CATS CONTINUE to get a fraction of the veterinary care dogs do, according to a study of more than 5 million pet health insurance claims by Nationwide. Working with economists at the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, Nationwide found that from 2009 to 2014, the monetary value of actual claims for common canine treatments fell 2.1 percent, while cat care claims costs fell 6 percent. The average claim for a dog or cat puts the disparity in a sharper light. In all four geographic regions, pet owners spent roughly half as much on a cat's veterinary visit as they did on an average visit for a dog.

* It's all too tempting to give your pet a taste of this and a sample of that during the holidays, but certain foods or ingredients should never pass his lips. You probably know that chocolate is a no-no, especially the dark variety, but other foods that can be toxic to your pet include macadamia nuts; baked goods or other foods, such as peanut butter, that contain xylitol, a type of sweetener that can cause fatal kidney damage; raisins and alcohol (that means no slipping Fido any of Grandma's fruitcake!); grapes; and anything containing onions.

* Is your dog's tail drooping after a cold bath, a swim in a frigid lake or an extended period of strenuous wagging? He may have a condition known variously as cold tail, dead tail and broken wag. Seen mostly in hunting dogs, the painful but generally harmless syndrome results in a limp tail that the dog is unable to extend. Fortunately, it usually returns to normal within a few days. Your veterinarian may prescribe pain medication or an anti-inflammatory drug to help him recover.