BREA, Calif., July 29 (UPI) -- Pets may often treat anything that falls on the floor as theirs but a U.S. pet health insurer warns pet poisonings are costly physically and financially.
Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. analyzed more than 485,000 pet policies to find the sources of nearly 20,000 pet poisoning claims VPI received from 2005 to 2009.
More than 5,100 claims were caused by accidental ingestion of either pet or human medications; 4,028 claims were for ingesting mouse and rat poison; 3,661 were due to ingesting chocolate or caffeine; 2,808 claims were due to plant poisonings; 1,669 claims were for poisoning by household chemicals and there were fewer than 400 claims each for poisoning due to insecticides, heavy metals, toads, anti-freeze, walnuts, alcohol and strychnine.
The policyholders spent more than $6.6 million from 2005 to 2009 treating their pets for poisoning for an average $791 per claim.
"Not only can a poisoning incident be life-threatening for the pet, it's traumatic for the pet owner," Dr. Carol McConnell, chief veterinary medical officer for VPI, says in a statement.
"Depending on what substance the pet has ingested and the amount, the reaction can be sudden with the animal exhibiting alarming symptoms such as staggering, vomiting, drooling, seizures and even loss of consciousness. Pet owners should be aware of which items can be harmful to their pets and keep them out of reach. Don't assume pets will ignore the bleach in the laundry room or the Philodendron plant by the window."