Do Indoor Dogs Need Pet Insurance? Yes, According To Vets

by Richard Walther, DVM
Pawlicy Advisor
Pet Insurance Blog
Do Indoor Dogs Need Pet Insurance?
Do dogs need pet insurance if they spend most of their time inside? Dr. Walther, DMV, offers his expert opinion on why indoor dogs need pet insurance at any age.

If you're a pet parent of a dog that lives indoors, you may be hesitant to sign up for [pet health insurance](https:. Maybe you own an adorable lap dog who you believe will never be in harm's way, or perhaps believe that your big-breed dog could never pose a threat tho themselves or others by staying inside all day.

As much as we'd all like to hope that we'll never need pet insurance to help pay for our dog's care, pets who live inside are still at risk of developing certain health conditions that can quickly become very expensive to treat at the vet.

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Is Pet Insurance Worth It For Dogs?

Not sure whether pet insurance is worth it? Here's why I tell most of my vet patients that indoor dogs need pet insurance in almost all cases.

Click on a link below to learn more:

Do indoor dogs need pet insurance?

Yes, according to vets, indoor dogs need pet insurance just as much as outdoor dogs do. Just because your canine companion spends most of their time inside doesn't mean they can't get injured or sick.

Accidents can happen anywhere and at any moment. Your dog might ingest a toxic product, food, plant, or even human medications. Illnesses don't discriminate either — indoor dogs can develop diabetes, cancer, or suffer from other chronic diseases that require costly ongoing treatment.

Investing in pet health insurance will not only help ease the financial burden of hefty veterinary bills but will also give you peace of mind knowing that your pet is covered in case of an emergency.

What’s the point of pet insurance?

Pet health insurance is designed to provide dog owners with a financial safety net that guarantees their four-legged friend can always get the veterinary care they might need throughout their lifetime, without presenting a significant financial hardship to the owner.

There are several types of insurance for dogs:

  • Accident-Illness is the most common type of pet insurance coverage. Besides accidents, it also covers illnesses (with the exception of pre-existing conditions). The average waiting period for illnesses is up to 30 days, although certain orthopedic conditions might be subject to a six or 12-month waiting period.
  • Accident-only coverage plans are the most basic type of pet insurance and also the most affordable ones. As the name implies, they only cover accidents, not illnesses. As far as waiting periods are concerned, some insurers provide accidents coverage that starts on the day of enrollment, whereas others will ask you to wait for up to 15 days.
  • Wellness add-ons can be purchased on their own or added to your main insurance policy. They typically cover routine and preventive care services, including vaccinations, microchipping, prescriptions, alternative treatments, and rehabilitative therapy.

Pet parents can budget for one monthly insurance premium and get reimbursed for the cost of their dog’s standard vet services, accidental injuries, unexpected sicknesses, and medical emergencies, which can add up to thousand dollars out-of-pocket. Without pet insurance, these vet costs may present a significant financial burden, on top of the hundreds of dollars that owners already spend on food, treats, and toys for the dogs they love.

Why get pet insurance for indoor dogs?

While it’s true that outdoor dogs can face more health hazards — like exposure to temperature extremes in the summer and winter, getting hit by a car, contracting various diseases, or being attacked by another animal — there are still many risks for dogs that live indoors. Some of the most common health issues in dogs that spend most of their time inside include:

  • Foreign object ingestion, which is very common in indoor pets that lack stimulation;
  • Accidental poisoning, ingestion of toxic household plants, dangerous human foods, as well as seasonal hazards;
  • Obesity and related secondary health issues, such as arthritis and diabetes, due to inactivity;
  • Prevalence of dental disease and cancer in geriatric dogs;
  • Hereditary conditions common in certain dog breeds.

Dogs that live indoors tend to live longer than those who spend lots of time outside, so be sure you’re financially prepared to afford veterinary care for your senior pet, as they are very likely to incur expensive vet bills in their late age. Some of the most common health issues in older dogs include cancer, kidney disease, arthritis, cataracts, and deafness. 50% of dogs over the age of 10 are estimated to fall ill with cancer, which treatment can easily cost well above $10,000.

They are also more prone to injuries. You should pay special attention to your senior dog’s safety if you live in a small apartment or a house with no yard. If your aging pet has trouble climbing stairs, be sure to secure the stairs with a dog gate so they don't hurt themselves. When the time does come to say goodbye to your beloved companion, your insurance policy can help ensure they receive the best end-of-life care and can even help cover the cost of euthansia and cremation or burial.

Ultimately, pet insurance guarantees you never have to choose between providing the best care for your four-legged family member and protecting your family finances.

Am I legally required to insure my dog if it’s indoors?

All dogs need insurance, regardless of their living environment, landlord requirements, or legal requirements.

Some states legally require dog insurance liability coverage for certain breeds, such as Dobermans, Pit Bulls, and Rottweilers, even if they are indoors. This may be covered up to a certain amount under renters or homeowners insurance.

If you’re renting your home, some landlords require pet health insurance for dogs to prevent property damaged caused by a dog’s potential medical issue that’s left untreated because the vet bill costs too much. These could include damaged flooring or carpets due to accidental urination caused by an untreated UTI, damaged windows and doors due to excessive chewing or pawing as a result of unchecked separation anxiety, and so forth.

small white dog on pee pad indoors

By requiring tenants to have pet insurance for indoor dogs, they can reduce the risk of problems such as these from damaging their property, since tenants will be likelier to afford the necessary veterinary care.

If you already have homeowners insurance for your property or renters insurance for your apartment, you might be able to extend protection to your dog at a discount by bundling multiple policies with the same insurance provider. Lemonade, for instance, offers a 10% discount for bundling your pet insurance policy with renters insurance.

Start comparing insurance providers and policies today to find the best pet insurance plan for your dog and your budget.

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Is Pet Insurance Worth It For Dogs?

Key Takeaways

  • All dogs need insurance, regardless of their living environment, legal requirements, or landlord requirements.
  • Just like outdoor pets, dogs who live inside are also at risk of developing health conditions or getting injured. Senior dogs are even more likely to incur expensive vet bills.
  • Pet health insurance policies help owners cover the cost of veterinary treatment and medical expenses when a dog gets injured or becomes sick. Pet parents can choose from Accident-Illness coverage, Accident-Only coverage, and Wellness plans.
  • If you already have homeowners or renters insurance, you may be able to extend protection to your four-legged friend at a discount.

Ricky Walther, DVM

About the author

Richard Walther, DVM

Associate Veterinarian - Petco

Ricky Walther, DVM, is a small animal general practitioner in the greater Sacramento, California area. Realizing the positive financial and medical impact that pet insurance can provide for pet parents and the profession, he lends support and advice to companies like Pawlicy Advisor that simplify the process of connecting with veterinary financing resources.

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