Research By Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance Warns Of Festive Foodie Faux Pas

14 December 2015

New research(1) from Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance reveals that nearly one in five (18%) people who have owned a cat or dog have had a pet suffer from illness or injury caused by Christmas festivities.

Sainsbury’s Bank is encouraging pet owners to make sure they don’t risk their pets’ health by spoiling them with inappropriate human treats such as chocolate, grapes, or Christmas dinner leftovers this Christmas. It found that 5% of cat or dog owners have had a pet suffer from a festive food related illness.

Many Yuletide pet perils involve eating or chewing on things pets shouldn’t. Seven per cent of cat or dog owners has had a pet suffer injury due to playing with or trying to chew tree ornaments; and 6% doing the same with children’s toys left lying around. Cats and dogs have also suffered from trying to chew or eat Christmas tree lights, tinsel, ribbons from presents, fallen Christmas tree needles, and mistletoe.

Type of Christmas mishap(1) Percentage of owners that have had a dog or cat suffer an illness or injury because of this over the festive period(1)
Playing with or trying to chew tree ornaments 7%
Playing with or trying to eat or chew children’s toys left lying around 6%
Stress caused by a high number of people in the home 6%
Chewing on Christmas tree lights, wire or tinsel 5%
Eating Christmas food inappropriate for pets 5%
Eating ribbons or string from presents 5%
Playing by an open fire without a fire guard 5%
Eating fallen Christmas tree needles 4%
Eating mistletoe or other festive plants, flowers or their berries 4%
Drinking alcoholic drinks left lying around 3%
At least one of the above 18%


Scott Gorman of Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance said: “Christmas can be a time for fun for all the family, however we also want to make sure that our pets enjoy themselves and don’t chew or eat things which aren’t good for them.

“Some of our festive customs can be hazardous for our pets, from Christmas decorations such as mistletoe and tinsel to human treats such as chocolate, so please take extra care over the Christmas period.”

The findings support a survey carried out last year(2) by Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance which revealed that 92% of vets surveyed had treated a dog or a cat for illness or injury caused by Christmas-related customs.

Christmas can also be a stressful time for pets, with 6% of owners saying they have had a cat or dog suffer from stress caused by a high number of people in the home(1).


This press release is information for journalists only and is not intended to be a promotion to be acted upon by consumers.

For further information, please contact:


Jennifer Johnston-Watt

Sainsbury’s Bank

0131 286 0779


Emma Murphy / Saira Khan

Citigate Dewe Rogerson

020 7282 1072 / 1049


Notes to Editors

(1) Research commissioned by Sainsbury’s Bank and conducted by Opinium Research. Opinium interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2,003 GB adults aged 18+ online between 27-30th October 2015. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. Some figures have been rounded. Opinium is a member of the MRS and abides by its rules. Further information at

(2) Sainsbury’s Bank commissioned Pollright to carry out an online survey among British vets. 102 vets were surveyed during November/December 2014.

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