Get Canada's Best Pet Insurance for Dogs in 2023
Did you know that one in three Canadian homes includes at least one furry companion? That’s about 8 million dogs! Pups have always walked alongside us in this country, from the Chow Chow to the Chihuahua. We all know dogs are passionately loyal — there for us through thick and thin.
And what is the best way to look after humanity’s best friend? If your dog got hurt or sick, would you be able to afford the thousands of dollars it may cost to treat them? Is your dog protected?
This guide will introduce you to the different aspects of dog insurance, what it covers, how much it costs and why you need it, so you can give humanity’s best friend the best protection!
What is dog insurance?
Dog insurance is a type of health insurance for your dog, protecting their health and shielding your wallet from unexpected expenses. Dog health insurance is a form of pet insurance for your dog that covers unforeseen costs associated with your dog’s health.
If your dog is injured or gets sick, veterinary costs can quickly spiral out of control. A simple procedure, like neutering, can cost between $500 and $800. Some more complex operations, like eye surgery, can run to five-figure sums.
Home insurance will often insure you for property damage or injury caused by your dog to a third party, but to protect your dog's health, you will need a specific pet health insurance policy.
There are a wide variety of providers to choose from, and the best way to find the right policy for you is to use our comparison tool at the top of this page.
How does dog insurance work?
Dog insurance in Canada helps relieve the financial strain of unforeseen health costs on your wallet when your furry friend is ill or injured. Using the comparison tool above and choosing the best dog insurance for you buys peace of mind. An insurance policy is often the only way pet owners are empowered to do the right thing for their dog’s health and well-being.
Once you’ve chosen the best policy for you and your dog, the insurance provider will calculate a premium (based on several factors such as your dog's age and breed) that you will pay each month.
There will often be a waiting period after you purchase a policy before your coverage kicks in. Any medical treatment in this period will not be covered by the provider.
Usually, you will have to pay the veterinary costs out of your pocket first before being reimbursed by the provider. Rates of reimbursement are typically between 80% and 100% after you pay the deductible, a dollar amount you have to spend before the insurance kicks in. For example, Desjardins' pet insurance offers 80% of expenses covered and a 10% discount if you insure 3 or more pets with them.
Getting the cash to pay upfront may seem daunting, but that way you are not limited to vets that partner with your insurer. Any licensed vet clinic or animal hospital will do.
Some providers also offer a 24-hour helpline that you can call for advice or for help finding a vet.
Insurance companies almost always ask you for all the paperwork associated with your claim, so remember to keep all your receipts and documentation from the vet.
Why do you need dog insurance?
Making sure your dog lives their best life is expensive! The best dog insurance is essential to provide your dog with the best care while keeping a manageable budget. Regardless of your dog’s activities, many factors influence your companion’s health risks, for example, their breed, age and diet.
The annual average cost of owning a dog in Canada is around $3,700, and for a puppy, the price increases to over $4,600. For example, let's take diabetes. The cost of insulin can cost more than $100, depending on your dog’s size, and routine visits typically cost over $300 while dental treatments start at $500.
Compare those numbers to the fact that most Canadians can only afford to spend up to $1,500 for veterinary treatment, and dog insurance in Canada becomes the only way to prepare yourself for the unexpected and have the power to act when it comes to the health of your dog.
How much is dog insurance?
Like most insurance, the cost of dog insurance in Canada varies. How much you pay and what is covered will depend on the policy you purchase. Price varies depending on what is covered, your reimbursement rate, the deductible and the annual payout limit. The age and breed of your dog will also affect the cost of health insurance for your dog.
Below, you can see how much dog insurance costs for Canada’s most common breed using Fetch pet insurance as an example.
|Age||Max annual payout||Max annual deductible||Reimbursement rate||Monthly premium|
Most insurers provide coverage nationally, so the price of dog insurance in BC should be similar to that of dog insurance in Ontario. Although, differences can exist between rural, suburban and rural areas because pet ownership in them comes with different levels of risk. Cat insurance is, however, typically less expensive than insurance for dogs. It does pay to compare insurance providers, including Trupanion and others, to get the best coverage at the best price.
Protect your furry friend
How much does it cost to neuter a dog?
Neutering is an important procedure that concerns all breeds. After all, you don't want to unexpectedly have a litter of puppies joining your family. The cost of the surgery depends on the size and gender of your dog.
|Gender||Weight||Cost to neuter/spay|
|Female||0 - 20kg||$190|
|Female||20 - 40kg||$215|
|Male||0 - 20kg||$150|
|Male||20 - 40kg||$175|
When to buy dog insurance?
The best time to get insurance for your dog is when they are young, ideally still a puppy. Many dogs will have at least one medical emergency in their lifetime, which is the reason why veterinarians recommend getting coverage as soon as possible. Most pet owners in Canada buy dog health insurance earlier than 6 months after getting their dog.
Each breed has its health risks, and each stage of a dog’s life comes with its own hazards. Pet insurers will rarely cover a pre-existing condition. That’s why it’s so important to start your coverage while your dog is young.
Also, the younger your dog is when they get insured, the cheaper your insurance policy gets. Peace of mind — that is what the best dog insurance gets you in the case of unexpected veterinary costs.
Protect your furry friend
What does dog insurance cover?
Pet health insurance in Canada covers a variety of emergency and longer-term treatments for your dog. The availability of the treatments and the amount reimbursed will depend on your policy’s coverage. Let's look at accident and illness vs preventive care coverage.
Accident and illness coverage
If your dog suffers an accident or becomes unwell, most insurers will cover the costs of:
- Short stays for monitoring
- Emergency diagnosis
- Any surgery they may need
- MRI and other scans
Ralph is a 5-year-old Labrador Retriever. He lives with Julia, her owner, who got dog insurance in BC as soon as she moved to Vancouver. One day, Julia noticed that Ralph was eating less and seemed to have pain in his mouth. At the vet, Julia discovered her dog had gingivitis. Luckily, Julia’s pet insurance covers her in situations like these. The total vet bill came to $1,000. After paying the deductible ($300), Julia got reimbursed 90% of the remaining bill, meaning she ended up paying less than $350.
Preventative care coverage
Preventative medicine is always more effective (and cheaper in the long run) than reactive medicine. However, usually, only the best dog insurance in Canada will cover these kinds of treatments, including:
- Annual examinations
- Flea treatments
- Urinalysis and fecal analysis
- Heartworm treatment
Anne and Fernanda have just got a puppy from the animal shelter in Toronto. One day, while they have guests over, one of their visitors accidentally (and tragically) drops the pup. Fernanda rushes the little dog to the animal hospital, and thankfully, the puppy is alright. The bill comes to $1,600 as the furry little one has to stay in the hospital overnight, but their dog medical insurance helps relieve the weight on their wallet. Anne and Fernanda’s pet insurance covers their Ontario puppy, and they only have to pay $430.
What isn’t covered by dog insurance?
Dog insurance does not typically cover:
- Routine check-ups
- Any conditions the insurer deems to be pre-existing
- Wellness exam fees
- Parasite prevention
- Routine lab work
- Dental cleaning
Although the cheapest dog insurance in Canada will not cover routine veterinary expenses, some insurance companies offer pet wellness plans that reimburse you for common, expected procedures such as vaccination and most routine tests.
Good to know
Did you know that oral infections are the most common diseases in all dogs? Tartar and gingivitis are particularly problematic.
What should I consider when choosing dog insurance?
In Canada, pet owners have several options when it comes to dog insurance to protect their furry friends and prevent a blow to their wallets.
Here are the main factors to consider when choosing the best dog insurance for you:
- Age: the younger the dog, the cheaper the premium and overall insurance will be. Also, an older dog is more likely to develop a health condition. Note that insurers never cover pre-existing conditions.
- Breed: some breeds are more expensive to insure than others. For example, dog insurance for Great Danes and English Bulldogs costs more than for Chihuahuas and Jack Russell Terriers.
- Gender: when it comes to insurance, male dogs are more expensive than female dogs. Also, spayed females have the lowest premiums.
- Deductible: the higher the deductible, the cheaper the premium. However, note that your insurance will only start to reimburse your vet costs after you reach the deductible sum out of your own pocket.
- Location: where you live with your dog will influence how much you pay. Certain cities carry more outdoor risks than others.
- Additional coverage: you can purchase additional coverage such as wellness plans or preventive medicine, though these will naturally increase the cost of your insurance policy.
Is pet insurance worth it for dogs?
You might be asking yourself: is dog insurance worth it? Pet insurance is definitely worth having if you want to be able to look after your dog and keep them in the best health possible. Dog ownership is expensive! For an estimate, try our dog cost calculator.
Not having adequate protection can mean having to pay hefty, unexpected fees (that are difficult for any budget) or, in a worst-case scenario, not being able to pay for treatment for your dog at all.
Let's take a look at some typical costs associated with healthcare for dogs:
|Veterinary services for an adult dog||Cost|
|Tests and screening||$250|
As you can see the cost of routine visits and normal, preventative care is not negligible. If you imagine a situation, perhaps with an older dog, where routine care needs to be more frequent and health complications can arrive suddenly and cause other problems, you can see the need for comprehensive insurance.
At the same time, a younger dog, from a relatively healthy breed might only need accident insurance to cover them if they are injured. However, it is better to have insurance you don't use than not to have insurance and need it!
Remember to read your policy carefully so you’ll know exactly what is covered and what isn’t when you need to make a claim.
Where can you get the best dog insurance?
Right here! Just use the comparison tool at the top of the page or follow the link below to get the best dog insurance for you and your furry friend.
Protect your furry friend