There are more dangers for your dog and cat right now.
Most important points
- Vet costs can be expensive.
- Cold weather brings the danger of slipping on ice and freezing.
- Your pets are also at risk from your holiday decor and visitors to your home who may not know your routine — or what your pet can or can’t eat.
Chances are, if you have pets, you love them like family, and the holidays are a great time to be thankful for them. Personally, I’m happy to have my three cats — they bring me so much joy. While we love our pets, we probably don’t like the money they cost us in the form of food, toys, and especially veterinary care. The good news is that for a flat monthly fee, you can purchase pet insurance that can help cover some of those medical expenses.
Pet insurance coverage comes in a few different flavors. There are policies that can help cover the costs of routine and preventive care, such as wellness visits, annual vaccinations, and flea and tick treatments. However, where pet insurance really excels is in reimbursing pet owners for accidents, illnesses, and major medical care for their animals.
While pet owner vet bill reimbursement is more common with pet insurers, you can also find some that pay your vet directly so you don’t have to pick up your credit card on the spot at the vet’s office.
If you’ve been considering pet insurance and are just trying to decide when to buy a policy, now is a good time to move on. Why? Winter can be dangerous for your pets, due to a number of dangers that are not so common during the rest of the year. Here are some examples.
Some people like the cold and snow — I’m not one of them. But as a human being, I have the ability to bundle up (and complain) in warm clothes. Your pets have fewer coping options and it’s important to be on the lookout for hypothermia and frostbite during the winter. Foot pads and earplugs can be particularly sensitive parts of your pet’s body, so make sure they are not outside longer than necessary in extreme temperatures. Your pet can also be at risk from slipping on ice and snow, so be careful on those winter walks. In addition, some health conditions can cause your pets even more discomfort in cold weather, such as osteoarthritis in older pets. If your pet suffers from a health condition related to cold weather, you’ll be glad you have pet insurance.
Many people travel for the holidays and often take their dog with them. But being in an unfamiliar environment can carry the possibility of more accidents. If your puppy is coming with you to your parents’ New Year’s Eve party, and they haven’t puppy-proofed their home, you could end up with a big bill if the puppy chews and swallows something dangerous. And if you’ve been on a family road trip and get into a car accident, your pet could get hurt. While some auto insurance plans cover a driver’s pets, not all do.
Visitors to your home
Conversely, having family and friends around during the holiday season can also put your pets at risk. Perhaps your cousin unknowingly feeds your dog onions or other foods that are toxic to dogs, and you need to rush to the vet. If you have family members with you who don’t know your routine, they can also unintentionally walk the dog or cat, and the risk of injury to them (for example being hit by a car) increases exponentially.
Finally, winter is a time when many people put beautiful plants in their homes, such as holly and mistletoe. If you have a curious cat that likes to chew on plants, they could be at risk of getting sick or worse from consuming holiday plants.
I hate to say it, but even your Christmas tree can be a danger to both dogs and cats. It’s a long, not always stable structure, complete with fragile ornaments (often made of glass), tinsel, ribbon and lamps plugged into your wall. It pays to be careful about the holiday items you bring into your home, and consider getting pet insurance before going all in on holiday decorating.
Winter can be a time of love and care (not to mention excellent food), but it can be an especially risky time for your pets (and, as a result, your wallet). If you’ve been waiting for a sign to get pet insurance from a reputable insurer, this is it – before winter is in full force.