Families with dogs may be keen to involve their furry friends in the Christmas festivities but this could cost thousands of pounds and an emergency visit to the vets.
Research from MoneySuperMarket found the most expensive accidents that can happen around the home include a dog choking on tinsel, which could cost £3,000, or a Christmas tree falling and fracturing a dog’s leg, which could cost £3,500 to fix.
The number of emergency visits to the vets doubles during December compared to any other time in the year.
Amanda Whyte, 48, from High Wycombe had a “nightmare” when her two dogs sniffed around a plate of mince pies, which are toxic to dogs.
She said: “Christmas is expensive enough as it is – so getting a vet bill over £500 was not the gift I asked for. Thank goodness I had insurance.”
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Her costs to treat both dogs came to £547 with her insurance covering £397 of this while she had to pay £150 for the emergency appointment, which wasn’t covered by her policy, plus a £50 excess.
She added: “I’m very responsible but these things happen, especially with a greedy Lab who is always eating random stuff – and that’s why you have pet insurance. We’re just glad they were okay.”
These are the estimated costs for an emergency visit to the vets to treat a 20kg dog, according to Cat Henstridge from Cat the Vet. This is not including the £250 call-out fee for an emergency Christmas visit:
- Removal of a solid obstruction from the guts e.g. Christmas bauble or bone – £2200
- Tail burn – £450
- Electric wire chew – £1,800 (if they get fluid on the lungs from it, otherwise it is cheaper)
- Fractured leg from a Christmas tree – £3,000 to £4,000
- Drinking alcohol – £250
- Eating raisins – £700
- Tinsel stuck in the guts – £3,000
- Turkey bone stuck on throat – £1,000 (assuming no significant damage or repairs required)
- Upset stomach from rich food like cheese – £200
- Eating chocolate – £250.
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Ms Henstridge said: “Every year I try to make dog owners aware of the risks of Christmas as households are full of festive food, plants and decorations that all pose dangers to dogs if eaten.”
MoneySuperMarket compares over 30 leading pet insurance companies with the average premium for a dog insurance policy costing as little as £9.67 a month for a healthy dog with no previous medical conditions.
The average annual dog insurance premium is £293.91, taking into account breeds, ages and health conditions.
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Saarrah Mussa, pet insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Accidents happen, especially at Christmas when a mince pie, or box of chocolates could prove too tempting for your pet. Vet bills can quickly add up so if the worst happens, it’s better to be covered.
“Nearly all insurance policies have a two-week cooling off period and in that time insurers will not honour any claims. That means if you’re thinking about getting cover for Christmas, you’re better off sorting it now before the house fills up with festive treats.”
The group surveyed dog owners and found these were the most commonly reported dangers to dogs:
- Consumed chocolate – 30 percent
- Consumed cheese – 16 percent
- Consumed turkey bones – 14 percent
- Consumed a festive object – Christmas decoration – 13 percent
- Consumed grapes – 12 percent
- Consumed alcohol – 12 percent
- Consumed a festive object – Christmas present – 12 percent
- Consumed a mince pie – 10 percent
- Consumed raisins – 10 percent
- Injured by the Christmas tree – 9 percent.
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