Smartphones, tablets pose new danger to pets

CNET.com: Pets damage more than 8-million devices each year, risk shock or electrocution

Published On: Sep 17 2013 11:15:00 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 17 2013 11:39:22 PM EDT
LONGWOOD, Fla. -

We've all heard the joke, "My dog ate my homework." But these days, you might be more concerned with your smartphone.

Pets are finding electronics the perfect play toy, which can be expensive for consumers and downright deadly for them.

Take Oision for example. He loves to gnaw on his mom's priciest possessions.

"I think Oision is a chew-a-holic, and for some reason he prefers crunchy things like Kindles, digital cameras, cell phones," said Ginger McDevitt.

He's not the only pooch with this problem. YouTube is filled with videos of pets treating phones and other electronics like toys.

In fact, according to tech website CNET.com, pets are damaging more than 8-million devices each year, which costs pet owners $3 billion.

Even if a gadget is under warranty, damage done by your four-legged friend is usually not covered.

A scratch to the screen or a little slobber in the speakers adds to the repair and replacement costs, but veterinarian Peter Rogers from Longwood Veterinary Clinic says its more serious than just cost.

"It could cause an obstruction that the pet would have to go to surgery," said Rogers.

Rogers said the biggest offenders are small puppies and kittens.

"If they were to bit into one of these things, electricity and shock can occur, they can burn the inside of their mouth," said Rogers, "and any shock could lead to death in a pet."

These iPads often have noise coming out of them with interesting covers. Smart phones vibrate and ding mimicking the sounds of a pup's squeak toy.

So the vet's advice is simple.

“The biggest thing is making sure cell phones, iPads, tablets are being kept away from your pets. Even if that is as simple as your pocket, a drawer," said Rogers.

[WEB EXTRA: Protecting your pet and your phone]

But you may still find yourself with a serial offender.

"He has not kicked the habit yet. I warn everyone who comes into my house not to leave anything easily accessible," said McDevitt.

The best advice is to buy some casings with Kevlar backings, scratch-proof screens and moisture protection.

Lots of companies are trying to help protect your devices from pet damage, so you might want to invest in an extended warranty and add pet proofing to your plan.