Is Pet Insurance Worth It For Mid-Size Dogs?

by Richard Walther, DVM
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Is Pet Insurance Worth It For Mid-Size Dogs?
Mid-size dog breeds may seem healthier than others, but they can still rack up expensive vet bills without pet insurance coverage. Learn more.

Weighing between 30 and 55 pounds, medium dog breeds strike the perfect balance between not too big and not too small — which is why, according to the AKC, so many mid-sized dogs consistently show up on their list of most popular breeds. Take the compact size of a Blue Heeler, for example, weighing between 35 and 50 pounds in maturity, or the weight of an Australian Shepherd spanning upwards of 40 pounds.

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For many families, this is just the right size, capable of accommodating a variety of lifestyles and living environments. However, some people mistakenly believe that these Goldilocks of dogs escape health problems common in small dog breeds and large dog breeds, scoring a perfectly healthy genetic jackpot in the middle of the size spectrum.

This simply isn’t the case; all purebred dogs are susceptible to hereditary illnesses (though some more than others). Additionally, all dogs — no matter their size — can get injured or sick through infectious diseases. Fortunately, pet insurance can provide a financial safety net for these risks that often come with expensive veterinary bills.

If you’re wondering whether pet insurance is worth it for mid-sized dogs, here are some points that help explain why:

The cost of vet bills for a mid-size dog

If you’re comparing good mid-sized dogs in search of the perfect fit for your household, you should know that veterinary care is an expensive part of dog ownership. The breed you choose can make a massive difference in the total amount of vet bills you rack up over the lifetime of your pet.

For example, for a dog the size of a Border Collie, you can expect to pay about $540 per year on routine veterinary care: annual exam with vaccines ($120), flea and tick prevention ($190), heartworm prevention ($170), and deworming ($60).

These are just the predictable vet prices for medium breeds that are easy to plan for in a dog budget — they don’t include the cost of unexpected illnesses, injuries, or medical emergencies that can easily cost a thousand dollars or more.

aussie puppies at vet

If you get a mid-sized dog with prevalent genetic disorders, it’s wise to leave a lot more room in your budget to treat possible conditions as they arise. Another smart step is to enroll in pet insurance while your pup is still young, so any new sickness that occurs in the future will be protected by insurance coverage, and your financial risk will be held to a minimum.

Medium-sized dog breeds with prevalent health issues

So, what medium dog breeds are the unhealthiest? Here is a list of mid-sized dogs commonly affected by hereditary conditions.

Australian Shepherd

Minnie Aussies that fall on the lighter end of the scale are generally considered healthier than full-grown Australian Shepherds, but you’ll still need to watch out for health issues like hip dysplasia, cataracts, and epilepsy.

Basset Hound

Basset Hounds have short and stubby legs that often contribute to foreleg lameness and foot cysts. These dogs can also suffer from genetic disorders, such as gastric torsion and Von Willebrand. Other common health issues in the breed include blood clotting disorders, ear infections, eyelid deformities, and glaucoma.

Chow Chow

Chow Chows can suffer from a variety of orthopedic issues like elbow or hip dysplasia and patellar luxation, as well as autoimmune thyroiditis, and eye issues like glaucoma and cataracts.** **Gastric torsion and stomach cancer are also common in the breed.

Cocker Spaniel

Sadly, cute Cocker Spaniels are one of the dog breeds with the most health concerns. They are prone to heart disease, liver disease, epilepsy, congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, kidney stones, gastric torsion, skin abnormalities, and several orthopedic problems.

english bulldog at vet

English Bulldog

The English Bulldog’s flat face (known as brachycephalic) is an example of a genetic manipulation that can result in hereditary and congenital problems within the breed. Some health conditions associated with the English Bulldog include hip dysplasia, dislocated shoulder joints, elongated soft palate, collapsed nostrils, irregular tear duct production, internalized tail, eyelid abnormality, and cherry eye.

Standard Poodle

Like many medium dogs on this list, poodles are prone to gastric dilatation-volvulus, also known as GDV or bloat. GDV is extremely sudden and often fatal without immediate surgery that can cost upwards of $1,500, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the clinical signs if it’s prevalent in your pet’s breed.

Where to find the best pet insurance for medium-sized dogs

Regardless of your dog’s size and weight, it’s a good idea to buy pet insurance. Even the best mid-size dogs are susceptible to illness, and more energetic breeds like the Whippet and Border Collie are more prone to running injuries. Research which health issues are common in your dog’s breed to help inform the type of dog insurance coverage they need.

Or, save yourself the stress and start your search on Pawlicy Advisor. The only pet insurance marketplace recommended by vets, you can use the platform for customized plan recommendations based on your pet’s unique information. Click the button below to get started.

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Key Takeaways

  • Owning a medium-sized dog will cost you an average of $530 a year on preventive veterinary care like vaccines and heartworm prevention. This doesn’t include unexpected veterinary bills for accidents and illnesses that your four-legged friend might develop throughout their life.
  • Some of the most common mid-size dog health issues include hip dysplasia, bloat, eye problems, etc.
  • Paying for veterinary care out of pocket can be a significant burden on your family’s finances. Luckily, many pet insurers reimburse up to 90% of the vet bill, making pet insurance a worthwhile investment for your medium-sized dog.

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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