Pets chewing smart phones, other technology

Veterinarians warn owners about the dangers

When it comes to electronics, Ginger McDevitt's dog Oision is public enemy number one. 

"I think Oisin is a chewaholic. And for some reason he prefers crunchy things like kindles, digital cameras, cellphones," said McDevitt.

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

Iin fact, according to one survey by insurance provider Square Trade, pets are damaging more than 8-million tech devices each year at a cost of $3 billion.

"Tablets, phones, laptops even are just, you know, always around the house and, you know, dogs - especially dogs - like to grab stuff and chew them and throw them all over the place," said Brian Bennett, Senior Editor for Cell Phone Reviews.

Bennet 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, get into the little vents or little speaker grills. Anything like that is not covered by the manufacturer warranty," he explained.

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 explained. "Some of these burns can go on to be so bad that parts of the stomach will die and we'd actually have to do surgery to repair them."

Jones 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 that they play with. So a lot of animals confuse them between things that they're supposed to play with," said Jones.

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," said Jones.

If you still find yourself with a serial offender, Bennett 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," said Bennett.

McDevitt says she buys extended warranties for all her gadgets and tries to keep them all out of Oisin's reach.

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

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