Bringing an animal into your home is like adding another family member. They require food, love, and medical care just like humans. Unfortunately, veterinary care is not always affordable and most times, payment is required up front. There are many people who argue that it is unjustified when a veterinarian requires payment up front, however, the veterinarian many times gets stuck with the bill if they don’t.
This kind of commitment is for life. It is not something that you temporarily do until it is no longer ‘convenient’. Pets are family and they remain family until they die. Many people that want a giant breed dog want them because of their size. However, many of those people don’t take into consideration how much they will eat or how much their veterinary bills may cost. They are cute little puppies but they do grow up. So many people cannot see past the cute puppy stage and they become overwhelmed when the dog gets over 100 pounds and is eating more than they imagined. Unfortunately, this results in the animal being neglected, starved, or abandoned at local kill shelters.
Take Heartworm prevention, for example. An English Mastiff at maturity can be anywhere from 150 pounds to over 200 pounds. Most Heartworm prevention only goes up to around 100 pounds. Therefore, with giant breed dogs, you must buy double doses to accommodate their weight. This will cause their Heartworm and Flea prevention to be double the price that it would be for a dog that weighed less than 100 pounds. This is true for any medical necessity for giant breed dogs. If they have to go in for surgery, the cost of anesthesia, medication, etc will be double what it would cost for an average size dog.
Does this mean a person shouldn’t bring a giant breed dog into their home? Of course not! It just means that investing in a giant breed means investing in their health for the duration of their lives. There are several options that families should consider when bringing a giant breed dog into their home. One is Care Credit. Care Credit is a credit card that can be used for any type of medical issues, whether it is the dentist, doctor, or veterinarian. Care Credit offers special financing when you use the card such as no interest for a specified amount of time. This is a fantastic option to have. It not only gives you peace of mind but allows for emergency vet visits without worrying about the cost.
Another option that can be easily combined with the Care Credit is pet insurance. Pet insurance is not important to the everyday life of a dog, but it is extremely important to the emergency situations that a person cannot plan for. Here is a comparison of two major pet insurance companies. Each quote obtained was for a 1 year old English Mastiff with no prior medical issues.
- Deductible: $100 per incident.
- Monthly medical premium: $59.68/Mo or $716/year.
- Maximum annual payout: N/A
- Hip Dysplasia coverage can be added for an additional charge if signed up before their 1st birthday.
- Trupanion pays out at 90% of veterinary fees after meeting deductible.
- Deductible: $100 per incident.
- Monthly medical premium: $39.35/Mo or approximately $472/year.
- Maximum annual payout: $14,000
- Hip Dysplasia is an excluded condition
- VPI pays out according to a benefit schedule
An example illness that plagues many giant breed dogs is Bloat or Gastric Dilation. A 4.5 year old English Mastiff named Jake was recently admitted to the Emergency ER for Gastric Dilation with Torsion. His bill for the surgery, aftercare, etc was right at $4000 dollars.
According to VPI’s benefit schedule, if Jake’s bills had been submitted to VPI for reimbursement, VPI would have deducted the $100 dollar deductible and then they would have paid $720 towards the Gastric Dilation, as the primary condition. Torsion would have been considered the secondary condition as a result of the primary condition. As a secondary, the payout would have been $2070 dollars. The total amount that VPI would have paid out, after the $100 dollar deductible would be: $2690 dollars.
If the same bill was submitted to Trupanion, the $100 dollar deductible would have also been applied and then 90% of the bill would have been paid out. The total that Trupanion would have paid out, after the deductible, would be approximately: $3510 dollars.
In this situation, Jake the Mastiff did have a Care Credit account as well as Trupanion insurance. Jake’s family was able to authorize the surgery because they had the funds available through Care Credit. Care Credit also offered 6 months no interest on the $4000 dollar bill. Trupanion’s actual payout was $3446.76. It was paid within a week of the bill being submitted and Jake’s family was able to pay off a large portion of their Care Credit bill before interest started to accrue.
While Trupanion has a higher monthly premium, their payouts are quite a bit more than VPI. Determining which company and coverage is best for your pet will be entirely up to you. Free quotes can be obtained from each of the companies’ websites.
There are many different pet insurance companies. Some of the companies are:
- Pets Best Insurance
- Healthy Paws Pet Insurance
- Pet Plan Pet Insurance
- ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
- Embrace Pet Insurance
- PetFIrst Healthcare
- Shelter Care Pet Insurance
- Purina Care Pet Health Insurance
Make sure to research and determine the best fit possible for your situation. Contact the companies to see if they offer multiple pet discounts and if they regularly increase premiums or not. Many factors will determine which is the best for you. Make sure your pet is covered, honor your commitments to give that pet the best possible care for the duration of his/her life and rest easy knowing that emergency situations will be covered.