Protecting Pets from Holiday Hazards

Nationwide Offers Pet Safety Tips for Seasonal Celebrations

Brea, Calif. (Dec. 7, 2015) - Last year, Nationwide pet insurance members spent more than $27 million on medical conditions commonly associated with the holiday season. With winter festivities upon us, Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider or pet health insurance, sorted through its database of more than 550,000 insured pets to determine the most common holiday season related injuries and their average costs for treatment:

Injury Average Cost

Tinsel or Ribbon Ingestion (Intestinal Foreign Body) $1,740

Raisin or Nut Toxicity $649

Electrical Shock from Holiday Lights $607

Rosemary or Mistletoe Toxicity $527

Alcohol Toxicity $525

Chocolate Toxicity $382

Laceration from Ornaments $329

Dangerous Ingestions

The holiday season increases the opportunity for pets to get their paws on harmful foods, drinks and decorations. The most common toxic treats that Nationwide insured pets ingested last holiday season were chocolates, nuts and raisins. In fact, twenty-one percent of all Nationwide pet insurance claims for chocolate toxicity were received in the month of December.

Some pets prefer to munch on non-digestible holiday items including tinsel, ribbon, gift wrap and ornaments. Ingestion of such items can lead to surgery for an intestinal foreign body, which is the most expensive medical condition associated on the holiday list with an average cost of $1,740 per pet.

If a pet consumes a toxic food or a foreign body, he or she should be taken to a veterinary hospital immediately. In preparation, pet lovers should locate the nearest 24-hour emergency animal hospital prior to any holiday celebration.

“Pet owners need to be aware of the dangers that surround our pets during the holiday season,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary officer for Nationwide. “Food or sweets left on low-lying tables can be a major hazard and holiday decorations can easily become a harmful toy for household pets. I advise all pet owners to take extra precautions during holiday season, and to be aware of their surrounding veterinary resources in case of an emergency.”

Note to editors: For further information or to request Nationwide’s “Holiday Dangers” infographic please contact Ryan Whittington at

About Nationwide pet insurance

With more than 550,000 insured pets, pet insurance from Nationwide, formerly known as Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), is the first and largest pet health insurance provider in the United States. Since 1982, Nationwide has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers. 

Nationwide plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, one in three Fortune 500 companies offers pet insurance from Nationwide as an employee benefit.

Insurance plans are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A rated company (2013); National Casualty Company (all other states), Madison, WI, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2014). Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide Is On Your Side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ©2015 Nationwide. Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on  Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

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