Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Feb 5, 2024

Is pet insurance worth it?

It’s complicated, but in my experience, my answer is YES!

(UPDATE: Please note that pet insurance prices are increasing and be aware that when you renew your policy, there may be a notable increase in your pet insurance. If you shop around and choose a new provider, any health issue your dog is being treated for is considered “pre-existing” so be careful if you switch mid-illness!)

We had a bad scare with our chocolate lab, Baby, recently. Here’s a few things I learned from that:

  • YOU know your pet best and are their advocate
  • Trust your intuition, pay attention, and act on it
  • Facebook groups can be great for finding possible solutions
  • Find a specialist vet for complicated issues
  • Pet insurance is vital to continue caring for your pet

We discovered last October that Baby has Cushing’s Disease with symptoms like:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Extra panting
  • Troubles jumping into the car

YOU Are Your Pet’s Best Advocate

I had seen a friend of mine post about her dog having Cushing’s and remembered her saying that her dog had increased thirst and urination. That rang a bell and I called our local neighborhood vet. So this vet, a general practitioner, diagnosed Baby with Cushing’s Disease (meaning her cortisol was out of whack due to a tumor on her adrenal) and put Baby directly on the “large dog dosage” from the manufacturer of the med to lower Baby’s cortisol.

I knew I just didn’t feel quite right about that. Why not start her at the low dose? I asked, but they said this is the dose she should be on.

3 months later she had an upset stomach for a day or two so I took her in. They gave her all kinds of meds for that but did not stop the med she was on for Cushing’s (to lower her cortisol). I came home and gave her the med like usual.

She laid on the couch and did not move all night (even with the cat food out which makes her jump up and follow the cat). Me and our kitty, Stu, laid next to Baby all night praying she would be ok as she did not move. (We had been at the vet all day and frankly have spent a fortune on her since we got her over a year ago so decided not to go to the emergency vet.)

Trust Your Intuition, Pay Attention, And Act On It

I did some searching that night on good old Google and also the Facebook group I am in for parents of dogs with Cushing’s. Those two resources helped me figure out that I was supposed to stop the med, even though Baby’s vet said to stay on the med. Tummy troubles are a side effect of the med, though.

Facebook groups can be great for finding possible solutions

The next morning Baby perked up and I did NOT give her the morning dose of medicine. She was FINE! So I stopped the Cushing med for a few days.

I actually found a BUNCH of really helpful articles and info in that Facebook group that I just could not find anywhere else. I also could read stories of dogs just like mine and read what others found helped. Of course, we need to consult with our vet, but this was great additional info for me to have.

Pet Insurance Worth It? With Greyboy Pet Prints and doggie Baby

Find a specialist vet for complicated issues

I called a specialist (a client of mine, Pacific Care Pet Emergency and Specialty) and they got me in due to a cancellation. We saw a vet who had seen MANY, MANY dogs with Cushing’s. She said to start back on the med but at a very low dosage.

Actually, I was so scared of that med that I did not start it for a few more days until I started seeing just a tad of increased peeing and urination. Then I started Baby at only half dose (⅓ of what she was on originally). 

Pet insurance is vital to continue caring for your pet

We discovered that Baby’s Cushing’s Disease has unmasked other things (Irritable Bowel Disease, Ear Infections, Arthritis). She just kind of fell apart this past year BUT she keeps on trucking! She is unstoppable! So, I have trust in this doctor that she can balance these issues for Baby.

We are getting Baby leveled out on her med and giving her vitamin B12 injections for the next few weeks. Of course, our vet bills are very high, but we are getting reimbursed for most of it from our pet insurance, Embrace, and just could not do this without them. 

AGAIN, Pet Insurance Is Worth It!

Honestly, we had just lost our other dog due to Hemangiosarcoma in March of 2022 (Willow just collapsed one day and we had to take her to the ER for surgery and recovery. She only lasted another few months and I share how pet insurance helped us). It took us a while to get another rescue pup and I knew I wanted a middle aged to older dog so we found Baby through a lab rescue.

Baby is now 7 years old, but she was relinquished to the rescue by a backyard breeder. Even though she is only 7, her body seems like she is 10 and I’m sure that is due to all the litters of puppies she pumped out for this breeder.

Anyway, we continue caring for her and making her the most comfortable and happy pup that we can through all of her health troubles. We love her to pieces!

Is pet insurance worth it? YES! But, do be careful of the “pre-existing conditions” so when you first take your pet to the vet for a checkup that you will submit to your insurance, make sure they are healthy! (Ex. do a dental beforehand if you do dentals / make sure they don’t have an ear infection like Baby and now the insurance never covers anything to do with her ears or itchiness.)

Another word to the wise, since more people are signing on to pet insurance, prices are rising. If you choose NOT to get pet insurance, PLEASE start a large savings account ($10k or more) to help you with your pet’s care.

Again, just to reiterate, the things I feel that helped us save her were:

  • YOU know your pet best and are their advocate
  • Trust your intuition, pay attention, and act on it
  • Facebook groups can be great for finding possible solutions
  • Find a specialist vet for complicated issues
  • Pet insurance is vital to continue caring for your pet

I hope this helps you as you try and take the very best care of your own pup or kitty. Feel free to download my list of other things that have helped us too on this journey of pet ownership in taking the very best care of our own pets!


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