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Risky Business: How We Endanger Our Pets

Risky business: New data reveals over half of Aussies endanger their pets!

Whether it is due to a lack of knowledge or general negligence, a worrying number of Aussie pet owners have admitted to taking risks that expose their pets to danger.

A survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 1003[1] Australian pet owners, commissioned by leading online comparison site comparethemarket.com.au, sought to uncover the types of risks Aussies take with their pets.

A concerning 59 per cent of pet owners have taken risks with their furry companions that could have put them in serious danger. Of these, almost one in four pet owners (23 per cent) confessed to giving their pets food they shouldn’t be eating, such as grapes or raw meat. 
A further fifth (21 per cent) said they had taken their pet off the leash for a walk, while 19 per cent had forgotten to close a gate or door which has led to their pet escaping. Despite chocolate being toxic to both dogs and cats, 16 per cent have left chocolate within reach of their pet. 

The survey also found that nearly one in five (19 per cent) respondents have taken their pet pals to the vet due to one of the above-mentioned incidents. Despite this, only a quarter (23 per cent) of respondents are properly covered with pet insurance in case they required medical treatment. 

In Australia, veterinary services is a $2.2 billion industry[2], with pet owners on average spending $397 on vet services for their dogs and $273 for their cats annually[3]. A regular veterinary check-up including routine vaccinations can start from $80[4], but other vaccinations as well as flea, tick and worm treatments, are just another added expense to keep your pet healthy.

Rod Attrill, spokesperson for comparethemarket.com.au  says it’s vital to insure our pets to avoid any financial stress in the event of unexpected illnesses or injuries. Pet insurance usually covers expenses incurred from accidental injury through to illness.

“Despite pets being a big part of the family and a beloved companion, many of us still aren’t protecting ourselves and our pets against major vet bills or injuries that can leave us severely out of pocket. 
Whether or not we accidentally expose them to everyday dangers such as leaving the gate unlocked or food lying around, pets are prone to accident and injury

Having pet insurance provides that extra peace of mind and allows owners to focus on taking care of their furry friends instead of worrying about how to pay for their vet bills.

“With some policy premiums starting at around $17 a fortnight[5], pet insurance can be inexpensive and still provide the level of care you need for your dog or cat. 


Comprehensive cover could protect you for up to $11,000-20,000[6] annually, with some higher level policies including de-sexing, microchipping, after-hours services and emergency boarding fees if you were hospitalised and unable to take care of your pet.”

Types of risks people have taken with their pets
% of respondents that have taken these risks
Given them food they shouldn’t eat (i.e. grapes, bones, raw meat)
23%
Taken them for a walk without a leash
21%
Left a gate unlocked or door opened, and they’ve escaped
19%
Accidentally left chocolate in a place they can reach
16%
Left them alone for longer than 24 hours
13%
Left them unattended in the car
8%
Accidentally left medicine in a place they can reach
7%
None of the above
41%

[1] Survey conducted by Pureprofile November 2018 of Australians who own a dog or a cat
[2] Animal Medicines Australia, ‘Pet Ownership in Australia in 2016’, Page 42: https://animalmedicinesaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/AMA_Pet-Ownership-in-Australia-2016-Report_sml.pdf
[3] Animal Medicines Australia, ‘Pet Ownership in Australia in 2016’, Pages 33 and 34: https://animalmedicinesaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/AMA_Pet-Ownership-in-Australia-2016-Report_sml.pdf
[4] Learning about the responsibilities of being a pet owner: costs, January 2019, https://www.rspcansw.org.au/what-we-do/care-for-animals/owning-a-pet/costs/
[5] Based on a comparison of six pet insurers for a five-year-old, male Golden Retriever cover (RSPCA Pet Insurance, Prime Pet Insurance, Guide Dogs Pet Insurance, Real Insurance, Australian Seniors Insurance Agency and Guardian Insurance) on comparethemarket.com.au
[6] Ibid

MEDIA RELEASE, 21st February 2019
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