Are Pet Health Plans from Vets worth the money?

Are Pet Health Plans from Vets worth the money?

Many vets offer a Pet Health Club as a service, but are they really worth the money? Is it just a ruse to get you signed up with a plan you are never going to use? This Pets4Homes article looks at why these plans can actually be a good idea!

What makes them different from pet insurance?

Pet health plans and pet insurance are completely different! Pet insurance premiums will pay out if your pet is covered, for unexpected things like emergencies or injury such as a broken bone. As an example, a dog with a fractured leg may need extensive surgery to repair it, including specialist equipment, metal plates, and screws, not to mention the aftercare, physiotherapy or hydrotherapy. All this can be very expensive reaching many thousands of pounds - it is why pet insurance is an excellent idea.

A Pet Health Plan wouldn’t be used for this as it’s not for emergency treatment. These types of plans are sued for preventative health in pets - things that can be planned for or prevented. The saying prevention is better than cure is very true - especially when it comes to pets and just as importantly finances.

With these plans, a pet owner can really make savings on treatment of their pet - by covering for possible problems in the future - an initial outlay on the plan far outweighs what some conditions can cost if they arose through not trying to prevent them.

So, paying for prevention can really save money?

Look at this example:

A medium size dog is treated for fleas monthly, the cost of the spot-on treatment for is around £35-£50, which means the dog is treated against this parasite for 6 months. In fact, many spot-on's also treat for other parasites, such as several types of intestinal worm and other surface mites. So, in theory treating these extra parasites and the problems they can cause will also save money.

For completeness, and as the lifecycle of the flea needs to be broken, add to the cost of around £10 for a can of household flea spray (not covered under the majority of Pet Health Plans).

Just concentrating on fleas, they are stopped from causing your pet misery for the 6 months of the product for around £60, or £10 per month.

Now if the dog wasn’t treated for fleas and an infestation took place the scenario may be similar to this:

  • Flea spot-on product to treat the problem.
  • Flea spray for the home and car.
  • Consultation cost for checking itching, sore skin, fur loss.
  • Medication for skin condition - a long course of antibiotics for secondary skin infection from scratching.
  • Follow up consultation fee - to check the skin condition and that the medication is working.

Even without possible further medication, and vet visits, this will cost well over a £100. For a condition that could have been prevented in the very first place!

So what else do pet health plans cover?

Of course, fleas are not the only thing that can be prevented - pets can have a whole range of preventative healthcare, some of which can reduce the risk of life-threatening diseases. Most plans also cover:

  • Health checks - vital before any vaccination is given, to check for any underlying problems such as abnormal heart sounds or lumps and bumps that could be a worry.
  • Vaccinations - to protect against potentially fatal diseases.
  • Flea and worm treatments - these help to prevent parasite conditions and although they look straightforward can stop conditions such as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) in pets, and worming can prevent vomiting, diarrhoea and weight loss. In dog’s treatment against lungworm can stop this fatal condition.
  • Nail clips - which can be traumatic for dogs and owners!

Some pet health plans also provide:

  • Microchipping - if not already done.
  • Kennel cough vaccine - for dogs only.

Are there any other benefits in signing up to one of these plans?

It is not unusual for plans to offer benefits, these vary from practice to practice, but often include:

  • Discounts on neutering - which is obviously a one-off saving but can considerably reduce neutering costs.
  • Discounts on dental treatment - many practices offer this, and it can normally be used as needed - whereas the practice might do a special promotion for clients not on a plan, for example, one month of the year, people signed up to a plan can get a discount any time of year.
  • Discounts on food - usually specific food brands brought in the practice. This discount can vary and it’s worth checking the price, as it still may be around the same elsewhere.
  • Some practices also have discounts on other products they sell in their surgery, such as toys, treats, and accessories.

What if I get a puppy or kitten - can they belong to a pet health plan?

Most practices have a new arrival plan, specially tailored for puppies and kittens. These often include

  • Full new arrival health check.
  • The primary vaccinations (which is a full course for either puppy or kitten).
  • Flea treatment suitable for their species and size.
  • Worming treatment, again suitable for the pet.
  • Microchipping - if not already completed.
  • A sample of food - often the brand preferred by the practice.
  • 4 Weeks free pet insurance - this is not uncommon and is usually offered from a large pet insurance company.

According to the practice, they might also offer:

Puppy parties - to help with socialisation of new vaccinated puppies.

Follow up consultations with the nursing team to check weight, ask if there are any problems and to provide support.

You might find that the practice offers a very same plan than another surgery, a few miles away. This can be because the practices are owned by the same company. Practices that are not independent and come under the umbrella of a corporate company, normally have a standard pet health care plan, which generally is very good value.

In summary as a pet owner, whether with a new puppy or kitten, a rescue, or just looking for preventative health for your pet, these plans can really offer good value - especially helpful with the monthly payments. If your practice offers this service, it’s worth finding out more!



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