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Health Insurance For Dogs - and Cats

Updated on August 31, 2013

Dog Health Insurance

Why buy dog health insurance? If you've owned a dog for any length of time, you understand the costs involved. In addition to the food, the toys, the bedding, and the grooming, there's the cost of veterinary care. This can run into some big bucks. Just the price of monthly heartworm prevention, monthy flea and tick prevention, and annual vaccinations really add up quickly. But these are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the real cost of veterinary care, and health insurance for dogs can be a life saver. Unexpected emergencies can pop up at any time. We've had some huge vet bills over the years. The largest involved treating one of our quail hunting dogs, an English pointer, for cancer. Another was when we purchased an adult already-trained hunting dog and discovered that he was infested with heartworms. That treatment involved blood transfusions and numerous stays and visits to the veterinary clinic, racking up a hefty bill. Depending on your specific policy, dog health insurance might cover most or all of such bills.

We take good care of our loyal furkids!
We take good care of our loyal furkids! | Source
Pet Insurance can cover cats, too.
Pet Insurance can cover cats, too. | Source

Pet Insurance

Feline owners can benefit from pet insurance, too. Cats have the reputation for letting their curiosity get them into trouble, seemingly doing their level best to use up all nine lives in a hurry. We’ve had cats to get hit by cars and to get tangled up with fishing line – with the hooks still attached. In two cases, the hooks became embedded in the cats’ mouths. And, you know, people always say a feline will land on its feet from a fall, but even if that’s true, it doesn’t mean the animal won’t be injured. Hubby had a big Siamese that broke its leg after jumping off a BBQ grill. When it comes to vet care, it’s about as expensive to treat cats as it is dogs.

Unfortunately, most dogs are just as bad as cats when it comes to putting themselves in dangerous situations. Dogs are inquisitive by nature, and this often leads to problems. They get out and run in front of vehicles. They get into fights with other canines. They accidentally ingest poisons or other toxic substances like antifreeze. They “explore” potentially dangerous critters like porcupines, badgers, coyotes, and snakes. My granddaughter’s bulldog was attacked by coyotes, and we’ve had two dogs to be bitten by rattlesnakes. I've had dogs to break their legs while playing, too. What if you don’t have the money on hand to treat emergencies? I don’t know about you, but we love our dogs almost as if they were our children. If something happened to one of them, I’d probably do just about anything in order to save its life.

In addition to injuries, dogs are plagued by a host of illnesses and medical conditions. Some of these include hip dysplacia, eye problems, respiratory infections, arthritis, mange, seizures, diabetes, heartworms, influenza, stomach bloat, and several types of cancers and tumors. Sometimes quick treatment can be the difference in life and death, and preventive care can be even more important.

Any of these problems can quickly run into thousands of dollars. Many people can't afford the price of x-rays, CT scans, blood transfusions, or surgeries for themselves - much less for their pets. In far too many cases, the beloved family dog has to be humanely euthanized because its family cannot afford life-saving treatments and procedures. But it doesn't have to be this way if you have dog health insurance. The best dog insurance will cover both emergencies and preventive care.

Vet Care is often more expensive for larger dogs.
Vet Care is often more expensive for larger dogs. | Source

Vet Care

Let's talk for just a moment about vet care. More specificially, let's focus on the cost of vet care. If you already own a dog, you're probably already aware of the costs associated with most dog maintenance, but new or future dog owners might not be as aware. Also, even if you've owned a dog for years, you might not have had to pay for injuries or illnesses associated with your pet. Below are just a few examples of vet costs in my area. Vet costs where you live might be higher or lower. Also, the size of the dog, the extent of the injury or illness, and other factors could influence the vet costs significantly.

Dog Spaying: starts at $76 for small dogs; $94 for dogs over 60 pounds

Dog Neutering: $60 for small dogs; $75 for dogs over 60 pounds

Heartworm Treatment: $490 for small dogs; $680 for dogs over 88 pounds

X-Rays: $48 each

Dental Cleaning: $85

Swallowed Objects in stomach: $840

Setting a Broken Bone: $325

Anesthesia: $45

Parvo Treatment: $500 - $1500, depending on severity

Sedation: $45

I'd do almost anything to keep this big guy alive and well.
I'd do almost anything to keep this big guy alive and well. | Source

Best Dog Insurance

What's the best dog insurance? Several reputable companies offer dog health insurance. Every policy is a little different, but the best dog insurance covers spaying and neutering, vaccines and boosters, routine dental care, surgeries, hospital stays, infections, heart disease, arthritis, kidney disease, cancer, poisoning, injuries, and prescription drugs. Your veterinarian might be willing to give you some pointers here – mine did. He was open about telling me which companies he and his clients had had the best experiences with.

There's a wide range of options and deductibles for health insurance for dogs. Be sure to read the fine print so that you'll know exactly what is and isn't covered. Some pet insurance costs as little as about $13 per month. You can search online for companies that insure dogs, and on many sites, you can get a free quote. Just answer a few quick questions about your pooch, along with the type of coverage you want, and in just a second or two you'll discover how much your monthly premium will be. It's that simple! Remember that the best dog insurance is the one that addresses the individual needs of you and your pet.

I urge all pet owners to purchase dog insurance or pet health insurance for their furry family members. Give some thought to how you'd pay the vet bills if the unthinkable happened to Fido or Fluffy. Don't be faced with the possibility of euthanizing man's best friend needlessly. The best pet insurance can provide you with wonderful peace of mind.

Dog Liability Insurance is mandatory in some communities for certain dog breeds.
Dog Liability Insurance is mandatory in some communities for certain dog breeds. | Source

Dog Liability Insurance

There's another type of dog insurance - dog liability insurance. This is insurance that covers bites and other types of injuries caused by your dog. Your homeowner's policy might cover such claims, but it might not. I spoke with my insurance agent about the topic of dog liability insurance, and he explained some things to me. For example, in many cases, injuries from dogs are often covered in a typical homeowner's policy, but in most cases, it has to be your dog, and the incident has to take place on your property for it to be covered. He also explained that on most applications for homeowner's insurance, there's a question about the number and type of dogs on the property. There might also be a question regarding the canine's history - if it's ever bitten or attacked a human or another animal. If you answer "yes," you could be denied a policy, or you could be granted a policy that doesn't cover injuries caused by your dog. The type of dog or dogs you own might come into question, too. Some insurance companies consider some dog breeds vicious or more prone to biting. If you own one of these dog breeds, you might be denied a typical policy. In that case, you'll need to buy a special policy for dog liability insurance.

This point hit home with me just a couple of weeks ago. We changed insurance companies for our homeowner's policy. When I completed the phone interview with the agent, she wanted to know all about our dogs and their history. She also wanted to make sure that we didn't have Rotweillers, pit bulls, or other so-called high risk dog breeds on our property. If we owned any dangerous dog breeds, they might not have been able to insure us at all. I'm not saying this is fair, but it's the cold, hard truth.

Don't think that just because your pooch is gentle with family members that you're in the clear. Dogs are unpredictable. My cousin, who runs a daycare, had a sweet, gentle, lovable golden retriever that adored all the daycare kids. The dog had never shown any aggression at all. In fact, goldies are usually considered to be the second safest of all breeds. One day, however, a toddler handled the goldie roughly, and the dog bit the boy in the face. If you have small children as frequent visitors in your home, you might want to consider dog liability insurance, no matter the dog breeds involved. No matter how you look at it, dog insurance of any type is never a bad idea!


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