Pet Insurance – Is it for You and your Pet?
When it comes to the costs of owning an animal, pet insurance is usually the last expenditure the average owner thinks of.
The first investment is the cost of purchasing or adopting the pet itself, followed by food, bedding, leashes, collars, carriers, dog crates, toys, spaying or neutering and vaccinations. Most pet owners feel that they won’t need insurance for their pet – it will always have good vet care, it will never escape the yard and run out into traffic, it will never get the opportunity to get into the household garbage, and cleaners, pesticides, rat poison, toxic plants and other harmful items will never be left where they can be ingested.
While insurance is always helpful, one must look at the dog itself and its lifestyle.
Will the pet be living in a home with children? Children are notorious for leaving doors open, forgetting to put hazardous items away, and playing rough with pets.
If a cat, will it be strictly an indoor pet or allowed to go outside? Many perils abound outside including predators (foxes, coyotes, aggressive dogs) feral and unvaccinated cats spreading disease in their urine, stool and through biting and scratching, Automobiles, Toxic plants, and Poisonous substances such as antifreeze leaking from vehicles or oils and other chemicals that can come in contact with their fur or skin.
If a dog – will it have a fenced in yard? Will it be given basic training so it stops or comes back when told? Will it drop a hazardous item when commanded? Most incidents with dogs can be avoided with proper training when the pet is young.
What overall lifestyle type will you and your pet share? Will you be highly active? (taking the dog on canoe trips? Hiking? Running?). Will it get good to moderate exercise? (Walks, play sessions of Fetch, Frisbee, etc) or will your pet be mainly a couch potato? Pets that are kept active generally enjoy a life of fewer health issues than those who do not. Exercise strengthens muscle and keeps the body fit. In many cases an active pet can get other injuries such as cuts and scrapes from crashing through wooded areas or icy streets and fields. These issues are usually less trivial (and costly) than other injuries or ailments that un-exercised pets usually suffer from.
While genetic health issues and rare accidents cannot always be avoided – pinpointing what type of lifestyle a pet will have will give a pet owner a better understanding when deciding if they will put some type of insurance in place.