Toby

Pet Insurance – Is it worth it?

Toby turns four

The birthday boy – Toby

The Birthday Boy

Our Toby celebrated his fourth birthday this month, just as we were celebrating two months of no vet bills. That quickly changed as our accident-prone shepherd suddenly started licking the pads of his front paws non-stop.

We examined him thoroughly but could see nothing obvious, and still the licking continued and became more frenzied. The licking was soon followed by limping.

So it was off to the vet with him and not a moment too soon as he was sporting a gash over his left eye that he had sustained from smacking into a door frame when he wasn’t looking where he was going! The vet examined his eye, and although swollen, it looked like it would heal okay, so no treatment was necessary. As for his paws, he had some red patches between his pads which could mean a contact allergy. Our choices were either a shampoo for his paws or Apoquel. We decided on the Apoquel, which relieves allergic itching, as we were familiar with it and had experienced good results with Fin.

Toby wearing his Trixie Walker Active Protective Dog Boots

These boots are made for walking

For two weeks he took two tabs a day and needed boots to break the itch/scratch cycle. That was easy for us; we chose the Trixie Walker Active Protective Dog Boots for when he went out on his walks. When he was indoors, we used Vetgood Slim Protective Veterinary Dog Boots.

By the end of the two weeks, Toby was much improved and we were relieved, if a little poorer!

Should you insure?

We took the decision many years ago when we had five shepherds, all insured and costing us a fortune every month, to cancel our pet insurance. Instead we vowed to put away an amount each month for any unexpected occurrences. At that time our dogs were relatively young, very healthy and rarely needed the vet, so the monthly expenditure seemed a total waste of money.

As they got older, this started to change, but then the premiums would, of course, have risen to reflect their ages.

And as for putting money aside, or self-insurance, as it’s called, we quickly forgot about that!

Towards the end of their lives, our five shepherds, none of whom were now insured, racked up hundreds of pounds in vet bills. However, we’d saved ourselves hundreds of pounds in premiums, so we may just have broken even, or even come out slightly ahead.

But pet insurance is not just about illness. Some policies cover a whole host of other things such as theft, treatment for behavioural problems, liability cover and kennel or cattery fees should you yourself become ill and unable to look after them.

Is pet insurance worth it?

With hindsight, we would have insured both Toby and Tilly; Tilly’s elbow arthroscopy cost an arm and a leg. We would also have been able to claim for any hydrotherapy she has going forward. Toby has ripped open his shoulder and his tail due to his clumsiness and heaven knows what he’ll do next. Insuring those two would have been a good investment.

Jack has also had a major op. He swallowed something which caused an obstruction in his gut and had to be removed. So far, Archie has needed very little veterinary treatment. He’s getting on a bit now, so no doubt problems will start to crop up.

Pet insurance is a safety net, most obviously used for veterinary bills, but as mentioned above, there are other benefits. It can seem like an unnecessary expense – until you need it! What does it cost, what should it include, and what are the alternatives? We came across a good article discussing the pros and cons of taking out an insurance policy on your pet, so if you are unsure whether to insure, why not read Pet insurance – Do you need it?

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