Is dog health insurance worth it? Don't Get Caught Out with Expensive Vet Bills
Getting proper health insurance for your dog should be a no brainer! I was facing vet bills of $3000 without it, so is dog health insurance worth it? You bet.
We all want and hope that our beloved furry pal remains fit and healthy throughout their life and a health insurance policy gives us peace of mind when our faithful friend is taken ill. It’s a false economy not to insure your dog.
Being the responsible dog lover that I know you are or aspire to be, I hope you will agree with me that obtaining insurance for your pet dog is a fundamental duty of good dog care.
And when deciding whether to take out a health policy, weighing up how much your monthly payments will be over their lifetime and the chances of anything really bad happening to them that requires extensive medical attention,
Just think about this scenario…..
Imagine that your poor dog has a major accident, perhaps run over by a car or develops a serious life changing condition, you rush them into the Vets’ clinic for urgent treatment. Your Vet thinks they can save your dog but its going to be difficult and costly, somewhere in the region of $2-
Now imagine that you didn’t take out health insurance for your dog, you don’t have the spare money to pay for their bills and you don’t have any way of getting that sort of cash quickly enough, so you have have no choice but to take the heart wrenching decision to put your dog down instead, as that will only cost $200.
Add to this the misery and emotion of distraught children or family members and your own feelings of irrepressible guilt, that by not taking an insurance plan out for them, you actually failed your dog on the one and only time they really really needed you… Wow that’s a real downer!
Just to be clear, I’m not promoting any particular insurance company or policy this advice is straight from the heart, in fact I had a very similar situation as described above with my last dog Lucy.
Lucy’s Health Insurance story…
Lucy was our lovely Jack Russell Terrier, (now sadly no longer with us ) who we rescued from an adoption centre as a puppy, she was typical of her breed; feisty, energetic and lots of fun. Lucy lived a wonderfully healthy and fulfilled life, and up until the age of 9 had never had any serious medical issues.
It took a while to notice something was wrong, there was a gradual decline that seemed to creep up slowly over time, I noticed at first that she didn’t seem inclined to chase her favourite Frisbee when I threw it, or she would chase it only for her to be unable to find it when it was right under her nose.
She was oblivious to the tap dancing squirrels that teased her mere feet away, squirrels who only months before had fled in terror at her thunderous approach.
Most upsettingly, Lucy would act confused or lost when out walking in her favourite parks. She didn’t seem to know where she was and seemed frightened by her surroundings. By the time she started physically walking into trees, lampposts and walls a visit to the vet had already been booked.
Lucy had in short gone completely blind…
The upshot of my visit to the vet, was Lucy's referral to a specialist veterinary training hospital who conducted a battery of tests on her, including an M.R.I scan. A diagnosis of macular degeneration of the retina was duly given which is a wholly incurable condition and I was presented with a bill for £1800 ($3000) .
Though I had to max out my credit card to pay the bill I was mightily relieved for the health insurance policy I had taken out with her as I was paid back 100% of the charges, speedily and with no quibbles.
What would I have done if Lucy hadnt been insured? Well I honestly don’t know!
My vet had initially told me that the blindness may be due to a brain tumour affecting the optic nerve and that it may also cause her to act unpredictably or aggressively. They said that there was no way of knowing for sure without doing an expensive brain scan.
If Lucy hadn’t have been insured, maybe I would have still maxed out my credit card, but I had no means to easily repay that kind of sum at the time especially with a young family to support, so maybe I would have just had her put to sleep there and then to save her a potentially painful death.
Another factor to consider was my children, whatever I did I couldn't take the risk that my terminally ill, dog might go out of control at any moment and hurt any of us.
Having health insurance for the dog gave me choices..
As it turned out, the scan showed that Lucy didn’t have a brain tumour after all and it was just her eyes that were affected, so of course I made the decision to adjust to life with a blind dog.
I was amazed at how Lucy was able to carry on doing all the doggy things she used to do before and didn’t seem to have been greatly hindered by her lack of sight in the slightest.
Her squirrel chasing days may have been over, but her sense of smell was better than ever! And being able to sniff out the tiniest morsel of food with pin point accuracy over seemingly great distances was for her a much more useful skill to have any way.
Lucy adapted amazingly well to her condition and remained with us as a much loved family dog until age old age took her in the spring of 2015. I’m am glad I took the decision to insure her properly as the happy memories we have of her are priceless,
When it comes to the numbers you have to weigh up the chances of your dog ever needing serious medical attention, and unless you are psychic that will be impossible to do. Health insurance is exactly that, a little bit every month in case something terrible happens.
My monthly pet plan for Lucy totalled up for the 9 years prior to her illness was approximately £1200, $1700) which at a stroke more than paid for Lucy's treatment, of course she could have lived for 15 years without ever being ill and I would have spent all that money on insurance that I never needed, but would you seriously forgo insuring your house on chance that it wont ever burn down?
I do appreciate that monthly expenses like pet insurance do add to the costs of dog ownership and can seem like a luxury to some, especially in these troubled economic times. I also know that not everyone has such great experiences with their insurance companies as I have had; So here are some alternatives.