Health Insurance For Your Dog

Getting health insurance for your dog is a big step towards peace of mind!

Illness, injury, surgery, accidents….. all of these can, and do, happen to dogs every single day.

And, as we all know, owning a big dog means big bills in just about every area, including veterinary care.

Choosing a good health insurance plan for your dog means that you know you can afford to take care of him if he gets hurt, needs surgery, or develops a chronic illness.

It also protects your bank account and credit score if the cost of his veterinary care is more than you can comfortably afford. It’s a win-win!


About Pet Health Insurance

Here in the US, having dog medical insurance isn’t as common as it is in Europe, but we’re catching up fast!

In fact the pet health insurance business is growing at a rate of around 15 – 20% each year.

On the other hand, over the last 20 years or so veterinary costs have risen even more sharply.

Between 1991 and 2001 the average cost of a routine vet bill doubled… and overall spending on veterinary care tripled.

Since then, the cost of pet health care has continued to rise, and there’s no sign of it stopping any time soon.

According to the American Pet Products Association it’s estimated that pet owners spent over $15 BILLION on veterinary care in 2014. That’s a lot of money.

When even straightforward veterinary procedures can cost hundreds of dollars, the monthly cost of taking care of dogs with common chronic health problems (such as diabetes, arthritis, liver or kidney problems) and surgeries ranging anywhere from $500 to $3000 or more, it’s easy to see why protecting your dog, and your wallet, is hugely important.

With the average cost of dog health insurance being somewhere between $260 and $420 per year, if you ‘do the math’ you’ll soon see why more and more pet owners are taking advantage of the plans being offered.


Can You Afford NOT To Have Health Insurance For Your Dog?

Accidental injury or serious disease can come ‘out of the blue’.

And if you don’t have several thousand dollars in savings that you can afford to spend (or an ’empty’ credit card) it’s easy to find yourself unable to get your pet the help he/she needs.

Adolescent Rottweiler pup close up

Dog Health Insurance can prevent this sort of nightmare scenario because by paying a little every month, you don’t have to rob a bank (or borrow from your friends/family) if your dog gets injured or falls ill.

It’s important to know that with dog health insurance, although you generally have to pay your veterinary bills up front, you will be reimbursed quickly and easily (usually within 15 – 30 days).

There are several different pet insurance companies, and each one may have several options when it comes to dog healthcare insurance plans. There’s literally one to suit every budget and situation.

There’s no one-size-fits-all policy, and premiums and deductibles vary quite a bit. The insurance company will have several questions for you and you should also have a few questions to ask them so that you know exactly what you’re going to be getting for your money.

It often may be easiest and least expensive to set up health insurance for your dog while he’s still a puppy.

As he grows he may develop health issues that may be considered as ‘pre-existing conditions’ (and therefore won’t be covered by the plan) if you start insurance later on.

Certain breeds may cost a bit more to insure, and the area that you live in can also affect premiums – sometimes because there’s a higher risk of certain health problems, accidents and so on in that area).

Generally a company will put together a policy for you that fits the level of care that you want as well as your budget.

Here are some of the different components of dog healthcare insurance policies….

  • Cover for accidental injury or ‘Major Medical’ coverage
  • Cover for Illness (may be broken down into categories such as degenerative or terminal etc.)
  • Routine or ‘Wellness’ cover – vaccinations, parasite prevention/treatment, annual checkups etc.
  • Cover for chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, diabetes and more
  • Genetic condition coverage – varies depending on the breed involved

The last two items on this list aren’t necessarily available with all dog health insurance companies, plus they can be complex and vary considerably from plan to plan. They also tend to make the overall coverage a bit more costly, but for Rottweilers they can be very vaulable indeed.

When choosing a plan, think about the most common scenarios where you think you would need cover. In my experience that includes urgent veterinary visits, diagnostic tests, surgery and hospitalization as they’re the expensive procedures.

Additional coverage for routine vet visits, spay/neuter, vaccinations and dental care would be next in order of importance in my opinion and you may, or may not, have to pay extra for some or all of these depending on the provider and plans available.

Things like alternative treatments, behavioral problems, breeding issues, elective/cosmetic procedures (yes dogs can have those too!) and preventable diseases are often not covered by most policies.

If your dog suffers from just one major illness/accident or injury, you could find that the plan just paid for itself.


Rottweilers & Dog Health Insurance

Rotties are BIG dogs, and they need the ‘large’ or ‘extra large’ size of just about everything……

Veterinarian with clipboard

….. including vaccinations, routine treatments such as de-wormer and flea/tick preventative, right up to anesthesia, surgical care and medications for more serious problems.

They also have their own set of hereditary diseases and common health issues that the breed is particularly vulnerable to.

Of course, Rotties aren’t alone in this, in fact all purebred dogs tend to have an higher-than-average risk of certain diseases or health issues which vary according to the breed in question.

Research done by the people at indicates that Rottweilers take 6th Place on the Top 10 List of dog breeds particularly prone to certain conditions.

The most commonly seen hereditary problems in Rotties seem to be hip dysplasia and ruptured ACL’s. The most common degenerative disease appeared to be osteoarthritis.

Rottweilers are also prone to kidney problems, cancer, eye problems such as entropian and ectropian, and allergies. Also, Rottweilers are one of the breeds that are extremely vulnerable to Parvo.

In fact, as a whole Rottweilers are considered to be one of the most expensive breeds when it comes to the cost of veterinary care… studies have shown them to cost up to 32% more than many other breeds.

So, if your dog develops any one (or even more than one) of the health problems above, your veterinary bills could end up being very, VERY high!


Questions To Ask Before You ‘Sign Up’

Finding the right health insurance for your dog may take a little bit of time, effort and research, but it could save you a ton of money down the line.

And, it’s not just the insurance companies that should be asking the questions before you make a decision.

Here are a few of the things you need to find out before you commit….

  • Check the dollar amount of both the monthly premiums, co-pays AND the deductibles so that you know exactly what you’re going to need to pay.
  • Look at the age limits given – both minimum and maximum – to make sure it’s a good fit for your dog.
  • Find out what the ‘caps’ are (max. amount they will pay out), and whether it’s per incident or per year.
  • Check what percentage of the total bill is covered, it can vary quite a bit but it’s typically between 50% and 80% of the cost.
  • Know what the ‘waiting period’ is going to be. This is how long you’ll need to wait for the coverage to kick-in.
  • Find out if you can use the veterinarian/specialist/hospital of your choice, or whether there’s a list of ‘approved providers’ only


Often a discount is available if you pay your premiums annually rather than monthly.

It’s another point to check with each company when doing your research.  

Getting health insurance for your dog isn’t just a luxury, because of the high cost of veterinary care it’s a necessity for most people.

So take your time and do the necessary research, and you’ll be able to feel confident that you’ve made the right choice and found affordable pet insurance that works for you and your dog.

You can get FREE quotes online from many pet health insurance companies, and this is a good way of getting the information you need to compare dog insurance policies.

Getting quotes is quick, easy and doesn’t cost you anything.

Just fill in some basic information and you’ll get an instant quote showing the cost of the type of coverage you’re looking for.

I’d recommend getting between 3 and 5 quotes before making a decision.

And remember, as with any policy… make sure you always read all the fine-print before you accept it, and ask questions before – not after – you’ve signed up.

To get a more detailed look at what three of the top Pet Health Insurance companies offer, take a look at my Finding The Best Pet Health Insurance page.

You’ll find more information on the range of plans available and an easy to understand pet insurance comparison chart.


Embrace Pet Insurance is one of the companies I’ve covered on that page.

It has a variety of very comprehensive and flexible plans which can include coverage for congenital, hereditary and chronic conditions.

I’d strongly recommend checking out this page on their website – Rottweiler Pet Insurance – as it has detailed information on the veterinary charges that you could face if your Rottie falls victim to some of the most common conditions and surgeries that affect this breed.

Plus, it explains in detail the benefits and costs of insuring your Rottie and even has tips and advice to help you compare plans from other companies against their own, or get a free quote.

No obligation to buy, just information to help you make an informed decision!

nose-to-tail pet insurance coverage with Embrace
Of course, there’s more than one pet health insurance company out there, especially now as this sector is finally growing in popularity here in the US.

Another company that I researched recently in my efforts to track down affordable pet health insurance options is Trupanion Pet Insurance

They offer one affordable yet comprehensive plan with no payout limits (at all) – you can even choose your own deductible starting as low as $0 (yes, I really do mean ZERO dollars).

Hereditary, genetic or breed-specific conditions are covered, so are chronic or recurring ones.

There’s even an add-on that costs only $12.02 per month that gives your pup/dog full coverage for hip dysplasia and a number of alternative veterinary treatments.

Definitely worth considering in my opinion 🙂


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About The Rotty lover 2159 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone