lead to broken bones or injured knee ligaments, especially in older pets. Frozen ponds or lakes present an even greater danger, since a fall through the ice could lead to hypothermia or even drowning. To be safe, scout out a planned path to pass over before your next adventure and avoid walking near lakes and streams until spring.

Under the Gum - According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some degree of periodontal disease by age three. To improve your pet’s dental care, brush their teeth daily, offer dental cleaning toys and chews, and always follow your veterinarian’s recommended instructions, especially if they include getting a dental cleaning.


Vets for Pets

(January blogs to boost your pet prowess!)

Smooth Move - Preparing for a move can be stressful, especially if you’ve got furry family members to consider. Make your next move a success with these tips from Petplan pet insurance Staff Veterinarian Dr. Kim Smyth.

Let’s Get Physical - As a pet parent, you understand the importance of annual (or twice yearly, for older pets) physical exams. But do you know what they encompass? Visit the clinic for a behind-the-scenes look in this two-part series on physical exams.

Strength in Support - Caring for a four-legged family member with a terminal illness can lead to many difficult decisions, but thanks to veterinary hospice care, veterinary medicine is changing in a very special way to address these concerns.

Vet Awards - We’re getting closer to naming the winners in the 2013 Petplan Veterinary Excellence Awards! From more than 2,000 nominations sent in by pet parents across the country, we’ve narrowed it down to our top five finalists in each category: “Veterinarian of the Year,” “Practice Manager of the Year” and “Veterinary Technician of the Year.” Our accomplished Judging Panel will be selecting the three winners from that short list, to be honored at a celebratory dinner in Las Vegas on February 17th. Watch for our trio of winners to be announced in mid-February!

Welcome Aboard! - Petplan is proud to welcome Steve Shell as our new VP of Veterinary Channel Development! Shell is an innovative and resourceful executive with more than 30 years of experience in general management, business strategy, sales, marketing and customer development who will help drive the growth of Petplan’s infrastructure for supporting veterinary partners. Prior to joining Petplan, Shell was a business leader for companies like Stauffer Chemicals, Saatchi & Saatchi, American Cyanamid, Pfizer Animal Health and Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health. Most recently, he was responsible for the Companion Animal Business Unit of Merck Animal Health, which included the Small Animal, Equine and HomeAgain microchip businesses.

Heating up the Headlines - At Petplan, our passion is pet health, so when news sources need a helping paw with their pet health advice, we’re always happy to share! Most recently, Petplan VP of Veterinary Services Dr. Jules Benson contributed winter pet health advice to Parade magazine for their Winter Health Safety Quiz. In addition, Petplan Co-Founders and Co-CEOs Chris and Natasha Ashton recently offered their expertise regarding pet insurance and leadership: Chris in a feature for FoxNews.com on the five mistakes to avoid when buying pet insurance, and Natasha in her latest blogs at The Huffington Post and Smart Business magazine. Catch up on all our latest press in the Petplan Press Room.



Snip/Tuck - Ready for some new reading material? The next issue of fetch! magazine, the Snip/Tuck issue, will start arriving in mailboxes in late February! Featuring the latest cutting-edge pet medical advancements, this issue goes under the knife to help pet parents better understand common pet surgery topics such as spaying/neutering, joint replacements, minimally invasive procedures and much more! We also take a peek behind the scenes at a day in the life of a veterinary surgeon and share helpful slices of pet health advice perfect for getting your pet in top shape!


Pets, private jets and pet nannies? Who knew?! The pet-loving travel experts at Sit n’ Stay Global, that’s who! If you’re looking to pamper your pets on your next trip, check out the array of luxury services they offer to pet parents, from private, pet-centric jet charters to traveling pet nannies and in-home care.

Chews Your Adventure - Show your pet the ropes – and the love – thanks to this Heart Rope Toy that helps clean teeth while your pooch plays.



Kitten Smitten - Let your feline Valentine know just how much you care with a cute Love Bug cat collar.







From the Heart - Show a soft spot for Fido when you let your best friend dream the day away on this Denim Heart Dog Doza.

If you love the peace of mind that Petplan brings, spread the love and earn rewards! Refer your friends and family to Petplan and we’ll send you a gift when they enroll! Log-into your account to start earning rewards today!


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



Stolen Hearts - Move over, Cupid, you’ve got company. In addition to Valentine’s Day, February 14th is also Pet Theft Awareness Day. Unfortunately, pet theft is on the rise in the United States; the American Kennel Club reported a 70 percent increase in thefts from 2010 to 2011, and that number continues to rise. Protect your pets against theft with these tips from The Humane Society of the United States.







Shop to Adopt - If you’re thinking of adding a furry friend to your family, consider adoption. Like spaying, it helps control the pet population, and best of all, saves lives by making room for another homeless pet to find love. Drop by your area shelter, humane society or rescue organization to meet a four-legged friend looking for a forever home. In some cities, you can meet homeless pets up for adoption at “shelter shops” like L.A. Love & Leashes, an adoption and education venue located in Westside Pavilion mall that features animals from Los Angeles’s six animal shelters.

Tainted Love - In early January, Néstle Purina PetCare Company (Waggin' Train® and Canyon Creek Ranch®) and Del Monte Foods (Milo’s Kitchen™) voluntarily recalled their chicken jerky dog treats off store shelves after the New York State Department of Agriculture found that the treats were possibly contaminated by an antibiotic deemed illegal in the U.S. Learn more about the common causes of pet food recall.




February 23 is International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day! Show your best friend some home-cooked love and whip up a batch of these delectable doggy treats from veterinarian Dr. Karen Halligan:

Bow Wow Biscuits

You'll need:
1 cup rye flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 egg
3 T vegetable oil
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup low sodium beef or chicken broth

To make this recipe:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix the flour and cornmeal in one bowl. In a separate bowl, whip the egg with oil, parsley and broth. Add flour mixture and mix until dough is soft. Knead dough and roll out to ½ inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut the dough into shapes. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool before serving.

Recipe from Dr. Karen Halligan’s website, DocHalligan.com. Veterinarian Karen Halligan is the author of “Doc Halligan’s What Every Pet Owner Should Know” (Collins, 2007).





Taking it to the Streets - In underserved communities in Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, The Humane Society of the United States operates a program aimed at introducing information to aid pet parents in overlooked neighborhoods stricken by poverty and a lack of access to pet care resources. Visit The HSUS website to learn more about Pets for Life, which introduces residents to free spay/neuter clinics, vaccination programs and training classes, among other resources. In 2012, they helped more than 10,000 animals with free services, medication and advice.


In honor of Love Your Pet Day (February 20), tell us what you love about your pet for a chance to win a $25 AMEX gift card! Include a picture and we may share your story on our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages!

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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