Put down your phone and pick up your pet, it could save you some money

"The dog ate it" is a classic excuse for failing to deliver homework, but a new study shows that it also explains a good deal of damage to various items of technology. You may well have dropped a phone in the toilet, smashed a tablet on the floor or accidentally obliterated a laptop screen, but it seems our furry friends are just as much to blame as us bipeds.

Figures released by insurance company SquareTrade show that in the last five years, pets in Europe have been responsible for the destruction of £1.5 billion ($2.3 billion) worth of tech. British households have been hit with the highest pet vs tech bills, with cats, dogs and other domestic creature clocking up £358 million in damage.

Dogs destroying phones and cats causing tablet catastrophes are a problem in 14 per cent of UK homes. Anyone living in a house where there are both dogs and cats is at particular risk of racking up a bill for replacing technology -- by having both types of critter in the home the chances of damage jumps by 85 per cent. With an extra waggy appendage to consider, dogs are prone to flicking phones with their tail, and cat owners will be only too aware of the feline keenness for knocking things off the edges of tables.

Pet expert Arden Moore suggests that we need to spend more time interacting with our housemates to keep them entertained:

Pets have the same range of emotions that their owners do. Just as often as they are happy, they can be jealous, bored or angry. While pet owners may be tempted to pick up their electronic devices the moment they get home, it’s important to give their furry friends just as much attention -- or pet hijinks can become the norm.

So if you spot some teeth marks on your phone, it might be a sign that your four-legged friend is looking for a little more attention.

Photo credit: Vitaly Titov & Maria Sidelnikova / Shutterstock