More and more people are moving away from the “dog owner” label and are embracing the pet parent role instead. We realize that dogs are not just objects to own, but members of our family and should therefore be treated with the same care and respect as your own children. Birthdays, holidays, family vacations, and even the occasional spa day or restaurant outing are some of the events where including the family dog is not so unheard of anymore.
As a beloved member of the family, it’s important to keep your dog happy, healthy and well-adjusted. Proper obedience training, biologically appropriate nutrition and regular visits to your vet are all important ways we can ensure our dogs have the best chance at living a long and happy life.
When it comes to your dog’s health, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for anything; because you never know when an accident will happen or you or your pet will end up in a medical emergency.
Make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit with all the items needed to keep both you and your family safe… including your dog!
You should have a first aid kit handy in your home, in the car, at work and even when traveling with your pets.
Health insurance is no longer just for people
Another way to be prepared in case your dog is injured in an accident or suffers an illness is to purchase pet insurance. Health insurance is no longer just for people. Pet parents now have the option of purchasing insurance for their dogs to help offset health care costs later on.
Similar to human health insurance, pet insurance can cover anything from routine checkups, emergency procedures, alternative therapies, and even genetic disorders (depending on the plan).
Pros and cons of pet insurance
So why would you want health insurance for your dog? The benefits of pet insurance are many:
• Pet insurance can help cover costs associated with routine care, accidents, illness, medications, and vaccinations (depending on the plan).
• Some policies cover prescription nutrition or alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy or hydrotherapy.
• Many plans are customizable so you can add or remove coverage as needed.
• Most companies offer a 30% money back guarantee if you decide to cancel and do not use the insurance within 30 days.
While there are many people who swear by having insurance for their pets, there are some critics who are not so convinced. The main arguments against pet insurance are:
• Some policies do not cover pre-existing conditions and have strict guidelines on what is considered a “pre-existing condition”.
• Some companies have age limits in their plans. This means older pets may be less covered or worse, they may not even qualify for coverage.
• Some plans require you to seek care from an in-network veterinarian to qualify for insurance reimbursement.
• Some subscriptions charge a penalty if you cancel your subscription early, so keep this in mind.
Questions to ask while looking around
There are many different companies that offer pet insurance today. Before making a decision, it’s a good idea to do some homework to make sure the plan is right for you and your dog.
Here are some questions to ask:
1. “Can I choose my own vet or do they have to be part of your own network?”
2. “Cover up:”
Genetic disorders (hereditary/congenital)?
Alternative therapies (chiropractic, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, etc.)?
Breeding, throwing, gestation?
Prescription drugs or food?
3. “How is the fee calculated?” (Actual vet bill vs. average rate for service)
4. “Can I customize my plan, such as choosing my deductible or adding/removing benefits?”
5. “Are there policy payout limits? If so, what are they and are they on a per-incident, annual or lifetime basis?”
6. “Do you exclude dogs fed raw food diets from your coverage?”
7. “Are there multi-pet rates, military discounts, or other offers available?”