Insurance for Small Dogs

We all love small dogs in New Zealand! From Pugs with their squished faces to playful Chihuahuas, small dogs are a common pick for Kiwi families – but they do come with their fair share of known health issues. Read our guide below on insurance for small dogs so you can be sure what small dog ownership entails, before you choose which breed to adopt.

insurance for small dogs
Is Pet Insurance Worth It For Small Dogs?

Small dogs & insurance

Over the years selective breeding has made some breeds smaller and smaller, and although this can mean the world now has a growing range of fun-sized dogs, it also comes with its own unique set of health issues. Squished little faces, such as that on the Pug, can make it difficult to breathe, and smaller mouths can lead to dental issues as the teeth won’t always be able to fit.

So how’s this affect insurance for small dogs?

From an insurance perspective, the growing popularity of small dogs means we need to take a closer look at how this selective breeding affects the dog’s overall health and predisposition to known issues.

Truth is, most pet insurance policies in New Zealand don’t explicitly distinguish between small dogs and large dogs in their policy wordings – it’s all wrapped up in the premiums you pay for each breed.

Pet insurance is priced on a large range of factors. Although you’ll only be asked four basic questions (breed, gender, age, and whether it is desexed) to get a dog insurance quote from Cove, a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to make sure each quote accurately reflects the dog that is being insured.

For example, insurance brands need to keep in mind that small dogs can be affected by some things more seriously than large dogs. A simple example of this is that a dog weighing under 10kg only needs to eat 60g of dark chocolate to put itself at risk of dying. For a large dog, they’ll need to eat two to three times the amount to face the same risk.

What this all means for you is that you don’t need to search for a specific insurance policy designed for small dogs.

Common health problems affecting small dogs

It’s best to speak to your breeder or vet to have a thorough understanding of the common health issues for the particular breed you’re looking to adopt, but here is a summary of some of the most common health issues in smaller breeds of dogs.

Patellar luxation

Patellar luxation is a condition that presents itself early in life and is when the dog’s kneecap dislocates out of the groove in which it is supposed to sit. Patellar luxation primarily affects small dogs, especially breeds such as Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas. has a great article on luxatating patella in dogs if you’d like to learn more.

Tracheal collapse

Small dogs such as Pugs and French Bulldogs are prone to tracheal collapse, which is a progressive disease of the trachea. Although surgery can correct some issues related to tracheal collapse, these dogs could face breathing issues – particularly during the summer months or after a long exercise.

Brachycephalic airway syndrome (BOAS)

Due to the flattened shape of some small dog breed’s skulls, they can develop brachycephalic airway syndrome which is a hereditary condition that causes respiratory problems. Although mild cases can be managed with lifestyle changes, more severe cases might require surgery. Symptoms of brachycephalic airway syndrome include rapid breathing, excessive snoring, and difficulty eating. BOAS is mentioned specifically in the Cove pet policy wording, so be sure to read that on our dog insurance page if you feel this is a condition your dog may be prone to.

Temperature regulation

It’s also worth noting that small dogs are less capable of regulating their own internal body temperature. This means they might get too hot in the sun, or get shivers in colder weather. You’ll need to pay particular attention during summer and winter to not let your small dog get too hot or cold and potentially look into buying a few pet accessories such as cozy blankets or portable water bowls.

Which is the best insurance for small dogs?

One particular thing we are often asked about is which pet insurance is the best for small dogs. The answer is…it depends on your own personal situation.

What’s best for you might not be best for someone else. Here at Cove, our dog insurance policy covers a large range of both large and small dogs, and like other pet insurance companies in NZ, we have factored the size of the dog into our pricing.

There is one important decision to consider when buying a pet insurance policy for a small dog; do you want an accident only policy, or an accident and illness policy?

Put simply, an Accident Only pet insurance policy will only provide cover for those dramatic events that lead to your pet needing care, such as being hit by a passing car.

Alternatively, an Accident & Illness policy will cover you for those unforeseen accidents, but it will also cover you for illnesses such as cancer.

As we’ve already seen above, small dogs can be prone to a range of specific health issues, so if you are worried about these, you might like to consider a policy that covers both accident and illness.

Here at Cove, these are our Major and Major + Minor policies. You can learn more about them on our dog insurance page.

Small Dogs in New Zealand

Let’s take a look at some of the more common small dog breeds…

Affenpinscher insurance

Affenpinscher (3 – 4kg)

The Affenpinscher is a small dog that can make itself at home in any sized property – including apartments. They are easily entertained at home or within a small garden but do also enjoy long walks. Affenpinschers are generally a healthy breed, but like many small dogs, can suffer from luxating patellas (kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place)

Get a quote for your Affenpinscher

american eskimo insurance

American Eskimo (3kg – 18kg)

The American Eskimo is a small, quiet dog that is often a favourite with children. They make a great low-maintenance family dog that enjoys gentle walks for up to half an hour a day. The American Eskimo requires grooming once a week, and the dog’s teeth should be brushed regularly.

Get a quote for your American Eskimo

beagle insurance

Beagle (8kg – 16kg)

In general, Beagles are a nice healthy breed with few health issues. However, they don’t escape suffering from conditions such as hip dysplasia which affects many breeds. Beagles can also get epilepsy and a specific type of meningitis known as Beagle pain syndrome.

Get a quote for your Beagle

Bichon Frise insurance

Bichon Frise (4.5kg – 8kg)

The Bichon Frise is the perfect addition to any family – it is gentle-mannered, affectionate, and suitable for first-time dog owners. They are generally healthy dogs, but as with many small dog breeds, they can suffer from luxating patellas and some hereditary eye problems.

Get a quote for your Bichon Frise

Bolognese insurance

Bolognese (3kg – 5kg)

The Bolognese is another small dog suitable for first-time dog owners. This breed required basic training and is happy with walking half an hour a day. The Bolognese is a healthy breed with no breed-specific health issues to note. However, with the long coat that is prone to tangling, you might find you need to pay particular attention to combing regularly.

Get a quote for your Bolognese

Chihuahua insurance

Chihuahua (Under 2.5kg)

The Chihuahua is what many people immediately think of when you mention a small dog. They are tiny at just 15 to 25cm, and typically weigh under 2.5 kilograms! Due to their size, they are suitable for families with children and apartment living – assuming you can get them outdoors for a regular walk. Unfortunately, due to the shape of their head, they can be prone to hydrocephalus (water on the brain), and some eye problems.

Get a quote for your Chihuahua

Jack Russell Terrier insurance

Jack Russell Terrier (5kg – 6kg)

The Jack Russell Terrier is one of the more popular small dogs in New Zealand. This is largely due to their energetic, playful personality, and the fact they make a great family dog. They are not hypoallergenic and require grooming just once a week.

Get a quote for your Jack Russell Terrier

pug insurance

Pug (6kg – 8kg)

Pugs are a popular small dog, but they do come with a few known health issues. Their flat face can result in obstruction of their airways and difficulty breathing, and they are also prone to other problems small dog breeds face such as luxating patellas and eye problems.

Get a quote for your Pug

Yorkshire Terrier insurance

Yorkshire Terrier (Under 3kg)

Although Yorkshire Terriers can have a long life, they are prone to a handful of known health issues. These can range from bladder stones to liver disease, to windpipe disorders and more.

Get a quote for your Yorkshire Terrier

The content presented on this page is provided for informational purposes only. Cove Limited makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. Each person should consult a qualified advisor for advice specific to their circumstances. Cove Limited assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

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