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Trupanion Blog

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

Antifreeze Poisoning in Dogs & Cats

Prevent antifreeze poisoning in dogs and catsIt is best to keep the story about antifreeze poisoning simple—put simply, it kills.

Prevention is key

Antifreeze, specifically ethylene glycol, is a highly toxic substance that smells and tastes sweet to pets and can cause serious, sometimes fatal health problems in both cats and dogs. If you use it in your own car, look for antifreeze formulated with other forms of glycol—like propylene glycol—and always keep it out of reach of your pets in sealed containers.

My Time Volunteering at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Each employee at Trupanion receives one paid day off to volunteer at a non-profit organization of their choice. Last year our employees volunteered over 300 hours toward organizations like Seattle Humane Society, PAWS, Pasado’s Safe Haven, Seattle Aquarium, food banks, senior centers, and the Washington Trails Association. This benefit is a part of our larger philanthropic program we call TruGiving.

This past October Jamie Kelley, an IT Operation Specialist here at Trupanion, used her paid day off to volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UT with her husband. This entry is the journal she kept while there.


Pet Safe Cleaning Hacks Just in Time for Your Holiday Party

Four Pet Safe Cleaning Hacks Just in Time for Your Holiday PartyWith the holiday season upon us, many people will be preparing and cleaning their homes in preparation for an influx of family and friends. However, as you break out the cleaning supplies for your winter deep clean, it is important to keep the safety of your furry friends in mind. Whether you are renting a home in a pet-friendly city like Seattle, Washington, or own your home. The following natural cleaning and pest prevention home remedies are a great alternative to toxic cleaning products.

White vinegar cleaner. Did Fido have an accident on the floor moments before your New Year’s guests were set to arrive? Before you reach for the chemicals, check to see if you have any white vinegar laying around. You can make a highly effective all-purpose cleaner with just a half cup of vinegar and water. Oh, and that same mixture can also unclog drains, and remove soap scum.

Baking Soda, the quick and easy deodorizer. Were you able to clean the carpet but are worried about a pet smell? Happen to have a box of baking soda laying around? Believe it or not this simple, cheap ingredient found in most households for cooking purposes, (or hanging out in your fridge as a deodorizer) can also remove smells from your carpet in minutes.  Just sprinkle lightly on the offending area, wait 15 seconds and then vacuum up.

Citrus for pest control. As the weather cools down, you may notice more critters in and around your home. Looking for a way to make sure that pests like mice and spiders aren’t getting in? Most rodents and insects hate strong smells. Although there are many scents that would fall under that category, citrus is a relatively pet-friendly deterrent. Citrus oil can be toxic to cats and dogs when ingested in large amounts, so watch to make sure it doesn’t become a regular snack. Place a few drops of any kind of citrus oil in areas of your home that attract pests. The scent will deter even the most persistent animals and as an added bonus, make your house smell fresh and clean. (Just don’t forget to reapply!)

Olive oil as a furniture polish and wood cleaner. Believe it or not, a simple combination of that trusty white wine vinegar and olive oil can make a highly effective furniture polish. Combine one part vinegar to 3 parts vinegar, locate a soft cloth and polish away. For wood items, switch out the vinegar for lemon juice and follow the same procedure. Just be careful when using it on wood floors, as olive oil can leave a slippery residue.

It is worth noting that there are also plenty of specifically manufactured, pet-safe products, out there, which will achieve similar results. However before you reach for those or the bleach, take a look around for some white vinegar, baking soda and olive oil. Chances are, you already have some great pet-safe cleaning tools in your home.  Which, in some cases, may work even better than their noxious alternatives.

About the Author: Hannah Goodman writes about real estate, home improvement, and design for Trulia and other partners.

13 Veterinarian-Recommended Gift Ideas for Dog Lovers & Cat Parents!

The Ultimate Pet Gift Guide for the Holidays by Denise Petryk, DVM

We weren’t surprised to hear that 95% of pet owners surveyed in a recent Rover.com survey get Christmas gifts for their pets. For many of us, pets are part of the family and we want to make them feel special. They certainly deserve a gift, considering how successful they are at helping us relax, lowering our blood pressure and giving us a better sense of well-being. It only seems fair that we take the time to spoil them.

The following are my favorite gifts for dog lovers and cat enthusiasts, including suggestions that will help your beloved companion stay healthy and live better life:

Cat and Dog Gifts with Brains and Brawn


  • cat giftsBrain-Teasing Toys: These toys keep your pet occupied and entertained, which makes for a happy animal. These are a great way to help stimulate your pet’s mind and alleviate boredom.


  • Active Toys: These can range from a new tennis ball or mouse toy to a backyard agility set. Toys that keep you and your pet active are great for the whole family and help to keep your pet healthy.


Pet Food Gift Ideas

gifts for dog lovers

  • Slow-Eating Bowls: For the dog or cat that always gulps and eats way too fast, research slow eating bowls. There are many types that range from bowls that look like they have bumps in them to mazes to actual eating games. They will entertain your pet and help them eat at a safer pace.


  • A Drinking Fountain: This is ideal to encourage your cat and dog to drink more. Many cats prefer running water. Just like us, they should likely drink more water every day.


Pet Accessory Gift Ideas

A new pet bed

  • An Embroidered Collar, New ID Tag, and Microchip: That way you know they can always find their way home. Pick a design that will look great on your pet!


  • A New Bed: Treat your pet to a new soft bed that helps them with arthritis or keeps them warm in the winter. There are a number of fancy pet beds fit for a king or queen.


  • Pet Furniture: Window seats, scratching posts, cat trees and cozy kennels keep your pet entertained and comfortable!


Pet Health Gift Ideas


  • Trupanion pet tagMedical Coverage for your pet: A must-have for every responsible pet owner, this will help your pet get the best care and treatment, giving you invaluable peace of mind no matter the time of year.


  • A Thundershirt: This wrap is designed to help comfort your pet during anxious situations, such as storms, trips to the veterinarian, car rides (especially for cats), and fireworks.


Pet Grooming Gift Ideas


  • Pet grooming giftsGrooming accessories: Look for a FURminator de-shedding tool, dog or cat brushes, high quality clippers (example: Wahl Arco Cordless), and sharp toe-nail clippers or a dremel. A trip to the pet spa or groomer is a great way to pamper your pet and keep them in top condition.


  • Tooth Care and Treats: Your pet’s dental health is important and you can stuff their stocking with anything from dental chews to a new tasty pet-friendly toothpaste—they even have chicken flavor!


The Best Gift of All: Your Time and Companionship

If you have the resources and space in your home, why not consider rescuing another dog or cat?  There is great statistical evidence to show that cats are healthier if they have a canine companion (especially if they are raised with a dog). Although there is no good study to prove dogs are happier whether with a cat or with another dog, I think my family of two dogs and three cats all seem to enjoy each other’s company and certainly keep me entertained as they interact with each other. Far too many healthy dogs and cats—purebred and mixed breed—need homes. Giving a pet a great forever home is the best gift you can give.

  • Time to Train: Teach them the basics like sit, stay, come, wait, and also take the time to socialize your pet so they are comfortable in new situations and with touch. That way, they can be quiet and comfortable anywhere they go—including the vet’s office. When your pet is able to sit still for an exam and allow their eyes, ears, mouth, feet, toenails, nose, and tail to be handled, they can receive the most thorough examinations and treatment.


  • Time to Provide Great Care: Take your pet to the groomer, the veterinarian, and to regular socialization opportunities, and for regular exercise (including your cat!). Give the gift of great health by developing a relationship with a veterinarian that you know and trust so you can get great personalized advice for your pet.

Some of my warmest Christmas memories of the past involve my dear Cairn Terrier rescue cross named Foster. He loved, absolutely loved tearing open gifts, no matter who they belonged to. His gifts were standard dog gifts like dog cookies, a new chew toy, or a new soft teddy bear, but the most important thing I ever gave Foster was time. Time every day for a walk or a vigorous session of fetch in the yard, time for a good grooming and toe nail trim, and time to go for a car ride to the beach—and in his final days, time to take him to veterinary specialists when he developed cancer.

Taking great care of a pet takes a lot of time, so my #1 gift I hope you give your pet this Christmas and beyond is time! Whether you have a new puppy, kitten or a new rescue pet of any age, take the time to do the following:

Do you have any other great pet gift suggestions? Leave them in the comments below to share with other pet owners!

Eight Questions to Ask Yourself Before Bringing Home a Puppy this Holiday Season

new puppy at ChristmasWhat could be a greater gift than a puppy on Christmas Day? Seeing a bundle of fur clambering out from behind the tree has to be the ultimate present. Many pet owners bring their new puppy home around the holidays but not all are prepared to bring home a pet. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that a puppy is a lifetime commitment.

Trupanion’s veterinary consultant, Denise Petryk, DVM, shared eight questions a potential dog owner should ask before bringing home a puppy this holiday season.

1. Was the whole family involved with this decision?

Make sure the whole household is aware and agrees with the idea  of buying or adopting a pet. When you bring home a puppy, you are committing to care for them throughout their lifetime. While a puppy is adorable and cuddly, it will soon grow so make sure you’re prepared to care for that dog throughout its life. Having a dog may impact your lifestyle and can be both difficult and rewarding at the same time. Be realistic and make sure everyone knows what to expect.