If you are asking yourself this question while reviewing a stack of your pup’s medical bills, then it may be a little late to help you answer this question. In that case, you probably need to discuss a payment plan with your veterinarian. However, if you have just adopted a dog or welcomed home a new puppy, now is an excellent time to evaluate your preferred breed for specific health care needs and also plan for the unexpected illness, injury or health condition.
When dog owners ask themselves if they need dog insurance, this is usually weighed against the alternative question… “Can’t I just set money aside to pay my dog’s vet bills?” Sure, but can you set enough money aside is the real question. Most dog insurance plans are designed for the catastrophic events, though some plans will help with annual checkups and preventative health care.
Weighing the Options
Look at what you plan to spend each month on your dog’s insurance. Now, plan instead to ‘set aside’ that same amount each month. Would it add up to enough to cover a broken pup’s leg that can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. How about if Fido swallows something he shouldn’t have and you find yourself dishing out $1,000 to $3,000 to have it surgically removed. Or, suppose down the road your dog has a chronic health condition that requires a veterinarian specialist’s care and thousands of dollars each month in treatment costs.
Thanks to medical and technological advancements, our pets are often receiving some of the same health care treatments as their humans. That also means that the sticker shock of a medical bill for a dog can rival that of a person.
Consider Health Risk
Answering whether or not you need dog insurance is easy after you are looking at the stack of medical bills, but for someone who is peering at a healthy and active pup with no family or breed history of disease or medical conditions, the question is more of a risk assessment. Should you plan for the unknown, expect the worse or be optimistic and pocket the savings?
And if you do decide that dog insurance is a must for your peace of mind, when should you insure your dog? Don’t wait until your hound is sick. Insure Fido while he is healthy because most pet insurance plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions. Unfortunately, many pet owners realize they need dog insurance too late. Starting a plan as a puppy assures you (and your wallet) that the years to come can be both healthy and affordable.
Some of the same dog owners how who are quick to determine they don’t need any extra coverage for their hound, are also the first to beg the vet to save Fido – no matter what it takes. You may believe that if the cost is too high for a procedure that you will be able to step away. But the emotional pull when faced with incurring debt vs. putting your friend and furry family member to sleep can be the most overwhelming cost.
Dr. Susan Wright DVM is the author of numerous dog related articles and lead expert on invisible fence alternatives for Dog Fence DIY. Susan also has over ten years of experience in veterinary practice.