It’s official; when it comes to expensive electronic devices such as smart phones and tablets, UK pets are the most destructive, a pan-European survey of more than 16,000 cat or dog owners has revealed.

In the last five years , UK dogs and cats have eaten – or at least partially devoured – a total of £358 million in worth of hand-held electronic gadgets. In total, pets in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK have chewed their way through more than £1.5 billion of mobile and electronic devices.

Some 14% of UK homes have reported having had technology damaged by pets.

The findings in detail:

* Pets mistaking their owners’ devices for chew toys caused the most accidents;

* Pets with overactive paws and wagging tails also caused damage by knocking devices off tables, spilling liquids on them, and stepping or jumping on them;

* Owners with overweight pets have to be particularly careful, as they are statistically more likely to cause an accident;

* Those with both a cat and a dog are in for double the trouble, as they are 85% more likely to cause an accident.

“Pet owners are wasting extraordinary amounts of money on repairing phones, tablets and other handheld devices that have inadvertently become luxury doggy chews,” said Kevin Gillan, European managing director of SquareTrade, the insurance company which commissioned the study.

“Pets have the same range of emotions that their owners do. Just as often as they are happy, they can be jealous, bored or angry,” said Arden Moore, certified dog and cat behaviourist and world-renowned pet expert. “While pet owners may be tempted to pick up their electronic devices the moment they get home, it’s important to give their furry friends just as much attention – or pet hijinks can become the norm.”

The study found Danish dogs and cats are the most ‘pawsimonious’, biting on a mere £10 million worth of gadgets in the last five years.

Polly Stewart
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