How much would you be willing to pay to keep your dog fit and healthy? Dog ward…


How much would you be willing to pay to keep your dog fit and healthy?

Dog warden Russ Akehurst is back on the blog again, this time dealing with the very important and emotive issue of pet insurance… 🐶🐕🐶
Hello and welcome back to my blog.

We deal with all sorts of questions as a Council dog warden service. One of the subjects I’m often asked about is pet insurance. So many first time pet owners have no idea how expensive veterinary treatment can be and it’s only when faced with a sick or injured pet that they find out.

Each year a number of dogs are signed over to rescue centres because their owners can’t afford the vets bills and there’s no doubt that a number of dogs are abandoned for the same reason. A neighbour of mine rescued a dog after he was signed over to a charity having suffered a broken leg.

Some of you will also remember Humphrey (photo below) who last year was dumped up at Highdown suffering from a really bad allergic skin and ear disease. Had he been treated straight away by his owner, the cost would have been a fraction of the £2,000 plus it cost Dogs Trust and us to make him pain free and happy, not to mention Humphrey wouldn’t have had months and months of suffering and the loss of one of his ears.

People often ask why don’t charities help pet owners with the vets bill so that the animal can stay with their owner rather than being re-homed? After all, the charity are going to be paying the vets bill if an animal is signed over to them anyway? Well, the reasons are the system would be abused, charities up and down the country would be inundated with pet owners, not all genuine, asking for help with their vets bills. The charities would soon go out of business, preventing other animals getting the help they so badly need.

I always recommend that pet owners take out insurance. But not only that, I stress the need to research and compare the different companies and variations of cover they offer. There are so many different options and most have an upper limit on what the company will pay out per year, ie a choice of a maximum of £4,000. £7,000 or £12,000. With advances in medicine, animals are now being saved in situations where in the past they would have died – meaning the average life expectancy has extended albeit at a financial cost.

With her blessing, I often quote my partner’s mother’s story. Her sweet rescue Teacup Chihuahua Kelsey became ill with gastroenteritis. But because of her breeding (abnormally small) the infection took hold and she eventually succumbed to Meningitis. Her insurance limit was £12,000 per year, plus she had to pay the first 10% of any claim. Despite the best efforts of a referral veterinary practice in Hampshire it became clear she would have to let Kelsey go to sleep. The total vets bill was well over £10,000 So not only did she lose her dog, she had to pay over £1,000 of the vets bill.

So had that been someone with a limit of £4,000 or £7,000 or no insurance cover at all, how far would they – or could they – have gone financially?

Could they tell their children that they had to re-home or put their pet to sleep because they couldn’t pay the vets bill? More to the point could they look their pet in the eye?

My advice is get the best insurance you can afford.

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