Taking out pet life insurance or health insurance for your dog is becoming an essential part of being a responsible dog owner, at least according to the RSPCA and similar organizations.
Yet only 3% of dogs are insured in the US, compared to 20% of dogs being insured in the UK. These figures are made even worse by the fact that 50% of all dogs need veterinary treatment for sickness or accident every year, meaning that thousands of dog-owners have to pay expenses out of pocket each year when their dog becomes sick or is injured. If your dog needs a complex operation, it may cost you anywhere between $2000-10000. Pet life insurance is very necessary in this day and age. A lot of dog owners try to avoid taking out pet life insurance by choosing a generally healthy, low maintenance breed.
However, this logic only goes as far as genetic diseases are concerned. Every dog can be hit by a car, bitten by other dogs, fall off the stairs and so on. When you are making a decision about whether to purchase pet insurance or not, always differentiate between breed specific health issues and accidental coverage. In essence, you should insure your dog regardless of the breed, but with certain breeds not insuring your dog means taking a huge risk.
1. English Bulldogs
Bulldogs are the breed most susceptible to hip dysplasia, the most common cause of arthritis in dogs. A slightly less well-known issue with Bulldogs however is their sensitivity to heat. Dogs can only sweat through the paws, so much of their heat loss is done through panting. This is difficult for bulldogs however, because of their small noses and susceptibility to lung issues. Bulldogs can die from overheating in the summer months, so extra care must be taken to ensure bulldogs stay comfortable and cool—or you could end up with an expensive trip to the vet. More information: English Bulldog breed
2. English Mastiffs
Mastiffs, like Bulldogs, are also very susceptible to hip dysplasia. Mastiffs as a large breed require a lot of exercise to stay healthy, but that exercise can also aggravate their hip dysplasia, requiring owners to maintain a balancing act between their exercise needs and placing too much strain on Mastiffs’ joints. More information: English Mastiff breed
3. Neapolitan Mastiffs
Neapolitan Mastiffs, like their English cousins, tend to have a variety of health problems linked to their tendency for hip and elbow dysplasia. However, Neapolitan Mastiffs have additional health problems and are particularly susceptible to problems with the trademark folds and wrinkles of their skin such as pyoderma and dermatitis. Neapolitan Mastiffs also tend to have slightly shorter life expectancies, and therefore may be more difficult to insure. More information: Neapolitan Mastiff breed
4. Great Dane
Great Danes are often known as the Heartbreak breed, not just because of their winning personalities but because of their susceptibility to heart disease. Great Danes are beautiful and majestic creatures, but their size also comes with a variety of health problems that will probably necessitate frequent trips to the vet. It is important to insure Great Danes when they are young, as many insurers will not accept them if they are over a certain age due to their short life span. More information: Great Dane breed
Pure-bred Dalmatians have beautiful spotted coats, but those spots have come at a great price: years of inbreeding to keep the dogs as pure and spotty as possible has led the build-up of numerous genetic defects in the breed. The most common issue with Dalmatians is deafness: up to the third of Dalmatians are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Another prominent issue with Dalmatians is hyperuricemia, a condition that can cause gout and kidney stones. Luckily, many of the health issues that face Dalmatians are not fatal, and they can live long-lives if their health issues like deafness and hyperuricemia are cared for by a vet. More information: Dalmatian breed
When choosing your pet insurance, the most important thing is to do your research thoroughly. Read the small print: many insurance policies don’t cover certain health problems above a certain age and these may be just what you need. In addition, most policies don’t cover normal vet expenses such as spaying or castration and vaccinations so make sure you know what is covered before you buy to avoid surprises. We highly recommend that you take out pet life insurance especially for the above listed breeds and also suggest that you choose your policy very carefully.