Warmer weather is on its way... and so are a host of seasonal pet health hazards! Protect your
four-legged family members with these tips and fun finds perfect for adding a spring to your pet's step.

Gum Up - 2011 statistics from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center show that xylitol poisoning in pets is on the rise, with a 73% increase in xylitol-poisoning related calls since 2007. With March being Poison Prevention Awareness Month, it is a great time to remind your family members of the household items that are poisonous to your pets, such as xylitol (common in sugar-free gum and candy), raisins, chocolate, human medications, pesticides, onions and more.

Itching for Spring - If your pets are anything like Petplan Dog-in-Chief Wellington, spring gives you a reason to scratch; with the warmer temperatures and greener grass come pollen and other potential allergies. Seasonal allergies, otherwise known as atopy, are often accompanied by bacterial or fungal infections, so getting an early paw on your pet's seasonal scratch can help avoid more troublesome (and costly) complications down the road. If your pet is showing signs of atopy, schedule a visit with your veterinarian.

Puppy Love - St. Patrick's Day isn't the only festive day worth celebrating in March - there's also a day devoted exclusively to puppies! March 23 is National Puppy Day. If you're interested in adding a new four-legged friend to the family, do your research! Knowing the breed characteristics and potential health problems of the puppy you are interested in can help you decide if they are a good fit for your home. And in honor of those roly-poly, fuzzy cuddle machines, check out our top 10 tips for new pet parents!

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

Someone Special - While most veterinarians are generalists, veterinary specialists take your pet's care a step further by becoming experts in a particular field, such as neurology or internal medicine. Learn about the different types of specialists available to assist in your pet's care at the Petplan blog.

No Butts About It - Two-leggers aren't the only species harmed by smoking and secondhand smoke. In this blog post, Petplan veterinarian Dr. Kim Smyth clears the air on how smoking negatively affects the health of your best friend as well.

Brush with Fate - Helping your pet maintain good dental health starts at home with a toothbrush (and patience!). Learn how brushing your pet's pearly whites can help provide health benefits far beyond the gumline in this post from the Petplan blog.

And the Petplan Vet of the Year Award goes to... Congratulations to Dr. Alan Stewart, our Petplan 2012 Vet of the Year! Dr. Stewart, of San Francisco Veterinary Specialists in San Francisco, CA, was chosen for his impact on veterinary medicine, his commitment to providing exceptional care to pets and his exemplary customer service to "wow" pet parents.

Petplan received over 3,000 votes from colleagues, clients, friends and family in support of our 10 semi-finalists, and from that list, the Petplan Vet Awards judging panel selected three finalists, including Dr. Stewart, Dr. Corinne Majeska of Companion Pet Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, and Dr. Richard Palmquist of Centinela Animal Hospital in Inglewood, CA. Dr. Stewart (and a guest) will be in attendance at the 2012 World Veterinary Congress in the U.K. in April to accept his award, so stay tuned for the coverage! To learn more about Dr. Stewart and the other finalists selected, visit our 2012 Vet Awards Finalists page.

Open Wide and Say AAHA - Heading to the AAHA Conference in Denver, CO, March 15? Drop by the Petplan booth (#1119) and bark hello to some of our team!

Suds McKenzie - Keep mud and grime away with this handmade vegan, organic cold-processed soap available in a variety of pup-pleasing scents.

Lucky Dog - Help Fido rock the shamrock this St. Patrick's Day with this dirt-dodging Dublin dog collar.

Room with a View - Hepper Pod cat bed offers kitty a cozy, cave-like sanctuary that's high in style and function.

BARC for best friends - In an effort to better inform potential pet parents, the HSUS recently formed a new Dog Breeders Advisory and Resource Council (BARC), with the aim to help consumers recognize the differences between responsible breeders and puppy mills. In partnership with breeders from across the country, The HSUS BARC will work to promote pet adoption and responsible breeding and to educate the public on the ways inhumane puppy mills exploit America's love for furry friends at the expense of unprotected animals. To learn more about BARC, visit The HSUS website.

Help Petplan spread the luck to pets this spring. Click on the Google Plus One button (above "Pet Health + Safety") on the Petplan homepage to help your friends point their paws to Petplan!

Buckle Down - Has the thawing snow given you spring fever? Remember to abide by the basic pet travel safety tips before you head out on the open road with your best friend. Save the lap time for later and keep your pet safely restrained with a pet seatbelt or safety harness while the car is moving to avoid a spring break (or worse) if you have to come to a sudden stop. According to PetTravelCenter.com, a 25 pound dog becomes a 1,000 pound mass in a 40 mph crash; so protect your entire family by keeping them secure.

Neighborhood Watch - Keeping cats indoors not only reduces the danger of them coming face to face with a vehicle or other outdoor hazard, but it can help prevent the spread of certain diseases to humans. A recent study found that domestic cats in urban areas such as Colorado and California can share diseases with wild bobcats and pumas who inhabit the same environment; diseases such as Toxoplasmosis and Bartonellosis - both of which can also be spread to humans - as well as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

Big Dreams - We've always assumed our pets dream (why else would they be running in their sleep?), but it turns out the size of your pet determines how long or frequently he dreams. According to Stanley Coren, author of How Dogs Think, big dogs dream longer, while little dogs dream quickly and more frequently. Now if only we knew what they were dreaming about!

Don't lay an egg when it comes to treating your pet with a snack this St. Patrick's Day. While traditional corned beef may be easy to dish out, its high fat content can trigger a bout of pancreatitis. Instead, blend up this delightfully green dish sure to please your pup's palate:

Eggs-Cellently Delicious Eggs

You'll need:
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped carrots
½ cup chopped spinach
2 cups chopped boiled eggs
2 cups 2% cottage cheese
1 tbsp kelp powder
2 tbsp nutritional yeast

To make this recipe:
1. Place veggies in a blender or food processor and blend until minced or pureed, whichever your dog prefers.
2. In a bowl, combine the vegetable mixture with eggs, cottage cheese and kelp powder, and mix thoroughly.
3. Divide into portions appropriate for your pet's caloric intake.

Makes approx. 5 ½ cups. 160 calories per cup.

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).

So long, winter worries! You don't need to have a green thumb to enjoy the rites of spring. Tell us how you and your best friends plan to celebrate the arrival of spring for a chance to win a $25 AMEX gift card!

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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