The Joy of Pet Ownership! … or NOT!

Welcoming a new dog or puppy into your family is like the arrival of a new baby. When you think about it – most of the anticipation and preparations are similar.  You carefully plan for changes to your daily routine, including feeding regimes, playtime, and sleeping arrangements. In addition, shopping for new toys, new gear, and maybe even new clothes are all part of the excitement. You do endless research on what to feed and how to teach him or her everything needed to have your best possible life together.

These days many dogs have a wardrobe that exceeds those of fashion models! They travel first class on commercial aircraft. Similarly, their daily menu rivals that of any gourmet restaurant. And in most cities, they have their own exclusive clubs … also known as dog parks!

But when it comes to preparing for unforeseen expenses, many pet owners do not give a second thought to the future. Consequently, something as intangible as pet insurance may be dismissed as an unnecessary expense. If you work from home or are at home most of the time, you may not see the need for insurance. After all, you are home most of the time. What could go wrong? The answer is … plenty. Even though you are able to be with your pet at all times, unexpected and unplanned calamities can still happen. However, the reluctance to invest in something that does not provide an immediate return is understandable.

The Realities of Pet Ownership

You may have thoroughly researched your breeder to minimize future health issues. You did homework to ensure that you were getting the best genetic representative of your chosen breed.  Or, you may have fallen in love with a dog or puppy at your local shelter or on the Facebook page or website of a local rescue group. But, how thoroughly did you research all of the costs of raising a pet? As a responsible pet owner, is it even realistic to foresee what could possibly go wrong? The reality is that we get pets to enjoy them, not to focus on what could go wrong.

No matter how diligent you are with selecting and caring for your dog, no one can accurately predict the unexpected as you travel through life together.  On the one hand, the current-day leash by-laws have severely reduced the potential for your dog to escape into the street, and heaven forbid, be hit by a car. On the other hand, a twist of a leg while chasing a ball can happen in the blink of an eye. Swallowing something toxic or unknown, a freak encounter with a porcupine, or a torn toenail can happen unexpectedly.

The potential for a life-threatening ‘mystery’ ailment is a real and potentially devastating possibility. In addition, pet illness and death from various forms of cancer, heart disease, and complications resulting from obesity seem to be on the rise.  Similarly, an ever-increasing variety of pet allergies associated with skin, eyes, and ears have become a ‘normal’ component of modern pet ownership. Sadly, most allergies require costly medical treatments and/or special diets. Complications of genetic modification that is common in certain breeds or breeding dogs with known genetic deficiencies, create an unexpected and often significant expense for owners. All of these afflictions cost money – often obscene amounts of money. Sadly, these potentially significant expenses are rarely factored into your normal household budget.

The Unthinkable Part of Pet Ownership

Imagine the unthinkable … Suddenly, without warning a catastrophic illness or accident strikes your beloved pet. You have a choice to make. Do you pay the unexpected high cost for treatment? Or do you continue to cover your regular household expenses? Your decision could be a matter of life or death for your beloved pet. What are your options?

If you think that serious, over-the-top expenses could never happen to you, think again. Veterinary medicine is as advanced as human medicine. When your dog gets sick, it is no longer a matter of ending the dog’s misery and beginning your grieving process. New lifesaving therapies are being discovered every day. Before you know it, you are agreeing to endless tests, drug therapies, physiotherapy, and a host of other options that are available with modern veterinary medicine.

Right now, while your dog is new and vibrant, it may be easy to say “I would never put my dog through that.”  But how will you feel in two, five, or ten years when you learn that your loyal furry family member is diagnosed with a debilitating disease? How will it feel when you break it to your family that the cost of treatment is unaffordable? The tears, the guilt, and even the shame are real … and the ‘what if’ self-talk is haunting.

Decisions for Stress-Free Pet Ownership
It is totally understandable if you have never before thought about pet insurance or are wavering on your decision. To help with your dilemma, please read this story that I recently received from a friend:

“This is the difference it (pet insurance) can make. 10 years ago she was a cute, chubby Chocolate Lab puppy. We were over the moon in love! She quickly became a much-loved member of our family. Through the years she never let us down. We were a team. She helped to train and rehabilitate many, many dogs. Fast forward to today. She had become unusually slow-moving and disinterested in her food and in life in general – it was so unlike her. Our trip to the Vet revealed our worse fears … a diagnosis of cancer and a $10,000 surgery quote. And that doesn’t include the last three weeks of regular trips to the Vet or her monthly meds. We never wavered on our decision to purchase pet insurance ten years ago. That one choice made with blind faith ten years ago has given us a clear path ahead to now do what is right for us and for our dog. We now have hope for even more quality time with our girl.”

Here is another story that was recently shared with me:

“In our first 2 years together, my puppy has had an impacted colon (too much sand at the beach), a fully broken off nail, nine stitches, and worst of all a benign tumor (removed). Outside of regular vet exams and inoculations, he would have cost us a pretty penny. My wife and I did decide to get pet insurance when we adopted him but initially wavered on the decision. Today our puppy is a healthy boy and we are so happy that we listened to the little voice in our heads!”

Pet Insurance – What’s In It For You!?
1. OPTIONS!!  The protection provided by insurance at the beginning of your life with your beloved pet gives you options when or if needed in the future. Without pet insurance, the ability to go forward with costly, life-saving or even some basic procedures may be cost-prohibitive.  When your pet’s health is protected by insurance, you are able to take your time to gather facts and to consider the pros and cons of surgery rather than stressing about the cost. Think about how it will feel to know that your decisions, can be based on medical realities rather than on emotion or worse, on the inability to pay!  Consequently, you can spend quality time where it is needed most – with your pet!
2. Cost-effectiveness: Investing a few pennies per day for premiums from puppy to adulthood may avoid future financial issues and an unthinkable decision.

3. Timing: Purchasing Pet insurance has become as common today as buying insurance for your car, your home, or your life. Who knew? And the options are just as limitless. Purchasing pet insurance now will provide financial support when you need it most. It will help you prepare for those times when disaster strikes. Investing in insurance for your pet at the beginning of your life together is a buffer against future stress and heartache. Everyone, including your Veterinarian, will have suggestions for what plan is best. But, often what someone recommends as the best insurance company for them, is not the best for you.

How to Make the Right Choice for You? Navigating the maze of pet insurance options
While thinking about the circumstances that create the need for insurance may not the most fun subject, it is massively important for the future well being of our pets. Whether or not your dog is accident prone (and some are!) pet insurance clearly works for some and yet, may not be right for others. However, I do believe everyone should at least research the issue as it can be more affordable than people believe.
With all the options that are available, choosing the right company and the right plan can be confusing.  So, how do you know which is the best option? The answers are as varied as a dog’s breakfast.

To help pet owners make an informed decision, I found an organization that had exactly what was needed. Their team spent over 200+ hours reviewing the leading pet insurance providers in the industry. They have produced a comprehensive and comparative analysis that covers all of the essential points one should consider when making a decision about whether or not to purchase pet insurance. Even more importantly, they have made that report available at no charge to you!

Check it out in this link!

You will find a list of companies offering pet insurance as well as a comparison of the packages and options offered.
Consequently, you can easily answer the two main questions:
  1. Is Pet insurance right for me and my dog?
  2. What is the best option for my situation?
Check it out and let me know in the comments below what you decided.
Remember – “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole” Roger Caras
This is a very well informed resource to help with your Pet Insurance decisions, check it out:”
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