Talking Turkey: Petplan Pet Insurance Sees Spike in Treatment Costs for Furry Family Members Over Thanksgiving Weekend

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America’s best-loved pet insurance provider dishes tips to help prevent Turkey Day pet health hazards.

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The higher costs could reflect a few different factors. Many vet hospitals limit their hours or close entirely for the holiday weekend, which means ailing pets must visit the emergency clinic, where visits often come with a higher price tag.

For many families, Thanksgiving weekend is stuffed with treasured time-honored traditions, from watching parades and football games to tucking into turkey with all the trimmings. But if your holiday also includes an unexpected trip to the veterinarian, Petplan pet insurance warns pet parents that it could spoil more than their supper.

According to Petplan claims data over Thanksgiving weekend (Thursday-Sunday) in 2012, Petplan policyholders spent an average of $734 on veterinary treatment for gastroenteritis. That might not seem shocking, but consider that on any other day of the year, the average is $384 – that means Turkey Day stomach disasters cost pet parents 91% more! Costs for poisoning claims also saw a spike, averaging $1,055 – up 82% from the usual $580. Vet bills for pancreatitis increased 28% as well, averaging $826 over Thanksgiving weekend, versus $646 the rest of the year.

While that might cause pet parents some serious sticker shock, the reasons are likely very simple, says Dr. Jules Benson, Petplan’s VP of Veterinary Services.

“The higher costs could reflect a few different factors. Many vet hospitals limit their hours or close entirely for the holiday weekend, which means ailing pets must visit the emergency clinic, where visits often come with a higher price tag,” Dr. Benson says. “Or it could be that pet parents are extending their seasonal culinary excesses to include their furry family members. Ingesting abnormal types and amounts of food could result in pets suffering more severe gastrointestinal issues than they do at other times of the year.”

To help avoid an unexpected (and expensive) holiday trip to the vet, Petplan advises taking these simple Turkey Day tips to heart:

  •     When feasting turns fowl: 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. When it comes to mealtimes and treats at Thanksgiving, or any time of year, consistency and moderation are the orders of the day.
  •     Stick to safe snacks: Want to offer a tasty treat that’s easy to prepare and easy on your pet’s stomach? Point your paws to Petplan’s “Vets for Pets” blog for a seasonal menu of delights like Quiche Bites, Turkey Meatballs and Pumpkin Smoothies.
  •     Put a ban on 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 a décor disaster: Choose the wrong centerpiece and it won’t only be the food on your table that spells tummy trouble for pets! 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.

For more information on keeping your pets healthy and safe throughout the howl-iday season, visit http://www.GoPetplan.com.

ABOUT PETPLAN
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. In February 2013, Petplan pet insurance was at No. 34 on Forbes annual ranking of America’s Most Promising Companies – a list of 100 privately held, high-growth companies with bright futures. 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 (2012). For information about Petplan pet insurance, visit http://www.GoPetplan.com, read the Petplan “Vets for Pets” Blog, or call 1-866-467-3875.

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Jordan Snyder
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