Press release

Be 'egg-stra' careful what you treat your pets to this Easter

Tuesday 30 March 2010

  • Over 50s show greater awareness of dangers posed to pets by chocolate

Over a third (35.9%)* of over 50s own a cat or a dog and Saga knows how much they love their pets. With Easter approaching comes a timely reminder to make sure that the treats given aren’t harmful to their health. Research from Saga Pet Insurance highlights that one in ten* (9%) enlightened pet owners aged 50+ treat their pets to specialist animal chocolate instead of that for human consumption that contains a chemical that is poisonous to dogs and can have fatal consequences.

Five years ago, almost a fifth** (18%) of pet owners admitted feeding their four-legged friends “human” chocolate, whereas, encouragingly, only 2.5% of over 50s do the same today. This indicates that the harmful effects of feeding chocolate to animals have been understood by today’s over 50s and they have taken steps to protect the welfare of their faithful companions.

Other foods that can be harmful to pets’ health may come as quite a surprise for pet owners, for example grapes contain a toxin that can damage the kidneys, feeding liver more than twice a week can result in high levels of vitamin A (a build up of which can cause muscle and bone problems) and onions are also dangerous , as these can damage red blood cells and cause anaemia.

Andrew Goodsell, executive chairman, Saga Group, commented: “Easter is a time when we like to give treats to our friends and family, including those of the four legged variety. However, it is very important to feed pets with animal-friendly chocolate to avoid causing harmful effects to their health, which could result in costly vet bills, a worry no pet owner would like to have.”

Saga has published a free guide which provides advice and guidance on the main aspects of pet health. To obtain a copy please go to or call 0800 056 5096.


Notes to Editors-

* Research conducted via a Saga / Populus poll among 15,688 people aged over 50 between 12th and 18th March 2010 – 5224 have a cat or dog, with 132 feeding their pets chocolate throughout the year

** Research carried out over the telephone on behalf of Saga in May 2005 found that out of 809 cat and dog owners, 144 fed their pets chocolate.

Saga Pet Insurance provides up to £2,000 to cover treatment for injury, accident, illness or disease at a chosen veterinary surgery and has produced a free booklet that focuses on aspects of keeping your cat or dog in good health. It provides information on preventing illness and the requirements of food, exercise and healthcare.

For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529



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