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A woman from Oshawa, Ontario unwittingly surrendered her puppy to an animal rescue agency after she brought it in for an emergency procedure that she couldn’t afford.

Only 12 days after she adopted her three-month-old dapple Daschund, Debra DiPasquale had to rush him to an emergency clinic after he got into some of her medication. The veterinarian of the clinic told DiPasquale that her dog would need expensive emergency care and that it would cost her, “thousands and thousands of dollars.”

DiPasquale continued on to sign forms that she didn’t fully understand in order to get her dog the treatment he needed. According to the clinic, the forms that she signed were acknowledging that DiPasquale was forfeiting ownership of her dog to a rescue agency, which meant she was no longer able to have any form of contact with her pet.

This is obviously an extreme case, but many pet owners could find themselves in a situation where they can’t afford to pay for their pet’s treatments. So, what can they do?

Dr. Rebecca Greenstein shares some tips.

SURRENDER YOUR PET

Some pet owners, like DiPasquale,  end up having to forfeit ownership of their beloved pets. When it comes to owning a dog of roughly 40-pounds for 13 years, costs can add up to more than $28,700 according to Ontario Veterinary Medical Association calculations. Pet owners need to be aware of the costs of caring for animals. If money is an issue, surrendering the pet can be a good option to get them care in emergency situations.

PET INSURANCE

For those of us who can’t bear to think about giving up our pets, even in dire situations, an alternative option can be buying pet insurance. With different levels of coverage from basic, standard to comprehensive premiums can range from $60-$200 a month. Pet insurance can be very helpful in extreme situations and can help cover 80-90 per cent of costs with unexpected vet bills whether your pet needs a tumour removed, swallows a strange object, or gets hit by a car.

It’s important to do your research before buying into a policy as not everything will always be covered under your premium. A woman was denied coverage for her $4,200 vet bill after her dog tore a ligament in its hind leg while running in the woods. The company, Petsecure, pointed to a clause in the woman’s policy denying coverage if a dog is injured while, “jumping, running, slipping, tripping or playing.” Some policy’s also deny coverage if your pet has a pre-existing medical condition, making it the owners responsibility to cover those types of costs.

 

When making the decision to bring a pet into your home you have to take into consideration all of the costs that may come along with it, including worst-case-scenario situations. Whether you decide to invest in pet insurance or just have a designated “pet emergency fund,” the best course of action is to always be prepared.