Are Pet Wellness Plans Worth It?

Tortoiseshell cat with big green eyes

Pet wellness plans can help prevent costly medical care and keep your pet healthy, but they come with an additional monthly premium that may stretch your budget. While they aren’t completely necessary, there’s certain reasons why a wellness plan might make sense for you and your pet.

Takeaways

  • A pet wellness plan covers routine preventative care, including teeth cleaning, vaccinations, and more.
  • You can purchase a wellness plan as a standalone product or in addition to a standard pet insurance plan.
  • Preventative pet care can help with early detection of potentially fatal medical issues.
  • Wellness plans are worth it if you plan to utilize preventative care, need your pet spayed, neutered, microchipped, or vaccinated, or if your pet’s breed is predisposed to certain medical conditions.
  • In most cases, the lifetime out-of-pocket costs to provide your pet with care will outweigh the cost of wellness plan coverage, making it a smart financial decision.

What Is A Pet Wellness Plan?

A wellness plan is an optional pet insurance add-on that reimburses routine preventative care. This includes care such as teeth cleaning, vaccinations, and more. You can purchase a wellness plan as a standalone product or as an add-on with standard pet insurance.

Like most pet insurance plans, wellness plans provide coverage up to a specific dollar amount after your deductible has been met. For example, if your plan has a $500 deductible and you incurred a $700 exam expense, you’d have to pay $500 out-of-pocket before your coverage kicks in.

What Is Preventive Pet Care?

Preventative pet care provides your pet with routine checkups to examine their overall health and assess their risk for potential health problems.

Think of it like this: As humans, we may visit our dentist every six months for a teeth cleaning. In that appointment, our teeth and gums are being evaluated for a variety of issues – early-stage gum disease, cavities, and more. This evaluation is designed to catch minor health issues early so they don’t develop into greater ones.

While you can wait until the issue is unbearable, most would agree that stopping a health issue in its tracks is far easier. Preventative pet care provides your furry friend with the same protection. By providing your pet with routine preventative care, you can catch potential health issues early and avoid costly, and frankly painful, health complications down the line. 

What’s Checked With Preventative Pet Care?

Preventative pet care checks for a variety of health complications. By checking for early signs of illness, you could save your pet a lot of distress by treating them before they develop into more serious issues. 

What Should Be CheckedWhat to Look For
EyesUlcers, cataracts, glaucoma, dry eye
Mouth & TeethOral cancer, gingivitis, periodontal disease, cavities, fractured teeth
Heart & LungsHeart disease, irregular heart rhythms, heartworm, bronchitis
LiverInflamed liver, Cushing’s Syndrome, cancer
KidneyKidney stones, kidney infection
Endocrine SystemDiabetes, thyroid diseases, Cushing’s Disease
Gastrointestinal SystemCancer, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, gastritis, intestinal parasites
SkinAllergies, fleas, ticks, ear infections, skin infections, lumps
Joints & BonesArthritis, cancer, hip dysplasia, torn ligaments

Keep in mind that many of these issues are things we as pet owners can’t detect. While you might notice a lump on Fido’s hind leg, a vet’s expertise may be able to detect it at an earlier stage with preventative care.

Wellness Plans vs Standard Pet Insurance

Standard pet insurance typically covers accidents, illness, and injuries, but does not cover preventive care. On the flip side, wellness plans alone won’t cover emergency medical treatment, illness, or injuries, but they do cover preventative care. For the most comprehensive coverage, it’s best to opt for a standard pet insurance plan with a wellness add-on.

Here’s how standard pet insurance coverage stacks up against those with a wellness plan add-on:

IssueAccident-OnlyAccident-IllnessAccident-Illness + Wellness Add-On
Unexpected or Accidental InjuriesYesYesYes
Unexpected IllnessesNoYesYes
Chronic DiseaseNoYesYes
Cancer Diagnosis and TreatmentNoYesYes
Dental IllnessesNoYesYes
Medical Testing (heartworm tests, blood work)NoYesYes
MedicationNoYesYes
SurgeryNoYesYes
MicrochippingNoNoYes
Spay or NeuterNoNoYes
VaccinationsNoNoYes
Annual ExamsNoNoYes
Teeth CleaningNoNoYes
Preventative CareNoNoYes
Boarding and DaycareNoNoNo
Elective SurgeriesNoNoNo
Pet Supplies (food, toys, and treats)NoNoNo

How Much Do Pet Wellness Plans Cost?

Like standard pet insurance, the cost of a wellness plan varies. Discount plans can cost as low as $10 per month, while more comprehensive plans can run you $60 per month. This allows you to choose a plan that suits your budget and the coverage level you want.

At What Pet Age Should You Get A Wellness Plan?

Pet wellness plans are beneficial at any age, however, you may find the most savings in their younger and older years. This is because pets often need several exams and vaccinations when they’re young and tend to face increased medical issues in their old age.

Breed-Specific Considerations

Keep in mind that some breeds are predisposed to certain medical conditions which can make preventative care more important. For example, poodles are more likely to develop eye disorders than other breeds. Likewise, dental problems are more common in siamese cats.

If your pet has an increased risk of developing certain medical conditions, you should consider a wellness plan.

Are Pet Wellness Plans A Smart Financial Decision?

Preventative pet care can help you avoid costly medical treatment and help your pet live a healthier, longer life. But is it financially worth it?

With a wellness plan, you’d pay a premium each month to keep your pet insured. For example, Prudent Pet’s Wellness Add On costs $20 per month for a dog and $14 per month for a cat. Let’s say you have a french bulldog whose life expectancy is around 11 years. Over the course of their lifetime, you’d pay around $2,640 in wellness plan premiums.

132 months (11 years) x $20/month = $2,640

*This does not account for increased premiums as your pet ages.

In just the first year of your frenchie’s life, you could expect to incur around $805 in medical expenses between their initial preventative medication, the cost to spay or neuter them, vaccines, and microchipping. Without a wellness plan, you’d have to pay out-of-pocket for these expenses. So, as you can imagine, over the course of your pet’s lifetime, a wellness plan could save you quite a bit.

Do You Need A Pet Wellness Plan?

Wellness plans are an optional add-on to pet insurance. While they aren’t necessary, you should strongly consider adding one to your primary coverage if:

  • Your pet is young
  • Your pet is predisposed to certain medical conditions
  • The additional coverage would give you peace of mind

That said, there may be instances where it doesn’t make sense, such as if:

  • Affording routine preventative care would be an easy expense for you.
  • Your pet is already spayed, neutered, microchipped, or vaccinated, and you don’t plan to utilize the other areas of coverage.
Photo of author
Grace Lemire

Grace is a lover of pups and personal finance. She’s passionate about helping people navigate the financial side of life decisions — from budgeting for a furry friend to making decisions about pet insurance.