English Bulldogs have a sturdy frame, jowly face, and come with many potential health issues. The best insurance coverage for a Bulldog may not be the best option for a larger dog breed. This is why we’ve dedicated this insurance guide to Bulldogs.
This breed has been among the most popular breeds in the past decade, making it into the top five breeds for the majority of those years. Each dog is unique, and your budget isn’t the same as your neighbor’s. So we’ve compiled a list of health insurance considerations to help you find the best fit for your unique needs.
At around 14 inches tall and 40-60 pounds, this wrinkly breed is just as easily susceptible to accidents and illnesses as any other dog. And like all other purebreds, they are prone to more health concerns than most mixed breeds, making pet insurance an excellent investment.
At A Glance
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Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
The short answer is yes. A survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance states that 63% of pet owners couldn’t afford unexpected medical care for their pets. Not only does pet insurance allow you to choose the best medical treatment for your pet, but it also provides stability to your finances.
The key thing to remember is that you need to sign up for pet insurance before an emergency arises. You cannot count on coverage for your Bulldog’s pre-diagnosed health issues. So it’s crucial to get your dog covered as soon as possible.
Common Health Issues In Bulldogs
Bulldogs generally live 8-10 years. But like all purebreds, they’re more predisposed to specific health concerns due to genetics. There’s no certainty in whether your dog will suffer from none, some, or different issues altogether. However, the health issues below can give you an idea of what to look for regarding symptoms and insurance coverage.
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Disease (BOAS)
All flat-faced dogs are at risk of suffering from brachycephalic syndrome. This refers to a set of upper airway abnormalities caused by the shortened or flatter skull of the dog. With the Bulldog’s smooshed nose and face, they are certainly predisposed to the right conditions for this health concern. If present, these abnormalities can lead to secondary health problems that affect other body areas, such as the stomach.
Although medication can alleviate the problems, surgery is often required to improve their quality of life. Surgery for each abnormality can cost up to $1,000. But if your Bulldog suffers from more than one, it can run into several thousand dollars.
Hip dysplasia is a chronic condition where the head of the femur bone doesn’t fit correctly into the hip socket. This is one of the most commonly occurring orthopedic conditions in dogs and is most frequently occurring in large dog breeds.
Surgery is often needed to improve the quality of your dog’s life. And this procedure ranges from $1,700 to $4,500+, depending on the type of surgery required.
Patellar luxation (or luxating patella) occurs when the kneecap doesn’t sit correctly and essentially floats like it is dislocated. It affects mobility, and symptoms include kicking out, hopping, and exercise intolerance. In some cases, the kneecap can slip back into place and never happen again. But usually, if it happens once, it’s likely to happen again. Surgery is often the only option to improve the quality of your dog’s life and prevent the issue from recurring.
The average surgery cost to resolve a luxating patella falls between $1,500 and $3,000 per knee. However, this price doesn’t include the cost of diagnosis, pre-surgery blood work, post-surgery treatment, and any complications they might experience along the way. If your dog requires surgery on both knees, you could face a hefty bill.
The Bulldog is at risk of several eye concerns. These include cherry eye, entropion, dry eye, and cataracts. Dry eye is the only one of the four that surgery cannot correct. It can be controlled somewhat through medication, but ultimately there is no cure.
As for the other three eye conditions, surgery is commonly required to fix the issue, none of which are inexpensive.
- Dog cataract surgery averages $2,600-$3,800
- Cherry eye surgery ranges from $1,300-$1,600
- Entropin costs $1,100-$2,000
Canine bloat is also known as gastric dilation-volvulus or gastric torsion. This life-threatening illness occurs when a dog eats too much or too fast. A buildup of gasses in the stomach causes it to blow up like a balloon and twist, causing the blood flow to the stomach to be cut off. If left untreated, it can result in death within hours.
Because bloat requires immediate medical treatment, your vet bill can quickly reach $3,000 or more. Your dog’s medical care may include an emergency vet visit, shock treatment, sedation, surgery, overnight stay, follow-up exams, and more.
Considerations When Choosing An Insurer
There are dozens of companies to choose from, but their coverage isn’t the same.
Age Restrictions & Waiting Periods
Most pet insurance companies have a minimum age requirement (typically between six and eight weeks old) before allowing you to enroll your pet. And some companies cap the age at which you can sign up an older dog (14 years old is the most common, although it’s only a few companies). Additionally, some companies may exclude specific conditions from coverage if your pooch is above a certain age (e.g., hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament surgery, and orthopedic conditions).
All providers have waiting periods, which are short periods at the beginning of a new policy until your pet’s condition becomes eligible for reimbursement. Keep in mind that any pre-existing conditions, accidents, or illnesses diagnosed or showing symptoms during the waiting period are excluded from coverage. The average waiting period for illnesses is 14 days and for accidents is less than five days.
There are types of insurance coverage to choose from:
- Accident-Only – These policies offer coverage for accidents (e.g., torn ligaments, broken bones, etc.), so basically any sudden physical injury. Accident-only plans are typically more affordable than accident and illness policies. This can be a good option for a pet with many pre-existing conditions.
- Accident and Illness – These policies are the most popular because they cover both accidents and illnesses (i.e., cancer, arthritis, allergies, etc.), including most unexpected medical expenses. Because pre-existing conditions aren’t covered by any provider, it’s crucial to sign your pet up for coverage as early as possible.
- Wellness – This commonly covers routine vet expenses (i.e., annual exams, spay/neuter procedures, vaccinations, etc.), but varies by provider. It’s typically available as an add-on to an accident-only or accident and illness policy, but some companies allow you to purchase it without an insurance policy.
To find the best option for your Bulldog, you need to consider what type of coverage you need and your budget.
Premium: Deductible, Reimbursement & Payout Options
The fee you pay for your Bulldog’s pet insurance coverage is the premium and is usually paid monthly or annually. Monthly payments often add an additional transaction fee, so if you can pay annually, it can save you a little money.
NAPHIA (North American Pet Health Insurance Association) states that the average monthly premium for an accident and illness dog insurance policy in the U.S. in 2020 was $49.51. Of course, this varies for every dog and situation, including yours so be sure to get multiple quotes from top-rated companies.
The premium is based on several factors: breed (or mix), location, age, gender, pre-existing conditions, deductible, reimbursement percentage, and payout. The beginning of the list is self-explanatory, you have a Bulldog, and you know your zip code, your dog’s age (or best guess), gender, and medical history. But what is a deductible, reimbursement, and payout?
- Deductible – The money you have to pay before your policy begins to reimburse you. This is typically reset each policy period (annually). However, some companies have per-incident deductibles, so you must pay this amount each time your dog suffers a new condition. Each company may have its own spin on this, so be sure to understand your policy because annual vs per-incident deductibles can impact the amount of money you’re expected to pay.
- Reimbursement – This is the percentage of a claim that you’re eligible for repayment by the company after you’ve paid your coinsurance. The most popular reimbursement options are 70%, 80%, and 90%, but some companies offer other options or restricted options based on the dog’s age or location.
- Payout – The maximum amount a provider will reimburse during the policy period. Lower payout limits mean you may be responsible for more costs if your pet has expensive vet treatment.
Many companies allow you to customize your plan to fit your budget. For example, a higher deductible and reimbursement percentage paired with a lower payout will lower your premium. However, it’s crucial to find a balance between what your budget allows and the worst-case scenario if your Bulldog’s health takes a turn for the worst and you have several expensive vet bills to pay.
Exclusions refer to the conditions not covered by your policy. This can include pre-existing conditions, hereditary disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, specific dental treatment, and more.
Possibly the most significant concern regarding Bulldogs is that a few companies require additional waiting periods for orthopedic conditions, such as hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. Because Bulldogs are at an increased risk for each of these, you’ll want to ensure you understand any additional restrictions for it. For these reasons, it’s crucial that you thoroughly read and understand your policy.
Who Offers The Best Policy?
Below are our top pet insurance picks for Bulldogs based on their breed-specific needs.
Best Overall Pet Insurance
Pets Best is the best pet insurance for Bulldogs because of its shorter waiting period for hip dysplasia (only 14 days for this common breed health concern), lower pricing on average, and it has no maximum age limits for enrollment. Pets Best also has few exclusions compared to other providers, including coverage for behavioral therapies and optional wellness care.
Best Pet Insurance For Older Dogs
- Excellent value for money
- Offers options for 100% reimbursement and unlimited annual payouts
- Diminishing deductible decreases by $50 each year the policyholder is claim-free until it’s $0
- Coverage includes age and weight-related concerns and hereditary and chronic conditions
Best Insurance For Bilateral Conditions
- One of the only companies with no bilateral exclusions
- Claims can be paid in less than 5 minutes via Trupanion Express
- 90% reimbursement and unlimited payouts for all plans
- Offers enrollment from birth
Additional Good Options
- Premium reduces by $50 per year if no claims are made
- Covers curable pre-existing conditions, dependent on evaluation
- Exam fees included in all policies
- Offers coverage for behavioral therapy and training
- Dental treatment included
- Unlimited annual and lifetime payouts for all plans
- Fastest claim payout, on average, compared to others
- Excellent value and competitive price
- High customer satisfaction ratings
How To Save Money
Some Bulldog parents can save money on insurance policies if the following circumstances are met.
Most insurance companies offer two ways of paying your premiums, either monthly or annually. In many cases, transaction fees are added to your bill if you choose the monthly payment option. Therefore, you can minimize or avoid these altogether if you pay your premium annually.
Many pet insurers offer multi-pet discounts for pet owners who take out several policies for their household’s dogs and cats. You could get up to a 10% discount on each pet’s insurance, amounting to significant savings.
As you can see, investing in insurance for your Bulldog is often worthwhile. The premium often deters pet parents. But when you consider the costs associated with common non-routine vet bills for the breed, you realize it can be a more budget-friendly option. Not to mention the peace of mind knowing that you’ll never be faced with choosing between your wallet and your best friend’s health or life.
No matter the policy you choose, remember to read the fine print to understand the coverage and limitations before you sign up. If you’re unsure about something or have questions, give the pet insurance company a call or speak with your vet.