Category Archives: guest post

Burn Notice: Petplan Reveals the Three Biggest Fire Safety Mistakes Pet Parents Make

With Pet Fire Safety Day on July 15, pet insurance provider says failures in prevention and planning put pets’ health in peril

Having a pet can be a real learning curve, but there’s one aspect of pet parenthood that leaves no room for error: fire safety for four-legged friends. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that more than 500,000 pets are affected by home fires each year, and Petplan pet insurance says average costs for burns and smoke inhalation can range from $440 to nearly $3,000.*

With Pet Fire Safety Day approaching on July 15, Petplan is raising awareness about prevention and planning for emergencies, and revealed the most common fire-safety mistakes people make:

Mistake 1: Forgetting the first line of defense.
Petplan says prevention is the most important part of fire safety with four-legged friends, and many pet parents overlook these rules of thumb:

  • Replace traditional candles with flameless ones, remove or cover oven knobs (the NFPA says a cook top is the number one agent involved in pets starting fires), secure wires and cables out of paws’ reach to prevent chewing, and always use a fireplace screen.
  • Keep fresh batteries in smoke detectors and test them often to ensure they work properly.
  • Have at least one home fire extinguisher, check it regularly, and be sure every member of the household knows how to use it.

Mistake 2: Not having an exit plan.
Petplan says every home should have an evacuation plan for their pets, but this is one safety measure many pet parents skip:

  • Keep leashes or carriers in an accessible place close to the exits and be sure your pet is wearing an ID tag (keep a spare on the leash/in the carrier if your pet doesn’t usually wear a collar).
  • Pick several escape locations, in case you’re unable to take your preferred route, and designate duties for each household member. It should be one person’s job to grab the pets and another’s to gather supplies.
  • Consider packing a “go” bag with items like a harness, a muzzle (frightened dogs can and do bite), tranquilizers or natural calming remedies, basic first-aid supplies and a familiar t-shirt or blanket to provide some of the comfort of home.

Mistake 3: Not planning for when pets are home alone.
The scary truth is that pet parents aren’t always home when a fire starts, leaving pets especially vulnerable to injury. Petplan encourages pet parents to:

  • Secure pets near an exit if they are crated while home alone, or keep them confined to the first floor so responders can reach them faster.
  • Put a pet rescue alert in the front window to let first responders know there are pets in the house that need to be found (and where they may be hiding).
  • Consider using monitored smoke detectors to provide an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms. In a situation where pets are home alone, these systems trigger emergency personnel to be dispatched as soon as a smoke alarm goes off in the home.

“No one wants to imagine a fire threatening their home—let alone the life of their pets,” says Natasha Ashton, co-founder and co-CEO of Petplan. “But preparedness is power, and every pet parent should do their due diligence to ensure pets are as safe and protected as possible. If you’re not making any of the mistakes above, then paw it forward by donating or fundraising on behalf of your local fire department to purchase pet oxygen masks. In most states, emergency responders lack the equipment to resuscitate pets. The next best thing to saving your own pet’s life could be saving your neighbor’s.”

For more pet health tips and safety info, and to fetch a free, customizable pet rescue alert, visit www.gopetplan.com/firesafety.

* according to Petplan claims data 2012-2016.

Posted in cats, dogs, guest post, pet care | 1 Comment

On the Scent of Life

On the Scent of Life

In the distance he saw it; the figure of a woman, emerging from a stand of pin oak and palmetto. He had to squint to make sure he was seeing right. Sometimes at dusk, when daylight mixes with the onset of early evening’s darkness, things get murky; one’s eyes can play tricks on one.

But the figure was real and young; willowy, dressed in a black T-Shirt and short black skirt. Her pale face framed by dark hair pulled tightly behind her head in a pony tail. Ahead of her trotted an unleashed scruffy brown and white dog.

Barefooted, she navigated the sandy soil filled with crab grass, prickly weeds and mounds that teemed with armies of fire ants with no problem.

The young woman moved slowly to where he stood in the middle of an overgrown vacant lot next to the motel where he’d been staying; a perfect place for walking one’s dog. (more…)

Posted in guest post, pet stories | 2 Comments

Top Tips for Summer Pet Safety

Summer is full of fun events, and more and more of them are welcoming pets! Always check first to make sure your dog will be welcome, and if they are, here’s what you need to know before you go to keep your dog safe and happy.

Keep your pets safe in the summer

Top Tips for Summer Pet Safety

1. First thing’s first! Don’t leave home without… 4-ft. leash (NOT retractable), portable water dish + water, pet formulated sunscreen, ID tag with your cell phone number, poo bags

2. Parked Cars – Even on mild days your car gets HOT, which can turn fatal in as little as 15 minutes. Never leave your dog in the car, even with the windows cracked. If he’s not feeling the festival, you need to call it a day.

3. Sunshine – When temperatures are peaking, take frequent breaks in the shade. It’s also a good idea to bring along a spray bottle so you can deliver a cooling spritz whenever your dog needs it.

4. Beer Tent – Nothing refreshes like a cold beer on a hot day, but never share your brew with your bud. Alcohol is toxic to pets, even in seemingly “harmless” amounts.

5. Food Truck – Chicken wings, Mexican street corn and funnel cake, oh my! They may be staple fare at summer fairs, but they don’t belong on Fido’s plate. Bones, cobs and greasy fats can cause intestinal blockages and pancreatitis. Pack fresh veggies for a healthy treat.

6. Your trash is a dog’s treasure – Fairgrounds are a smorgasbord of dropped food and wrappers—so you’ve got to think one step ahead of your pet! To prevent accidental snacking, use a Gentle Leader to control roving noses.

7. Other Dogs – It’s always fun to make new friends, but remember that dogs can easily become overstimulated in a busy environment. Keep meetings with other animals brief, and if you see either pet stiffen, growl, or give a hard stare or side eye, end the introduction and take a time out.

8. Children – The youngest among us can be unpredictable, loud and unaware of how to properly approach a dog. Small children who are running around can activate your dog’s instinct to chase. Give your pup space from playing children so he doesn’t perceive them as a threat.

9. Fireworks – A summertime favorite—but your dog may not always enjoy them. Avoid events with explosives if your pup suffers from noise phobias (if he doesn’t like thunderstorms, that’s a good clue). If you do bring your pet to a festival with fireworks, hold on tight to his leash; a startled pup may try to bolt from the blast, and you don’t want to lose your dog in the crowd!

10. Music – Keep an eye on your dog when your favorite band takes the stage, and remove him to a quiet area if you notice any signs of discomfort. If your pup is trembling, barking, cowering, or trying to bolt, he may not be ready to rock and roll.

11. Campfires – A crackling campfire feels quintessentially summer, but can tempt curious noses and cause accidental burns. Keep furry friends a safe distance from the flames. If you’re making s’mores be sure chocolate, wrappers and roasting sticks don’t fall into the wrong paws.

12. Puddles – If a “rain or shine” event turns soupy and soggy, be sure to keep your dog from drinking from puddles. Leptospirosis and giardia lurk in standing water, and can cause nasty illnesses that will rain on your parade.

13. Crowds – Unfortunately, there may be times when furry festival goers behave better than two-legged guests. Stay away from rowdy crowds and avoid letting intoxicated people hound your dog.

Whether you’re sun worshipping or stargazing, summer fairs and festivals are fun for the whole family. With your best friend in tow, there’s more to prepare for, but with a little planning it’s easy to put safety first. We hope that you have a fun summer, and don’t forget to follow these tips from the Petplan expert.

Posted in guest post, pet care | 3 Comments

7 Signs Your Cat Is Sick: The Symptoms You Need to Look After

When you own a furry feline, you’ve got a friend for life! And what’s great about owning a cat is how laid-back and relaxed they are. But the problem is that they can end up being too calm that you might not know they’re already sick! Besides the regular checkups, you’ll also need to look out for the signs yourself. It’s time to start paying extra attention to the way your cat acts and feels when around you.
It’s tricky to tell your cat feels off; I show you the seven signs your cat is sick and how you can deal with it.

Even if your cat doesn’t look like it, these are the telltale signs your cat is sick:

Change in Attitude

Usually, your cat would feel in pain without showing it. But he has different actions from before, such as:

  • Hiding
  • In a hunched position and sitting very still
  • Uninterested in anything and neglecting to groom himself
  • Over-grooming or licking one spot more often
  • Excessive and unusual meows or other sounds
  • Restlessness or feeling anger towards surroundings

If you see that your furry friend begins to sit still even when he used to play a lot, or that your relaxed cat moves more so than usual, then he might be feeling uncomfortable with something in his body.

Change of Appetite

Classic Tabby Scottish Fold

If you noticed that your cat isn’t eating as much as he used to, then he might have lost interest in his food, focusing more on the pain he feels. Other times, he might feel too nauseous to eat (without showing it!). Weight loss from this is another sign that your cat is sick.

Another thing to notice would be if your cat suddenly starts eating more. This symptom may mean a problem with your cat’s thyroid glands. Excessive thirst might also mean something dangerous, such as a kidney disease, diabetes, or infections.

Bad Breath

Sure, cats don’t have the minty fresh breath. Usually, they have cat food breath that’s acceptable. But if you’re with your cat and suddenly smell something very fishy and off when he meows, then that may mean there’s something wrong.

Constant Yearn for Attention
If your cat begins asking for even more attention than he has before, he might be trying to tell you that he’s sick. Just like hiding, it may be him showing he’s in pain and needs help.

Change of Toilet Habits

Classic Tabby Scottish Fold

If your cat regularly goes to the litter box or consistently stays around it, he might be suffering from a medical problem. And if you notice a change in bowel movements, such as always urinating or pooping, then you’ll need to have him checked for any stomach problems. ESPECIALLY if it’s diarrhea!

Change of Sleeping Habits
Just like humans, cats in pain or feeling sick would have a hard time resting up. So if your cat, who usually sleeps or has a regular sleeping pattern, starts to stay up incessantly meowing or staying still the whole night, then it’s time to check him for medical problems.

Or if your usually active cat begins to sleep more (even during mealtimes!), then that means he’s trying to relieve the pain by resting.

Mouth Breathing
It might seem amusing if your cat breathes through his mouth like a dog, but it isn’t normal at all. It may mean that he has a heart or respiratory problem. Once you notice your cat panting through his mouth, then take him to the vet immediately.

An exception to this sign would be if he were running around or feeling very stressed (such as being in the vet’s office or other unfamiliar surroundings).

Tips On Caring for Your Cat

At the Vet's 2

If you spot any of these symptoms on your cat, then it’s time to take action. Here are the tips to follow to care for your sick cat:

– Take him to the vet. If your cat suffers from any symptom despite the relaxed look, then it’s best to bring him to a medical professional and have him checked before anything else. The vet will know what to prescribe or what you should do to keep your cat healthy.

If your cat suffers from diarrhea but seems fine or appears to have difficulty eating or digesting his food, then what he consumes may be the culprit. Have him drink more water and check what he eats. If you can change your cat’s food to something healthier (wet food is better for younger or senior cats), then better.

Again, you can ask your vet for food recommendations if your cat’s stomach seems to reject the food, even if he likes it.

– Not only should you give him medicine (only as prescribed by the vet) and feed him well, but make sure to give him the care and attention he needs. Bring familiar and loved toys to him and have your cat stay as comfortable as possible, may it be in the hospital or if you’re treating him at home.

In Conclusion
There will be times you get surprised to know that your cat is feeling sick. Why? Because of how relaxed he seems to be. That’s why you need to be informed about the signs and ways to tell if your cat doesn’t feel good. That way, you won’t only find out when it’s too late, and your cat ends up feeling worse.

I hope that this article on the seven signs your cat is sick informs you about the things you’ll need to watch out for when caring for your cat. So what are you waiting for? If you spot your cat suffering from any of these symptoms, then know how to treat him and bring him to the vet immediately. You’ll be preventing more consequences for both you and your cat that way.

Do you have any questions or tips when caring for a sick cat? Then comment down below. All your comments are greatly appreciated.

Author Bio:
Annie is the founder of MeowKai, where she and her associates write about cat behavior, health issues, and tips and tricks on how to get your cat to behave! It concentrates on creating the best life for you and your cat so you can enjoy each other’s company and build that trust that is so important between pet and human.

Posted in cats, guest post, pet care | 4 Comments