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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!

Top 8 Smartphone Apps for Cat Owners

Photo via techeblog.com

Photo via techeblog.com

Any cat owner will tell you that a dangling string or feather can catch their cat’s attention almost instantly. Cats are very curious creatures and continue to surprise us with their intelligence. We’ve already gone over the best apps for dog owners, so here is a list of the best smartphone apps for our feline friends out there!

  1. Pocket Pond—Get your cat in the hunting spirit with this interactive pond filled with fish, rippling water, and dragonflies! Design your own pond and take care of the fish to make it fun for the both of you. Free for iPhone and Android. 

    Photo via iTunes

    Photo via iTunes

  2. Cat Fishing—Feed your cats’ senses with this interactive game! Use your paw (or finger) to catch the fish swimming in the ocean. Can you catch the fish quicker than your kitty? Free for iPhone and Android.
  3. Catbook—Cats are already taking over the internet, why not let your cat participate in its own social community? Over one million cat lovers share photos, make friends, and update statuses to this online social network for cats. Free for iPhone. 
  4. PetSnap—Are you having trouble taking photos of your kitty? This app is great for both cats and dogs and has 32 sounds that are designed to capture your pets’ attention! Other features include the ability to zoom and the option to add photo frames. $1.99 for iPhone.

    Photo via techhive.com

    Photo via techhive.com

  5. Paint for Cats—An app that brings out the creativity in your kitty! Your cat simply chases the mouse on the screen and creates a masterpiece while doing so. You can even share your cat’s paintings to Facebook to share the artwork with your friends. $1.99 for iPhone.
  6. Dosecast—A medication reminder designed for both humans and pets that allows you to compile lists of medication that include details such as dosages, photos and other specifics (take with food, etc.) and set reminder for each. For those with pets on strict medication schedules, this app could be very helpful! Free for iPhone and Android.
  7. Catgame—Does your cat have an obsession with laser pointers? This app allows you to sit back and watch your cat play with a little red dot bouncing around your smartphone screen. Catgame is a great alternative for cats that wildly knock over everything in their path in attempt to “catch” the traditional laser pointer light. Free for iPhone and Android.photo via iTunes
  8. Paw Me Lite—A truly unique app designed with options for humans to play against their cats, cats to play against their kitty friends, or humans to play against other humans. Paw Me has animated backgrounds, natural sounds, and ways to make the game interesting with a variety of levels or player specifics (such as multiplayer or single player). Free for iPhone or Android.
  9. Cat Clicker Training—Interested in training your cat using the highly successful clicker training method? This app gives step-by-step instructions to make training easier. $0.99 for iPhone.

    Photo via kittyo.com

  10. Kittyo—This Kickstarter funded product is more than just an app; it allows you to interact with your cat while you are away. Kittyo lets you record video, control a laser pointer, dispense treats, and speak to your feline friend via remote, from anywhere that has WiFi. This newly released product will be ready to ship by early 2015. The app is free for iPhone and Android and the actual product cost is $179 (preorder). 

These apps will help you find new ways to entertain, train, and keep up with your feline friends’ social status. If your cat doesn’t seem interested right away, try using your fingers to show how the games work. Ease your cat into these apps to help them get comfortable and engaged. Also, try turning off the lights or use a tablet to help them focus on the game.

Want to learn more about your cat? Read these 41 facts that you probably don’t know about your cat. 

Top Hotels and Tips For Traveling with Four-Legged Friends this Holiday Season

MinzyWith the busy holiday travel season fast approaching, we want to share our picks for the top pet-friendly hotels where Fido and Fluffy will be welcomed with open arms. In addition, we want to offer tips for making travel with your furry friend a bit more bearable this time of year.

“Traveling with pets can be as stressful as traveling with kids,” said Dr. Kerri Marshall, Chief Veterinary Officer at Trupanion. “It’s important to do your research before you book and make sure to talk with the hotel ahead of time to understand what ‘Pet Friendly’ means to them. If including pets on your vacation is important to you then find a hotel that caters to your animals, meaning: large grassy areas for dog walks, or extra services like luxurious pet beds, treats or pet sitting services.”

Trupanion’s picks for the top pet friendly hotels include:

Stella’s Story, from the Streets to the Sky

Stella - XXX - Image 1 (small) “Stella came to us at 8 weeks old. She and six other puppies were born in the back of a car en route to a dog rescue. We fell in love with her the minute we found her online. She was full of energy. Since her mother was living on the streets and only four of the pups survived, we immediately looked into medical insurance to give Stella the best chances for whatever might come. We picked Trupanion.

Canine Atopic Dermatitis: Diagnosis and Treatment

Allergies are just as common in dogs as they are in the humans, and can cause your loyal companion quite a bit of suffering. Canine atopic dermatitis is also a type of allergy that is often caused by airborne allergens even though the symptoms show up on the pet’s skin. It is one of the top 10 conditions when you must take your dog to a vet. This article explains proper diagnosis and treatment of this allergy in an elaborative manner. Let’s begin.

What is canine atopic dermatitis?

Canine atopic dermatitis is a common skin problem in which there is an inherited tendency to develop excessive IgE antibodies in response to exposure to various allergens like dust mites or pollen that are inhaled or absorbed by your dog through his skin. This common skin allergy is second only to flea allergy dermatitis in frequency, and it affects about 10% of dogs. Most dogs begin to show the allergic sign of this disease between one and three years of age. Owing to hereditary nature of this disease, several dog breeds, including Irish setters, most terriers, golden retrievers, Lhasa apsos, bulldogs, Dalmatians and Old English sheep dogs are more commonly  susceptible, whereas many dogs, including mixed breed dogs can also experience atopic dermatitis.

Generally atopic animals will lick, rub, bite, chew, or scratch at their muzzle, feet, ears, groin or armpits, causing hair loss, and thickening and reddening of the skin. Over the time, the scratched skin can develop hot spots which are raw, inflamed areas that may become infected. Once a dog develops atopy, he usually suffers more and more each year, as his skin becomes more sensitive over time. These problems include allergens in food, airborne allergens (pollens, etc.), allergens from parasites (fleas, etc.), as well as yeast or bacterial infections of the skin. Eliminating these problems may allow your dog’s itchiness to go away. Hence, it is quite important to treat other problems that could be making your dog itch while dealing with this allergy.

Diagnosis for canine atopic dermatitis

Diagnosis of the canine atopic dermatitis is based upon the results of intra-dermal testing and/or in-vitro testing of the dog’s blood.

Treatment for canine atopic dermatitis

  1. Avoidance of the allergens: This way of treatment is helpful for allergies caused by house dust mites. Various pollen exposures can be minimized by using air filters and air-conditioning. You can also avoid taking your pet outside in the early morning and late afternoon. Further, wiping down with moist cloths after going outside and frequent bathing can also help in avoiding allergens.
  2. Antihistamines: This medication for canine atopic dermatitis works in 20% of atopic pets and your pet can take antihistamines medication for its whole life. The main side effect of this medication is drowsiness. In addition to this, topical antihistamines for the eyes are helpful in pets with eye allergies (also called itchy conjunctivitis).
  3. Steroids (cortisone, prednisone, triamcinolone, etc.): Oral steroids have many potential side effects, therefore, these are reserved for only adult dogs, those with short, seasonal problems, or where other medications and therapies are not effective. Generally, the treatment of the dog is started at one dose and then it is tapered off to every-other-day usage.
  4. Cyclosporine (Neoral): This is an immunosuppressive agent that can be used at low doses in order to treat allergies successfully in about 60% of pets. Gastrointestinal upset is the major short-term side effect of this treatment. With this treatment, long-term safety is not completely known.
  5. Tacrolimus (Protopic ointment): This cyclosporine drug is quite useful for treating localized, itchy areas in atopic dermatitis. It is applied one or two times a day at first, and then frequency of this treatment is reduced.
  6. Fatty acid supplements: There are some oils that can reduce allergic symptoms in some pets. This treatment includes fish oil capsules in conjunction with a low-fat diet. This therapy of canine atopic dermatitis can help improve response to antihistamine therapy.
  7. Bathing: Dog’s atopic skin is quite sensitive and subject to drying, therefore, specially designed hypoallergenic shampoos should be used on the allergic dog. Thorough rinsing is required, and it should be followed with a hypoallergenic cream which is rinsed or sprayed to re-moisturize the skin after every bath.

Coonhound Pup Gets a New Start in Life

Boone Dog - XXX - Image 1 (small)“We have four dogs covered by Trupanion and last year I almost canceled our policies. Fortunately I listened to a Trupanion associate and kept the insurance. Not long after, we found our newest fur baby, Boone Dog, paralyzed in our backyard without any forewarning. We were told that night that he had myleopathy and a collapsed congenital disc. He was on a ventilator that week and was in horrible shape.

No one expects this. You don’t get a puppy thinking that you will be facing two weeks of life-saving vet care and a $21,000 vet bill…but that’s where we were. We would have not been able to afford or support Boone the way we needed to without the help of Trupanion and our veterinarian. I called Trupanion crying my eyes out, needing support, and there was not one time I didn’t get the support that I needed. Trupanion stepped in to work with our veterinarian so we did not have to worry about the overwhelming financial stress.