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Summer is officially in full swing! Put on your Independence Day pawty hat and follow along with these
pet health tips and product picks to make your pet's summer days as happy and healthy as they are long!

Up in Smoke - An estimated 500,000 pets are affected in home fires each year. To help reduce the chance of a home fire, keep pets safely away from open flames and cooking appliances, change the batteries in your smoke alarms at least once a year and test them monthly, and be cautious when using fireworks and outdoor grills near the home. Unfortunately, not all fires are preventable, which is why Petplan pet insurance offers a free, fully customizable Pet Rescue Alert to help firefighters find your pet faster in the event of a fire.

t let your splash get in the way of safety. To help pets stay safe in the water, never let them swim unattended. For added safety, strap your pet into a pet life jacket or employ a pool alarm, which helps alert you if your pets (or kids) decide to take an unsupervised swim. For more tips to keep your pets — and their health — afloat, check out the digital version of our "Waterworks" issue of fetch! magazine.

Fall from Grace - Love to let in the fresh air during warm summer months? Be wary of your four-legged window watchers. High-rise syndrome accidents (where pets — frequently cats, but sometimes dogs — fall from high-rise windows) increase during the summer months, and can lead to severe injuries such as broken bones, internal organ damage or worse. Just ask fetch! magazine Associate Petitor, Jethro, who took a tumble from a high-rise window a few years ago, but luckily escaped with all nine lives intact. To keep your pets protected, make sure your open windows are outfitted with secure screens.

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

Scratching the Surface - Fleas are both a nuisance and a health hazard for our best friends, but knowing how to combat these tiny menaces starts with knowing their life cycle. Learn all about it on our blog.

In the Lyme Light - While the mild winter saved many of us from shoveling snow, it also helped the tick population get an early (and hungry) start, as Petplan veterinarian Kim Smyth discusses in this recent blog post.

Kitty Conundrum - Kittens are a common sight in the veterinary office during the summer. Unfortunately, so is respiratory infection. Learn why feline herpes virus is often to blame at the Petplan blog.

Honor Fur All - Petplan is proud to be a sponsor of the second annual Pets for Patriots Be a Pet's Hero Celebration, to be held July 18 at Eastern Market in Washington, D.C. The annual event brings together pet parents, sponsors, senators and members of the House of Representatives to honor the healing power of companion pets to service and veteran members of the U.S. military (and of course, pets are welcome!). Learn more about Pets for Patriots and their noble mission at their website.

In the Business - Recently, Business Week magazine spoke to Petplan co-founder and co-CEO Chris Ashton about how pet insurance can help manage the costs of surgery for respiratory problems and entropion, (a condition in which the eyelid rolls inward, especially in "smushed face" breeds like the Bulldog and Shar-Pei). Visit the Petplan Press Room to read the full article.

All Work, No Play? No Way! - Petplan co-founder and co-CEO Natasha Ashton has begun writing a bi-monthly column on business management for Smart Business magazine. Her first column, How to Balance Play and Productivity in the Workplace, discusses, among other things, the importance of sticking to your company's core values — especially when they involve the health of our best friends. Watch for her next feature about finding the purr-fect office space here.

Purrade of Fun - Let kitty join in the holiday fun with this Patriotic Kitty Canister filled with 27 assorted star-spangled toys.

Go With the Flow - Help your best friends beat the heat and stay hydrated with this pawesome push-button Doggie Fountain.

Show Your Stripes - Add some patriotic panache to your pooch's Independence Day dress up with the Stars and Stripes Dog Necktie. See more pictures of patriotic pets on our Pinterest page.

Lending a Paw - The Humane Society of the United States' Animal Rescue team recently lent a paw to some best friends in desperate need when they helped rescue 34 Maltese dogs from a North Carolina breeder. In addition to being held in inhumane conditions, the dogs were suffering from infections and flea infestation, but thanks to The HSUS and the Wilson County Sheriff's office, the rescued dogs were transported to the SPCA of Wake County, where they will get a second chance at life.

Attention Petplan family members! Join us on Twitter for the chance to win a $50 AMEX gift card! Simply follow @petplan on Twitter and tweet us a picture of your Petplan-protected pet to enter! Hurry — giveaway ends July 31 at 11:59 pm EST!

Tightening the Belt - New Jersey recently put its paws down on distracted driving by adopting increased fines for driving with an unrestrained pet in the car. In an effort to improve safety, police and animal control officials can now write tickets for $250-$1,000 when they notice an animal being transported unsafely in a vehicle. Visit our Facebook page to share your thoughts about the new law and tell us whether you use pet restraints when traveling.

Tunnel Vision - Working and service dogs have a long history of helping two-leggers, but Ginny is pawing new territory as the world's first mine rescue dog. A two-year-old Dutch Shepherd, Ginny is trained to track human scents to help rescuers find trapped or injured miners in a disaster. Learn more about her remarkable skills here.

Puppy Dog Eyes - Do dogs know when you're sad? A study published in May in the journal Animal Cognition posits that the canine subjects were more likely to approach people that appeared to be crying than those who were humming or talking, suggesting that it is "emotional content, not curiosity" that brings the dogs running. Do you think your best friends understand when you're upset? Let us know by sharing your thoughts on our Facebook page or via Twitter.

Cuteness on Demand - Watching a puppy cam can certainly make your lunch hour more enjoyable, but could it actually improve your motor skills? Citing a 2009 study in which participants showed improved levels of manual dexterity after viewing adorable images of puppies and kittens, some now believe there is a visible link between cuteness and caregiving. Get your weekly dose of charming kitties and playful puppies at the North Shore Animal League Ustream page.

Light up your pup's palate this summer with these gloriously tasty Patriotic Pupcakes from Woman's Day magazine.

Patriotic Pupcakes

You'll need:
3 very ripe bananas, peeled
1 cup natural (no sugar added) peanut butter, chunky or smooth
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 cup plain rice milk, soy milk or water
1 tub (12 oz.) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese spread (Neufchâtel), softened (optional)
Dry dog food, crushed to fine crumbs (optional)

To make this recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray muffin tins with baking spray. Beat bananas in large bowl until puréed and smooth. Beat in peanut butter, oil, eggs and baking powder until combined, then alternately beat in flour and rice milk until batter is smooth. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Bake about 15-30 minutes, depending on size of pupcakes, or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove to wire rack and cool completely. For a special treat, frost with a thin layer of cream cheese spread and sprinkle with crumbled dog food "sprinkles."

For more homemade pet food recipes, visit our Treat Them Well board on Pinterest.

"Mother Knows Best"
July 22 is Parents' Day. To help celebrate the fur-kids in your life, tell us what you love most about being a pet parent for a chance to win a $25 AMEX gift card!

June Story Contest Winner
(Tell us about your favorite four-legged movie)

“I may be partial (being a yellow Lab mama) but nothing beats [the movie] Marley and Me. My Lab, Gordy, is not at all a comparison to Marley. Gordy is pretty laid back, calm and a star student with obedience, but I felt like the movie really represented the love we all have for our pets. We would all like to spend forever with our pets, but Marley and Me teaches us to cherish every last bit of time in the years we get with each and every wonderful four-legged love of ours.”
— Kristen (and Gordy) S.

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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