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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!

Canadian Shelter Dog Trained to Detect Fires

Photo via: Global News Canada

Photo via: Global News Canada

What do you do when you need a working pet? You may be surprised to learn that not all working pets and service animals are purebred. This is a story of an Edmonton shelter dog that got a second chance.

Deputy Chief Bill McGovern Jr. with the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control was searching for a dog with a good attitude and a sense of play to join his team. Grover is a year-old Jack Russell-bloodhound-lab mix that was taken to a shelter after his owners abandoned him in an outdoor kennel. Shelter manager Kerrie Colin said that she knew Grover had a great amount of energy and required a lot of attention. Grover, a lab mix from the Animal Shelter of Schoharie County was just the dog that Chief McGovern was looking for.

“We lucked out and I guess it was fate for Grover. Grover wanted to please and always looked for direction,” said Colin. “He loved his toys, so I knew training him would be easier for them.”

Grover completed an eight-week program through the State Academy of Fire Science and is now trained in fire accelerant detection. Grover has taken his position under Captain Murray Steedsman of the City of Edmonton, Alberta Fire Department as his partner.

All pets deserve a happy life, and we are happy to see that Grover got his second chance in an important role at the fire department. Here at Trupanion, we love hearing stories of pets doing amazing things–and we know Grover is destined to become a hero! Working pets provide a great service to their owners and community. (Did you know that we offer dog insurance for working dogs?) We believe all pets should receive coverage to protect against the unexpected.

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7 Alternatives to the “Cone of Shame”

Dug and Cone

Photo via: Darbys Daily Blog

Pets are notorious for irritating their wounds and injured areas. It is instinctive for them to bite, scratch, and lick injured body parts and cause problems with a healing area. Is the best solution to reward the animal with an uncomfortable and clumsy plastic cone?

We’ve all seen cone-wearing canines run into walls, struggle to eat, and do everything in their ability to remove the plastic barrier. The Elizabethan collar (or the plastic cone) eliminates the animal’s peripheral vision and can cause several accidents. The plastic material can rub against the skin, causing painful rashes. There must be some alternatives to the plastic cone that can help keep your furry friend happy while healing. Below are some options other than the cone that can keep our pets (and us) at ease during the healing process. Continue reading “7 Alternatives to the “Cone of Shame”” »

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Detecting When Your Pet is Sick or Injured

Detecting When Your Pet is Sick or InjuredWhile some illness or injuries may be obvious to the naked eye, there are many conditions that can be difficult to detect. Abnormal behaviors can be a strong indicator of impending health trouble. Knowing what to look for can help you determine if the signs are serious and when you need to seek help for your pet.

Survival of the Fittest
The ease in which you can detect illness or injury in your pet is largely dependent on what type of pet you have. Prey animals, such as birds, reptiles and rodents, are especially good at hiding symptoms. In the animal kingdom, sick or hurt animals are an easy food source for predators. Masking is a survival mechanism. Dogs and cats will also sometimes conceal symptoms for this same reason.

Continue reading “Detecting When Your Pet is Sick or Injured” »

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A Shepherd’s Pet Insurance Story In His Own Words

Finnegan - Leslie Metcalf - Image 1 (small)

I hurt my knee playing with my little sister, Meggie, and had to have ACL surgery. It’s been two weeks since my surgery and I’m doing really well. I would love to play with Meggie now, but Mommy says I can’t yet.

She is SO happy that I am healing well and SO, SO, SO very happy that we have Trupanion. The people at Trupanion made sure that all my medical bills were taken care of so that Mommy could concentrate only on me getting better. Mommy got the insurance check in less than a week after I was in the hospital! Meggie and I both have Trupanion and Mommy says she wishes that she could get Trupanion for her and Daddy. I hope I don’t need insurance again, but it is really nice to know that I have it if I do!

Thanks Trupanion!

Sparta, North Carolina

Enrolled: May 2013
Condition: Torn ACL
Total paid: $3,059.17

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Trupanion Reviews – Week of 5/30

@Trupanion  my rating ★★★★★5Stars and a HIGH 5 with a PAWS. I want to hug ((((@Trupanion)))). -@jonathanpace

Just wanted to say how much Trupanion has helped my Taycie! So thankful that I started a policy on her as a puppy and Trupanion has been fantastic with all of our claims. I just submitted a claim yesterday morning and 3 hours later it had already processed and been a claim reimbursement will once again be sent our way.
Taycie and I can’t thank everyone at Trupanion for everything you have done for her thus far in her short little life! I am so happy I can provide her with all the care she deserves:-) -Emily N.


I’m a little surprised to see the few recent concerns about Trupanion’s rates. Not only did you happily insure my adopted 10 YEAR old dog (with no medical history available) but you have come through for us quickly and professionally when we have filed our claims. Good customer service is worth paying for and you certainly have it. Not to mention that most companies don’t offer 90% back so lower premiums don’t necessarily mean more savings overall. On behalf of now 11.5 year old Tux and 9 year old cat Kermit, “Thank you”! -Lisa W.

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Large Breed Puppy Food vs. Adult Dog Food

Photo via:

Photo via:

Puppies differ in several ways including color, size, age, and personality. One thing puppies of all breeds have in common is that they need a balanced diet in order to grow to be a healthy adult dog. The type of breed can help determine how the puppy will grow. For example, a Mastiff puppy will need a different diet than a young Chihuahua because their puppy growth rate varies by breed.

As you can see, it is very important to choose puppy food based on your dog’s size and breed.

One distinguishing feature of puppy food is the amount of protein it contains. Puppies need more protein than adult dogs because their bodies grow quickly. Calories are also higher in puppy food to help keep up with the high energy level that they have. However, an excessive amount of these nutrients could lead to medical problems down the road.

It is also important to make sure your puppy is maintaining a healthy weight. Underweight puppies are at risk for not fully developing. Overweight puppies have a greater risk for becoming an overweight adult dog, which makes them more susceptible to certain diseases.

When determining the right food for your puppy, it is important to consult with a veterinarian to determine a balanced diet for your growing dog.

How do you choose the right food for your puppy?

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Arthritis in Dogs

golden retriever old dog stairs pet insurance TrupanionArthritis is a degenerative medical condition experienced by dogs in one or more joints. It is a painful condition that makes the life of a canine miserable over time. A study shows that 20% of canines suffer from arthritis in their lives. Arthritis degenerates the limbs, and this is evident as the dog ages.

All dogs – young and old are susceptible. Some large-breed dogs are more affected than small dogs. Other causes:

  1. A joint condition such as infection, dislocation, fracture or cartilage damage can lead to arthritis.
  2. Injury to ligaments or tendons puts the animal at higher risk of arthritis.
  3. Inherited medical conditions such as hip dysplasia increase the risk of developing arthritis and should be monitored regularly.
  4. Overweight or obesity puts a lot of heaviness on the joints and may lead to arthritis.

Continue reading “Arthritis in Dogs” »

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Tips for Introducing Dogs to Cats

Since not all animals want to be friends with each other, the internet may have given us a false expectation of the potential for animal friendships with pictures cheetahs and golden retrievers cuddling up with their pals. We all know either from personal experience or from the videos about cats stealing dog beds that not all pets will get along, but we can help them ease their transition into making new friends with steady training and calm reassurance.

Credit: By Petteri Sulonen from Helsinki, Finland (Cats and Dogs) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Credit: By Petteri Sulonen from Helsinki, Finland (Cats and Dogs) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Here are some things that may help you introduce your dog to your cat with more ease.

Continue reading “Tips for Introducing Dogs to Cats” »

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4 Great Ideas That Keep Your Dogs Fit and Fun

Photo via Flickr user robertszlivka

Photo via Flickr user robertszlivka

Dog parents have to work; it is an unfortunate fact of life. Many dogs are left to their own devices at home while some parents have to work a 12 to 14 hour day. What can the dog do to keep from being bored other than to get into mischief? Keeping him in a crate all day long is definitely not the answer. All dogs need to be active to stay healthy. Here are some great ways to keep your dogs fit and fun.

Food Puzzles
Food puzzles are toys that your dog can play with and find food as a reward. Research suggests that dogs would prefer food that requires a little work. Another way is to hide his food bowl in the house and let him go find it. Alternatively, toss a bowl of kibble in the back yard and release the dog to go “hunting”. This may seem cruel, but dogs love the stimulation.

Continue reading “4 Great Ideas That Keep Your Dogs Fit and Fun” »

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Pet Insurance Claim of the Week: Marijuana Brownie Ingestion

Millie the 12-year-old Sheltie, like many other dogs, has a taste for human treats and baked goods. Her curious nose unfortunately got her into double trouble when she ate some marijuana brownies. These are bad for pets for two reasons: the chocolate, and the marijuana.

Chocolate contains chemicals including theobromine and caffeine, which are tolerable by humans, yet poisonous to pets. The results of consuming chocolate are similar to that of ingesting any other type of poison, which include vomiting, diarrhea, and restlessness. Marijuana ingestion can cause vomiting, depression, and in serious cases, coma. For both substances, pets should receive immediate veterinary care. (By the way, it’s okay to be honest with your veterinarian about what your pet got into. They just want to help your pet!)

Millie’s pre-approval form outlines treatment including IV fluids, monitoring, and a chemistry panel (diagnostic). The claim was approved and her veterinarian will go ahead and provide the necessary treatment depending on the severity of the situation. We hope that it is mild and that she has a quick recovery!

Total claim amount: $1,881.00
Deductible applied: -$250.00
Ineligible costs (exam fee): -$195.00
10% co-insurance: -$143.60
Eligible for coverage: $1,292.40

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