In many ways, the health care needs of cats and dogs can be very similar. But the type of coverage you need and the amount you rack up in veterinary bills can be very different. The fact the dogs spend more time outdoors than their feline counterparts can have a significant impact on the accidents they have and the illnesses they contract. For example, a curious pooch is more likely to eat a poisonous frog or get quilled by a porcupine, even in the safety of your own backyard. Such accidents and emergencies can be just as dangerous and sometimes life-threatening as they are expensive to treat.

There are also issues with size, life expectancy, and breed-specific hereditary conditions that are unique to dogs. Larger dogs have a shorter life expectancy and tend to have more problems with their joints, their hearts, and cancer. Smaller dogs and purebreds are at a greater risk of getting attacked by larger animals or needing expensive treatment for breed-specific ailments. At the end of the day, you need a pet insurance policy that covers the specific needs of your dog. And we want to help you find it.

Importance of Dog Insurance

Dog insurance is important because of one very unfortunate but true fact about being a pet parent: the cost of an accident, illness, or emergency can often be the crux of a life-or-death decision. No innocent animal should have their quality of life reduced or their lifespan cut short due to prohibitively expensive medical bills. This phenomenon is especially true in recent years considering the fact that so many pet parents are struggling with mounting debt and reduced savings. Getting health insurance for your dog for a minimum monthly premium and a reasonably affordable deductible can help you make sure that your dog remains a happy, healthy, important member of your family for as long as humanly possible.

Dog Insurance Costs

Age of Dog

It costs more to properly care for a puppy and/or a senior dog than for a younger or middle-aged canine. Puppies need more vaccinations, they need to be spayed or neutered, and they may even require prescription medications to get rid of all-too-common parasites. Older dogs are more likely to suffer from age-related diseases such as organ failure or joint degradation, among others. But adult dogs can get into expensive accidents or come down with a sudden, unexpected illness too; just because they’re healthy now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare yourself for a surprise vet bill in the near future.

Dog Breed

The breed of your dog will be very important in determining how much you will pay for your monthly dog insurance premiums as well as the coverage options you’ll have access to. Not every pet insurance company will ensure every breed of dog, and some pet health insurance providers may refuse to cover certain ailments which are common among specific breeds. It’s good to do your research and ask questions before you settle on a policy, especially if you know your dog’s breed will require special treatment down the road.


Exposure to the elements and other outside dangers can put your dog at risk. It could be something as minor as a skin allergy from fleas or as major as getting hit by a vehicle on a busy road. Veterinary healthcare costs may also be artificially elevated in some areas as opposed to others. There are many different factors at play when it comes to finding affordable dog insurance where you live.

Dog Insurance by State

Believe it or not, the cost of veterinary care for your dog can vary depending on where you live. Certain regions of the country post different dangers for dogs than others. The Northeast, for example, has a lot of densely populated big cities where it can be hard to properly care for larger dogs. Regions such as the Pacific Northwest may contain an abundance of natural predators or other wildlife which can threaten your pets health. And areas that suffer temperature extremes on a seasonal basis could leave your dog more vulnerable to heat stroke or frostbite. On top of that, veterinarians may charge more or less for care depending on how much it costs them to run their practice in a given area. 



New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island

South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Dog Insurance by Breed

Lots of pet insurance companies out there tend to focus more broadly on general care for all dogs; the companies which specialize in care for specific breeds, on the other hand, are rare. And many of them can be expensive. On the other hand, purchasing a cheaper dog insurance policy from one of those broadly focused companies may put you at risk for paying out-of-pocket costs on uncovered, breed-specific conditions. Once you narrow your list to down to two or three different pet health insurance companies that you’re thinking about buying a policy from, call up one of their agents and ask about the health care needs of your dog’s breed. The better they can answer your questions, the easier it’ll be for you to figure if they will be there for you and your dog when you need them most.

Dog Insurance Companies

Healthy Paws

Let’s just get this out of the way right now: there are zero dog insurance companies out there which will sell you a policy that covers pre-existing conditions. As a matter of fact, every pet insurance policy you look at will come with some sort of waiting period to help ensure that any claims you file immediately after purchasing your policy are not related to pre-existing conditions. This is important because Healthy Paws pet insurance skews more towards providing coverage for animals that are under 6 years of age and in good health. You can start a dog insurance policy as soon as your puppy turns 8 weeks old, but you won’t get coverage for preventative care or veterinary exams. Despite these drawbacks, you can still look forward to financial reimbursement if your claim is related to an accident, illness, hereditary condition, necessary tests, required x-rays, prescription drugs, or alternative treatment. As long as you use a licensed vet near you, your dog can get the care he or she needs with no annual or lifetime payout caps. You can also look forward to a speedy, two-day claims process.


Embrace pet insurance has affordable coverage options even if your pet is older or in less than perfect health. For starters, you can request membership into an optional wellness program. The program creates a spending account that’s little as $250 or as much as $650 depending on how much you can afford. This spending account is used to pay for routine care and annual vet visits. Some of the care may include getting your puppy spayed or neutered, getting a microchip implanted to improve your likelihood of finding them if they get lost or stolen, vaccinations, and more. You have the option of choosing your reimbursement level with up to 90% of your dog’s medical bills being taken care of by Embrace. You don’t have to worry about restrictions or medical networks as long as your vet is a licensed professional. In addition to commonplace coverage on things like sudden illness, injuries, chronic conditions, and many breed specific conditions, you can get reimbursement for exam fees, small dental illness claims, and even behavioral therapy.

Pet Plan

Pet Plan wants to be your plan for the dog insurance that your fur baby needs. If you’re a lover of dog puns, then Pet Plan may just warm your heart. But if you’re a lover of comprehensive dog insurance, then that’s even more of a reason to take a closer look at Pet Plan. To the lament of some, they don’t cover routine wellness care. But they do cover a lot compared to similar pet insurance policies. Veterinary exam fees, prescription drugs, and non-routine dental work are among some of their more attractive coverage features. You’ll get a lifetime guarantee that you won’t lose coverage as your pet ages or requires more frequent care. You can also get coverage for alternative therapies or referred to a specialist for advanced treatment. Pet Plan makes a point to let customers know that breed-specific chronic conditions will be covered as long as you purchase a policy before that illness becomes a pre-existing condition.


Getting dog insurance from FIGO is a good choice if you want your pet insurance to come with a healthy side of technology and convenience. FIGO offers a free app called the Pet Cloud with every policy they sell. This phone app can help you go completely paperless with your dog’s medical records, claims processing, and vet bill payments. It also comes with many other attractive features such as pet health care reminders, dog walker recommendations, featured dog parks near you, pet-friendly restaurants, and discounts for FIGO pet insurance customers. there are many different customizable options you can add on to your FIGO dog insurance policy, including vet exam reimbursement for a slightly higher premium.

Pet First

Petfirst pet insurance has a very straightforward, no-nonsense business model. They even go as far as to compare themselves to a car insurance company, but for your dog (and his or her health care needs). In a lot of ways, they’re not wrong. There are many close similarities between how dog insurance from petfirst works, and how your average car insurance policy works. They advertise right on their main page that you can start a dog insurance policy today for as little as $32 a month. This small fee can get you an annual benefit of $2,000 with a $250 deductible and up to 80% reimbursement. The annual benefit rises if you upgrade to a better plan, but keep in mind that your monthly premium will, too. Some of the more important coverages which pet first does not include in their policies are parasite treatments, orthodontic treatment, routine wellness and preventive care, elective procedures, and pre-existing conditions. You will also have to maintain a policy for a full 12 months if you want coverage for cruciate ligament conditions or intervertebral disc disease, provided those conditions were not present when you purchased your policy.


Trupanion can help you get your vet bills paid faster by sending reimbursements directly to your veterinary care provider(s). Furthermore, this direct payment can help save you money on upfront costs. When it comes to most dog insurance policies, many companies request that you pay your dog’s vet bill up front and then reimburse you for a large percentage of the cost after you file a claim. Trupanion pet insurance, on the other hand, works more like traditional health insurance: you pay for your deductible and the agreed amount of cost shared as per your policy, and Trupanion pays out the rest after your claim is processed. Trupanion is underwritten by the American Pet Insurance Company. You can also enjoy a lifelong policy guarantee which secures the same monthly premium and the same coverage benefits for the life of your dog.

Pets Best

Pets Best dog insurance has a lot of good things going for it. It starts with the obvious basics like emergency, accident, and illness coverage. You can also get hereditary condition coverage, and you get to choose whether you want a 70%, 80%, or 90% reimbursement rate. You have the option of customizing both your annual deductible as well as your yearly limits. There is optional exam fee coverage, but it may raise your monthly premiums slightly. There’s also an optional pet Wellness Plan which helps cover the costs of routine and preventative care. Unfortunately, there is no coverage for prescription drugs, two or more foreign body ingestion emergencies, or experimental/investigational treatment.


If you’re a breeder or if you are particularly concerned about cosmetic procedure coverage, then ASPCA dog insurance may not be for you. Outside of those specific needs, however, the vast majority of pet owners can get a lot of benefit from the ASPCA. You get the standard types of coverage available for most pet health insurance companies: illness, accidents, dental disease, behavioral issues, and hereditary conditions. You can even get financial help microchipping your dog. Unfortunately, investigational or experimental treatment will not be covered under this policy. But if you’re willing to add an extra $10 a month to your premium, you can add routine care coverage to your policy.


If this is your first time shopping around for pet insurance, Nationwide may be the only company on this list you’re familiar with – although not for pet insurance reasons, obviously. Nationwide does bring that financial stability and insurance industry expertise to the table. So what does that mean for your dog insurance? It means you can use any vet you want, get mostly comprehensive coverage, and only spend about $35 a month for your plan. But just because Nationwide has the greatest name recognition doesn’t mean they have the most coverage. Certain dog breeds may not be available for coverage, and you may not be able to purchase a policy if your dog is over a certain age. It’s very important to know your dog’s specific medical needs and ask a lot of questions when you sit down with an agent to craft a Nationwide pet insurance policy for your fur baby.

Mark Romero is the head of content for . He has been doing research in the insurance industry for the past six years and has two lovely rescued pups named Luke and Leia.
Mark Romero
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