Pets: Scourge of BYOD

Pets: Scourge of BYOD

Summary: Pets damage some $3 billion worth of electronic devices in the U.S. every year. For the average consumer, this leads to an unexpected expense, but for those who BYOD, it can be a massive problem.

(Source: SquareTrade)

We are a nation of pet lovers, but it seems that our beloved cats and dogs might be jealous of the time we spend looking at our smartphones and tablets, so much so that some are taking things into their own paws.

According to a new survey by warranty provider SquareTrade, pets have bitten, chewed, licked, drooled upon and otherwise damaged more than 8 million devices, estimated to be worth some $3 billion. 

Smartphones are the worst-hit, accounting for one third of all devices damaged by pets.

"After seeing so many claims come in that involved pets, we decided to look into the data and see just how big a problem this was. And the results were pretty astounding," said Ty Shay, CMO at SquareTrade, in a statement to ZDNet. "Using an $800 smartphone as a chew toy is a pricey slipup, not to mention it’s the device most of us can’t live without."

Damage comes in a variety of forms.

  • Chewing: Two-thirds of the accidents are caused by the pet putting the item in their mouth.
  • Causing owner to drop the device: 21 percent of accidents happened while the owner was using the device.
  • Vomiting / peeing: About 1 in 6 cat or dog owners say that one of their pets has thrown up on or gone to the bathroom on one of their electronics.

One big standout factor that increases the likelihood of damage is supervision. According to SquareTrade, fully two-thirds of the device 'accidents' occurred while the pet was unsupervised.

Crunching the numbers further, SquareTrade highlighted several factors that increased the risk to devices. These include:

  • Dogs are twice as likely as cats to cause accidents or damage.
  • Male pets are 50 percent more likely than female pets to damage your devices.
  • 17 percent of pet owners believe that their pet damaged the device because it was angry with them.
  • Overweight pets are 72 percent more likely to have a pet-related accident.
  • Overprotective pets are also a problem, and are twice as likely to damage your devices.
(Source: SquareTrade)

While a chewed smartphone or a peed on tablet might be a huge inconvenience for a consumer, for someone using that device in a BYOD setting, effects can be enormous. There's the impact it has of productivity, there's the denial of access to the corporate infrastructure, not to mention the possibility of data being lost.

While having a warranty might help ease the effect that a disgruntled pet can have on your wallet, I believe that prevention and planning is better than the cure. My advice is to keep BYOD devices away from pets (and small children), and give them some additional protection by kitting them out with a decent case. Also, keep devices nearby at all times, and don't leave them unsupervised.

Also, pets are just a small part of the equation. Keep in mind other risks, such as breakage or malfunction, theft and loss of the device. All these can have a profound effect on those who BYOD.

Topic: Bring Your Own Device

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  • New Phone Shapes Required

    All we need is either a vacuum cleaner or broom shaped phone, and my dog will certainly leave my phone alone.
    • It's a $1,000,000 idea

      Great comment without a troll. Then again the day is young.Thanks for the laugh.
      Now I wonder what the statistics are for children and phone destruction.
    • Or the sound?

      You could have an app installed that makes the sound of a vacuum cleaner if the PIN is not entered within 10 seconds of being touched or moved.
  • BYOD

    Pets can destroy company provided electronics just as easily if they are used for working in the home.
  • Unauthorized use.

    It's not just damage to the phone you have to watch for. I left my iPhone in the house with the cats last week. Yesterday UPS dropped off a box from PetSmart with $17,000 worth of cat toys and a shock collar for the dog!
  • What about Vermin?

    no not Verizon, Vermin - Mice, Ferrets (sorry if you own one) love to chew headphones and charger wires/adapters.. Who knew they thought they owned the outlets?
  • I have a bulldog that almost looks exactly like the one above.

    Fortunately he doesn't look at my phone like that. He did, however go through a stage about pulling plugs out of outlets. I digress for a sec. How do you test a 9 volt battery without a tester? Place the contacts on your tongue. Weak battery, weak tingling. New battery, very, very strong tinkling, remove battery from tongue quickly.

    Wet slobbering tongue across the prongs of a plug partially removed from the outlet? Yelp, remove tongue from plug even faster than above and never do it again.

    >> gone to the bathroom on one of their electronics
  • Don't blame the pets...

    Blame the humans who own but don't understand and can't control their pets. My dog wouldn't dream of doing any of the things listed that are possible if the device is not with me. And I can control my dog's actions when I am with him.
  • Misbehaved animals are like misbehaved children

    Misbehaving animals are merely a lack of parenting skills on the behalf of the owners, the same goes for troublesome kids. The responsibility for both, lies squarely on the shoulders of the owners/parents.
    Kieron Seymour-Howell
  • Does your pet shed hair?

    The main killer of laptops we've had from pets has been pet hair, the scourge of cooling within any fan cooled device.
    Many a laptop has been brought to its knees because pet hair has clogged up the insides.