Dog Safety At Christmas

While home may be the ideal destination this time of year, many pet owners find that there is no place like the veterinarian’s office for the holidays. Unfortunately, the most wonderful time of the year is also one of the most dangerous for pets.

In order to assess the impact of the holidays on pet health, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, analysed claims submitted in 2008 for pets treated on December 25. The company found that last year more than 200 policyholders spent Christmas Day at the veterinarian’s office–most with pets receiving treatment for accidental injuries or dietary indiscretion. Following are the top five Christmas Day claims:

Top Five Christmas Day Claims

1. Gastritis/Enteritis
2. Lacerations or Bite Wounds
3. Soft Tissue Trauma
4. Foreign Body Ingestion
5. Chocolate Poisoning

“Christmas Day is the last day most pet owners want to spend at an emergency clinic with a sick or injured pet,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Fortunately, many of the claims we receive for conditions treated on Christmas Day can be prevented. Pet owners can enjoy a safe holiday by keeping pets away from treats intended for humans, refraining from introducing their pets to new or unfamiliar foods, and making sure foreign objects such as ornaments and decorations are kept out of pets’ reach.”

The data, mined from more than 475,000 VPI-insured pets nationwide, reveals that claims treated on Christmas Day skew towards accidents requiring emergency treatment, perhaps because most regular veterinary clinics are closed on December 25.

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The other 364 days of the year, claims for medical conditions such as skin allergies, ear infections and urinary tract infections prove far more common than claims for the majority of conditions treated on Christmas Day.

Only gastritis/enteritis ranked among the top 10 medical claims received by VPI in the full year of 2008. Other claims submitted with a December 25 treatment date included claims for broken bones, gastric torsion, gastric ulcers, torn nails, allergic reactions and cruciate ruptures.

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Jasmine Kleine

Jasmine Kleine

Jasmine Kleine is the the online editor at She is an experienced dog owner and professional writer who lives with her two beloved dogs, Mabel and Charlie.

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