Pick Your Poison: Petplan Releases Pet Poison Awareness Survey Results

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Survey reveals pet parents are unaware that bathrooms and backyards harbor hidden pet health hazards.

Petplan knows suspicious snouts and prying paws always seem to be able to sniff out trouble, even in the most pet-proofed homes. In honor of Poison Prevention Awareness Month, America’s best-loved insurer recently conducted an online survey of more than 5,700 pet parents to test their toxin know-how – and the results were surprising.

It turns out, most pet parents are poison-savvy in the kitchen, but are still unaware of hidden health hazards lurking in like the backyard and bathroom.

“We wanted to gauge just how well versed pet parents are about health hazards hiding in their own homes, and some of the results were surprising,” explains Petplan co-founder and co-CEO Natasha Ashton. “By comparing the results against our own claims data, we hope to highlight the truth about pet poisons, and help pet parents avoid toxins falling into the paws of their furry friends.”

Petplan’s survey revealed that 67% of pet parents can name kitchen culprits that can be poisonous to pets, including diced onions, sugar-free candy, coffee grounds and grapes. It’s a good thing, too! According to Petplan claims data, food or additives (like xylitol) accounted for 46% of Petplan poison claims in 2013, and Petplan reimbursed an average of $465 for treatment. That’s a cornucopia of cash!

But when it comes to toxins lurking – literally – in the backyard, pet parents still have some digging around to do. More than 64% of pet parents struggled to sniff out garden hazards, with only about 34% correctly guessing that cocoa mulch was toxic, and only 16% remembering to keep tulip bulbs away from pets. Thankfully, such claims are less common – only 7% of Petplan poisoning claims are from plants – but they can still take a bite out of the family budget, with reimbursements averaging $500 per incident.

“Most dogs (and some less discerning cats) can’t resist temptation if they find it within paws reach, which is why it’s so important for pet parents to brush up on common household poisons,” says Dr. Jules Benson, VP of Veterinary Services at Petplan. “Depending on the size of your pet and the amount of toxin they ingest, pets could experience anything from vomiting and diarrhea to life-threatening emergencies like internal bleeding or pancreatitis. If you suspect your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have, don’t hesitate – call your veterinarian right away.”

  •     Not What the Doctor Ordered: Need a good reason to keep medications for both two- and four-legged family members locked safely in the medicine chest? Prescription drug poisoning is the second most-claimed for type of poisoning Petplan sees, accounting for 17%, and reimbursement averages $700 per incident to treat. Both human and pet medicines are equally dangerous and can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure, particularly in cats. Remember, many determined pets will chew through pill packaging, so keep bottles, boxes and tablets in a secure spot.
  •     Deep Freeze: More than a third of Petplan’s survey respondents (35%) correctly guessed that ethylene glycol (an ingredient in antifreeze) is the most costly type of toxic claim Petplan sees, with reimbursements averaging $929. Antifreeze is sweet-tasting to pets and just a small amount can cause fatal kidney failure, so wipe up spills thoroughly and keep pets away from the garage.
  •     Print and Prepare: Even when pet parents are careful, accidental poisonings can happen. Keep a list of common household toxins – and the number of the nearest 24-hour emergency vet clinic – handy, so even if furry friends get their paws on something toxic, the whole family and any other caregivers will have a quick reference on what to do. Visit Petplan’s Facebook and Pinterest pages for a customizable tip sheet, available March 31!

To learn more about keeping pets healthy during Poison Prevention Awareness Month and beyond, visit http://www.GoPetplan.com.

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. For the second consecutive year, Petplan was listed among the top 50 companies 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 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, visit http://www.gopetplan.com, read the Petplan “Vets for Pets” Blog, or call 1-866-467-3875.

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Morgan Jones
Brian Communications
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