Wellness Plans: Great for People, Great for Pets

Guest post by Loren Sztajer
boo catches fishCats like to get into things.
Whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, their prey instinct drives them to hunt. Your outdoor cat may come home with scratches or bites from some unknown assailant, while your indoor cat may conquer the ribbon on a gift you thought you’d carefully placed out of his reach.
Regardless of the type of feline that prowls your home, you’re guaranteed to need to visit the vet occasionally. And to keep your little bundle of fur healthy, regular trips to the vet are critical. Cats are less likely than dogs to show outward signs of distress. They often hide when they are unwell, and have a naturally aloof or independent nature that can disguise inner distress.
Having owned many cats over the years, I know how expensive pet care can be. My furkids have had problems ranging from ingesting a ribbon, to regularly impacted anal glands to major surgery for removing bladder stones. So when my veterinary clinic told me about their wellness plans, I decided to learn more about it.
I’ve never purchase pet insurance because I’d heard a lot of my friends talk about being disappointed when their pet had an injury and illness and the pet insurance refused to cover it. I figured I’d just save the cost of the premium and pay for any bills if I needed to.
A wellness plan works opposite of traditional pet insurance, but is very similar to plans for people. With pet insurance, you pay a regular premium, and then if your pet has an illness or injury covered by the plan, the insurance pays for some or all of the cost of recovery. You pay out-of-pocket for normal health care, and insurance kicks in when something catastrophic happens.
A wellness plan also requires paying a monthly fee, but that fee is “spent” during the course of the year for normal, preventative health care. This includes regular checkups, including corresponding lab tests, as well as all vaccinations. Some plans include regular dental cleanings (a significant contributor to overall health), free office visits, and discounts on any needed medications or extra procedures if an unexpected or catastrophic illness or injury occurs.Boo chart
The wellness plans to which I subscribe, through Banfield Pet Hospital, are a less expensive annual cost than the fee for a single dental cleaning. Banfield also provides me with an online portal to access all of my pets health records — test results, vaccination records, and weight history.
You can see that during one of his checkups, the vet found our Boo was looking like he might get pudgy, so she gave us guidance for helping him stay slim in a gradual, healthy way.
The difference really comes down to how your health-care dollars are spent for your pets. You choose between reducing your costs for annual preventative care or reducing your cost if a significant illness or injury occurs.
I believe that investing in a wellness plan is the wiser choice. I know that I will absolutely receive services in exchange for my money. Because I get unlimited free office visits, I have no hesitation about running my cat in for an exam — which leads either to a procedure or my peace of mind, but solves the problem nonetheless. I know that any unobserved problems will most likely be found during their twice-yearly comprehensive exams.

We humans certainly benefit from wellness plans that cover our cost for regular checkups and tests. Many human lives are saved when a doctor performs an exam and finds a dangerous blood test result, mammogram reading, or prostate exam. We should think of our pets as needing the same type of regular wellness and preventative care that we do, so they can be a part of our lives for as long as possible.

Guest post from: Loren Sztajer from Collarific Dog Bandanas

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  1. I’ve never heard of wellness plans, but they certainly sound like a great idea. It sounds like you get more for your money than you do with insurance.
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    • I know – they sound like a better deal don’t they.
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