Vets Report Surge In Number Of Pets Being Given Human Medication By Their Owners

14 December 2011

New research(1) from Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance reveals that 65% of vet surgeries have seen an increase in the number of distressed pets requiring treatment after having been given over the counter and prescription medications designed for humans.

The majority of vets interviewed believe financial pressures could be driving pet owners to purchase cheap over the counter human medications to give their cats and dogs. Owners doing this could be causing their pets harm and potentially causing them to suffer from long-term illnesses.

One surgery reported it was receiving two or three calls a day from worried pet owners, whose animals had reacted badly having been given medication such as paracetamol; this can cause liver or kidney problems which can sometimes be irreversible. Some hyperactive pets had been given anti-depressants to calm them; this can cause vomiting and lethargy or even violent tremors and seizures.  The research also revealed that Ibuprofen had been given to some pets; this can cause serious ulcers and kidney problems.

Helen Williams, Head of Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance said: “The findings from our research are extremely worrying. Administering human medication to a cat or a dog could seriously damage its health and although owners doing this may feel like they have its best interests at heart, they could actually be causing it more pain and suffering.

“Vet fees are on the increase and the thought of paying a consultation fee for a visit to the vet in addition to any treatment required could be a daunting prospect, especially if your cat or dog seems like it could be easily treated with some over the counter, household medication. We would urge pet owners not to take any risks with their pet’s health and to consider pet insurance which will cover the cost of the expert care your pet needs.”

Quality pet insurance does not need to be expensive; good cover at a competitive price can be found by shopping around for the best deal, and it is essential to compare policies on a like-for-like basis – comparing on price alone could be disastrous. Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance offers an extensive range of benefits at a competitive price. For further information call 0800 434 6359, log on to or pick up a leaflet in a Sainsbury’s supermarket.


For further information, please contact:
Phil Anderson / Tom Wilson
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
020 7638 9571

Notes to Editors:

(1) Research conducted on behalf of Sainsbury’s Finance by independent researchers amongst 50 veterinary surgeries from across the UK 24th – 28th October 2011

Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance is underwritten by AXA Insurance UK plc which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Notes to editors/webmasters Sainsbury’s pet insurance cover: (note, a lower level cover option is also available)
Veterinary Fees Up to £7,500 per condition (includes up to £1,000 per condition for complementary treatments and £250 a year for behavioural problems).
Personal Liability Up to £2,000,000
Emergency Boarding Kennels / Cattery Fees Up to £100 a week  (max £1,000)
Daily Minding Up to £100 a week  (max £1,000)
Advertising Costs Up to £1,000
– reward limit £250
Theft or Straying Up to £750
Death Caused by Injury Up to £1,500
Death by Illness Up to £1,000
Trip Cancellation or Return Home Up to £3,000
Expenses for referral to another vet Up to £150
Accidental damage  Up to £500
Damage to kennel or basket Up to £100
Personal accident to the owner £5,000
Quarantine costs  Up to £2,000
Loss of Health Certificate  Up to £250
Repeat Tick and worming treatment Reasonable costs
Emergency expenses abroad Up to £500
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