After a recent workshop I gave, some of us were sitting around and telling dog stories. One sad story was of a beloved companion who had many medical issues before he had passed. I commented, “thanks heavens for pet insurance.” To my surprise the owner said they did not have insurance on the dog.
It doesn’t take long for the vet bills to get over a thousand dollars or more these days at the vet’s office for seemingly small emergencies or even routine visits. Have you noticed? So I was very surprised when I heard this dog did not have insurance.
As a breeder I worry about all the pups that leave our kennel and urge everyone to continue the 60 day free coverage we provide when the pups leave. I have heard far too many stories from other breeders who sold pups only to learn later that the pup was either not receiving medical treatment they need or being put down because the owners could not afford the surgery or treatment. The high cost of keeping dogs these days sometimes forces even the best intended families to make some tough decisions. Do we take a loan for the $3,000+ hip or knee surgery the dog needs or do we get the new car to commute to work? Do we spend hundreds of dollars monthly on special meds and follow up treatments for Fido or not buy the groceries we need? It might seem I am exaggerating here but I have heard these types of discussions and in almost every case the dog loses. These dogs either do not get the treatment they need, are given up to Lab Rescue or simply put down.
To insure you are never put in this situation or one of your sold puppies is placed in this situation you should consider getting pet insurance. Most reputable breeders will offer some type of health guarantee and some states even require a minimum guarantee often referred to as the puppy lemon law. The AKC has made it even easier for breeders to go one step beyond this basic buyer protection plan with a free 60 accident and illness coverage for each registered puppy in your litter. To encourage my buyers to enroll I will preregister the pups and enroll them prior to the transfer to the new owners. If anything happens to that pup in those first two months they are covered. It encourages the new owners to continue the policy which is very affordable when you show people some of your vet bills for simple things.
One of my girls, found dead fish parts left by some fisherman at the river and ate some before I could stop her. 24 hours later she was one sick dog and spent 3 days at the vets for treatment. The bill was over $1600. Fortunately her insurance covered the entire bill. Accidents and incidents like this happen with our active labs and there is no way to prevent these things many times. A client that I had provided the 60 day trial insurance too had decided not to renew this and only a week after the expiration of the policy had their pup each a poisonous mushroom while out hiking on fine Sunday afternoon. They were away from home, all clinics were closed so they ended up at an emergency room with a very sick dog. 3 days and $4000.00 later they were happy to have their dog returned well again but were deeply regretting not having kept that insurance, which would have covered this incidence. Tendon cuts or pad cuts on glass or obstacles while doing field work, joint injuries while doing agility, a stray dog attack, or worse still cancer are all things that can and do happen to active dogs and all the more reason to have some type of coverage to offset the major cost of treating these things.. It is comforting to me, with insurance coverage on all my dogs, to know I do not have to take a loan out, run up a credit card bill or try and cut corners on treatments to save money. My dogs will get quality care for their entire life at a fraction of the cost of a yearly exam with blood work and vaccines.
If you haven’t considered pet insurance before, I urge you to look into it. There are many plans and options available now to offer peace of mind that your dogs will always get the quality of care and treatment they deserve.