Pet Insurance

Furry members of the family can bring much love, happiness, and joy into a home. Unfortunately, they can also come with unexpected illnesses, injuries and accompanying veterinary medical bills. When they get sick, we’ll do anything to make sure they’re cared for. I recently had such an experience with one of my fur kids, Winston.

Winston is 1-year old full-size Goldendoodle with a happy, aloof little personality. I have allergies and we wanted a dog that both of us could enjoy having around. My husband did extensive research to find a reputable breeder with health-tested parents and surprised me with a visit to the breeder to pick out our sweet boy. He was happy, playful and certainly the cutest little ball of fluff we had ever seen. We did everything right. We bought the high-quality food the breeder recommended, we took him to all the veterinary check-ups, and he had all the shots, the boosters, and the heartworm and flea preventative. We took him to daycare to socialize him and even hired a dog trainer to help him develop good behavior. But best of all, we bought a pet insurance policy.

Both my husband and I thought it was a little ridiculous at first to have medical insurance for our dog, but we realized quickly that puppies get into things they shouldn’t. They eat random things on the ground like mulch or rocks and sometimes jump off steps or the back of the couch before you can catch them. We were mostly concerned with getting him through the first few years of his life when something like this was most likely to injure him or make him ill. What we didn’t anticipate was a diagnosis of bilateral hip dysplasia.

About a month after his first birthday, Winston started acting tired and sore like a much older dog with arthritis He didn’t want to jump or go up or down stairs. We took him to have it checked out and $500 worth of exams and x-rays later, we received his diagnosis. After another nearly $200 surgical consultation, it was recommended that our sweet puppy have a total hip replacement surgery. This type of surgery for a dog currently runs $5,500 – 6,500, which could easily wipe out many people’s emergency savings. Not to mention the aftercare, therapy, medications and follow up visits he’ll require post-surgery. Thankfully, our pet insurance policy covers the majority of these costs, while we are responsible for a deductible and 10% of the remaining costs.

If you bought or adopted a pet over the holiday season, even if you did your research and are doing everything right, you should consider a pet insurance policy. You never know when it will come in handy, and it can be an expensive chance to take not having one in place if something happens to your pet.

In case you’re wondering: Winston had the surgery to replace his hip, and minus his distaste for the “cone of shame”, he’s recovering quickly.

Margaret Gooley, CFP®, Worley Erhart-Graves Financial Advisors