Pet Insurance Guide for Dog Owners

Estimated Reading Time 4 minutes
Pet Insurance Guide for Dog Owners

Pet health insurance is prevalent now, and for a good reason. Pet parents are now spending more on their pets than ever before. Dog insurance plans can cover preventative medicine, including physical exams, fecal exams, vaccines, spay/neuter surgery, and unexpected fees like x-rays, ultrasounds, and emergency surgery. We have health insurance for when we get sick or hurt, so why not have a dog medical insurance plan? Keep reading for tips to help you select the right plan for your pup!

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Veterinary medicine can be pricey because there is so much overhead. Medium-sized emergency clinics that are open 24/7/365 spend $100,000+ for electricity alone in one year! And that’s without staff or equipment to take care of your pet.

Pet Insurance for Dogs

Dog insurance plans – a good idea?


We never know when we’ll get sick or hurt, and it’s the same for our dogs. When dogs play too rough, they can injure themselves by:

  • Running into something
  • Jumping up to get a ball
  • Going up and down the stairs

Any of these everyday activities can cost thousands of dollars to treat. Eye injuries, back injuries, and knee injuries may require a visit to an emergency vet for:

  • An exam
  • Sedation
  • X-rays
  • Blood work
  • IV catheter
  • Fluids
  • IV antibiotics
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery
  • Bandages
  • Pain medication
  • Injectable anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Oral pain medication to go home
  • Oral anti-inflammatory medication to go home
  • Oral antibiotics to go home

And this is just to get started! The more extreme the injury, the higher the cost.

Puppy Insurance

Puppy insurance is also a fantastic idea because early in a dog’s life, there are higher costs for things like:

  • Physical exams
  • Multiple rounds of vaccines
  • Several fecal exams
  • Spay/neuter
  • Pain medication
  • Injectable anti-inflammatory medication
  • Oral pain medication
  • Oral anti-inflammatory medication
  • E-collar

Dog Breeds with Higher Instances of Health Concerns

Certain breeds of dogs like Bernese Mountain Dogs make adorable puppies, but their lifespan is incredibly short due to the high prevalence of cancer.

English Bulldogs’ short bodies, wrinkly skin, and short, broad heads (brachycephalic) make cute puppies. But, because of their skin, body structure, and head shape, abnormalities, including respiratory issues, hip dysplasia, skin allergies, and obesity, are common.

Weimaraners’ beautiful silky, grey coats can have problematic health issues like spinal problems and hip dysplasia. It’s also very concerning if this breed develops bumps or bruises because they’re prone to Von Willebrand’s disease, which causes blood clotting problems.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Pre-existing conditions like cancer, respiratory issues, and hip dysplasia are often not covered under most dog insurance plans, leaving the owner to cover the costs. If you’re not familiar with a breed’s pre-existing conditions, it can leave you with sticker shock.

Almost every insurance plan requires a 14 to 30-day waiting period where your dog isn’t covered for illness, injury, or even wellness visits.

puppy insurance

Animal Insurance: What Does It Cover?

Pet Insurance for dogs covers many things you need and should have to ensure your dog’s health stays in tip-top shape.

The Basics

  • Wellness visits which include annual exams, preventative care, vaccines, and microchips
  • Diagnostic tests like bloodwork, urinalysis, fecal exams, blood pressure, and blood glucose are excellent for being proactive in your dog’s health care. Being proactive instead of reactive allows you to find abnormalities quickly and prevent or treat long-term problems.
  • Imaging like x-rays, ultrasound, CTs, and MRIs can be used as additional proactive measures for your dog’s health.
  • Surgeries for a spay or neuter, but also mass removals
  • Dentals include routine scaling, polishing, and dental x-rays to see what’s below the gumline. Dentals also include tooth fractures and abscesses.
  • Prescriptions like food, medications, and supplements
  • Hereditary and congenital conditions such as hip dysplasia can affect German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Bulldogs, Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Neapolitan Mastiffs, and Retrievers. Urinary bladder stones are common in Dalmatians, Newfoundlands, the Bichon Frise, and Miniature Schnauzers. X-rays and frequent urinalysis will help you stay on top of these conditions.

Beyond the Basics

  • Accidents/injuries such as lacerations, foreign bodies, torn ligaments, bite wounds, and broken bones
  • Illnesses including gastrointestinal issues, ingestion of toxins, and infections
  • Chronic conditions like diabetes (testing, insulin, glucose curves, fructosamine), adrenal gland issues – Cushing’s and Addison’s disease, and cancer
  • Behavioral issues like separation anxiety, licking, barking, and aggression
  • Specialists like cardiology, neurology, ophthalmology, oncology, dermatology, and surgery
  • Alternative medicine includes cold laser therapy, acupuncture, rehabilitation, and hydrotherapy

Do I need insurance for my dog?

As you can see, pet health insurance is a wonderful option for primary veterinary care for your dog, as well as extensive therapies and treatments. Proactive medicine is better than reactive medicine and always less expensive.

Having dog medical insurance makes sense because you never have to worry about not being able to afford the best possible care for your canine companion.

Read more:

Veterinary Virtual Care - FAQ

Ask a Vet: 10 Important Questions to Ask at Your Next Vet Visit

Preparing for Your New Puppy

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Click here to schedule a video consult to speak to one of our vets. You can also download the FirstVet app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Stores.

Published: 4/22/2022
Last updated: 5/6/2022
Dr. Sheena Haney, Veterinarian

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