It’s a very different world than when I brought home my first dog, Molly, a Newfoundland, in 1980. While she had the benefit of every routine wellness and preventive care treatment available at the time, the treatment she received for her bone cancer in 1990 was highly experimental. We did manage to keep her with us for an extra 6 months, in a happy and productive state until that day she asked to go.
Fast forward to 2009 when another diagnosis of bone cancer confronted me with my beloved Bernese Mountain Dog, Zelda. The punch to the gut was the same…but the follow-through was much worse. A dizzying array of options, specialists, procedures, potential outcomes…and of course, costs…all ushered in by a specter of guilt that accusingly inquired: “Are you doing everything you can?”.
If I’m ever faced with that again, I want to be able to respond with an emphatic “Yes”. And I need pet insurance to do that.
How do I start to find the best pet insurance plans?
As the saying goes, “Start where you are”. Figure out who you are as a dog mom (or dog dad) to identify your expectations and needs. For me, three considerations were important:
1. Based on past experience, I know that I’m committed to all the routine wellness treatments – the heartworm testing, shots, teeth cleaning, etc. It would be nice to have some help with that, but it’s optional.
The real hit has come from accidents…like torn ACL’s, or disease…like cancer. There’s not much to cushion the emotional blow, but I’m definitely interested in muting the financial hit that results from these random events.
2. My heart belongs to Bernese Mountain Dogs. And I can’t ignore the chronic conditions and hereditary diseases that plague the breed specifically, and large dogs in general. Everything from histiocytic diseases and Von Willebrand’s disease to run-of-the-mill hip displaysia. It’s critical that any pet insurance plan cover these possibilities.
3. Puppy or Rescue Dog? It may not matter to the heart, but it matters when you start to compare dog insurance. What about the coverage for pre-existing conditions? How is that defined? Is a hereditary disease considered pre-existing? Do rates change based on age? And so on!
There are many factors to consider…but it’s an important decision. I’m not interested in cheap dog insurance – but effective dog insurance because I want to protect my new dog and myself from the destruction of disease – and financial strain.
Stay tuned as I navigate the pet insurance landscape to find the best dog insurance plan for me!
Can you recommend a pet health insurance plan? Please let me know!