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Should I get pet health insurance for my dog?

Note: This is a guest post from Jon Dunkerly at

Pet health insurance may seem trivial to the majority of dog and cat owners, but when it comes down to it, that monthly drop in the bucket can be the determining factor when it comes to the type of medical care your pets get when they need it.

Having owned dogs for the majority of my life, I have lost track of the number of times I’ve been sitting in a vet’s waiting room, crossing my fingers and praying to my own God that my beloved dog survives his latest foray into sickness. At the same time, I’m wondering if I’ll be able to afford the astronomical bill I’ll surely be receiving as a result of treatment.

Just walking into the vet’s waiting room has a fee attached, and when you add that to the cost associated with a possible medical procedure, medication and the possibility of followup visits, you can kiss that nice weekend vacation out the freaken window. Heck, you can kiss any sort of luxury out the window. Dogs get sick like us, but unlike us, they are not responsible for paying their own bills. We are!

Black Lab plays with a stick

So what exactly is pet insurance?

It is an ace in the hole that everybody wishes they had, but so few pet owners have it! Similarly to other forms of insurance, such as that for your car or home, pet health insurance is a little security blanket if you will. In exchange for a monthly premium that ranges depending on the type of coverage you want, you receive medical coverage for an array of medical procedures. There are many different pet insurance plans out there, with – yup you guessed it – the more expensive plans covering more expensive medical procedures and the cheaper plans not covering those more expensive procedures. Heck, there are even plans out there for senior dogs.

Before purchasing pet insurance for your dog, you will definitely want to do your research into the various companies that offer plans, maybe with your vet to make sure you choose the most appropriate plan for your own situation so you will not have to mortgage your home down the road to pay that vet.

For example, if you own a Labrador retriever like I do (see handsome Lars in the picture!), there’s a pretty good chance that some time or another that damn dog is gonna eat something he shouldn’t, resulting in a mad dash to the vet for a good ol’ stomach pump! Yeah you got me, this has happened to me before and the subsequent stomach pump cost me a cool $800 when all was done and dusted!

Many pet owners feel they can not afford a monthly pet insurance premium, but when you break down your monthly expenses more often than not you realize just how wrong you are. Stop for one second and think of something, anything that you purchase on a regular basis that you know damn well you are paying too much money for. Personally, I have probably paid for many years of pet insurance coverage over the years in overpriced coffee, but when you love the stuff as much as I do, you do not give a second thought to how much money you are wasting on it.

The next time you are at your vet office, take a look on a counter top or end table as you will surely find pamphlets detailing pet insurance plans offered by various companies. Ask a lot of questions to make sure you are well aware of what you are signing up for, and do not forget to read the fine print. Remember to ask a lot of questions, as many as you need to because when it comes to pet insurance, no question is a stupid question!

How about you? Do you have pet insurance for your pets?

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Linda - Alfie's Blog

Saturday 25th of January 2014

Oh we've spent enough money at the vets with our Alfie - stomach pump, stick in throat injury just to name a few. So far we've always just paid in cash but we're looking into a good insurance for him...

Lindsay Stordahl

Saturday 25th of January 2014

I had to open a Care Credit account to pay for Ace's emergency room visit a few years ago.