Petplan Pet Insurance Warns Festive Feasting can Turn ‘Fowl’ for Furry Family Members

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America’s No. 1 pet insurance provider reports dramatic rise in pancreatitis claims over Thanksgiving weekend.

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What we consider comfort foods can actually be quite the opposite for our pets.

Gathering the family around the table to indulge in our favorite comfort foods is an annual Thanksgiving tradition – but according to No. 1 rated Petplan pet insurance, four-legged family members may not thank you for including them in the feasting. According to claims data from Petplan, incidents of unexpected food-related illnesses in pets spike over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend: in fact, in 2010, pancreatitis claims shot up by 78% and general gastroenteritis claims rose by 27%.

Offer too much rich food, and your pet’s tummy may not be the only thing left hurting – Petplan reports that veterinary treatment for gastroenteritis averages $416 per incident in 2011, with some claims topping $6,764. Pancreatitis can pile even more on your plate, averaging nearly $900 and even exceeding $9,130 – all tough numbers to swallow.

“What we consider comfort foods can actually be quite the opposite for our pets,” says Dr. Jules Benson, Vice President of Veterinary Services at Petplan. “Because most pets are accustomed to simplicity in their diet, a sudden ‘feast’ of roast turkey and all the trimmings can cause stomach upset and, in many cases, illnesses like pancreatitis, a serious and painful medical condition. Your pets will be just as thankful for their regular food and a few vet-approved treats.”

To help keep your family feast from turning “fowl,” Petplan offers a few simple tips:

  •     Scrap the table scraps: Offering pets leftovers like turkey bones, gravy and rich side dishes can wreak havoc on your family’s post-holiday relaxation. When it comes to mealtimes and treats at Thanksgiving, or any time of year, consistency and moderation are the orders of the day.
  •     Ban the bones: You may think your furry friend would enjoy gnawing on a turkey bone, but soft bones, like those in poultry, can splinter and cause obstructions in your pet’s digestive system. Resist the urge to throw Fluffy or Fido a bone, and be sure to tie up and take out the trash promptly.
  •     Avoid perilous plants: Don’t let your centerpiece selection spoil dinner. Thanksgiving or Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) can cause mild vomiting and diarrhea in pets, while the Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) can cause irritation, shock and organ damage if ingested in high amounts. Pick plants and flowers carefully to ensure they won’t present problems for curious pets.

Looking for something you can safely offer furry friends as a special holiday treat? Petplan’s veterinary experts have made it easy for pet parents to whip up a pet-friendly Thanksgiving feast – including Quiche Bites (appetizer), Turkey Meatballs (entrée) and Pumpkin Smoothies (dessert). Find these and other healthy, vet-authored recipes on Petplan’s “Vets for Pets” blog.

For more information on keeping your pet in healthy holiday shape all year round, visit

Top-rated pet insurance provider, Petplan, is the only pet insurance company to have been included on Inc. Magazine’s list of 500 fastest-growing, privately held companies in America. Petplan’s fully customizable dog insurance and cat insurance policies provide coverage for all hereditary and congenital conditions for the life of the pet as standard, and meet the coverage requirements and budget for pets of all/any age. Petplan pet insurance policies are underwritten by AGCS Marine Insurance Company in the U.S. and by Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company in Canada. The Allianz Group is rated A+ by A.M. Best (2011). For information, about Petplan pet insurance, visit, read the Petplan Pet Insurance Blog, or call 1-866-467-3875.

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Michelle Hunt
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