Dog Care Emergency Fund: My Take on Savings Accounts and Emergency Funds versus Pet Health Insurance

Too often I see friends who had an emergency fund or thought they were otherwise set to take care of unexpected vet bills to watch it blown away in a matter of weeks.

I was there, done that. We set up a savings account for Jasmine’s medical emergencies too. I talked to her vet, we discussed the costs of potential emergency procedures or surgeries. We had five thousand dollars.

I quickly found out that the amount was grossly underestimated. The money was gone in a blink of an eye. Then all the money available in credit were gone. Jasmine’s veterinary costs added up to $75,000 in five years. That’s counting only since she reached the age of five.

Dog Care Emergency Fund: My Take on Savings Accounts and Emergency Funds versus Pet Health Insurance

How long does an emergency fund last?

We thought we didn’t need insurance.

We thought that if we put the money we’d pay for the premium into a savings account that we’d be set. But we weren’t. Just one true emergency came to $12,000. Some emergencies can be even more expensive than that.

Take a look at an example list of treatment costs covered by Trupanion.

Example claims and veterinary costs
Patellar luxation$ 4,012
Glaucoma$ 5,805
Hip dysplasia$ 7,815
Diabetes$ 10,496
GI foreign body$ 2,964
Gastric dilation volvulus (GDV)$ 3,525
Parvovirus$ 5,084
CCL tear$ 5,439
Cancer/chemotherapy$ 5,351
Acute liver failure$ 5,543

Source: Trupanion

Insuring JD

Watching the bills mount we quickly got medical insurance for JD while he was still healthy.

He has been quite healthy but even his medical costs added up, last with his mast cell tumor. We could have probably have taken care of it for less but we are only comfortable with going all out in order to do what is best for the dog.

Related articles:
Getting On The Pet Health Insurance Wagon: Does Being Insured Equal Being Covered?

Insuring Cookie

We insured Cookie right after we adopted her.

If you’re going to get insurance, you best get it before your dog collects any preexisting conditions. Lucky too, because Cookie has presented with quite a few challenges over time. The latest one, iliopsoas injury, combined with issues in sacroiliac and lumbosacral joints, as well as partially tearing her cruciate ligament at some point, has been a long journey of diagnostics and treatments.

Having the insurance, we can take care of her with whatever we believe is best.

Yes, having full coverage with no limits does come with relatively stiff premiums. But that’s a cost which is distributed evenly over time. What we get for that is the peace of mind that we can face whatever fate might throw her way head-on.

Related articles:
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion

Consider it carefully

I’m presently helping a friend raise funds for treatment of her dog.

I know the desperate feeling too well. Funds are gone and a dog needs continuing care. If the dog is to live and have any chance for a decent quality of life, the expense is going to be substantial.

What do you do?

You do whatever you can. And if you’re really lucky you get to do what it takes.

I think having an emergency fund or savings account is a nice idea. But from where I stand it’s never going to be enough if things really go wrong.

Can you afford to have an uninsured dog?

Related articles:
Getting On The Pet Health Insurance Wagon: Does Being Insured Equal Being Covered?

Further reading:
Do You Need a Pet Emergency Fund?

Categories: Dog careDog health advocacyPet health insurance

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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