(16) Health Insurance for Dogs

Molly, the service dogGolly, Miss Molly:

A blog about a service dog and her veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the veteran and the family caregiver)


Do I need health insurance for my dog?

Is there Obamacare for my beloved critter? Probably not, but there are a number of options for pet health insurance. Let’s talk about the need for pet health insurance first.

Service dogs are valuable assets, costing upwards of $25,000 with their specialized training. Whether you paid for your dog personally or if he/she came to you at no charge through the VA or another source, the service dog needs protection and excellent medical care. As well, service dogs take a while to break in to your specific needs and become a part of you and your family. Keeping your dog healthy is the best way to ensure a long life for your dog.

Collectively, pet owners in the US spend about $12 billion for veterinary care. Sweden claims the highest number of pet owners with insurance followed by Great Britain.*

We love our dogs. Their health must be a priority if we want them in our lives for as long as possible. This requires an initial visit to the veterinarian to establish a baseline, then every six months for a routine check-up.

Where can I find pet medical insurance?

Your veterinarian is a good place to start. Likely, your dog’s doctor will initiate a discussion about medical insurance. If you purchase it through the doctor’s office, your doctor may apply it to your bill that day, resulting in a substantial discount on your first visit. When purchased this way, you are assured that your veterinarian accepts this insurance plan.

The internet serves as a resource for multiple insurance plans and comparison of plans. The website www.topconsumerreviews.com/pet-insurance/ rates the top ten insurance plans and provides a detailed description of the strengths and weaknesses of each plan. Consideration includes things as deductibles, reimbursables, over-the-counter discounts, components of a wellness plan, and chronic disease coverage.

What insurance does Miss Molly have?

Miss Molly loves Dr. Traci at our local pet store. We bought Molly’s health insurance through Banfield Pet Hospital on her first visit. We did no comparison shopping when we purchased her insurance. In fact, we bought it when the vet told us our first visit would be $804. As William and I gasped for air, the receptionist asked if we wanted to insure Molly. The total for the first visit dropped to $257.

The one-year plan required an initial fee of $39.95 and a monthly charge of $32.95. The Optimum Wellness Plan covers professional services for two comprehensive exams, vaccines, screening for blood cells, heartworm/Lyme/Ehrlichia, ear swabs, and anesthetic procedures for dental needs. On her first visit, the doctor told us Molly had a broken molar so she returned a week later for dental work. Again, we saved substantially on the procedure with her insurance.

Of course, you will need to decide what plan is best for you. You might check with your homeowner’s insurance company, as I read that pet health insurance falls under property insurance.

Please know that I am not an expert in pet health insurance. If you are like us, you might not think about insurance until a huge veterinary bill slaps you in the face, causing you to make a rash decision on insurance while standing at the counter. It is better to compare plans and select the one that works best for you and your service dog. Do not wait until something happens to your dog.

 A Bite-size Trivia Question

When and where was the first pet medical insurance written? (See answer below “Post your Comments”)

  1. 1969, Sweden
  2. 1947, Britain
  3. 1926, US
  4. 1974, Canada

*Data used for the trivia question and the facts listed above came from www.consumerreviews.com.

Post your Comments:

Do you have pet health insurance for your dog? What considerations were important to you when purchasing the plan? Please share your thoughts with us at the bottom of this blog.


Answer to the bite-size Trivia question 

                                                               #2. 1947, Britain

About the blogger

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her husband, William, and dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.