Dog Disasters, Cat Catastrophes and Animal Accidents Expose Hidden Cost of Pet Ownership

SquareTrade®, the #1-rated protection plan trusted by millions of happy customers, today revealed new research about Americans and their pets. The study shows that American pets have bitten, chewed, licked, drooled upon, and otherwise damaged more than eight million devices, which adds up to more than $3B in repair and replacement costs. The most commonly damaged device is the smartphone, which accounts for one third of all devices damaged. The study also found that 3 out of 4 devices damaged were not covered by insurance or a protection plan.1

“After seeing so many claims come in that involved pets, we decided to look into the data and see just how big a problem this was. And the results were pretty astounding,” said Ty Shay, CMO at SquareTrade. “Using an $800 smartphone as a chew toy is a pricey slipup, not to mention it’s the device most of us can’t live without.”

The types of accidents caused by our four legged friends are as diverse as the breeds we collectively love. While ultimately forgiven, the top animal accidents are:

  • Chewing:  Two-thirds of the accidents are caused by the pet putting the item in their mouth
  • Causing owner to drop: 21% of accidents happened while the owner was using the device.
  • Vomiting / peeing: About 1 in 6 cat or dog owners say that one of their pets has thrown up on or gone to the bathroom on one of their electronics
  • Two-thirds of the accidents happened while a pet was unsupervised

Animal accidents are not just due to mischief or unruly behavior. The SquareTrade research investigated what pets are most risky and what human behavior increases the rate of accidental damage.
Are you at higher risk than other pet owners?

  • Male pets: Male pets are 50% more likely than female pets to damage your devices.
  • Peeved pets: 17% of pet owners believe that their pet damaged the device because it was angry with them.
  • Overweight pets: 72% more likely to have a pet-related accident
  • Overprotective pets: 2x more likely to have a pet-related accident

The survey also found that if you let your pets sleep in the bed with you or ride in your lap while driving, you are 2-3x more likely to have a pet-related accident.

Today, about half the nation’s households include a dog or a cat, and 15% of Americans will buy a costume for their pet – to the tune of $370M. But even more shocking is the toll our animals take on our electronics budget.2

To improve pet owners device protection, SquareTrade offers the following tips for an accident free household:

  1. Give your pets the attention, training and exercise they need so they have less interest in your gadgets
  2. Leave your devices high up and out of reach of curious dogs and cats
  3. Never charge devices at floor level or with exposed power cords
  4. Don’t leave your device next to liquids of any sort
  5. Always use a protective case

 

Pets

1SquareTrade’s 2013 Pet Accidents Survey conducted in April 2013 using the world’s largest panel provider, Survey Sampling International. Feedback was collected from 1,200 pet owners with cats and/or dogs. 2. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook. 3. The Census Bureau’s 2010 population estimates. 4. Gallup’s 2006 Lifestyle Poll published online in an article titled “Americans and Their Pets.” 5. The Census Bureau’s 2006 pet ownership estimates. Please note: Total expenditure estimate created using data sources 1-5.

2Time Magazine October 12. 2013 story Millions on Pet Halloween Costumes? Why We Spend More and More on Pets

About SquareTrade
SquareTrade is the top-rated protection plan trusted by millions of happy customers for its fast and exceptional service. SquareTrade protects mobile devices, laptops and tablets, and other consumer electronics and appliances from malfunctions, accidental damage and life’s frequent mishaps. Unlike old-fashioned warranties, SquareTrade is designed for today’s consumer and uses innovative technology to deliver a zero hassle claims process. SquareTrade has more than 200,000 fans on Facebook, consistently wins industry awards and receives thousands of 5-star reviews for its legendary customer service. Top retailers around the world offer SquareTrade, achieving a 200% increase in sales on average and happier customers. SquareTrade’s rapid transformation of the warranty industry attracted one of the largest private capital raises in 2012, with a $238 million round led by Bain Capital and Bain Capital Ventures. Headquartered in San Francisco and London, SquareTrade is privately held. For more information, go to www.squaretrade.com.

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