Are Pet Wellness Plans Worth It?

If you’re a pawrent with one too many vet bills paid out of pocket, you’re probably wondering:

Are pet wellness plans worth it?

We’ll look into the benefits and downsides of pet wellness policies, work out the numbers and give you detailed information so that you can make the best decision for your fur friend.

What Is a Wellness Plan?

Pet wellness plans provide reimbursement for routine and preventive care at the vet. They cover things like vaccines, dental and blood tests to prevent possible future illnesses. Such procedures are not covered by your typical pet insurance plans. Most companies provide pet insurance with wellness as an add-on.

What does a wellness plan cover?

The main difference between pet wellness plans vs pet insurance is that the latter covers the cost of injury or illness treatments after they happen. On the other hand, pet wellness plans cover routine and preventive care procedures and screenings to avoid potential health issues.

Let’s look into more detail!

Spay and neutering

Spaying and neutering are important parts of preventive pet health care. If you’re not a breeder, you should seriously consider this option to prevent uterine infections, false pregnancies, and uterine and breast cancers, which are malignant in 50% of dogs and 90% of cats.

While you might find pet insurance that covers spaying and neutering, most of the time this is not the case. The cost of spaying or neutering as a standalone procedure can range between $50 and $500 due to various factors, with the average owner paying $200 for the procedure.

Vaccines & microchipping

Core vaccines must be administered to every pet to ensure that they will not catch a lethal or infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans.

For dogs, core vaccines are canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, and rabies. For cats, core vaccines are panleukopenia, feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus type I, and rabies. These diseases are leading causes of death in puppies and kittens, and some within days of contagion. So, vaccines are essential.

If you don’t have a pet wellness care plan you’d need to pay out of pocket for each vaccine. This, on average, will cost $20 per vaccine. Keep in mind, though, that some vaccines need to be administered annually, like the rabies vaccine, to avoid your dog becoming Cujo.

Microchipping is recommended and mandatory in some states. The microchip is a small device, usually the size of a single rice grain, that is implanted underneath your pet’s skin and serves as an ID. If your pet gets lost, officials can use the microchip to identify and return it to you.

Dental care

When screening for dental issues, vets typically look for gingivitis, periodontal disease, and oral cancer. They also perform teeth cleaning.

Yet, no pet insurance comes with preventive dental care. Missing a dental issue can cause oral pain, tooth abscess and loss, systemic infection, and even cancer progression. And while losing a tooth might not seem like a big deal, you probably wouldn’t want your canine to be missing a K9. Not to mention that systemic infection and cancer can become lethal very fast.

Blood test

Complete blood tests will inform the vet about any abnormalities in the pet’s blood that might indicate a necessary intervention. If there is an issue, your standard pet insurance policy should be able to cover it. But the screening itself is only included in additional wellness and preventive care packages.

Heartworm tests & prevention

While heartworm treatment is covered by pet insurance, the prevention and test are covered only by pet wellness insurance.

If you don’t have such a policy, you will have to pay out of pocket. This will cost between $5-$15 for the preventive treatment per month and $35-$75 for the test.

Fecal tests, deworming & urinalysis

A Fecal test is performed once per year to determine if any gastrointestinal parasites are present. Similarly to this are the heartworm and tapeworm tests to determine if these parasites are present. This may require several treatments over a period of time.

Urinalysis is a routine test that scans for chemicals in the urine. This is done because we want early detection for diseases like kidney failure and urinary infections. While pet health care plans will cover the treatment, preventive measures are typically excluded.

Fecal tests cost $24-$45, deworming is in the range of $15-$45, and urinalysis is $30 to $247, depending on the depth of the panel.

Flea & tick prevention

There are a few options in preventing ticks and fleas. But most pets are given monthly medicine to avoid this, and the price is between $150-$200.

Are Pet Wellness Plans Worth It?

In the section above, we have given you a detailed analysis of all the preventive procedures performed during a pet’s lifetime. All of us want to extend the life of our furry companions as long as possible and to achieve this, pet wellness care insurance is crucial.

Comparing costs

While the benefits vs downsides are not as simple as the cost vs risk analysis, we should start there to get a better picture.

Cost of wellness care out of pocket

According to our analysis, preventive care paid out of pocket costs are as follows:

  • For cats: In the first year, $559 – $652 and around $350 for every year after. On average, cats live between 15-20 years, making the total cost of preventive care around $6,550.
  • For dogs: $893 – $921 in the first year and $469-$514 for every year after. Depending on the size and breed of the dog, they tend to live between 8 and 15 years. To sum up, the total cost over a dog’s lifetime would be $6,900 on average.

With all this information, let’s see whether veterinary wellness plans are worth it?

Cost of a wellness care policy

Wellness care plans have different tiers of coverage. Because of this, they have a wide range of prices, with the cheapest ones starting at $10 per month. Every provider is different, and the price and savings will largely depend on which policy you choose. Let’s take a look at a few:

  • At PetsBest, you have two options for a wellness plan: EssentialWellness and BestWellness. The price of the EssentialWellnes plan is $16/month with no annual deductible. This will cost you $192 per year and you will receive benefits worth $305. The BestWellness option is $26/month, making an annual total of $312, and you will receive benefits worth $535.
  • AKC pet insurance includes wellness care only as add-ons to an existing pet insurance policy. The Defender add-on costs around $15/month with $305 worth of benefits, while the DefenderPlus policy is around $30/month with $535 worth of benefits. The two plans cover different things, so deciding what is best for your pet is a personal choice. We used an annual deductible of $100 to get these quotes.
  • Lemonade pet insurance also offers wellness plans as an add-on to an existing policy. Its Accident and Illness package will cost $25/month on average with around $300 worth of benefits. The wellness health insurance plan costs an additional $15 with added benefits of $500. We used an annual deductible of $250 to get these quotes.

For more details check out our comprehensive pet wellness plans reviews.

Crunching the numbers

Unless you adopt an adult pet, the first year of a new pet’s life is the most expensive. Every year after is slightly lower in price, but both have a somewhat predictable cost.

The average lifetime cost of pet wellness with a policy set in place while the pet is one year old will be in the range of $2,160 to $5,040. With these numbers alone, the average owner would save between $2,000 and $4,000 throughout the pet’s lifetime.

On top of this, if you prevent or catch a disease in the early stages, your pet has a better chance of survival, and you save money on future vet bills.

Don’t forget that animals don’t show discomfort the way humans do. Sometimes, you can completely miss all the signs. The only way to be 100% sure that your pet is healthy is with pet preventive care.

What Is The Difference Between Pet Insurance And a Wellness Plan?

When discussing pet wellness plans vs pet insurance it’s important to clarify that the two cover completely different health problems.

Pet insurance is largely focused on covering the expenses related to illnesses and injuries after they happen. For example, if your pet has a broken limb or a sudden onset of a disease, this is where your pet insurance policy would step in and give you coverage.

On the other hand, wellness policies cover routine and preventive care. Things like routine vaccines, spaying and neutering, dental care, and routine tests are only included in wellness plans.

There are pros and cons to both types of insurance. However, taking into account the natural curiosity of our pets, it’s hard to say that you won’t need at least one of these policies. If you think that something like a dental wellness care plan is redundant, think about all the times your furry friend has stolen a piece of candy from the table.

And even if you have an extremely well-behaved pet, like a well-trained dog or a calm cat, statistically, one in three pets still ends up in the vet’s office due to an emergency visit.

Key Takeaways

Things like gingivitis and parasites are completely preventable. But every screening and test comes with a price tag. Add to this the cost of routine care like vaccines, microchipping, spaying and neutering, and you have quite a full plate.

Of course, taking out a wellness policy on your pet is always a personal choice. It needs to be in line with your budget and needs. While there are many benefits to owning a policy, the final decision of whether pet wellness plans are worth it is completely up to the individual and their pet.


What is wellness care?

Wellness care is preventive and routine care for your pet. Things that fall under this are vaccines, microchipping, spaying and neutering, blood tests, flea and tick prevention, etc.

Some of the procedures above are mandatory in some states, while others are simply there for early detection of infections and diseases.

How much does a pet wellness exam cost?

The pet exam cost will depend largely on the type of exam you want and the type of pet you have. All wellness plans cover routine exams, so with a simple plan, they would be free. However, if you want to pay out of pocket, something like a simple urinalysis can cost up to $250, while other things like heartworm tests range from $5 to $75.

Does pet insurance cover spaying and neutering?

You will struggle to find pet insurance that covers neutering or spaying. Almost none of the insurance providers cover routine care, and spaying and neutering are considered routine care for your pet. Additional wellness packages, however, will save you those expenses.

Does pet insurance cover shots?

No. Pet insurance does not cover the cost of vaccines. This is because vaccines are considered routine care. So if you want full coverage of vaccines, take a look at some wellness plans.

Are wellness exams worth it?

The short answer is yes. Ideally, you want your pet to live as long and as pain-free as possible. This can only be accomplished by routine care and regular wellness exams.

If you are wondering are pet wellness plans worth it, overall, this is a personal choice, where you need to consider multiple factors. But there isn’t much doubt about the importance of preventive care and whether your pet needs it.


As an engineering student, I’m learning how things work. And while I may not be able to come up with an ultimate formula for a successful investment I know what the main element is – knowledge. As a content writer, my mission is to provide you with useful information for your financial market venture. When I’m not working I go on very long walks with my dog and watch movies in her fluffy company.

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