Danger Zone: Petplan Pet Insurance Reveals Hidden Household Hazards

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In honor of Poison Prevention Awareness Month, America’s No. 1 pet insurance provider encourages pet parents to take extra precautions to poison-proof their homes from pets’ prying paws

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“Some pets just can’t resist eating things that can make them sick. At Petplan, we have seen claims for cats and dogs who have gone to great lengths to ingest toxic substances.

Some pet parents may consider it commonplace for furry friends to devour the odd grape or piece of chocolate and live to tell the “tail,” but this March, No.-1 rated Petplan pet insurance is honoring Poison Prevention Awareness Month by reminding pet parents that their households may also harbor hidden pet health hazards.

While Petplan claims data reveals that poisoning from food or additives (such as Xylitol, an ingredient found in sugar-free gum) was the most frequently claimed-for poisoning condition of 2012, some of the most dangerous (and costly!) pet poisons are things you might not expect four-legged friends to snack on.

Human medications are particularly dangerous – and often strangely attractive – to curious critters. Common non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure, while acetaminophen (Tylenol) can cause liver failure, particularly in cats. The family budget can end up hurting, as well; according to 2012 Petplan claims data, NSAID and acetaminophen toxicities carry the highest average costs for treatment of all poisoning claims ($840 and $700 per incident, respectively). One small dog who ingested his pet parents’ prescription medicine needed more than $5,590 in veterinary care – Petplan’s highest poisoning claim of 2012.

“Some pets just can’t resist eating things that can make them sick. At Petplan, we have seen claims for cats and dogs who have gone to great lengths to ingest toxic substances – even opening the refrigerator and chewing through prescription bottles,” says Dr. Jules Benson, Vice President of Veterinary Services at Petplan. “Depending on what they eat, their persistence can lead to a range of illnesses, from internal bleeding to pancreatitis. If you suspect your pet has gotten into the groceries or nibbled the Easter lily, call your veterinarian immediately.”

Keeping the medicine cabinet locked is just one way to poison-proof your home. To help keep prying paws – and the family budget – in good health, Petplan offers the following poison-proofing tips:

  •     The Usual Suspects: Dark chocolate, macadamia nuts, raisins, onions, garlic and sugar-free gum can all cause problems ranging from gastrointestinal upset to life-threatening illness, particularly for small dogs and cats. Keep an eye on sly pets as you’re chopping and cooking, and otherwise keep these forbidden foods securely sequestered – especially when you haven’t yet put away the groceries.
  •     Consider the Lilies: Decorative household plants like Sago palm trees and lilies are severely toxic, especially to cats, so think carefully when making décor decisions. In the yard, tomato plants, tulip bulbs, azalea, rhododendron, wild mushrooms and some fertilizers all contain dangerous toxins. Plan your garden carefully, and choose pet-friendly fertilizers.
  •     Don’t Freeze Up: Ethylene glycol (the main ingredient in antifreeze) has long been a toxic temptation for some pets due to its sweet taste, but just a small amount can cause kidney failure and death in cats and dogs. Some products now contain a bitter additive that makes it less appealing to pets, but if you spot a spill, mop it up thoroughly and keep pets clear.
  •     Pets Before Pests: Pesticides for bugs and rodents can cause internal bleeding in pets, but even if you keep them in a securely locked bin or on a high shelf in the garage, your pets could still be at risk. Pets who ingest all or part of a poisoned mouse or rat can suffer from “relay toxicity,” so consider using traps if your pets are natural hunters.

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

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 (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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Bill Tierney
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