Why should I insure my puppy or kitten?
It's no secret that most illnesses and ailments occur in our pets during old age, so it can be tempting to think that insurance for a brand-new kitten or puppy isn't necessary. In fact, the opposite is true. Not only does insuring your pet from a young age keep them safe into old age, but there are several reasons for trips to the vets that are much more common in younger pets.
Young animals explore the world with their mouths
It's a natural instinct for puppies and kittens to chew their way through life especially in the first year or so. Whilst this is a great way for them to learn about the world around them, it's also potentially dangerous.
The tendency to put everything in their mouths can lead to two of the most common reasons for vet trips for puppies and kittens; ingestion of foreign objects, or ingestion of toxic foods.
Ingestion of foreign objects occurs when animals swallow non-digestible objects, such as bits of plastic, fabric or bits of toys. Depending on what has been swallowed the veterinarian bills can mount up quickly, with x-rays and surgery potentially being necessary.
Ingestion of toxic foods can lead to complications and can involve a veterinary hospital stay, a stomach pump, or an IV drip. Take a look at our toxic foods for dogs and cats pages for more information on what to keep out of reach.
Puppies and kittens have weaker immune systems
There are two main types of immune system in animals; the non-adaptive immune system (skin, hair, stomach acid, etc.) which does not get more resilient with repeated exposure to threats, and the adaptive immune systems (antibodies, white blood cells, etc.) which can learn how to overcome threats to the body after repeat exposure.
Young pets have more delicate skin, finer, softer hair, and weaker bones and ligaments than adult dogs and cats. This lack of strength coupled with natural curiosity and a less developed sense of danger can make them more accident prone, and more likely to hurt themselves trying to get out of sticky situations!.
Puppies and kittens also have under developed adaptive immune systems until they are at least 3-4 months old. In addition, they are at risk of infection each time they encounter a virus or bacteria for the first time and may require treatment or antibiotics to help their bodies fight infections quite regularly in their early years.
A common term in many pet insurance policies is that pre-existing conditions will not be covered by the policy. This means that if you wait until your pet is older to get insurance when they really need it, it may be too late to get meaningful coverage. If a lifelong or recurring condition develops in your cat or dog before you’ve taken out a policy, you are unlikely to be able to get coverage for treatment of that condition.
“Our seven year old Labrador has unidentifiable allergies. To stop her from chewing off her paws, we give her an expensive medication. She has been getting this for 90% of her life, and Trupanion has paid for 90% of the cost. We did the math a while ago and we have saved about $12k because of our insurance investment. “ – Lynn (Trupanion US) 9/10
However, if a condition develops whilst you are insured, many insurers will keep covering the cost of the condition year after year, as long as you keep your policy with them. Lynn’s case shown above, illustrates how insurance has the potential to save you thousands of dollars.
When working out what monthly or annual premiums to charge you, your insurer may make a lot of guesses about the health of your pet based on their age and breed. If your pet is healthy and has been fed and exercised well throughout his or her life, you could be paying more than you need to because the insurer may make some assumptions about likely claims from the data they have on the average pet at their age and of their type.
When insuring a puppy from a young age, premiums tend to be low, as the risk of high cost illnesses such as cancer are much lower. During their lifetime your insurer will be aware of just how healthy your pet is based on the number of claims that you file and what kind of claims they are, meaning they can make a much more accurate assessment when setting a premium each subsequent year.
The information above is non-specific to any particular pet insurance policy and should be regarded as a basic overview of the type of features that may feature in a policy. Always refer to your insurer for specific, accurate information on your policy features.