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Who needs dogs insurance?

Certain breeds of canine may be at greater risk of illness and injury than others. That's why for some breeds of dogs, buying pet insurance more than just a good idea. Veterinary care has become more sophisticated in recent decades. Illnesses and injuries that were once death sentences for beloved pets are now treatable. This treatment comes with a cost, which can be high. Some of the more sophisticated treatments of dogs such as cancer treatments or hip replacement surgery can cost thousands of dollars.

The high price of these care options, and the unpredictability of when they may be required makes dog insurance advisable for canine owners. Americans spend about $250 million per year on pet insurance, with dogs being the most frequently covered animal. Dog insurance typically runs between $10 and $50 per month and can cover a broad range of injury and illness, depending on the amount of coverage purchased.

As Americans spend more than $10 billion for dog health care per year, this insurance can be a good investment. Some breeds of canines are more susceptible to certain types of injury and dog illnesses than others. For example, German shepherds have a hereditary predisposition to hip problems. Modern veterinary medicine can treat hip problems in dogs, even to the point of offering hip replacement surgery, but these treatments can be quite expensive. Having a dog insurance policy in place can help defray the costs of expensive treatments that your dog may be predisposed to develop because of his breed. In general, larger breed dogs tend to be more expensive from a health care standpoint because larger breed dogs can require larger doses medication than smaller dogs.

Common dog illnesses

Here's a list of common dog illnesses, and which breeds are particularly susceptible to them. Eye diseases -- Quite a few breeds are susceptible to eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, etc. Some eye problems, like cataracts are fairly well spread out among all breeds, however some problems like ectropion affect a more select group of dogs, in ectropion's case, spaniels, labs and shih tzus. Musculoskeletal disorders -- These illnesses include hip and elbow dysplasia and a variety of other problems. These disorders mostly effect smaller breed dogs. Heart disease -- These illnesses include aortic stenosis, sub-aortic stenosis, mitral valve disease, cardiomyopathy, etc.

Breeds at elevated risk for these illnesses include boxers, Great Danes, terriers and retrievers. Endocrine disorders -- This includes diabetes and hyperthyroidism. Mid-size dogs tend to be at greater risk for these illnesses. Dogs are also at risk for injuries, such as injuries caused by getting struck by a car in an accident or other mishaps.

Coverages available

There are essentially three types of coverage available for dogs, and all pets covered by pet insurance. Accident coverage is the base line insurance for dogs. Just about any dog qualifies for accident coverage, regardless of his breed, general health or age. This covers car accidents and injuries that may be caused by falls, poison ingestion, broken bones, insect bites, etc. Illness coverage covers sickness related ailments.

Coverage is provided based on age and breed, and some dogs may be excluded from coverage. Some commonly covered illnesses include asthma, hip dysplasia, ear infections, bone and joint issues, cancer, etc. Routine coverage covers a variety of services, including spaying and neutering, heartworm treatment, dental care, vaccinations, etc. In general, the more comprehensive the coverage you obtain for your dog is, the more money it will cost.

When applying for dog insurance coverage, the insurer will evaluate a number of factors to determine whether they will cover your dog. Insurers will evaluate your dog's age, breed and general health, along with his medical history. This is why it's good to get insurance for dogs while they're still puppies, as older dogs are seen as a greater risk for insurers.

Pet owners seeking dog insurance should ask for quotes from several companies, as it is a competitive business and some insurers may offer lower rates or better services. Be sure to read and understand your dog insurance plan -- what it covers, its terms and what it excludes, before committing to it. Dog insurance can be a good hedge against expensive medical costs for pets, but only if you buy the right policy and the right amount of coverage.
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