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Whether you’ve opted for a loveable cross breed or pedigree pup, there is always a risk of a serious illness or injury.
Failing to take out pet insurance could leave you vulnerable to high veterinary costs. Younger dogs can be quite particularly susceptible to accidents and you might find yourself paying a visit to the vet sooner than you expected. Regardless of the breed, age and location of your pet, you may want to consider pet insurance even if your pup looks the picture of health.
Vet fees cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds and depend on the severity of the condition, size of the dog and the vet treatment required. For example, non-profit vets Animal Trust estimates that treating cherry eye costs £429, while a total hip replacement would be £5,489.
Pet insurers commonly offer policies for dogs from eight weeks, although in some cases you can insure a puppy as young as five weeks old.
Even when your puppy is very young, it won't be covered for pre-existing and/or hereditary conditions.
There are different types of pet insurance policies. Some are cheaper than others:
This type of cover will only cover the cost of vet fees if your puppy is involved in an accident. It’s one of the cheaper options.
Time-limited policies have a cap on how much you can claim for treatment within a certain timeframe (usually 12 months). You can’t claim for the condition again afterwards, or after you’ve reached the vet fees limit – whichever comes first.
There’s a limit on how much you can claim in a year. This limit can be per policy, per condition, or both. When the limit’s reached, you can’t claim for the same condition again.
Lifetime cover offers the most extensive level of cover for your pet has no limit per condition, but it’ll usually have a cap on how much you can claim in a year though. Some policies might cover pre-existing medical conditions, but the policy is likely to cost more.
Young dogs need to be vaccinated. These vaccinations are not usually covered by puppy insurance.
Make sure your pooch's vaccinations are up to date as the insurer might not pay out for a condition which could have been prevented by vaccination.
Keeping your pet's vaccinations up to date, make you eligible for cheaper premiums, as some insurers take this into consideration.
Some providers give a discount on your premiums if your puppy’s been microchipped.
Microchipping costs around £15-£20 and is now a legal requirement for all puppies over eight weeks old.
If you don’t microchip your dog, you’ll receive a notice order giving you 21 days to microchip your pet. If you don’t you’ll receive a fine of up to£500. You can also be fined if you don’t update your details on the database, for example, if you move house.
Dog owners are responsible for their pet’s actions, so it’s worth having a good training programme in place. Alternatively, you could sign your puppy up to some training classes.
If your puppy bites a person or another dog, damages property, or causes an accident, you’d be liable for any damages.
Make sure your pet insurance includes third party liability to take care of any claims made against you.
When you first get a puppy, you will need the following to keep them healthy and happy:
According to PDSA, it costs £370 to buy all of this equipment for a small dog. This figure excludes the price of the dog itself.
Are you wondering whether buying a Kennel Club registered pup could save you money in terms of vet fees?
KC-registered is simply a record of a puppy's birth. The RSPCA warns that it's no guarantee that the dog is healthy or has come from a responsible breeder.
The Kennel Club does offer DNA testing for breeders, so ask whether the puppies' parents were tested for inherited diseases. If they were, make sure you ask to see the certificate of testing for yourself.
Yes. If your pup is purebred or 'pedigree' (both parents belong to the same breed), they might be prone to certain genetic health conditions.
For example, breeds with short muzzles, like pugs, can be prone to brachycephalic airway syndrome. This means vet visits could be more likely, so your pet insurance might cost more than for a crossbred or mongrel puppy, which are less likely to inherit problems due to their mixed heritage.