Category Archives: holidays

The Holiday Gifts You Hate Getting Can Also Sicken Your Pet

Bella, an eight-year-old cat from Conshohocken, PA, racked up a $2,004.70 vet bill for a linear foreign body on December 27, 2015. The culprit: holiday gift ribbon. Petplan reimbursed $1,804.70 of the cost. Photo courtesy of Amanda Tollen.
Bella, an eight-year-old cat from Conshohocken, PA, racked up a $2,004.70 vet bill for a linear foreign body on December 27, 2015. The culprit: holiday gift ribbon. Petplan reimbursed $1,804.70 of the cost. Photo courtesy of Amanda Tollen.

Petplan lists 10 terrible gifts that can cause a costly trip to the vet

They say you should never look a gift horse in the mouth, but finding flaws in holiday presents could save pet parents an unexpected trip to the vet—and a blow to their budgets.

Petplan claims data shows that treatments during a holiday week can cost twice as much (or more!) than at other times of the year, mainly because pets end up at emergency vets when their regular docs close for holiday hours.

“Never has the phrase ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ been more ominous for pets,” jokes Petplan Veterinary Manager Elyse Donnarumma. “When you consider that the average claim paid for food poisoning is $585, or that foreign body removal surgery costs an average of $1,327, it is sobering to realize that those costs can easily double during the holidays.”

Which gifts top the naughty list? Many of the same ones you dread getting yourself! According to Petplan, these are the top 10 gifts that can unwrap disaster:

10. Bows & Ribbons
Most presents do come wrapped, but the danger of gift ribbon adds insult to injury with less-than-stellar gifts. Ribbons can easily become linear foreign bodies. Avoid an expensive surgery by tossing wrappings in the trash (whether you pitch the gift, too, is completely up to you).

Just ask Petplan policy holder Amanda Tollen of Conshohocken, PA, about holiday ribbon. Her eight-year-old cat, Bella, racked up a $2,004.70 vet bill for a linear foreign body on December 27, 2015, when she got into the gift ribbon. (photo below)

“I am so happy we got pet insurance for Bella,” said Tollen, who was reimbursed over $1,800 thanks to her policy option. “It really saved us a ton of money during one of the most stressful times of the year for our budget. You never know what your pet is going to get into or what illness they will come down with. Having Bella Petplan protected was one of the best decisions we ever made.”

9. Fruitcake (and its modern-day equivalent, Panettone)
If it wasn’t bad enough that someone spoiled good cake by adding fruit, fruitcake contains a trio of ingredients that can make furry friends sick. Currants, raisins and nuts are toxic to pets, and the spirits the cake is soaked in can be deadly to dogs and cats.

8. Holiday Plants
The fact that this gift will die in a few days isn’t even the worst thing about it. A snack on Christmas cactus can upset tummies. Christmas lilies can cause kidney failure in kitties. And while poinsettias aren’t as toxic as previously thought, its sap can cause an unpleasant rash.

7. Scarf/Mittens Set
You probably have half a dozen sets of scarves and mittens, but you’re bound to get another one during the holiday season. Donate the duds before your pet gets his paws on them; yarn can become a linear foreign body if swallowed.

6. Lottery Tickets
You may have a 1 in 14 million chance of winning your gift, but your pet is much more likely to suffer a foreign body ingestion if he eats the envelope and paper.

5. Houseguests
There are inevitably some relatives who believe their presence is your present, but they’re not always welcome in the eyes of furry family. Extra people in the house can trigger stomach upset due to stress, and all that coming and going can make it easier for pets to dart out the door and get hit by a car.

4. Coffee/Hot Chocolate
Coffee mug gift sets are a staple of office holiday giving, but whether there’s beans or cocoa inside, be sure to keep them away from your pet’s paws. The caffeine in coffee and chocolate can trigger hyperactivity, elevated heart rate, seizures and even death.

3. Bath Products
Nothing says, “I bought this present on the way here,” like a basket of bath products like lotions and salts. It also poses the very serious threat of salt poisoning to your pets. Bath salts often contain magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) and sodium chloride (table salt), both of which can kill or permanently injure furry friends.

2. Boxed Chocolates
While it can be argued that chocolate is always a good gift, even a diehard sweet tooth is on overload during the holidays. Extra confections lying around the house can be a recipe for disaster. Chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause illness or even death in dogs and cats.

1. Socks
You don’t want them, you hate getting them, and you’ll loathe them even more when you’re forking over upwards of $1,000 to have them removed from your pet’s intestine. Socks take Petplan’s top spot for the worst holiday gift, whether you’re on two legs or four.

Donnarumma concludes, “For the safety of all involved—including your wallet—we suggest sticking to electronic gift cards for holiday giving.”

For info about Petplan and more pet safety tips, point your paws to www.gopetplan.com.

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Avoiding Halloween Tricks for you Pets

Halloween TreatWhile Halloween can be a howling good time for family members of all ages, it can be downright dangerous for pets – from toxic Halloween candy to pet costumes turned choking hazards. Sink your fangs into this scary stat from Petplan pet insurance: During Halloween week, pets are 84% more likely to visit the vet for raisin poisoning and 26% more likely to visit for chocolate poisoning.

Below are great tips from Petplan veterinarians for keeping pets safe this Halloween.

Afraid of the Dark (Chocolate): Chocolate poses a whole pillowcase-full of problems for pets. While all chocolate is toxic to pets, dark chocolates are the most dangerous containing a higher concentration of toxins like theobromine and caffeine, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting and increased heart rate and blood pressure. It can even be fatal depending on the amount ingested. Milk chocolate has higher fat content which can trigger conditions like pancreatitis. The risk of chocolate toxicity during Halloween spikes 26% higher than at other times of the year. Be sure to keep the candy haul out of paws reach!

Raisin’ Hell: Some pet parents prefer to hand out raisins to trick-or-treaters instead of sugary sweets. While healthier for children, raisins are terribly toxic to pets – especially dogs. Even in small doses, raisin consumption can cause kidney failure. The risk of raisin toxicity is 84% higher during Halloween than at other times of the year. Be sure that any raisins are out of reach from pets.

Ghastly Get-Ups: According to the National Retail Federation, 16.2% of pet parents will dress up Fido or Fluffy this year. Be certain pets are able to breathe and move freely in their costumes and choose an outfit that doesn’t have extra pieces like legs, hats or pompoms, as dogs often mistake these choking hazards for chew toys. Remember, too, that pets can become overheated and dehydrated in their disguises, even in cooler weather.

When Witches Come Calling: If you’re expecting lots of ghosts and goblins to ring your doorbell, make sure your pet isn’t tempted to dash out the door. Consider setting up a room with water, food, toys and a comfy bed where your pet can stay safe and sound.

Wrappers of Fright: Foil, cardboard and paper wrapping can cause just as much mischief as the candy inside! If a pet snacks on wrappers, they can become stuck in his guts, causing an obstruction that often requires surgery to remove. After bingeing on bonbons, be sure to toss trash in a lidded can well away from sniffing snouts.

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Most popular dog Halloween costumes

We love to see all the cute Halloween costumes for dogs! So far this year, these are the most popular according to Amazon. We can see why! They are all so cute.

STAR WARS COSTUMES
With the upcoming release of Rogue One this winter, Star Wars costumes are super popular:

Ewok dog costume
Rubies Costume Star Wars Collection Ewok Pet Costume

Bantha dog costume
Rubies Costume Star Wars Collection Bantha Rider Pet Costume

Yoda dog costume
Rubies Costume Star Wars Collection Yoda Pet Costume

SUPER HERO COSTUMES
Super heroes will always be on-trend, and these two classics made the Amazon best-seller list:
Batman Dog Costume
Rubies Costume DC Heroes and Villains Collection Classic Batman Pet Costume

Wonderwoman Dog Costume
Rubies Costume DC Heroes and Villains Collection Wonder Woman Pet Costume

And what would this year be without ELECTION COSTUMES
Try pairing a suit with this wig for a very on-topic pet costume:
Business suit for dogs

Rubies Costume Company Pet Business Suit Costume

Dog wig

Rubies Costume Company Political Billionaire Pet Wig

No matter what your pup dresses up as for Halloween, we hope that you will both have a safe and fun holiday. Which of these costumes is your favorite?

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Make Halloween a Treat, Not a Trick, for the Family Pet

Keep pets safe and secure from monsters, goblins and other Halloween dangers

Halloween can be challenging night for families with pets. While some pets enjoy the festivities, the strange sights and sounds may frighten others. Cats usually hide, but dogs may run away in fear – or run after trick-or-treaters in excitement.

trickortreat-2

“Halloween can be unsettling – and even dangerous — for family pets. To ensure it is a fun night for everyone, responsible pet parents need to take precautions,” says Renee Coughlin of at-home pet care provider Canine Company. She offers the following advice to ensure everyone’s safety and comfort:

  • Choose pet costumes with care, making sure they won’t restrict movement or vision and that there are no small pieces your pet can swallow. Introduce the costume a few days in advance so she gets used to it. Canine Company professional dog trainers recommend offering a treat and praise to help with the process.
  • Don’t force your pet to wear a costume if he isn’t comfortable. Instead, give your pet some Halloween flair with stencils and pet-safe paints or can create a Mohawk or punk hairdo with colored styling gels. A cute seasonal bandana is another option.
  • Bring pets indoors before dusk. Pets left alone outside – especially black cats –may fall victim to tricksters. Some pets become anxious at the children’s shouts and the constantly ringing doorbell. If your pet seems nervous, confine him to a room away from the activity.
  • Keep your dog on leash to prevent him from dashing out an open door. If you have an Invisible Fence system, you won’t need a leash, but be sure he is wearing his collar so he stays safely in the yard. If you take her trick-or-treating, be sure she is wearing identification tags in case she runs off in fear or in pursuit of other children.
  • Keep candy well out of reach. Chocolate is toxic for dogs: so is xylitol, the artificial sweetener used in many candies and gums. It’s best to have pet-safe treats in your pocket or close at hand to distract pets from candy.

“With a little extra planning, we can make Halloween a fun night for the entire family,” says Coughlin. For more advice on pet health and safety, visit Speak! Good Blog!

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