How to Decide If You Should Get Pet Insurance for Your Dog

There are hundreds of articles on the cost of pet insurance, dog insurance reviews, and reasons to get pet insurance. Here’s why I decided not to get pet insurance for my dogs. I’m not saying you shouldn’t get pet insurance for your dog, but if you know why I don’t have dog insurance, you might have an easier time deciding if you should get pet insurance for your dog.

pet insurance for dogs

First Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats

Whether or not you decide not to get pet insurance for your dog, I encourage you to get a book such as  The First Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats by Amy D. Shojai. I’ve dealt with cut pads on my dog’s paw, eye infections, stomach issues, and diarrhea without taking my dogs to the veterinarian. If you have a first aid kit for dogs and a book to help with emergencies, you’ll be prepared to deal with almost anything!

It’d be interesting to learn if pet insurance affects how dog owners care for their pets. If I had pet insurance, would I take Georgie and Tiffy to the veterinarian more often? Would I give my dogs more prescription medication because it’s “free”? Does pet insurance even cover the cost of veterinary visits? It depends on the type of pet insurance, no doubt, and the reason for the vet visit. If you’re trying to decide if you should get pet insurance for your dog, you have some research to do…

Should You Get Pet Insurance for Your Dog?

Here’s what I considered when I decided not to get pet insurance for my dogs, Georgie and Tiffy. It took me a few weeks to make this decision – and I think the best thing I did was talk to other dog owners. When talking to them, these are the issues that came up most often:

The cost of pet insurance for your dog. To get an estimate of how much pet insurance will cost for your dog breed, go to Petplan Pet Insurance. It’s just one insurance company – you should do some research when you’re deciding if you should get pet insurance for your dog. Find out how much insurance costs for different types of dogs at different insurance companies.

Your financial situation and budget. I think this is the most important consideration when you’re trying to decide if you should get pet insurance. Pet insurance is essentially a savings account. You pay your $10 or $20 or $50 a month, and when your dog gets sick, then the veterinarian bills are covered. Or, you could not get pet insurance for your dog, and cough up the dough when your dog gets sick (like me). The key deciding factor is whether or not you have a couple thousand dollars at any given moment to spend on vet bills. I usually keep a $2,000 financial safety net for emergencies, and I feel like I don’t need pet insurance for my dogs because I think I could cover the vet bills.

Your dog’s breed. Some breeds are more prone to health problems, while others are always healthy. Just like people! But, just because your dog’s breed is generally healthy or unhealthy, remember that your dog may be the outlier.

Your dog’s health. Our Terrier Georgie has had stomach problems since we adopted her three years ago, and yet I still decided not to get pet insurance for her (or my other dog). The truth is that I don’t believe in insurance in general, even though I’ve been grateful for it twice (in 44 years).If your dog has tummy issues, read What Causes Gurgling Stomach Noises in Dogs? I wrote it when I discovered Georgie has IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

dog insurance

Dental Care for Dogs

How old and healthy your dog is. We adopted Tiffy when she was three years old. Her teeth were in terrible shape – almost as brown as chocolate. The woman who gave her to me also gave me two toothbrushes and toothpaste – like the Nylabone Dog Dental Kit pictured.

When I called the veterinarian, they said dog teeth cleaning would cost upwards of $200, depending on the size of the dog and how bad the teeth are. I didn’t want to spend the money – but I also don’t have pet insurance for my dogs, so I definitely don’t want to pay a veterinarian in the future for dental work! So I decided to change what Tiffy eats, in order to promote natural dental care and not have to get pet insurance.

What your dog eats. My other dog’s teeth (Georgie) are white as snow, and she’s the same age as Tiffy (they’re both four now). I thought I’d try feeding Tiffy what I’ve been giving Georgie: Greenies Dental Chews, Bully Sticks, and marrow bones from the butcher. Guess what? Tiffy’s teeth are now almost as white as Georgie’s! It took a year, but she slowly cleaned her own teeth. I’m not saying that if you feed your dog Greenies, pizzles and marrow bones from the butcher then you should not get pert insurance for your dog…I’m just encouraging you to think about how your dog’s food and treats affects her health.

Make sure you read the fine print of your dog insurance agreement! Just because you get pet insurance for your dog, doesn’t mean every health issue will be paid for by the insurance company. This is one of the biggest reasons I didn’t get dog insurance. Not only do I not believe in insurance in general, I’m also a little suspicious of insurance companies. I’d worry that my dogs’ health issue wouldn’t be paid for by the pet insurance because of something in the fine print, and I’d be so mad that I paid for pet insurance but didn’t get any benefits. So, if you decide you should get pet insurance for your dog, make sure you understand what health issues are covered, and what aren’t.

pet insurance for dog

Should you get deer insurance?

I took this picture of the deer today – she was visiting my neighbor’s house! She ate most of their flowers, and went and got her twin fawns so they could have the leftovers. Deer are a very good reason to get pet insurance for your dogs. I’ve heard that a deer can kick a dog, and do serious damage.

When it comes to getting pet insurance for your dog, the bottom line is that there is not right or wrong answer. You need to do what you’re most comfortable with, given your dog, lifestyle, financial situation, and emotional well-being. I do not feel comfortable buying even more insurance (we have car insurance and house insurance) – but I am not looking forward to the day my veterinarian tells me that one of my dogs has a health issue that will cost thousands of dollars to take care of. But even if I had pet insurance, I might choose not to use it.

What do you think of my reasons for not getting pet insurance for my dogs? Comments welcome below!

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