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Owners poisoning their pets

29 March 2006
Pet owners who like nothing better than treating their animals may find they are actually poisoning them, according to Halifax Pet Insurance.

The company has conducted research that found 87 per cent of UK vets reported an annual increase in cases where cats or dogs are fed foods that are unsuitable for animal consumption.

In the last 12 months, 13,050 vets have had to deal with illnesses resulting from foods animals have been given, chocolate being by far the worst offender.

A third of the vets surveyed saw cases where owners had given their pets chocolate or sweets, presumably ignorant that chocolate contains a chemical poisonous to them, theobromine.

Furthermore, 25 per cent of pet owners have filled their animals' bowls with an alcoholic drink as a "treat", while almost half have given pets paracetamol in a misguided attempt to cut the cost of medical treatment if their animals seem unwell.

John Bennett, head of products at Halifax Insurance, explained that many common human foods contain chemicals that can be toxic if consumed by animals.

"If dogs or cats consume confectionary chocolate pet owners could find themselves exposed to significant veterinary bills, or in extreme cases lose their pet," he warned.

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