Dogs swallow beach towels, golf balls-and more crazy summer veterinary pet insurance claims


Warmer months mean more chances for your veterinary patients to get into trouble outside.

It’s summertime, and the living isn’t always easy for pets. Pets Best Insurance has experienced a steady stream of unfortunate and bizarre summertime claims since its inception in 2005—and this year was no exception.

“Pets will always be curious, and the summer months pose many risks for accidents, especially when families include their pets in vacations, yard work and outdoor activities,” says Jack Stephens, DVM, founder and president of Pets Best Insurance.

The Idaho-based insurance company recently released the most unusual and expensive pet claims for the season. Check out the top five not-so-fun-in-the-sun mishaps below.

1. Tango throws down the towel. A German shorthaired pointer with a penchant for gobbling household objects chose a beach towel as his appetizer of choice. The meal didn’t settle well for Tango, a Missouri native. After the dog threw up parts of the towel, the remaining portion had to be surgically removed. Total bill: $2,063. Reimbursed amount: $1,650.

2. Two holes in one pup. While his owners were away, Copper, a Labrador retriever in California, passed the time by scarfing down not one but two golf balls. Each one had to be surgically removed. Total bill: $3,874. Reimbursed amount: $3,100.

3. Snacking on fertilizer. It was a not-so-sunny day for Max the Weimaraner when he ingested some fertilizer and had to be closely monitored and treated with intravenous fluids. “Pet owners should always keep an eye on their pets when yard chemicals and fertilizers are being used,” Stephens says. “Pets can become very ill from eating fertilizer, and they often ingest it straight from the bag or by licking it off their paws. It might not be the first issue pet owners think about, but consuming fertilizer can lead to serious health issues for animals.” Total bill: $1,618. Reimbursed amount: $1,133.

4. A dog and his pitiful dessert. When Bailey, a Labrador retriever, devoured some nectarine pits, his dessert resulted in two expensive trips to the veterinary clinic. Total bill: $3,839. Reimbursed amount: $3,071.

5. One bummer of a beach party. Zoie, a Maltese, was living it up at the beach—until she swallowed sand. When loss of appetite and vomiting followed, she ended up at the veterinary clinic twice for close monitoring and treatment with intravenous fluids. Total bill: $1,991. Reimbursed amount: $1,394.

Stephens urges veterinarians to remind clients to take the necessary precautions to keep pets safe during summer vacations and projects. For a handout on summer safety tips visit

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