The new year normally brings a rise in unwanted pets that were given as Christmas gifts, as many new pet owners face the reality of how much time, work and money is required to properly care for an animal. According to dog rescue and adoption charity Hope Rescue, January is always its busiest month as more people get into financial difficulty and struggle to pay vets bills. The south Wales-based charity is now experiencing a £20,000 monthly veterinary bill, in part brought about because of an explosion in unscrupulous breeders, alongside the traditional unwanted pets given as Christmas gifts that it cares for.
A certain kind of unscrupulous breeder has little concern for the welfare of the pets they breed, which can often have genetic health issues that leaves owners facing large vet bills to treat. This can lead to owners abandoning pets, or dumping animals at charities, claiming that the animals are strays; these pets are known as “fake strays”.
The number of UK pets increased greatly during coronavirus lockdowns. Many lockdown pets have now become unwanted, as owners who have returned to working at offices have realised just how challenging looking after a pet is. Dog owners are also facing the reality of their dogs suffering separation anxiety disorders, as they are no longer able to spend long periods of time with their owners working at home.
All of this highlights the importance of taking out a robust pet insurance policy. As more digitisation is deployed in pet insurance, insurers can speed up the claims process, meaning people are not left out of pocket for a long time between claim and settlement.
Many policies now also cover treatment for pet separation anxiety disorders. Other lesser-known benefits of policies include contribution to costs of putting up posters and paying a reward if a pet goes missing, plus some policies now also cover pre-existing conditions. Pet insurance has been one of the most responsive and innovative insurance markets in recent years, with flexible options around policy excess, the introduction of lifetime cover and the ability to choose the level of financial cover for specific conditions. All of this means pet owners can choose the level of insurance that is right for them and avoid the bill shock associated with an unexpected trip to the vets.