2013-09-05 / Local & State

The Hidden Costs Of Owning A Pet

America is a nation of pet lovers. About half the nation’s households include a dog or a cat, and they spend $53 billion yearly on pet expenses, ranging from food to vet bills to toys.

Some go a bit overboard. A whopping $370 million is spent on pet costumes yearly. But even more shocking is the toll our animals take on our electronics budget. American pets have bitten, chewed, licked, and otherwise damaged over eight million electronic devices, amounting to over $3 billion in repair and replacement costs.

Considering that one of every three devices damaged by pets is a smartphone, this could mean up to $800 in replacement costs whenever your animal runs amok.

The risk of pet-related accidents increases the more pets are treated as family members. According to new research from Square- Trade, if you drive with your pet in your lap, you’re over twice as likely to damage your device. And letting a pet sleep in bed with you triples your chances.

Meanwhile, giving your pet too much independence can also increase risk. Twothirds of pet-related accidents involving devices happened while the pet was unsupervised.

Every furry friend comes with its own unique personality, and unique set of dangers.

For example, the Square- Trade study found that 21 percent of accidents happened while the owner was using the device.

A temperamental personality can also be a red flag. Seventeen percent of pet owners believe their animal friend damaged their device because it was angry with them.

And homes with different pet species are more susceptible to mishaps. Those with both a cat and dog are four times more likely to have accidents with electronics compared to homes with one or the other.

Despite the growing popularity of pet insurance, many owners don’t realize this kind of insurance doesn’t cover damage caused by their pets. In fact, three out of four devices damaged were not covered by any kind of warranty.

While there’s no sure way to prevent pet-related accidents, consumers can protect themselves by getting a protection plan. For example, SquareTrade Protection Plans cover against accidents, like a device getting batted off the kitchen counter, falling in a water bowl or finding its way into the wrong paws. They also cover mechanical and electrical issues, like antennae and Wi-Fi failure, a broken dock connector, or touch-screen failure.

And these plans are hassle free. If your device breaks, SquareTrade sends a replacement within two to five days. All you have to do is mail your broken device back, free. If it is an Apple product, SquareTrade even lets you take it to the Apple Genius Bar to get fixed instead. And if your pet strikes more than once, you’re covered: up to four repairs or replacements per plan.

More informationat www.squaretrade.com, by visiting sites like Amazon and eBay, or in such stores as Costco and Sam’s Club.

Pets all need exercise, training and attention from their owners. But they sometimes find inconvenient ways to show us.

Return to top