Please give a warm welcome to Airdrie Puppy Pal's first guest Blogger - Chantel.
Chantel is fur mom to Gunner a German Short Haired Pointer, Oakley a Weimaraner and Bennie a beagle. Chantel enjoys walks, puppy playtime and lots of snuggle time with her fur babies.
Depending on where you go, and who you talk to, you’re likely to get varying opinions on pet insurance and whether or not it’s a necessity. I am no expert on the matter, but I do have some recent personal experience that someone out there may find useful.
Bennie the Beagle
I have a Beagle named Bennie. He turned 7 years old in June. When I first got him at 8 weeks old and took him to my local vet office, they recommended pet insurance, handed me a brochure and said I could enroll for free for a free month and then decide if I wanted to keep it. I enrolled for the free month and thought “what a great thing I am doing for my little beagle buddy, he is going to be so safe and protected!” When the free month was up, I cancelled the insurance. Part of my decision was naïve in thinking that he was so young nothing would or could go wrong and I could worry about it later, the other part was because I was in school and it didn’t seem like a necessary expense at the time. Flipping through that brochure and reading about all the different packages and what was and wasn’t covered was also rather overwhelming and I didn’t take the time to really evaluate whether or not it would be a worthwhile investment.
Fast-forward to 4 years later. I took Bennie for a checkup and the vet noticed that he had cracked a tooth. A piece was actually missing. Of course I asked what the impact of that would be, if he would need a filling or how on earth that worked for dogs?! They told me that he could need a filling or a root canal, depending on how bad it turned out to be, but I could watch it and make sure I am brushing his teeth and go from there. They gave me quotes for the filling and root canal and I about had a heart attack. So, I asked them about pet insurance and whether or not something like that would be covered. They gave me the name of the company they work with, I looked into it and enrolled Bennie later that day.
I never ended up going through with the filling or root canal because I brush my dog’s teeth and I was keeping an eye on it. It hasn’t gotten any worse, but I felt better knowing I had the insurance. I have yet to cancel the insurance because my logic this time around is that he is older and unexpected issues may arise etc.
So, fast-forward another year. We get Oakley. An adorable Weimaraner. I thought about the insurance thing, but for whatever reason my “he’s young enough” reasoning won out again. Another year later we got Gunner, our GSP. Same deal here. Bennie was the only one with insurance up until two weeks ago...
It Happened Fast
In early April of this year, right before Oakley turned two, he had a major medical issue and it happened fast. He was vomiting, there was blood, he didn’t want to eat or drink, he was extremely lethargic. We took him to the vet and they were immediately concerned. He had a fever and was extremely dehydrated. They had to send us to an emergency facility in Calgary to hospitalize him on IV because they do not have the equipment or staff here in Airdrie to do that. We hurried over there in rush hour traffic and I am bawling my eyes out because we don’t know what’s wrong with our baby. We had to wait FOREVER to be seen by the emergency doctor. They did a few more tests and diagnosed him with a condition called HGE. I’m not even going to try and explain it, but it’s a gastrointestinal issue. They admitted him that night and had him on IV fluids for a day and a half. Going home that night without him broke my heart. The bed felt so empty.
Thankfully he recovered well and was back to his happy self only a couple days later, but it was quite the scare. I thought “we should really enroll him for insurance too” but we thought, this wouldn’t be covered now anyway since its pre-existing etc. and we didn’t.
Well, this month I took Bennie for his routine checkup and the vet recommended removing a lump on his eye that hadn’t gotten smaller since last year. He also had one on his side. The assured me that both growth removals would be covered under insurance, so I booked it. Before the surgery I had the pre-anesthetic blood work done and we had another scare. They thought he might have kidney disease. I asked them if it would be covered under insurance, and they said yes. Thankfully the kidney thing was nothing, but they submitted the claim for the growth removals and it was approved and they would cover 90% of the expenses. Even though I still had to pay my deductible, having the insurance was a huge help in this instance.
Because of that, we enrolled Oakley and Gunner the day after that claim was approved.
How You Feel About It
Deciding whether or not to get pet insurance really depends on your situation and how you feel about it. It’s still a struggle for me because it seems like a waste to pay that premium every month if you never have to use it, but you also don’t want to have to use it because that would mean something is wrong with your pet. Depending on the deductible you pick, your premium could be higher or lower, but the lower your premium is, the higher the deductible so then it really depends on the severity of the issue you need to submit a claim for. Submitting a claim for something that’s covered but only costs $200 when your deductible is $600 doesn’t make any sense. In my case, Bennie’s surgery was $1500 and my deductible was $650, so it did help. Oakley’s issue cost us $2000, so it would have been helpful in that situation too. Thankfully Gunner hasn’t had any issues yet, but with all of this going on I had a pit in my stomach every time I took him to the dog park and he started rough housing with other dogs.
I can’t tell you whether or not to get pet insurance, but I can tell you that it has helped me, even if just for peace of mind. So, where do you stand?
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