Labrador New Zealand's naughtiest dog breed, insurance claims suggest

This article was first published in May 2020.

One particular type of dog has been singled out as the naughtiest breed in New Zealand, based on pet insurance claims.

And it might come as a surprise (or not) - it's the labrador.

Owners of the breed filed about $1.5 million in pet insurance claims to Southern Cross last year.

Previous research has suggested that labradors are New Zealand's most popular breed - accounting for one in eight pure-bred pups.

"Labradors devote themselves to their families, and they deserve our love, attention, and care in return," said Southern Cross pet insurance general manager Anthony McPhail.

"However, they are also highly energetic and have big appetites, so they are prone to eating things they shouldn’t and getting into trouble if they are bored."

Labrador insurance claims ranged from swallowing fish hooks, eating underwear, and swallowing rubber gloves.

"Make sure they have other safe things to play with and occupy their time, enough exercise, plenty of interaction with people and other dogs, and always monitor what they are picking up in their mouths," said Helen Beattie of the New Zealand Veterinary Association.

In many cases, labradors present to vets with gastrointestinal disorders and bowel obstructions.

Cute golden labrador puppy sitting on the grass.
Photo credit: Getty

"This is due to the dog eating something they shouldn't, resulting in vomiting and/or diarrhoea, and sometimes surgery," Beattie said.

"Owners can reduce the chances of this happening by taking preventive measures so their labrador doesn’t get access to items that might seem appealing but are actually unsuitable for eating."