Hundreds of dogs and cats treated for poisoning in UK each day

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New research from Direct Line Pet Insurance reveals the concerning scale of pet poisoning, as over a quarter of dog owners (4.6 million people) and a fifth of cat owners (2.5 million) believe their pet has fallen ill after consuming something poisonous.

On average, vets treat 323 dogs and 56 cats for poisoning every day across the UK, with seven per cent of dogs treated dying as a result; the percentage goes up to nine per cent among cats. One in six owners believe their pet was deliberately poisoned. Family members are the main suspected culprits (17 per cent), closely followed by strangers (16 per cent) and neighbours (15 per cent).

January is the worst month for poisoning claims for both cats and dogs, according to Direct Line Pet Insurance, with a fifth of all poisoning-related claims in 2020 taking place in January – amounting to nearly 2,000 claims, or 62 every single day. Chocolate is found to be the main culprit in dog poisoning, followed by grapes and medication.

The main common causes of poisoning as identified by the vets are

Madeline Pike, Veterinary Nurse for Direct Line Pet Insurance, said, “Pets are part of the family and seeing your dog or cat unwell is a pet owner’s worst nightmare, especially if you suspect it is due to someone else being careless, whether accidentally or deliberately.

“There are many foods and substances that are harmful to animals and it is important for owners to educate themselves and those around them about these. To minimise the risk of your pet eating something that could make them ill, there are some precautions you can take at home. Make sure to keep food locked away, secure your bins and remind guests not to leave food out.

“If any pet owners are concerned that their cat or dog may have consumed something poisonous, vets have identified the most common symptoms to look out for including; tremors, excessive panting, high heart rate and sickness/diarrhoea.”


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