This discussion about pet health insurance is brought to you by Healthy Paws Pet Insurance®; all opinions are my own.

I don’t remember my childhood dogs having as many illnesses and vet visits as our dogs do. Both of our dogs have chronic health issues that take quite a bit of our time and a heck of a lot of our money. We thought we were making a smart decision when we purchased a discount plan for their vet. What we didn’t understand is that it gives us discounts on some services and wellness coverage, what it doesn’t do is help with the financial burden of a serious illness or injury.

But I’ve discovered that there is health insurance for pets. Healthy Paws Pet Insurance® covers up to 90% of vet bills and has been rated by customers as the #1 pet insurance. It lets owners decided how to care for their pet without having to consider the cost. That’s something we’ve had to do far too many times in the last few years. There’s so much guilt involved – we love our pets, but at some point,  we just have to say we can’t afford it.

When our first Maltese, Missy, a foster dog we adopted,  ran under my van tires and , we rushed her to an emergency pet clinic (read Missy’s Story and my regret and guilt in injuring her and Gracie’s Story – My Gracie and How Her Name Reminds Me to Be Kind to Myself ).

After $500 to stabilize and diagnose her, we were faced with a $1200 surgery with no guarantees that she would survive, walk, or ever be pain-free. We made the decision to let her go.  Just reliving that choice I am transported right back into that emergency room, holding my sweet little girl, and realizing we were choosing euthanasia. A decision I never wanted to make and I hated myself for causing her so much pain.

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If it seems like pet health care costs are increasing, they are. That’s because more clinics can care for pets with illnesses that were untreatable in the past. Vet offices have technology that provides human-level health care, and that adds to the fees. With the Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, instead of getting hit with an enormous bill, you’ll be avoiding unexpected veterinary bills, and you can choose the pet insurance plan that fits your family’s budget.

Pet insurance covers unexpected accidents or illnesses and other health issues related to them. It doesn’t cover wellness care including regular vaccines, check-ups, or flea, tick, or heartworm preventative, etc. But what it does cover is illnesses, accidents, hereditary conditions, congenital and chronic conditions, cancer, diagnostic treatment, x-rays, blood tests, ultrasounds, surgery, hospitalization,  prescription medications, emergency and specialty care, and alternative treatment. Oh, and they are the only pet insurance company that provides unlimited lifetime benefits with an annual deductible. Yep, I feel like an idiot for buying the wrong type of coverage for my dogs.

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I’d sign up both of my dogs tomorrow if I could, but my little girls can’t be covered because pet insurance doesn’t accept pets with pre-existing conditions.  Gracie, my 6-year old Maltese, has Protein-losing Enteropathy (PLE) and Jewel, my 9-year old Pomeranian lost the use of her back legs nearly two years. Because the only way to diagnose Jewel would be to pay for X-rays, ultrasounds, and more and the “fix” would likely be surgery, we don’t really know for sure what caused her brain to stop controlling her back legs.

The cost to care for these two is quite a lot. Had I only covered them back when we purchased the wellness plan. That’s a mistake I won’t be making again. Should we decide to get a new puppy in the future, she’ll be covered in the event of an illness or accident the day we bring her home.

Pet Insurance vs Wellness Care

Educate yourself about the differences between pet insurance and a pet wellness care contract. Decide which is right for your family and your pet. Don’t put yourself in the position of having to make a life or death decision for your beloved pet based on the costs of treating her. I’ve had to make the decision for our two dogs and cat. It’s a decision I loathe making, but I know I’ll have to do it again soon.

Get a free quote today for Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and you’ll be triggering a donation to cover the medical care of homeless pets. Already a Healthy Paws member? Earn $35 for every friend you invite who enrolls through their Refer-A-Friend program. Visit the Healthy  Paws Pet Insurance FAQ for more information.

Have you had to make a choice between putting a pet to sleep or going into debt to provide their care? Do you have pet insurance? I’d love to hear how it helps you care for your pet.