Pet Poisoning Rises During Christmas Season

Pet poisoning increases during the Christmas season possibly because of all the seasonal food left out that upsets the animal’s tummies, a British insurer says.

An analysis of 650,000 claims by John Lewis Pet Insurance says slips on ice, sharp pine needles and eating something they shouldn’t prove that Christmas “can be a treacherous time for cats and dogs.”

The carrier says that for three years in a row, December has seen more claims than any other
month in the same year—and insurers believe a major cause might be families leaving Christmas food within the reach of their pet.

While accidents, injuries, wounds and fractures featured top of the list of injuries last December—as they do most months— poisoning (defined as any damaging ingestion of food stuffs) significantly increased during the festive period.

Incidents of poisoning in December 2011 were 91 percent higher than the monthly average for that year. In 2010, the number of poisonings in December was 90 percent higher than the monthly average and 75 percent higher in December 2009 than the monthly average for that year.

“Domestic animals have very different dietary requirements from humans,” notes Keith Bibby, head of marketing at John Lewis Insurance. “A tasty treat, such as Christmas pudding or chocolate coins, could harm a cat or dog. Pet owners need to ensure these things are kept away from animals this Christmas.

“Pet owners should also pay close attention to their pets around Christmas decorations and presents as even the smallest of items can lead to injury whether they chose to ingest or step on them,” says Bibby.

Pet insurance, he notes, provides coverage for veterinary bills in the event a pet suffers an accident or becomes ill.

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