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 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. Purina.co.nz has a great article on luxatating patella in dogs if you’d like to learn more.
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.
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.