Forbes Advisor Reveals Dog and Cat Breeds With Highest Medical Costs

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
Erik Lam/Shutterstock

A trip to the vet’s office is never fun – even if it turns out your pet is OK and it was just a scare that got you there in the first place, there’s still a matter of vet bills to stress over. The high costs of veterinary care are, unfortunately, one of the most commonly cited reasons for surrendering a pet to a shelter, especially in the case of unexpected emergencies that can turn out to be quite expensive and put a real strain on a person’s budget. Naturally, the severity of the issue often dictates the financial aspect of veterinary care, but did you know that your pet’s breed can also play a part in how costly their vet bills are?

The Forbes Advisor team sifted through three years worth of pet insurance claims data, and actually identified which breeds of dogs and cats had the highest vet bills – and it might not be what you expect. When it comes to our canine friends, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog tops the list with an average pet insurance claim of $425, followed by the Rottweiler ($401) and the Dogue de Bordeaux ($395). For the felines, it’s the Siberian Forest Cat that has the most costly medical care ($457), followed by the Bengal ($404) and Mixed Breed Medium-Haired Cats ($403). When it comes to least expensive medical bills, on the other hand, the winners in the category are, surprisingly, designer dog breeds – Australian Labradoodle ($226), Miniature Goldendoodle ($230) and Shichon ($241) were the top three dog breeds with lowest vet bill insurance claims.

Another surprising finding from this extensive research is that the average pet insurance claim for cats ($355) is higher than the average pet insurance claim for dogs ($306), which means that feline owners have to be prepared to shell out more money when their four-legged bestie goes to the vet than an average dog parent does. Even so, their research also indicates that dog owners spend an average of $730 a year on their dogs, with the main costs being food, followed by vet bills and vaccinations – and an unexpected cost in the form of an emergency vet bill can significantly up that amount from average to debt-inducing.

In fact, a hefty vet bill amidst the inflation would wreak financial havoc on 63% of surveyed pet owners, with 28% of pet owners saying a vet bill of $499 or less would cause them to go into debt, while a bill of $999 or less would force 42% to borrow money to be able to finance their pet’s medical care.

All things considered, it doesn’t surprise that pet insurance came up in the report as a wise investment – the team found that pet insurance for a dog costs an average of $35 a month, and when compared to emergency vet bills that can cost a couple of thousands, it’s clear that having your pet insured can majorly save your bank account in a time of need. Still, pet insurance rates and policies vary, and it’s important to do your research before opting for one – to make sure you’re really getting the best bang for your buck. 

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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