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3 things pet insurance covers that may surprise you

Puppy caught in the act
Pet insurance coverage can expand beyond everyday health issues and injuries.  Getty Images/iStockphoto

Before you adopt a new dog or cat, you'll want to consider the costs of owning such a pet. The food and grooming are pricey enough — you probably don't want to think about the cost of treating potential health issues, too. But the reality is, accidents happen and it's best to be prepared.

Emergency pet visits can cost a hefty amount, particularly if your dog or cat needs to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time. A multi-night hospital stay can cost up to $3,500 (potentially more, depending on the location and severity of the injury or issue), according to insurance provider Lemonade. That doesn't include the costs of lab tests or medications.

As you can see, unexpected trips to the vet can become expensive quickly and the bills may pile up if you aren't prepared. The potential cost savings is just one of many reasons to get pet insurance. If you're in the market for pet insurance, the best way to get started is with a free quote. Just insert your pet's information and you'll receive a cost estimate within minutes.

Surprising things some pet insurance covers

You can get pet insurance at a reasonable cost, typically ranging anywhere from $15 to $70 per month based on the pet's breed, gender, age and general health. And when you have a policy in place, you can request a reimbursement for a variety of things, from accidents and injuries to cancer treatments and other health issues such as diabetes.

However, pet insurance coverage can expand beyond everyday health issues and injuries. There are some surprising things certain pet insurance companies offer in their comprehensive plans — or, at the very least, you can get it as an add-on or bundle (if you include things like wellness coverage). Here's a look at three things pet insurance can cover if you have the right plan.

  1. Alternative medicine
  2. Dental issues
  3. Treatment for separation anxiety

Alternative medicine

When you think about pet insurance, you're probably picturing routine trips to the vet and possible surprise visits in the event of a last-minute emergency. You're probably not considering other forms of care that can be beneficial to your dog or cat such as acupuncture, chiropractic care or hydrotherapy. However, some pet insurance companies offer these perks (as long as the vet signs off). 

Things like "breed-specific conditions and holistic care (are) all standard in our plan. No confusing choices to make — everything is included by default," Fetch by the Dodo states in a pros and cons list on its website, adding that supplements are even included if a vet says they're necessary.

Spot Pet Insurance also notes some alternative therapies are included in their plans as long as your pet's doctor prescribes it to treat a certain condition. You can view their various plans and add-ons here.

"Pet insurance plans provided by Spot cover alternative therapies that are prescribed to treat covered conditions," Spot states, though emphasizing that "not every plan covers alternative therapies prescribed to treat a covered condition or exam fees for covered conditions."

That's why it's vital that you thoroughly read the terms and services before officially signing up for coverage. 

While you may not anticipate your dog or cat needing a treatment like acupuncture, it happens.

The Schwarzman Animal Medical Center (AMC) in New York City says acupuncture can help alleviate pain and other issues related to musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis, hip dysplasia or more conditions that hinder an animal's movements (broken bones, sprains, etc.).

"Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment when performed by a trained veterinarian," the AMC explained.

Dental issues

Routine dental cleaning and other urgent dental care is offered as part of some pet insurance plans or as an add-on that you can request to be included. (Reminder: Always check comprehensive pet insurance plans to see a full list of what exactly is covered).

You may be thinking: Why does that matter? Well, unlike humans, dental cleanings and procedures almost always require anesthesia, which can bump up the price.

Lemonade says the cost of a typical dental cleaning on a young and healthy dog can reach up to $1,000 — even more for elderly canines with oral health problems. Cats are less expensive, typically costing only a couple hundred for dental cleanings, though it's possible they could cost more if the doctor runs into any major issues. 

If this type of benefit seems valuable to you, Lemonade suggests getting its Prevantative+ package, which can help cover fees related to dental X-rays, anesthesia and more. Get started now.

However, not all pet insurance providers include routine cleanings — unless it's deemed urgent to treat a specific covered condition.

Fetch by the Dodo, for example, says it only covers more serious dental issues.

"Unlike other providers, we cover injury and disease in every adult tooth, not just the canines. Plus, you get full coverage for gum disease (the most common disease in dogs and cats), oral tumors, trauma, and more," Fetch by the Dodo states online, noting it doesn't include "routine and preventative care" like teeth cleaning unless it's urgent and requested by a vet. 

Treatment for separation anxiety

Whether you're back in the office full-time or working hybrid, your pet may feel anxious about your sudden absence. Aside from training sessions and working slowly on getting your pet to adapt, you may also want to seek professional help.

Some pet insurance companies, like Lemonade, offer a behavioral add-on, which means you can get coverage for certain prescribed therapies or treatments recommended by your vet.

"This could include therapy sessions, prescription medications, and specialized training to address conditions like phobias and separation anxiety," Lemonade explains in a blog post.

Fetch by the Dodo lists treatment for aggression and separation anxiety as a perk under comprehensive coverage.

"We cover prescription drugs like antibiotics and anxiety medicine, plus vitamins and other supplements, when recommended by a vet to treat your pet's illness or injury," Fetch by the Dodo states on its website.

The best way to get started is by comparing several pet insurance companies and plans to see which best fits your needs.

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