Top 8 reasons why UK dog owners visit the vet

It’s estimated that over 12 million dogs live in UK homes, and yet, just 3.4 million of these have pet insurance.

With a total of 3.2 million households in the UK acquiring a pet since the start of the pandemic, caring for our furry friends’ health is more important than ever.

While a new dog may seem full of health and energy, unexpected accidents, short term illnesses and long term health issues are extremely common, keeping the growing veterinary market in the UK very busy. Figures from the Association of British Insurers show that the average pet insurance claim value in 2020 across all pets was £817, up 2% from 2019.

The pet insurance experts at money.co.uk have revealed common dog issues that vets are asked to deal with, along with average bills for treating them:

  1. Skin conditions – This accounts for over 20% of all dog complaints, with treatment often requiring ongoing prescriptions. Average cost (depending on the size of the dog) –  £483 – £755

  2. Stomach issues – Dogs commonly suffer from stomach issues including vomiting, diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, parasite infections, and pancreatitis. Average cost of an x-ray – £289

  3. Ear infections – Straight-forward ear infections are usually easy to clear up, but the cost would be a lot higher with more complicated issues. Average cost –  £789

  4. Eye disorders – Surgical procedures such as cherry eye, eye removal, entropion correction, and a conjunctival pedicle graft can cost several hundred pounds, whereas a simple case of conjunctivitis will normally result in a much lower vet bill. Average cost – £389

  5. Ligament, joint, or tendon injuries – Tears or ruptures are one of the most common reasons for a trip to the vets, which can often involve surgery and post-operative care. Average cost – £1,349

  6. Tumours, growths, warts, and cysts – Skin masses in dogs can occur for several reasons, including infections, tumors, parasites, and injury. Average cost  – £589

  7. Internal infections – This can include things like cystitis, kidney or intestinal issues, and bladder stones. Average cost  – £789

  8. Sprain and strains (musculoskeletal) – Treatment for conditions like sprains, arthritis, and those linked to abnormal joint development are among the most expensive. Average cost  – £1,250

Prices vary depending on the veterinary practice with private veterinary practices potentially charging more.

Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert at leading pet insurance comparison site, money.co.uk, explains: “It can be difficult, and sometimes impossible, to manage unexpected vets bills. The type of illness and injury will affect the fees, with chronic conditions tending to cost more than a simple infection. Other factors such as age, background and previous conditions can also impact costs, which is why it’s so important to include pet insurance in your budget when deciding to bring a dog or any pet into your home.

“Comparing the best pet insurance for you, ensures you can cover the cost of potentially expensive issues, as well as provide much-needed peace of mind, so owners can concentrate on enjoying their dogs, from pup to senior.”

The cost of dog insurance depends on the particulars of the insurance plan, dog’s age, breed, and medical history. By comparing pet insurance and different deals, you can tailor your pet insurance to get the most suitable policy for you and your pet at the best price.

A pet owners experience

Nathan Kekus, proud ‘dog dad’ of one-year-old Cocker Spaniel Autumn says: “When you have a pet, you never know what’s around the corner, as I found out earlier this year. Our one year old cocker spaniel puppy, Autumn, is energetic and adventurous but her fun-loving spirit can sometimes get her into trouble.

“We were walking in our local woods and Autumn ran up a ravine and fell down a steep drop of 15-20ft – a big height for a small dog! Being a Sunday evening, we had to pay to use our emergency vets to get her checked over. Thankfully, she somehow came away unscathed but it was reassuring to know that if she had had any broken bones or needed further treatment, we had our pet insurance to rely on.”

Chis Morris, Bulldog owner:  “Bulldogs are prone to a series of health problems, as we found out early on with our English bulldog Boris. In the first six months, we’d taken numerous trips to the vets with Boris suffering from a cold (who knew?), puppy acne, and cherry eye – a common condition for this breed. Boris’ cherry eye continued to be a problem and resulted in surgery, painkillers and several check ups.

“When your pet is unwell, you don’t ask questions and will do anything to make them better no matter the cost. Boris’ treatment in the first six months was nearly £1,500 but thankfully we’d taken the advice of a fellow bulldog owner and insured Boris from the day we got him.”