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Who's behind the Paws Off! warning symbol?

Southern Cross Pet Insurance is on a mission to help pets live their best lives for longer and has partnered with the New Zealand Veterinary Association to help raise awareness of what foods are safe for pets.

What is Paws Off!?

Paws Off! is the world's first warning symbol to be added to the packaging of human products containing ingredients that could harm your pet.

What type of foods are dangerous for pets?

Many people don’t know it, but there’s lots of human foods that can be harmful for pets including avocado, grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions, garlic and more. See the full list of toxic ingredients here.

We’ve noticed you are using the packaging of food I buy – does this mean these products are dangerous?

No, these products aren’t dangerous for you – but they do contain ingredients which aren’t safe for your pet. While Paws Off! is a simple concept to understand, it’s even easier if you see how it works on ‘real-life’ packaging. So, we mocked up a couple of examples to show those awesome marketers and decision-makers for the foods you love, how they could use Paws Off!. The symbol is designed to educate their customers to not share specific and delicious human food and drink with their furry friends.

Why are we doing this?

After surveying over 1,000 New Zealanders, we found over 30% of them didn’t know things like grapes, onions or macadamia nuts were unsafe for pets, and over 50% didn’t know that bread or avocado could also harm their pets. We want to drive awareness of this issue and educate as many people as possible so we keep more pets safe.

Who is associated with Paws Off!?

Paws Off! was created by Southern Cross Pet Insurance and supported by the New Zealand Veterinary Association.

How is the NZ Veterinary Association involved?

Southern Cross Pet Insurance has partnered with the NZVA for many years. We work closely with them to understand how we can best support what they do in the community for our pets (and their owners). Like us, veterinarians want all pets to live their best lives and they work every day to do this – which includes educating owners about how to best look after our furred, finned, and feathered family members.

What do I do if my pet eats something they're not supposed to?

Contact your local vet for advice immediately. For key signs to look out for you can check out this article.

What can I do to help?

As a pet owner or pet lover: We'd love you to spread the word about Paws Off! by sharing our posts on your own social channels, to encourage food brands to adopt the symbol and use it on their packaging to keep pets safe.

As a brand: We’d like to invite you to use the Paws Off! symbol on your packaging if the products that you sell contain any of the toxic ingredients in the list. You can download the symbol assets here.

Is the Paws Off! warning symbol free to download & use?

Yes it is. Southern Cross and the NZ Veterinary Association want every pet, everywhere to be safe.

Who can I speak to if I need more information?

Please reach out to if you have any questions or would like to get more information about the Paws Off! symbol.

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All statistics and figures on this site and promoted by Paws Off! are from research completed by Pure Profile in 2022.