National Dog Week: Have you ever wondered if your four-legged family member needs pet insurance?

Last year alone, pet owners spent close to $20 billion at the vet's office, but only three percent of pet owners have pet insurance.

"We do our best to take care of our clients, but when an emergency comes in it can add up quickly," said Mary Whitehead Practice Manager at Richmond Ave Animal Hospital.

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Employees here at Richmond Ave Animal Hospital treat their four legged patients, like family members.

It's estimated that one in three pets will need emergency treatment every year. Treatment that can sometimes cost thousands of dollars.

"Accident and illness is the most common pet insurance that our clients purchase," Whitehead said. "It would cover skin allergies, if they got hit by a car or a dog fight, something you don't expect."

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"Pawlicy Advisor is a free pet insurance marketplace comparison tool," said company Director Edwin Plotts. "We are actually recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association. What we do is help pet owners figure out which pet insurance is right for them."

When it comes to pet insurance they are all the same when it comes to two things.

"The way pet insurance works, you pay it up front, and you're reimbursed by your pet insurance," said Whitehead.

"No pet insurance will cover pre-existing conditions, so it's important to enroll before conditions arise," Plotts said.


If possible, it's best to get a policy when your pet is young. The cost increases as your pet ages. If your pet is older, but healthy, you should still consider it.

"There are certain breeds that are prone to have skin issues or issues with their hips," said Whitehead. "It's better to get it when they're younger before they have a problem."

"You don't want to be in a position where you're stuck having to decide do I want to be stressed financially, or do I want to take care of this creature that's part of my family, and I'm responsible for," Plotts said.

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