Often, simple things like your pet’s flea treatment won’t be top of the budget. It also means that, should the unexpected happen, it may be tricky to fund emergency veterinary care. We know times can be tough, which is why our topic today is veterinary health plans. We will discuss the importance of health plans, what they cover, and how they help you spread the cost of veterinary care and ensure your beloved pet can always get the proper treatment they need.
What is a Health Plan and Why Are They Important?
So first a little terminology: it is important to know that a health plan is different from pet insurance – pet insurance covers you for the unexpected, such as treatment after an accident. Health plans cover you for the routine everyday care that you know you will need. Think of pet insurance like car insurance (obviously!) that you only need in an accident, and a veterinary health plan like being a member of Halfords that gets you discounted washer fluid! We obviously recommend insurance for your pet as well, but today we are just talking about health plans.
So steering away from the car analogies (pun slightly intended), a veterinary health plan will cover your pet’s regular check-ups, flea treatment and worming, and vaccinations – all things that pets need regularly. The average cat or dog will need to visit the vets at least once a year to receive their annual booster vaccine, and be checked for fleas and worms. We recommend healthy dogs and cats see a vet or a nurse every 6 months. Puppies and kittens, older pets or those with long-term illnesses may need to see us even more frequently than that! So that’s a lot of veterinary care that could potentially be covered under a health plan.
The main advantage of a health plan is that instead of paying every time you and your pet make a routine visit, with the costs varying depending on what you needed that time, you pay a fixed monthly amount that covers all of the above. By spreading the cost out over the year, it often makes budgeting for veterinary care much easier – and in the long term, all plans are designed to save you money throughout the year versus traditional payment. Many plans also offer extras, such as discounted neutering or dentals, extra health checks, or cheaper products. However, perhaps the issue isn’t funds, but just remembering! When you’ve got a million things to do, your pet’s vaccines or worming tablets might not be top of the list; that’s why health plans also send you regular reminders of when things are due. We will discuss the other benefits in their specific paragraphs.
It can be hard to emphasise how important vaccines are to both your pets, and the UK pet population as a whole. The diseases we commonly vaccinate for are some of the nastiest out there, and many can be fatal. One simple jab is all it takes for your pet to be covered for 1-3 years (depending on the vaccine). Because of their importance, most vets subsidise the cost of vaccines so that more people are able to afford them. But we know that sometimes it can be hard to find the funds for these, or even to remember they are due. This is where health plans come in.
If you know that your pet’s vaccines are already paid for via their health plan, it won’t be as big of an ask for you to come in and receive their regular booster, than if it was a month where funds are tight. This, of course, means your pet is more likely to be covered year-round, and won’t get sick. By extension, this helps protect other pets who may not be vaccinated, from catching it, so you’re doing your bit for pets UK-wide!
Worm and Flea Control
Just like vaccines, parasite control is a big part of normal pet care. Parasite control should cover ectoparasites – the little creepy crawlies that like to live on your pet’s skin, like fleas and ticks – and endoparasites – roundworms and tapeworms that live inside your pet’s guts and can cause disease. For young pets especially, parasites can be dangerous, so starting parasite control early and keeping it regular is crucial. And unlike many of the diseases we vaccinate for, parasites can be picked up from the environment a lot more easily, meaning no pet can be fully protected, except with anti-parasiticides.
Pet health plans make parasite control a lot easier, reminding you on time (most commonly every month or 3 months) that your pet needs a tablet or spot on, and spreading those costs throughout the year. It’s been shown that fewer and fewer pet owners are choosing to give anti-parasiticides to their pets, so we hope this will encourage more to do so.
Regular Health Checks
The other advantage of health plans is that we find they encourage pet owners to visit the vets more. Many of the plans feature free health checks with wonderful nurses and vets, throughout the year, and we highly encourage you to take advantage of these! For older pets in particular, regular health checks are essential to ensure they are in tip-top condition; many old-age diseases are subtle at first, so the more regularly we see your senior pets, the more likely it is we will spot the early signs of disease, and be able to treat them more effectively. Young puppies and kittens too should have a few regular health checks to make sure they are developing well, their vaccines and anti-parasite treatment has worked, and they’re growing up to be a perfect adult pet! Of course, all pets should be checked regularly, and we believe the more you see our nurses and vets, the better your pet’s health will be in the long-term.
So hopefully now you can see the advantage of pet health plans, and may consider trying one for your beloved cat or dog. We can’t emphasise enough how health plans help save you money on veterinary care, ensure you don’t forget about regular vaccines or parasite control, and give you more of an opportunity to visit us for check-ups – and if that doesn’t convince you, giving us extra opportunities for puppy or kitten cuddles is always welcome! Please feel free to come in and discuss health plans with us today.
You can also find out more about our healthcare plan here