Festive Foreign Body Ingestion

By: Britta Gidican, PR Director

The holiday season is known to be a busy time of year, and with all the distractions, many pet owners overlook potential dangers for their mischievous pets. With the extra decorations and festive foods around the house, pets are bound to get their mouths on something they shouldn’t. The Trupanion policy provides insurance for cats and dogs, and has seen claims for Christmas ornament, tinsel, and ribbon ingestion in cats and dogs of all sizes — from a domestic shorthair to a Bernese Mountain Dog.

Trupanion sees 10% more foreign body ingestion claims in November and December. This increase can be partially attributed to gifts, decorations, and big meals pets may not have access to other times of the year.

Trupanion’s Top Five Festive Foreign Body Ingestion Claims

  • Tinsel Hanging from Rectum, American Shorthair, New York
  • Ribbon Ingestion, Domestic Shorthair, New York
  • Turkey Bone Ingestion, Pomeranian, Alberta
  • Mistletoe Ingestion, Pomeranian, California
  • Christmas Ornament, Bernese Mountain Dog, Oregon

Foreign body ingestion tops the list for both puppies and kittens, and it is one of the most frequent claims for all cats and dogs in the Trupanion database of pet health records. Depending on the ingested object, treatment can be costly — especially if a pet ingests a linear foreign body that gets tangled in multiple organs — anywhere from $800 to $6,000.

In addition to the increase in foreign body ingestion claims, Trupanion also sees 24% more toxicity claims in December. Many of these claims can be attributed to chocolate ingestion around the holidays. Trupanion’s Dr. Denise Petryk offers the following tips to share with your clients this holiday season:

  • Hang your stockings with care knowing your pet soon will be there. Holiday decorations can be hazardous to curious pets. Tinsel, ribbon, and ornaments can damage the gastrointestinal tract if a pet decides to gobble them up. Christmas light cords can also be tempting to an avid chewer or new puppy. Choose pet-safe décor and keep their mouths busy elsewhere with an extra toy.
  • Ditch the mistletoe. Some common holiday plants, like poinsettias, lilies, and mistletoe can be toxic to pets. Keep these plants out of your home and away from your pets.
  • Keep pets off the table and out of the trash. Holiday foods can be especially tempting to dogs and even cats, but too many holiday treats can lead to a stomach ache, or in the case of a swallowed turkey bone, can even be life threatening. 

For more client tips on pet safety during the holidays, visit Trupanion’s Holiday Tips for Cats and Dogs.

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