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Trupanion's Blog is dedicated to help educate people with pet insurance and pet health information, but more importantly, to have fun!

7 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Pet

Celebrate Halloween with your petWhether your pet is a quiet cuddle bug or an outgoing party hound, there are a number of great ways to celebrate Halloween with your furry friend by your side. See six simple ways to spend Halloween- and the days leading up to it- with your cat or dog.

Dress Them Up in a Pet Halloween Costume

Halloween Dog CostumeEvery October, dogs and patient cats make us laugh in their clever and cute pet costumes. When choosing a costume for your dog or cat, pick an outfit that fits comfortably, doesn’t restrict movement, and avoids small edible pieces.

Pay close attention to your pet. If your dog or cat doesn’t mind the costume, it’s a great way to celebrate Halloween.

Make a DIY Spooky Toy

From bones to pumpkins, and mummies to witches, there are plenty of Halloween-themed pet toys. While you can always buy one from a store, you can also make some simple Halloween toys for your pet with items like old t-shirts, felt, old gloves, or socks. Braid and knot together some orange and black fleece strips for your dog, or sew a spooky felt monster for your cat. Even if your pet doesn’t want to wear a costume, they can still tote around a Halloween pet accessory.

Take Them to a Pet-Friendly Pumpkin Patch

If your pet doesn’t love costumes, try to visit a dog-friendly pumpkin patch with your pup (or leashed cat). It’s a great way to get outside in the beautiful fall weather and pick the perfect pumpkin.

Not all pumpkin patches are dog-friendly, so be sure to call the farm before you go. Bring a leash and keep your pup close as you browse.

Carve a Puppy Pumpkin

Dog Friendly Pumpkin PatchTo take it a step further, you can decorate your pumpkin in honor of your pet! There are plenty of pet pumpkin carving patterns available online, whether you are a novice or professional pumpkin carver.

Want to freestyle? Have a picture of your pet handy so you can carve based on a consistent image.

Tricks for Halloween Pet Treats

Tricks and treats don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Fall is a great time of year to brush up on your pet’s repertoire and a great time of year to incorporate some new tricks and treats into the mix! There are dozens of Halloween-themed pet treats you can make for your dog or cat, including recipes that can use some of the pumpkin left over from carving. From fall flavors to adorable cookie cutouts, you can give your pet a special treat for their new tricks.

Trick or Treat with Your Pet

Outgoing pets may want to tag along on your family’s trick-or-treat outing or help you give candy to neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

If your pet plans to tag along, make sure they are well behaved and not easily spooked. Halloween events can be unpredictable with kids in costumes and strange sounds and decorations.

If you do plan to hand out candy to the neighborhood, make sure your pet stays close to home. With all the new activity, they may be tempted to slip outside while you’re tending to the trick-or-treaters.

Watch a Scary Movie with Your Pet

For those cats and dogs who prefer to snuggle up and avoid the Halloween festivities, a scary movie is a great option. There’s nothing like the presence of your dog or cat to make you feel safe, even when watching the scariest movie. Pop some popcorn, pick a snuggly spot for your pet, and get scared!

A Puppy from Taiwan Gets the Care She Needs

Millie - rescue from Taiwain“Millie had been a feral puppy rescued from the streets of Taiwan, so there were even more unknowns than with your typical American pound puppies. She should be the poster child for why pets should get Trupanion—she’s had so many health issues since I adopted her almost 2 years ago, but has come through them all very well.

If it wasn’t for Trupanion, her life and mine would be diminished by the expense and/or the risk of not getting needed treatment. She’s had everything from Giardia, kennel cough, and mange to injuries requiring stitches from racing other pups in the park and running into a barbed wire fence. Last May, she developed epilepsy, requiring multiple expensive diagnostic tests including an MRI and expensive monthly medication. Trupanion has been there providing excellent support, paying promptly, and even paying the veterinary hospitals directly, reducing my initial out-of-pocket costs and paperwork submissions. Thank you Trupanion!”

Jana B.


Richmond, CA
Enrolled: December 2013
Condition: Seizures, Giardia, Wound on Leg
The Trupanion Policy Paid: $6,415

Hurricane Matthew Pet Preparedness

Cuddling puppy

Prepare With Your Pets

As Hurricane Matthew approaches, we want to make sure that residents in all affected areas have the resources they need to protect their pets. Trupanion has information that you can share about hurricane pet preparedness, as well as suggestions for what to put in your pet first aid kit. We have compiled a list of pet-friendly shelters so that you and your animals can feel safe together.

If you know of any other pet-friendly shelters in the area, please comment below and we can add them to this list.

Pet-Friendly Shelters

South Carolina

  • Edmund A. Burns Elementary, 3795 Spruill Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405



  • West Boynton Recreation Center (east of Park Vista High School), 6000 Northtree Boulevard, in Lake Worth
  • Port St John Community Center, 6650 Corto Road in Port St. John
  • Viera Regional Park, 2300 Judge Fran Jamieson Way in Viera
  • Ted Whitlock Community Center at Palm Bay Regional Park, 1951 Malabar Road N.W. in Palm Bay
  • Wickham Park Community Center, 2815 Leisure Way, Melbourne
  • Millenium Middle School, 5803 NW 94th Ave., in Tamarac (Must have documentation that pets are up-to-date on rabies vaccination and licensing.
  • Liberty Magnet School, 6850 81st St., Vero Beach, 32967.
  • Humane Society of Treasure Coast, 4100 SW Leighton Farm Ave., Palm City. For more information, call (772) 223-8822.
  • Kissimmee Middle School at 2410 Dyer BLVD, Kissimmee, FL
  • Harmony High School at 3601 Arthur J. Gallagher Blvd. St. Cloud, FL

The Most Popular Dog Breeds Over Time

PopularDogBreedsIt may be no surprise that we are living in the age of the Labrador Retriever. These popular pups have topped the most popular breed list for nearly two decades. But what about the other breeds? And what about hybrids and mixed breeds?

We decided to look into those too. By looking into the birth years of dogs in the Trupanion database born between 2001 and 2016 across North America, Trupanion’s data team was able to identify trends in dog breed popularity over the past 15 years.

Top Dogs

Similar to what popular breeds the AKC has seen, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds frequently rank toward the top of the list. Knocking the Lab out of the top spot, mixed breeds ranked as top dog every year for the past 15 years.

Other popular breeds include the Yorkie, Shih Tzu, and Chihuahua.



Up-and-Coming Dog Breeds

Our data showed a few up-and-comers that you may have seen around your neighborhood. This includes the Goldendoodle, Labradoodle, French Bulldog, English Bulldog, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Doodles and Frenchies didn’t even appear in the top 50 breeds until about 10 years ago, in 2005, but quickly rose to the top 10.

Keep a close eye on Miniature Australian Shepherds—they reached the top 50 in 2013 and are quickly climbing to the top 20. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 2015. Not seen on these graphs, Portuguese Water Dogs have also climbed near the top 50 since the Obama family adopted Bo in 2008.


Old Favorites

A few breeds have been losing steam over the past 15 years. This includes the Cocker Spaniel, Jack Russel Terrier, and Dachshund. This doesn’t mean they won’t make a comeback in the next decade.


Pop Culture influences of Popular Breeds

When looking at the data, we noticed a few interesting trends and coincidences.

The Chihuahua, while it has always been popular, seemed to be at its peak between 2001 and 2010. These also happened to be the years Legally Blonde came out—with Bruiser the Chihuahua—and Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, was getting national attention on the Simple Life, between 2003-2007.

Jack Russell Terriers may have also seen the influence of movies and pop culture. The breed was popular until about 2005 and then their rank dropped off—which happened to be soon after the last episode of Frasier aired in 2004, which featured Eddie the Jack Russell, also referred to the “Lassie of the 90’s.” The breed started the millennium strong on the tailcoats of Wishbone and release of My Dog Skip in 2000.

Is your favorite breed a top dog, up-and-comer, old favorite, or still under the radar?

5 Tips to Involve Your Kids When Training Your New Dog

kids-train-dogsFew events are as exciting as bringing home a new dog — and let’s be honest, no one is more excited than the kids! The next step is to get everyone on the same page when it comes to training. Although that probably sounds really boring to the youngsters, it’s important for them to be involved in the process. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get your kids involved in training without losing the fun, and here are a few to get you started.

Make training part of your routine

You probably already have a consistent routine with your kids, so why not tie in caring and training for your dog? As your kids come out for breakfast, have them help with your pup’s morning meal as well. One can work with him to sit and stay while another scoops out the proper amount of food. Give guidance as needed, but try to let them handle it as independently as possible. Potty training is an easy after-school task to maintain, and trips to the backyard can even be a rewarding way for both your dog and child to burn off some excess energy before homework and other responsibilities.

Stop the jumping early

It may seem adorable when an excited pup starts jumping up and down every time your child walks in, but it can lead to accidental injuries. Nip this behavior in the bud early, and make your child an active part of the training. Have sessions where the dog is on a leash with your child present. If the dog starts jumping, your child should cross her arms and turn around. Once the dog has regained his composure, your child can interact with him again. Be sure she repeats this behavior outside of training sessions — if she comes home from school and the dog won’t stop jumping, she needs to wait until he’s calmed down to give him a hello. It might be tough at first, but once your dog realizes he gets more attention by staying calm, he’ll learn to keep his cool!

Go on walks together

Walks are a great opportunity to teach your child how to maintain control over your dog. You should keep leash control until you know exactly how Fido responds to neighbors, joggers, and other animals on the street, but your little one can certainly learn by watching. You can also take the opportunity to have a few outdoor training sessions to teach your dog how to obey in public amid other distractions. When you’re confident your child is prepared, grant control of the leash but always stay close by until you’re both certain she can walk the dog without your supervision. Not sure she’s ready? Have practice walks around the yard and have her command the dog to heel, sit, and stay. Not only will you gain better insight into whether or not she can handle a solo walk, you’ll give her extra practice.

Play training games

Training doesn’t always have to be structured; in fact, you can reinforce important commands with games! Fetch can be an excellent way to work on “sit,” “retrieve,” and “drop it.” You can even add multiple balls to make it more high-energy and keep your pet on his toes! Create a training version of “Red Light, Green Light” by using words like “Come,” “Stop,” and “stay.” Both child and dog will be eager to play, and they won’t even realize they’re training!

Teach kids about warning signs

Sometimes, a dog just isn’t into the idea of training, and he’ll have his own ways of telling you. Talk to your kids about the warning signs of an uncomfortable dog, including:

  • Tail straight up
  • Showing the whites of eyes
  • Growling, displaying teeth
  • Hunched back
  • Raised fur

Discuss the importance of respecting a dog that’s saying no and knowing when to give him his space. Remember, he may not have been in a home with kids before so he needs time to adjust.

Don’t forget to talk to your kids about how training goes when you’re not around — you can even create a goals chart as your dog meets new milestones. Keep your children involved from the start, and your dog will happily integrate into your family.

About the Author: Paige Johnson adopted her first dog in her early 20s. Today, she is the proud “mom” to three pups. With a little help from obedience classes, she has turned them all into well-trained four-legged friends, who often accompany her on her many fitness adventures, including regularly exploring local hiking trails. She enjoys writing about health, fitness, and pet care for LearnFit.org.