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Start your New Year on the right paw with these tips for keeping pets happy and healthy in 2014!

NEW IN 2014! Downloadable Tip Sheets - Want help keeping your best friend healthy in 2014? Bookmark this page for a monthly tip sheet full of advice and information for keeping furry friends fit. From ear care to hot weather hazards, we'll cover it all! This month's tip is all about conjunctivitis — causes, costs and tips for keeping your pet's optical health optimal. Check it out!

Go the Extra Mile - January is Walk Your Pet Month, but walking in a winter wonderland poses hazards for pets and parents alike. Thin ice and slippery slopes put pets at risk of accidental drowning and injuries, while cold temperatures add the danger of hypothermia. Follow these winter pet care tips to protect your walking buddies from wicked weather.

Prepare and Prevent - Check-ups aren’t just for your car this January — they’re also critical to your pet’s health. Annual physical exams for your pet (twice a year for those over age 7) can extend the life of your best friend by helping your vet spot subtle signs of sickness (especially in cats) before they become life-threatening. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Tough Facts to Swallow - Just how much antifreeze would it take to kill your pet? For a 10 lb. dog, as little as one fluid ounce – and the amount is even less for cats (as little as 1/4 fluid ounce). Antifreeze is dangerous for pets because it contains ethylene glycol, which affects pets like alcohol. Found a spill? Soak up the liquid with kitty litter, dispose of the mixture and cleanse the area with water thoroughly.

Vets for Pets

(expert blogs to boost your pet prowess!)

Shedding Light - Discover how dog hair can help diagnose disease in this new Vets for Pets blog from Dr. Ernie Ward.

Calling the Shots - Are we over-vaccinating our pets? Veterinarian Kim Smyth takes a closer look at the controversy around annual vaccines.

Fat Chance - According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 54% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese. Perform this basic three-step check from Dr. Rebecca Jackson to see if your pooch is pudgy.

Hello, Canada! - Canadian pets just made a new best friend! Petplan is proud to announce we have recently opened our new Canadian headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to better serve our furry friends in the north, making Petplan the most comprehensive coverage available in the nation. Learn more about Petplan in Canada in the Petplan Press Room.

2014 Veterinary Award Finalists - Roll out the red carpet … the finalists for the 2014 Petplan Veterinary Awards have been announced! Chosen from a record 3,100 nominations submitted nationwide, the 12 finalists include:

Practice of the Year: Animal Hospital of North Asheville, Asheville, NC; The Drake Center for Veterinary Care, Encinitas, CA; and Rau Animal Hospital, Glenside, PA.

Veterinarian of the Year: Dr. David Lambert, Quinebaug Valley Veterinary Hospital, Danielson, CT; Dr. Kim Slensky, HOPE Veterinary Specialists, Malvern, PA; and Dr. Christopher Yach, West Flamingo Animal Hospital, Las Vegas, NV.

Practice Manager of the Year: Jessica Hicks, Village Animal Hospital, Lexington, KY; Kristen Hoffman, Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Clinic (VSEC), Levittown, PA; and Josh Lanting, Alicia Pet Care Center, Mission Viejo, CA.

Veterinary Technician of the Year: Megan Brashear, Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital, Portland, OR; Maria Delavogias, West Hollywood Animal Hospital, West Hollywood, CA; and Kristy Gush, County Line Veterinary Hospital, Marlton, NJ.

The winners will be announced on February 16 at Petplan’s 2014 Veterinary Awards Dinner at Charlie Palmer Steak in the Four Seasons Las Vegas, held in concert with the 86th annual Western Veterinary Conference.

This past November, Petplan launched a campaign on Facebook to bring increased awareness to pet cancer - and the amazing organizations helping to put a stop to “the Big C” in best friends. Thanks to the support we received from nearly 1,000 fans, Petplan is proud to announce we have donated $1,000 to Morris Animal Foundation, a global leader in animal health science, to fight pet cancer and improve pet health through their Canine Lifetime Health Project. A special thanks to everyone who pawticipated and made this donation possible!

Cuddle Up - Give pets a cozy place to relax in the New Year with a convertible Snuggle Bed, which can be molded into a variety of shapes and uses.

Sweater Weather
- Celebrate Dress Up Your Pet Day on January 14 with this Aspen Knit Sweater, which pairs fashion and function for chilly winter walks.

Pawty On - Flash sophisticated style to canine pals at the dog park with a Life of the Party Collar that speaks to Fido’s fun personality.

Help us get to know our Canadian family! Post a picture of your furry family members on our Facebook page and tell us what makes them special!

The Name Game - Vetstreet.com recently released their annual list of the most popular kitten and puppy names for 2013. Did your pet’s name make the list?

Pick Me Up - A new study shows that companionship with pets helps cure loneliness in seniors and enhance their quality of life. How has life with a furry best friend made a difference for you? Visit us on Facebook and tell us your story.

Ticket to Ride - January 2 is Pet Travel Safety Day. In many states, transporting an unrestrained pet can trigger a hefty fine, not to mention pose a risk for pets and passengers alike. Follow these rules of the road for a safer ride for all.

Treat Smarter in 2014 - What’s one of the easiest ways to help your pets stick to their New Year's resolution? “Treat” them smarter! Swap their sugar-filled commercial snacks with these natural, healthy alternatives from Dr. Ernie Ward:

Baby carrots 2-3 calories per carrot
Stringless sugar snap peas 2 calories per pea
Cucumber 1 calorie per 1/4" slice
Asparagus 3-5 calories per spear
Celery 6 calories per 7-8" stalk
Blueberries 31 calories per cup

Remember to keep treats to less than 10 percent of your pet's daily caloric intake to maintain a healthy diet.

Info from Dr. Ernie Ward’s Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs are Getting Fatter - A Vet's Plan to Save Their Lives (2010 HCI). Check with your veterinarian before trying a new recipe for your pet, to ensure your efforts – and your furry friends! – are appropriately rewarded. For more inspiring ideas, click here.

January 24 is Change a Pet’s Life Day. For a chance to win a $25 AMEX gift card, e-mail us at socialmedia@gopetplan.ca and tell us how you’ve changed the life of a pet – or how a best friend has changed yours. Feel free to include a picture!

The information contained in this website is for illustrative purposes only and coverage under any pet insurance policy is expressly subject to the conditions, restrictions, limitations, exclusions and terms of the policy documentation issued by the insurer. Availability of this program is subject to approval and coverage may vary by state. Pet insurance policies are issued by Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company and administered by Fetch Insurance Services, d/b/a Petplan. Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company, a member of the Allianz Group, is rated A+ by A.M. Best (2013). For more information, visit GoPetplan.ca.

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