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Your Pet's Health - What Every Pet Owner Should Know
by: Teresa Schahczinski

So you want to purchase a dog or cat. There is something you should know before you take the leap. House pets are to be taken care of like your very own children; it is natural that they become part of the family. All animals have wants, needs and health issues just like human beings. You really have to be prepared because there are many things you need to care for your pets in order to keep them happy and healthy. In regards to pet health, you have to realize that it can be costly for veterinarian visits, so you may want to consider pet health insurance.

Health insurance for our pets is an option growing in attractiveness to many owners of our canine and feline friends, especially because most consider their pet a full-fledged family member. More policies have been sold in the last year and a half than in the last 20 years, with the average monthly cost being between $9 and $25.

Some newer policies cover regular check-ups and routine care. You may not consider this to be a benefit seeing that the routine care that is covered usually costs less than the insurance premiums. Economically, pet insurance that covers unexpected, expensive health care costs make better sense. You have to as yourself some pretty grave pet health questions. For instance, if you had to pay out of your own pocket, would you seek treatment of internal injuries from an accident? Would you pay for needed cancer treatment or treatment for other diseases? What if your dog has hip dysplasia? Odds are, your pet will never need such care, but if he does, you might welcome the coverage when faced with a $5,000 bill. Other pet health questions to ask: Would I be able to afford a sequence of treatments that might add up that high? Would I feel forced to euthanize my pet if I could not come up with the money to pay? To some it is not an option.

Once you have considered these questions it will help you decide if you are going to purchase pet insurance. Deciding to purchase a health insurance policy for your pet may not be an easy decision. In many cases, preexisting medical conditions are typically excluded from coverage. Many companies that sell the policies in the past have gone out of business leaving policyholders hanging. If you decide to purchase a policy, make sure you are familiar with the fine print explaining what is covered and what is not. Gather all the information you can before making a final decision. Also before purchasing a policy make sure it is accepted by your local veterinarian or veterinarians. Be sure to review what veterinary procedures and supplies are covered. Pet health policies are similar to human insurance policies; annual premiums, deductibles, and different coverage plans based on what the owner chooses. Plans are based on breeds, age, pre-existing conditions and in some cases, lifestyle of the pet (i.e. indoor vs. outdoor cat).

Most companies start policies at age 6-8 weeks, some have no age limit, and of the others I researched, one had a limit of 27 years, others had a limit of 8 years of age (if the animal was insured when less than 8 years, coverage would continue beyond 8 years). The current overall average for annual deductibles is around $100.00. The policy costs vary, depending on the animal and the different packages that owners can choose. Some packages are comprehensive, including such things as: annual checkups and vaccinations, routine care, preventive medications (like heartworm preventive supplements) and spay/neuter surgeries. Other plans cover only accident and illness. Most plans offer immediate coverage for accident claims, and 30 days for illness claims on new policies. Additional pets are usually covered at a reduced rate after the first policy-holding pet.

So you thought the hardest part to purchasing a pet was going to be choosing the one you would take home! Well now you know that being owning a pet has all the responsibilities of having a baby. It is important that people understand before becoming pet owners there is more to it than keeping their fur flea free, purchasing treats and pet products, like collars and toys and catering to the nutrition diet or diets of your puppies or kittens. There can be serious ramifications if you take pet ownership lightly.

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About the author:
Teresa Schahczinski is a frequent contributor to Pet Health and Supplies. For more tips on Pet Health, Pet Supplies and Pet Medications visit

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