How curious pets are ruining phones & other electronics, and hurting themselves too

Don't Waste Your Money

(WXYZ) - We've all heard the joke:  my dog ate my homework. 

But these days you might be more concerned with your smart phone.  Pets are finding our electronics the perfect playtoy -- which can be expensive for us...and downright deadly for them. 

So what can you do to protect your pets and your iPad?

Ginger McDevitt is a pet owner and says her dog is a "chewaholic."  For some reason, he prefers crunchy things like Kindles, digital cameras and cell phones.

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 one survey by Insurance Providers Square Trade, pets are damaging more than eight million tech devices each year...at a cost of three billion dollars. 

Brian Bennett is Senior editor for cell phone reviews.  He says that tablets, phones and laptops are always around the house and dogs like to grab and chew it.

Bennett says even if your gadget is under warranty, physical damage caused by you or your four legged best friend is usually not covered, and even a little pet slobber can destroy a device.

"Moisture can get into the screen, the little vents or little speaker grills," Bennett said.  "Anything like that is not covered by the manufacturer warranty."

In addition to repair or replacement costs, an electronics habit could be dangerous, or even fatal for your pet, says veterinarian Duffy Jones.  Chewing on cords can cause electric shocks and batteries can lead to serious burns.

"They can not only get burns in their mouth, but also burns in their stomach," Jones said.  "Some of these burns can go on to be so bad that parts of their stomach will die and we'd actually have to do surgery to repair them."

Duffy says the biggest offenders are small puppies -- who like to chew on anything they can find.

"They vibrate, they make noise just like a lot of squeak toys, and other toys they play with," Jones said.  "So a lot of animals confuse them between things that they're supposed to play with."

He says the only real solution is keeping the devices out of sight and out of reach.  And exercise your dog regularly.

"The more tired they are, the less likely they are to get in trouble," Jones said.

If you still find yourself with a serial offender, Brian says you might purchase an extended warranty that covers this kind of damage or add pet proofing to your device.

Right now some manufacturers are actually taking steps to make their phones pet resistant in a way.  Basically, they have Kevlar backings, scratch proof screens; they also have moisture protection.

Ginger McDevitt says she buys extended  warranties for all her gadgets and tries to keep them all out of her dogs reach.

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

Experts also suggest you back up your devices regularly so if your pet does destroy your device, you don't lose any data.

 

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