Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Furry Family Members

I took my 11-year-old golden to the Vet today for his annual physical. A comprehensive lab panel and an extended consult charge yielded a very good report for my pooch. Good times. I know that there is health insurance available for dogs and cats but I really haven't done the homework to see if it is a logical expense. Plus at this point I have a senior dog and I would bet that any insurance I purchased for him now would have limited coverage.

Ever sit down and figure out the cost of owning a furry kid? Don't get me wrong, they are worth every penny but it makes you wonder.

Why is it that we cannot claim our furry kids as dependents? Think about it, they require regular medical attention mandated by county and local government statutes. Why then can we not deduct their expenses? There seems to be something wrong with this equation.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

You know, I never thought of that...

Anyway, a trusted (and older and wiser) family member has recommended we get health insurance for our pooch. It doesn't make a difference for the regular stuff, but if, God forbid, you end up with some big problem, it's very helpful. I really have to get some for Scout. Thanks for the reminder.

-Jo

Anonymous said...

I'm glad he's ok.

-RP
randompensees.mu.nu

Madcap said...

My company offers pet insurance as a benefit, so I checked it out for you. They wouldn't let me put in an age over eight years for the online quote (it said I had to call and talk to someone for an older dog). But for a seven-year-old golden, it came to about $33 per month. That covers 80% of routine care like shots and flea medication, as well as 70-90% of any emergency care.

If you only have routine visits during a given year, you'll be paying almost three times as much as usual. But if you have anything major happen, it's a lifesaver. I have a friend who spent $4000 over three years on an adopted golden who had various health problems. If he'd had insurance, he would have paid about a third of that. So, just like any insurance, it's only worth the cost if you use it for something big.

I should add that you might not get as good a rate if your company doesn't have an arrangement with a provider. And you'll definitely have to pay more for an older dog. Also, the insurance we're offered requires you to pay at the time of service and then be reimbursed, which sort of sucks. But it does allow you to use any licensed vet you want.

Hope that helps. I agree with you that they should create some kind of "qualified dependent" tax break for pets. But in my opinion, it would be so easy to abuse, and may be a bad thing for pets if it happened (since some rotten people could just have a bunch of neglected animals on their property for the tax benefits).

Wicked H said...

Thanks Madcap - I will seriously look into the insurance. I didn't even consider the fact that some pet owners may abuse the system claiming pets as dependents, good point.

HotForSimon said...

I'm so happy to know my furry nephew is so healthy...give him an extra scratch behind the ears for me!!

Anonymous said...

Madcap, you're so smart. =)

Well, my husband spent... a lot... of $$$ on our turtle when she scraped her belly and got infected. I had to give it penicillin injections everyday (not to mention all the other stuff) for like six months.

-Jo

Wicked H said...

Forgive me Jo. Of course I meant all of our family members not just the furry ones. Shame on me!!

Anonymous said...

I hope Dexy-Boy stays healthy for a long time. No more doggy ICU's...that was awful:(....Aunt Nutcracker #54 says Woof-Woof

Anonymous said...

Of course you were! Sorry, it's just that Madcap's story about his friend reminded me of our experience with the turtle. =)

Anonymous said...

Plus, having pets qualify as dependents isn't very logical because if a person can't afford their pet they can always take it to a shelter. If you're having financial problems taking care of a kid, you can't just drop it off somewhere, you're stuck with it.

Maggie said...

I can't tell you how much I've spent on our pet rats over the years! Surgeries, prescriptions, tests... Too bad they won't insure those little buggers. But you're right, it's worth every penny.