Is Pet Insurance Right for Your Dog?

Dog Face

As any dog owner knows, Fido is more than just a four-legged friend. That animal is a part of the family. And like a family member, dogs have medical needs that include regular appointments and emergency situations.

Black Dog

Vet Visits Can be Expensive

What most people don’t realize is how expensive a visit to the vet can be. Getting a dog’s stomach pumped after they accidentally ingest chocolate can cost around $4,300. Minor surgery can easily reach $10,000. The American Pet Products Association found Americans spent $15.95 billion on veterinary care in 2016. They expect the number to grow in 2017, reaching close to $17 billion. If an unexpected pet medical emergency puts your finances seriously at risk, then it is time to consider getting pet insurance.

Happy Dog

You Don’t Need to Stress

Pet insurance sounds unusual, but it works very similar to human health insurance. There are premiums, deductibles and co-pays. The biggest differences between the two are you can choose which vet you see and the policies are more streamlined making it easier to choose from.  Getting your pets insured can be easy by comparing the different policies side-by-side online. Some policies only cover accidents and illnesses, while others cover annual  appointments. In most cases, you pay the costs at the vet’s office and the insurer sends a reimbursement check afterwards.


Questions pet owners should ask before picking pet insurance

First, check to see how long the waiting period is. Some policies kick in as soon as the papers are signed. Other policies can take a few weeks. It’s important to see if the insurance covers the cost of spaying or neutering the pet since this is a service almost every pet owner uses. Certain breeds are more illness prone, and pet owners should see if they fall under insurance exclusions. It’s a good idea to check if the insurance provides prescription coverage. As the prices of prescriptions rise for humans, they also rise for our four-legged friends. Pet owners should explore if the pet insurer places any illness or incident caps. Some will only pay so much for an emergency medical need. Lastly, people should always research their pet insurer. The Better Business Bureau is a great place to check for any consumer complaints against a company.


Dog breeds play a major factor in choosing insurance

Some breeds are prone to breathing problems, joint issues and troubles with digestion. Larger dogs are usually more expensive to treat simply because they require more medicine than younger breeds. Puppies swallow everything. Purebred dogs also tend to be more expensive than mixed breeds. Here are a few breeds that dog owners should be aware of:


Bull Dogs

Bulldogs of the French, American and English type are a popular breed among families. They are known to be very loving and loyal and they are great around kids. The dogs are generally medium-sized, and they don’t have the high rambunctious energy of other dogs. Bulldogs usually get along well with other pets. Their short fur and limited shedding make the dogs easier to groom. Medically, bulldogs tend to have breathing problems because of their short snout. The dog’s tendency to relax makes it also prone to obesity and hyperthyroidism. Bulldogs are also at risk of hip dysplasia. The genetic condition often leads to joint pain and a decreased range of motion.

Great Dane

Great Danes

Great Danes are large, lovable dogs that get along great with the family. The dogs are known for being very easy to train and excessive barking isn’t a problem. Many people refer to Great Danes as “gentle giants.” It’s not unusual to see the dogs try and sit on your lap as you watch television. These dogs unfortunately have shorter lifespans due to their large size. They are also prone to bloat, which happens when the dog eats too fast or drinks too much water in a short amount of time. It’s common for Great Danes to suffer from cardiomyopathy. This heart disease happens when both chambers of the heart are enlarged, leading to one chamber to suffer from severe effects.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers are among the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. It’s easy to see why. The dogs are easy to train, loveable and good with children. Labrador retrievers have a lot of energy. This makes them great for bringing along during a run or a hike through the woods. Like the bulldog, Labrador retrievers can be at risk of overeating. Pet owners should closely monitor their feeding habits to help avoid obesity. Many dogs of this breed suffer from the condition known as osteochondritis. This condition happens when the cartilage softens around a joint. The softening is often due to a disruption in blood flow. Common symptoms include lameness and joint swelling.



Chihuahuas are small, spunky dogs that are also popular among American pet owners. The dogs are very loyal and have a variety of personalities. The dogs also have longer lifespans — up to 16 years. Chihuahuas require a large amount of exercise, and they are easy to travel with. Health wise, the dogs tend to suffer from hypoglycemia. This condition happens when a dog’s blood sugar rapidly drops. Symptoms can range from loss of appetite to seizures. The dogs are also known to have arthritis problems in their joints.


Having health insurance can be not only save your wallet, but can also extend your dogs life.  When it comes time to make a tough decision, being insured can make all the difference.  With those considerations in mind, it is important to pick the insurance that would best cover your dog’s needs.

Jayson Goetz is a recent graduate from Arizona State University who lives in Phoenix. Being a lover of pets and travel, he's always daydreaming about adopting more pets (which he doesn't need) and visiting new places. He started writing in hope of sharing his experiences with fellow pet lovers and travel bugs. You can follow him through the buttons below.