What is it and is it worth it?
Trupanion Insurance Information
Why does the Trupanion Insurance trial need to be activated within 24 hours of taking your puppy home?
This is actually a Trupanion rule that we have no control over. If you don't sign up within 24 hours Trupanion will not allow you to have their insurance for free. We are a pre-approved breeder, which means Trupanion knows we send home healthy pups and waves their "waiting period" before allowing families to make a claim. Thankfully this has been RARELY needed, but we are happy to be offering it to families for those rare cases. You are taking home a puppy that has not finished its immunization series yet, and that gives your puppy a higher chance of catching disease. In addition, the transition from our kennel to your home is very stressful for them as they leave everything they know and their friends and family, for a completely new place. The stress actually is hard on their immune systems, which further puts them at risk for an issue. Better to be prepared with something free than wish you had.
Are there any issues with choosing to insure my pet with a company other than Trupanion?
You should definitely go through whoever you have researched and feel comfortable with. We have heard nothing but positives about Trupanion but we have heard negative stories from our adopters about other insurance companies. We were told they paid premiums for years and then when they had a problem with their dog, these other insurance company refused to pay. Yes, Trupanion can be more expensive than other options, but they WILL cover what they claim to without giving you a huge hassle, withholding payment or disputing the issue. We've had multiple families use them for a claim and no one has yet had an issue. They offer direct billing to your vet and certainly see to be the most reputable option we have heard of thus far. If you do decide to go with an alternative, that's not at all a problem, but please keep in mind that there is typically a waiting period before they will begin coverage. Because of this, we'd encourage you to sign up for the free Trupanion trial AND your new company. That way you'll have Trupanion coverage while you are waiting for your next insurance to take effect. Also keep in mind that we are preapproved by Trupanion, but if you chose an alternative company, they may require proof of health from your vet before they will accept you. Your puppy will be healthy and have no issues obtaining this, but it will cost you a little more to obtain this as you'll need to immediately take your pup to the vet.
Do I absolutely need to get health insurance?
No. We don't personally insure any of our dogs. This is partially because we have so many! But instead of paying for insurance, you can also decide to set money aside every month incase you need it.. and if you never need it, go on a vacation with that savings account! But do be aware that many city vets (particularly city ER vets) are astronomically expensive for anything beyond routine care. The vast majority of vets in the city of Calgary are owned by an American conglomerate (VCA) that regulates the care, testing and the pricing. So if you want flexible care and pricing, you'll typically need to leave the city or use McLeod Tr Animal Hospital, who is one of the few independently owned vet remaining in Calgary. You also need to think ahead and before the emotion of the crisis hits, know the dollar value you are willing to invest and come to terms with what you will do if the estimate is above your limit.
Some prices to consider: The following is an example of the experience several families have reposted to me: Several families did trips to the Calgary ER with a puppy who was vomiting and had diarrhea and these trips cost the families $500-$1500. Superfluous testing was recommended. extra fees for evening and weekends urgent appointments were charged and the families were encouraged and chose to leave their puppy with the the vet for observation (cha-ching!) as suggested. Thankfully, these families did have Trupanion, and Trupanion covered the majority of this bill (phew!).
Rather than repeating this tale, if you don't have Trupanion, you should be contacting us for help and heading to a rural vet or well researched and affordable city vet who will likely look the puppy over more pragmatically. The rural vet will likely make a diagnoses based on the signs and symptoms with less testing involved and in our experience, it's very rare to be encouraged to leave the dog with them. For example, in the case of puppy with diarrhea and vomiting they may make a diagnosis of a of stress colitis with hypoglycemia, or something similar, do minimal or inexpensive testing and send you home with an antibiotic, and directions to connect with them again if the treatment isn't effective. This vet trip will likely cost you $100-$250. So get ready with a solid bank account or good pet insurance or alternatively be wise where you are taking your pet so that it remains affordable. Choosing a rural vet, or a more affordable city vet, does not mean compromising the care your puppy will receive, so long as you choose a larger and well equipped vet... it just may mean a longer drive and lower prices.
Further cost comparisons (based on TRUE recent stories!)
Baby tooth removal: Calgary - $100-$800. Rural vet: $10
Neuter/Spay: Calgary - $350 - $700 Rural vet: $225-$350
Included with Neuter/Spay cost:
Most vets in Calgary - Often, the quoted price ONLY includes the surgery and you will have to pay separately for cone, pain killer, lab work and any "extras" on top of the quoted fee.
Rural - Typically your cone, pain killer and various "extras" are included in the quoted price. Lab work or dental xray may be separate if you choose to go with them, but often there will be less pressure for you to do these elements.
Hernia Repair (on top of neuter cost): Calgary - $75 - $250. Rural vet: free - $50
Adult tooth removal (including anesthetic): Calgary: $700-$2500. Rural Vet: $250 - $800
Patella surgery (specialty): Calgary: $2500 and up Rural Vet: $1500 and up.
Does BabyBarks receive anything from Trupanion or anyone else for offering this trial?
No. We offer it because we know the risks of the first month and we want to make sure our families are as prepared and covered as possible.