Looking after a four-legged friend can be expensive, and we’re not just talking about gourmet treats and Shih Tzu shampoos.
Even if you stick with the basics, microchipping, buying food, poo bags, harnesses, toys, bedding and bowls all adds up, plus the monthly flea and worming treatments and any vaccinations. In one 2022 survey, 40% of pawrents in the UK claimed they spend £50-£99 per month on their dog. And that’s just when your hound is healthy!
What if your pup gets sick or injured and you’re landed with a huge vet bill too? Dog network, Rover, estimate that emergency vet bills can range from £120 to a whopping £880 a pop, while an MRI scan can cost £1,000.
Furthermore, if your dog has a condition where they need to be seen multiple times, perhaps out of hours, and given expensive antibiotics or other medication, you’ll quickly see those costs doubling, then tripling…
That’s why it makes financial sense to add a small sum to those monthly outgoings to save a big amount later down the line. Yep, we’re talking about pet insurance.
According to 2022 Compare the Market data, insuring your dog can cost as little as £11.33 a month, which feels like pocket money when we consider that last year the average claim cost was £848! In 2021, pet insurers processed £872 million in claims a day, according to data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
Of course, there are various levels of insurance to choose from: those with grey-furred old-timers or brachycephalic dogs tend to pay more, given the additional susceptibility of senior dogs and flat-faced breeds to illness.
You can also choose to cover multiple treatments of the same condition, meaning that if your dog has a chronic or recurring illness, you’ll never need to pay for treatment - no matter how many times you see the vet.
Cancer or canine arthritis are examples and with increasing prevalence of these conditions in our dogs, it’s worth considering paying extra for the premium insurance.
But if you can’t afford that, the most basic insurance can still offer a life-rope when you need one-off emergency care (as we describe below, the most common claims relate to single events like eating something toxic or an emergency wound).
Yet despite the option of cheaper dog insurance, according to the PDSA's 2022 PAW report, 39% of dogs were uninsured in 2021. This is a fur-raising stat, because being unable to afford veterinary bills is one of the most common reasons that pawrents give up their dogs to shelters. The RSPCA received 3644 calls in 2021 asking for help with vet bills, 12% more than the year before.
As the cost-of-living crisis worsens in the UK, more and more people are going to struggle. Adding additional pressure, the average pet insurance claim has gone up by 13% between 2015 and 2021. Indeed, as veterinary medicine becomes more advanced (and therefore more expensive), these average claims are likely to keep going up.
“But my dog’s thriving on their plant-based diet and they’re in perfect health! Why pay for vet bills we’re not getting?” we hear you cry.
It’s true that evidence has suggested a ‘vegan’ diet for your dog can help them avoid many problems, from arthritis to cancer. However, the top conditions that pawrents have claimed for this year include toxic ingestion (a healthy dog is still susceptible to the temptation of chocolate!), lameness, vomiting, diarrhoea, ear infection and wounds, as well as dental extraction and ‘foreign body ingestion’ (everybody knows that dog who swallowed something weird).
Note that many of these conditions have nothing to do with the general health of your dog; they’re issues that can take any hound by surprise! So while your plant-powered pup might seem glowing with health, given the amount of money at stake and all the unpredictable hazards out there, is it really worth the risk not to protect them?
At THE PACK, we don’t think so. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the Number 1 UK Lifetime pet insurance provider, Waggel, to offer a month’s free insurance for our customers. Just click this link and your discount will be automatically applied at checkout. Once you’ve experienced the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can give your furry friend any vet care they need, we guarantee you won’t look back!