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Pet insurance premiums could rise as trend for dog clothes spread

Funny Dog

Pet insurance industry experts are warning that the latest fashion to clothe dogs could lead to higher pet insurance premiums as treatments increase for skin complaints.

The trend to put dogs in human clothes is causing increased bouts of skin damage.

This is backed up by a recent research report from a leading pet insurance company which said that a staggering 80% of dog owners are actually dressing their canine loved ones in coats and jumpers.

Yet vets are confirming that dogs should not be dressed like humans, even if owners say that most of the time they are just protecting their dogs against the cold winter weather.

But even those owners who say that its done to keep out the cold, the report found that 10% do it because it looks good and 7% openly admitted doing it as a fashion statement.

Dogs are not suited to clothes which can cause irritable skin complaints due to the material rubbing against the animal’s coat, stress and overheating. Common dog skin complaints are atopic dermatitis and otitis, which is an inflammatory disease in the ear.

These conditions are most commonly treated with steroid creams. Some dogs also need to be given hypoallergenic foods.

Vets believe that rarely do dogs require layers of clothing to keep out the cold. They are physically designed to cope with varying degrees of temperature change and can adapt quickly to external conditions.

A vet, who did not wish to be named, told Bestmoneysaver.co.uk: “Most owners do try and do the best for their dogs, but some are guilty of thinking of their dogs as almost human. That is a mistake. Most dogs can survive the harshest conditions without human clothing and have an inbred ability to survive. By dressing their dogs in human clothes, owners can be doing more harm than good and this is becoming apparent in our practice as we see more and more dogs brought in, some with quite serious skin complaints.”

The Age of the Pampered Pet

Although many pet owners worry about the cost of pet insurance, the age of the pampered pet has certainly not gone.

And now a City in the UK has been named pet capital of Britain.

It seems that pet owners in the city famous for Lady Godiva and its cathedral, on average spend over £50 a month spoiling their beloved furry friends.

The actual average amount is £52.77 and this is broken down as follows: cost of toys, £14.44; grooming £11.11; and, £27.22 on food (this across on average three pets per household).

The findings come from a pet insurance company and show that pets are still being pampered. Indeed, the survey discovered that top of the indulgence league was Aberystwyth which spent over £20 on pet treats alone. This level of spending is not nationwide and in contrast, it was discovered that owners in Wrexham spent, on average, just over 70 pence.

But, as the pet insurance company points out, spending money on treats is great, but owners should ensure that the cost of insurance should be high up the agenda, as the cost of veterinary bills are increasing every year.

The survey also revealed that there are some very committed owners out there in the UK, with one person sharing her house in London with 33 pets including birds and lizards. Another pair of owners, one in London and the other in Birmingham, topped the chart by spending £213 a month of their respective pets.

It’s likely that the amount spent on pampered pets will rise throughout the remainder of the decade, as owners become more focussed on their pets’ needs and commercial pet treat and toy producers are more than happy to satisfy the growing demand. Market commentators believe that the amount spent per household on pets will continue to grow for some years yet.

The Cost of Pet Insurance Is Rising

The cost of pet insurance is under the spotlight.

The latest figures show that it is rising, as is the cost of veterinary treatment which is up by about 12% a year.

The figures have brought the whole industry into focus, especially as one media celebrity revealed that the cost of removing a chewed sock from his dog’s stomach had in the end hit £5,000. He was covered by pet insurance, but had he not, he would have had to foot the bill himself, or lose the animal.

A recent survey from the Society for Practising Veterinary Surgeons discovered that nearly 80% of its small animal practice members had increased their fees during the last 12 months. The Association of British Insurers also confirmed that the average cost of a claim in 2014 was just shy of £700, a 7% jump over 2013.

Some price averages have been provided by the market and show that it costs, for example, £245 to treat a bite abscess on a cat and a lame dog might cost £400. Pets involved in accidents though will cost a lot more, including nearly £900 for a cat in a road traffic accident and a torn ligament for a dog, some £1,200. An MRI scan for a pet would cost in the region of £3,000.

Opportunistic vets are obviously being blamed for the rising costs, but they say that it’s the advances in animal medical care, the cost of more sophisticated equipment and owners’ expectations which have increased costs.

Another contentious point is with the cost of drugs, which can often be bought at a fraction of the cost online. Vets say that that might be true, but online purchased drugs do not obviously include a vet’s time with the consultation and advice on treatment.

The debate will rage on for some time yet, but whatever the rights and wrongs, the cost of taking your pet to the vet is going to continue increasing year on year.

Pet Insurance Claims Kiwi Style

Dog

An odd list of pet insurance claims has made its way over from the other side of the world, namely New Zealand.

Top of the list of most unusual pet injuries was a cat which got trapped in a toilet seat and was left dangling, and another cat who had to have her fur shaved off after falling into a pot of paint.

The list came from New Zealand pet insurance company Southern Cross Pet Insurance which revealed that it had paid out over NZ$3m on some 10,000 claims. And these were over the past year.

Notable amongst the quirky cases was the toilet seat trapped cat which had got caught on the toilet hinge. The cat was trapped for some time and not only had a badly swollen foot, but also an open wound.

Another case involved an English Bull Terrier that was so keen to run out to the garden, having spotted something,  that it went straight through the glass in a sliding door, cutting its face and requiring several stiches.

The cat that fell into the pot of acrylic paint defeated her own best efforts, and that of her owners, to clean it off and eventually had to be sedated and have her fur shaved.

Another dog took a fancy to sea water, swallowing a considerable amount as she swam in the sea to receive a stick. The only course of action for the vet was to aspirate the fluid in her lungs and force out the air in her stomach.

More sobering were a list of the most expensive claims for dogs and cats which ranged from NZ$9,200 to NZ$4,700.

Bogus Pet Insurance Claims Lands Couple in Court

Sad dog

A couple from Sheffield who invented bogus pet insurance claims worth around £8,000 have been found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation. Each were given a custodial sentence of 12 months, suspended for 18 months, and a 180-hour unpaid work order. They were also ordered to repay some £10,000, including the money to the insurer, over £1,000 to a cheque cashing service and court costs of £500.

The couple claimed for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier they owned and two which they invented. In total, they made nine false claims.

To facilitate the claims, they created false invoices from a nearby vets and went into great detail about the dogs’ illnesses (including one which they claimed had cancer after a fracture of a bone) and itemised the treatment the dogs had received.

The fraud also included tricking a cheque cashing service which had been presented with the funds from the pet insurance pay-out.

The police said that one of the couple had a good knowledge of accountancy, which helped them commit the fraud. The officers in charge of the case were amazed at the pair’s ingenuity and determination to defraud their pet insurance company.