What You Need to Know About Pet Insurance & Saving Money on Pet Care


By Lidja Gillmeister, La Jolla Veterinary Hospital

Everyone wants to save money, and pet care is generally no exception. Although we spend money every year keeping our pets healthy, most people don’t think about health care-related costs like surgery, medication or emergency care. Fortunately, many of us have healthy pets that live long and healthy lives.

But what happens when you are faced with medical care that can cost well into the thousands?

That’s where pet insurance comes in. The truth is that most people shrug off pet insurance as unnecessary. But, it can prove to be very useful if you are ever presented with a difficult decision regarding the well-being of your pet. And, it can literally save you thousands of dollars. Here’s what you need to know about pet insurance and why it can be a great addition to the care you already provide for your pet.

Is pet insurance right for you?

If you ever face the need to treat your pet for a rare disease, health condition or emergency, it can be costly depending on the diagnostics and treatments required to heal your dog or cat. For example, radiation therapy in the event of a cancer diagnosis can cost upwards of $1,000 to $5,000. Emergency surgery for an ingested object also ranges in the thousands. Intervertebral disk disease, one of the most common diagnoses in dogs, can run upward of $2,000. Other costs can arise from MRIs, other types of emergency surgery, and medications. All in all, it can contribute to an increasingly high vet bill. Insurance, though, can keep these costs down.

You may be the right candidate for pet insurance if:

  • You have an outdoor cat
  • You have an older pet
  • Your pet travels often
  • You have children who are very attached to the pet
  • You have a breed especially prone to certain diseases

If you are interested in pet insurance, the first step is to shop around for rates. Like any other insurance policy, be sure to check out what premiums, caps, co-pays and deductibles are required and if any pre-existing conditions (such as breed-specific ailments) are not included.

Saving Money on Pet Care

If you’re like many Americans, you pet’s health matters. Take a proactive approach to your dog’s or cat’s well-being and reduce the costs on healthcare. Here are some of the most important tips when it comes to your pet’s long and healthy life.

Keep your cat indoors.

Some of the most expensive treatments arise from emergency pet care from roadway accidents. Consider keeping your cat indoors to avoid the costs associated with emergency treatment – and of course, to keep your cat much safer.

Always leash your dog

  1. Just like cats, dogs can mistakenly get into traffic, so it’s important to keep your dog on a leash at all times to avoid an accident.

Provide nutritious food.

Just like humans, high-quality food is important in the overall health and vitality of your pet. Ask us about the right food for your pet considering its breed, age and pre-existing conditions. Good food ensures a longer, healthier life with fewer ailments in your pet’s sunset years.

Provide ample exercise.

Physical activity is essential to the mental and physical health of your animal. Cats can do well with cat trees, jungle gyms and feather toys. Dogs should always be walked daily if possible and dog parks are a great option for both exercise and social enjoyment.

Many La Jolla residents care about their animals and want the best for their pets, including excellent veterinary care. Give us a call at 858-454-6155 or visit us online at

for more information about our practice. Our clinic accepts many pet insurance policies as well – call us for more information on your policy or to inquire about purchasing insurance for your dog or cat.