Does Pet Insurance Cover Obesity?
Keeping our pets happy and healthy involves many things, including feeding them good nutritious food. If there is one thing that all dogs and cats seem to have in common, it’s their never-ending eating and nibbling. Nibbling can be perfectly fine if it’s not excessive.
Overeating can lead to obesity, which can lead to other health issues. Although pet insurance covers many of the health issues brought on by obesity, does pet insurance cover obesity? That depends on different factors.
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What is Pet Obesity?
Pet obesity is a scientific term used to describe a pet that is overweight. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, a recent study indicated that 56 percent of dogs and 60 percent of cats are overweight. Cats and dogs are considered overweight if their weight is 10 percent to 20 percent more than their ideal weight. Obesity in pets can be a serious issue because it can contribute to serious health problems, such as:
- Metabolic abnormalities
- Heart and lung diseases
- Decreased immune functions
- Cardiovascular disease
- Skin conditions
- Joint and bone disorders
What’s even more frustrating is that many pets fail to lose weight even after a diagnosis is made. Vets also found that even if some pets did manage to lose weight, about 40 percent regained the weight within a year. There are other specific findings regarding obesity in pets.
- The larger the breed size the more obese the pet, yet small breeds were most affected by obesity.
- The pets became more obese as they age until about the age of seven years old.
- Pugs were founded to be the most overweight breed of dogs with 64 percent obese,
- Small dogs have an easier time losing weight than large dogs.
One of the best ways to ensure your pet doesn’t become overweight or obese is by feeding them a balanced diet of nutritional food. Keep in mind that nutritional needs are different for different breeds of dogs. A six-year-old German shepherd, for instance, is going to have different nutritional needs than a one-year-old miniature poodle.
It’s important that you take your pet for annual checkups to see if a problem is arising before it becomes a problem. Obesity is an issue that often happens before the owner is even aware the pet is overweight. Although your vet weighs, examines your pet, and tells you if it’s overweight, there are signs that you, as the owner, can look for if you think weight is an issue. If you can’t feel your dog’s rib cage when rubbing your hands down its back, this is a good sign the dog is carrying excess weight.
Despite some breeds being more prone to becoming overweight, there are ways you can help prevent pet obesity. You wouldn’t consider letting your child having an unlimited amount of cake or candy. Our pets should be raised with the same limitations. Dog treats can be good for them until they’re not.
What this means is that they should be limited to the number of treats or “people food” they get in their diet. When feeding your pet, follow the recommendations on the food package as well as the recommendations from your vet. Exercise is also a great way to help your pet avoid becoming overweight or obese.
There are just so many risks for pets that are overweight or obese. Obesity can compromise the immune system, cause surgical risks, and even make them most susceptible to hypertension, cancer, and high cholesterol.
Annual Cost of Pet Obesity-Related Conditions
The cost of obesity-related conditions in pets can vary from pet to pet, but it can run very high. In fact, 20 percent of pet insurance claims are for obesity-related conditions, according to a report by Nationwide Pet Insurance. The annual cost for these health problems can depend on the animal, the illness, your vet. Veterinary clinics are typically less expensive than veterinary hospitals.
For instance, diabetes is one of the issues that can develop from obesity. Say you bring your cat to the vet for diabetes treatment. With the exams, bloodwork, follow-up, and miscellaneous, it wouldn’t be unusual to see a bill for $1,500. When you add a year’s worth of insulin for $1800, you have a total of $3,300.
Pet insurance can be very helpful in paying the high costs of vet care for your pet for obesity-related illnesses. Different health issues cost different amounts, so it’s hard to pinpoint an exact cost for obesity-related conditions. While cardiac care ranges about $1,200, cancer treatment can go over $2,000, and joint issues can run over $3,500.
Pet Insurance Plans that Cover Obesity
Pet insurance covers many health problems caused by both illness and accidents. While they may not cover a dog simply because he is overweight, they will provide coverage for obesity-related conditions under their basic accident/illness policies.
Here are a few of the top pet insurance companies and what type of coverage they offer for obesity-related claims. With all these plans, pet owners have to pay the deductible and copay as well as any amount that goes beyond the policy’s maximum annual limit.
Embrace has a basic accident/illness plan that covers almost any obesity-related issue that may arise. Their comprehensive plan covers a lot of health issues and offers choices of deductibles and reimbursement amounts. They also have a wellness plan that will cover the cost of wellness exams to ensure your pet stays at a healthy weight.
Pets Best offers a BestBenefit Accident and Illness plan that covers almost anything you can think of that might be obesity-related, including cancer, diabetes, arthritis, chronic conditions, diagnostics, and even prescription medications. They do have a couple of wellness plans that may not be helpful for obesity-related issues but can help pay the cost of the annual wellness exam.
SPOT Pet Insurance does cover obesity-related health conditions under their basic illness and accident coverage. They also offer two preventative care options that pet owners can purchase with their basic plan. These plans cover a variety of health conditions, including chronic conditions, alternative therapies, among others. They don’t cover the cost of the initial exam, but their wellness policy will pay for that. However, once you’ve met your deductible, SPOT will pay the annual checkup or wellness exam.
Trupanion’s comprehensive illness/accident policy offers coverage for obesity-related issues, such as diabetes, joint problems, respiratory issues as well as many other issues that may stem from obesity. They also offer Recovery and Complementary Care coverage that covers things like acupuncture, chiropractic, and hydrotherapy, which might be used to treat some of the conditions caused by obesity. Their plan won’t cover the health problems but will pay for exams.