A puppy of any type is both a joy and a responsibility. Once you have brought a pup into your life you have accepted both of these things. The joy, love, and fun are easy! The responsibility that you undertake is to feed, house, socialize, train, and provide veterinary care. Of course you know about the routine vet care- vaccinations and worming. Are you also aware of heart worm prevention and flea prevention that your puppy needs?
Then there is the cost so spaying or neutering your pup. There is also bathing, grooming, and nail trims to budget for.
Growing up in my father’s animal clinic allowed me to understand both the joy and the pain that is part of daily life in the animal clinic. The joy is meeting and caring for so many kittens and puppies. The pain is seeing what happens when a beloved pet becomes ill or has an accidental injury. Are you aware that your veterinarian and her technicians receive the same type of training that physicians and nurses receive? Do you know that there are veterinary specialties in orthopedics, internal medicine, ophthalmology, oncology, radiology, cardiology, dermatology and psychology? Every field in human medicine has a counterpart in veterinary medicine. It takes dedication and many years of education for these veterinarians to become experts in their fields.
Budgeting for routine veterinary care is an essential part of taking responsibility for your puppy.
Obtaining health insurance for your puppy is a very important for you to consider! Your puppy is susceptible to just about everything that you are. This does not mean that your puppy is likely to catch things from you or vice versa. There are very few things that are zoonotic- meaning they transfer between canines and humans.
Rabies and roundworms are examples of zoonotic conditions. That said, your puppy can develop skin problems, joint problems like hip dysplasia, ear infections, or eye issues. She can accidentally eat something that cause a blockage in her intestines, she can get away from you and get hit by a car or be accidentally dropped and break her leg. She can be playing ball with your child and sustain a torn ligament in her knee or contract a disease such as parvo at the dog park. I could make this list longer but I think you understand my point that you need to be prepared to cover the cost of helping your puppy!
Pet health insurance has come a long way in the past five years. There are many companies that offer this insurance. Loreli, a veterinary technician at Cahaba Mountain Brook Animal Clinic, said that insurance companies will not cover pre-existing illness or genetic conditions that have been diagnosed prior to obtaining insurance. For this reason she strongly urges you to take out insurance on your puppy as soon as you bring her home.
She also said that while if you can afford the full coverage policies that include certain discounts on routine veterinary care that is great but if that is not possible then certainly take out the accidental injury and illness policy! It has been her experience that these policies cover between 80% to 100% of the cost of diagnostics, hospitalization, radiology, laboratory tests and treatments including surgery if needed.
In my research for this article the two insurance companies most frequently mentioned were Pets Best Insurance and Trupanion pet health insurance. There are many other pet health insurance providers. Just to name a few – Petplan, V.I.P, Nationwide Pet Insurance, and ASPCA pet health insurance.
I encourage you to do your own research in to pet health insurance. Just like with our health insurance plans vary dramatically. There are different coverages, different deductibles, and different costs. Which plan you choose is not as important as that you choose one and purchase it! Please include in your research the average cost of repairing a broken leg, treating parvo, treating chronic allergies resulting in chronic skin conditions, repairing a torn acl (knee injury), and any other medical condition that you can think of. I think you will be amazed at what it can cost to take the best care of your puppy!
I also encourage you to follow the three rules of raising a puppy. This will greatly reduce the chance of harm befalling your furry friend. Even with the best of care, socializing, and training illness and injury can certainly happen. Be prepared to obtain the best veterinary care for your puppy without having to take out a second mortgage on your house!