Best Pet Wellness Plans for Routine Care (May 2024)

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Top 7 Wellness Plans from Insurance Providers

We at the Marketwatch Guides team evaluated wellness plans offered by top pet insurance providers and veterinary hospitals. Here are our plan picks:


Compare Top Pet Insurance Wellness Plans

According to our analysis of how much it costs to own a pet, the average base price for wellness care is $448 annually. Use the table below to compare our top picks based on available wellness coverage, cost and expected savings.

*We estimated annual costs based on average pricing to insure dogs and cats. Your price will vary depending on your pet, location and chosen plan.


What Does a Pet Insurance Wellness Plan Cover?

Instead of focusing on accidents and illnesses as with traditional pet insurance, wellness plans provide reimbursement for routine preventive care services up to a specified maximum. Most providers cover a fixed amount per service each year, which means you will not receive reimbursement for services you do not use, but a few providers allow for more flexibility. Common services covered by wellness plans include vaccinations, wellness visits, parasite control, diagnostic screening tests and dental cleanings.

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Angela BealAngela Beal

 —Angela Beal

DVM, FFCP

“Preventive and wellness care form the foundation of good, lifelong pet health. Instead of treating diseases after they develop, wellness care focuses on preventing health conditions, such as dental disease, parasites and infectious diseases, that can shorten your pet’s lifespan. Not all diseases are preventable, so wellness diagnostics such as screening tests can help veterinarians detect diseases in the early stages when treatment is more likely to yield a positive outcome. Purchasing a wellness plan can help pet owners budget for these critical services and ensure their pet receives regular wellness care.”

Basic Wellness Coverage:

The difference between a basic wellness plan and an upgraded or comprehensive plan depends on the specific provider. Generally speaking, basic wellness plans cover the following limited services:

  • Wellness visits
  • Vaccines
  • Fecal test
  • Heartworm or FIV or FeLV test
  • Deworming

Comprehensive Wellness Plans:

Comprehensive and upgraded wellness plans may provide higher reimbursements than basic coverage, including services such as:

  • Microchipping
  • Health certificates
  • Spay or neuter surgery
  • Dental cleanings
  • Flea, tick and heartworm prevention
  • Wellness blood and urine profiles
  • Grooming
  • Supplements
  • Alternative wellness care

The Best Wellness Plans Reviewed


What is a Pet Wellness Plan?

A pet wellness plan covers routine veterinary visits and other routine health care such as annual vet checkups, lab work, blood work, vaccines, dental care, physical exams and more. These routine treatments and checkups are essential to maintaining your pet’s health. A pet wellness plan often only covers preventive care and does not include accident and illness coverage.

In short, pet wellness plans cover the routine services that help ensure your pet has a long and healthy life. Many of these services are part of the regular care that Dr. Katie Krebs, an assistant professor in clinical primary care at the University of Pennsylvania’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital, describes as critical aspects of preventative care.

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Katie KrebsKatie Krebs

Assistant Professor in Clinical Primary Care at the University of Pennsylvania’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital

“Taking your dog or cat to a veterinarian at least once a year for an annual physical exam and wellness check can help pets live longer and help catch and treat diseases earlier. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight is one of the most important components of helping it live longer, as obesity in dogs and cats has been linked to a shorter lifespan. Other preventative care measures that can help pets stay healthy include brushing teeth regularly, keeping your pet on flea, tick and heartworm preventatives year-round, and staying up-to-date on vaccinations.”

In most cases, wellness plans are add-ons for pet insurance and not available as stand-alone coverage. Wellness plans usually include a monthly fee, or premium, in exchange for reimbursement for preventative vet visits up to a specific annual allowance. However, some providers may use a similar copay method to pet insurance.

Dog Wellness Plans

Puppy wellness plans typically cover exams, microchipping, spaying/neutering, vaccines such as DHLPP and various other preventative care treatments. According to Dr. Angela Beal, DVM, the annual cost of routine care for a puppy could reach as high as $1,890. Dog wellness plans help cover these costs, alleviating the need for out-of-pocket payments.

Cat Wellness Plans

Cat wellness plans cover similar preventative care measures as dog wellness plans, with the difference that companies typically include coverage for cat-specific vaccines. These may encompass vaccines for the feline panleukopenia virus, feline viral rhinotracheitis and feline leukemia virus (FeLV).


What’s the Difference Between Pet Insurance and Pet Wellness Plans?

Pet insurance can provide financial coverage for unexpected pet accidents and illnesses, reimbursing a set percentage of your pet’s total bill after a deductible is applied. In contrast, pet wellness plans can help cover costs associated with planned routine care. Typically, you can purchase wellness plans as standalone service bundles from veterinary hospitals or as add-ons to traditional insurance policies. In most cases, wellness plan service reimbursements are not subject to a deductible or copayment.

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Sarah ProctorSarah Proctor

DVM, MPH, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of New Hampshire Thompson School of Applied Science Agriculture, Nutrition and Food Systems

Pet insurance is a great idea so you don’t have to make decisions about your pet’s care due to budget limitations. It doesn’t take long to rack up several thousand dollars in bills from a single emergency visit.

The Venn diagram graphic below illustrates the differences between pet insurance and pet wellness plans.

Watch the video below to learn more in-depth differences between pet insurance plans and preventative care plans by Heart and Paw.


What’s Not Covered by Pet Insurance Wellness Plans?

Wellness plans do not cover emergency vet care, which includes treatments related to the following:

  • Accidents
  • Injuries
  • Diseases
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Pregnancies and breeding
  • Other conditions are not considered preventative care

However, you can obtain coverage for accidents and illnesses, or just accidents, by purchasing a standard pet insurance policy.


How Much Do Pet Wellness Plans Cost?

The cost of pet wellness care will depend on the provider and the amount of coverage included. Pet owners cannot buy just a pet wellness plan; they must also buy an accident-and-illness or accident-only insurance plan.

The cost of a pet wellness plan add-on is typically under $20 per month, ranging from $10 to $19 for our top recommended companies, based on quotes we gathered. The cost of a basic pet insurance policy and a preventive care package ranges from around $41 to $67.

Most pet insurance companies offer the same pet wellness plan option for all breeds. The table below has a breakdown of pet wellness plan costs and the overall cost of pet insurance and preventative care.

Many pet insurance companies offer two tiers of wellness coverage: a basic tier that typically ranges from $10 to $22 per month and a more comprehensive package that averages $20 to $35 per month. Which plan option you choose will depend on your exact preventative care needs.

Wellness plans are only as valuable as the services you use each year. You can purchase the lowest plan tier that covers the services your pet routinely requires to try to save on costs. While overpaying for an upgraded plan with more benefits may seem like a good investment, you could lose money on services your pet does not need.


What You Save With a Wellness Plan

Wellness plans can provide savings for pet owners, but the exact amount varies considerably depending on the provider and plan structure. To achieve maximum savings from a wellness plan, you must use your pet’s entire benefit amount each year. Think of each service on your benefit list as pre-paid — if you fail to use those services, you’ve effectively lost money. 

For example, if your wellness plan costs $120 annually and provides $250 in reimbursements each year, you could potentially save up to $130. But if that $250 includes $40 for a microchip your pet already has and $20 for a health certificate you do not use, your savings drops to only $70 for the year.

We asked Angela Beal, DVM, for the average cost of common wellness treatments based on her 20 years as a licensed veterinarian. Here’s what she said:

Coverage Item Average Cost*
Annual exam $50–$80
Vaccines $20–$60 each (up to six required each year, depending on the pet)
Dental cleaning $300–$500
Spay or neuter $200–$600
Heartworm test $35–$75
Blood and urine tests $80–$200
Fecal test $35–$75

*The average cost is based on our conversation with Dr. Beal and may vary depending on your location, veterinary technician and pet.

Do Pet Wellness Plans Have Waiting Periods?

Every pet insurance company has waiting periods before coverage begins, which also applies to wellness plans. Pet insurance that covers routine care also has an average waiting period of one to two weeks. Be sure to enroll in a pet insurance plan with an additional wellness plan before starting routine care to receive coverage.


Do Pet Wellness Plans Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

No, pet wellness plans don’t cover preexisting or chronic conditions. Unfortunately, no pet insurer currently covers pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies see pets with these medical conditions as costly and high-risk investments, especially since they’re guaranteed to need veterinary care in the foreseeable future.

However, some companies will distinguish between curable and incurable conditions, opting to cover curable conditions with specific stipulations. In addition, some routine treatments covered in wellness plans may help cure these conditions.

Some pre-existing conditions are more common among certain species and breeds than others. Dr. Rodney Steven Bagley, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM, a professor at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine suggests doing some research on your pet to learn what conditions it is particularly at risk for.

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All breeds can potentially have specific diseases, and equally, there are myriad diseases that are not breed-associate or dependent. You can check online databases or other sources about diseases your dog breed may have. Use keywords such as ‘disease’ and the breed of dog you have in your search. Importantly, just because you find information about a disease in the breed you have doesn’t mean your dog will actually get that disease


How To Prepare For Pet Emergencies

Regular vet visits and emergencies are, unfortunately, just part of being a pet owner. Some experts, such as Dr. Jessica Bell, DVM, an assistant professor in community practice at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, stress that these aspects of pet ownership can become easier to manage if you prepare and make a plan. 

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Jessica BellJessica Bell

DVM, Assistant Professor in Community Practice at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine

  • Establish a good relationship with your primary care veterinarian. Having your pet on a wellness plan and following your veterinarian’s recommendations may help prevent future emergencies.
  • Become familiar with veterinary emergency facilities and services near your home and areas you may travel with your pet.
  • Educate yourself by discussing what constitutes an emergency and when you need to seek out urgent care with your primary care veterinarian. This information will vary based on your pet’s needs and your ability to assess your pet’s change in health and pain levels.
  • You can work towards emergency financial preparedness by budgeting for a pet emergency fund. Pet health insurance can also help to alleviate some of the stress associated with unplanned medical emergencies.

Is a Pet Wellness Plan Worth It?

A pet wellness plan can be worth it, especially if you have a young puppy or kitten because oftentimes, you will get more use of your preventative pet insurance if you start your pet young. Though routine pet care costs less than surgeries or cancer treatments, you’ll ultimately spend more on preventive care throughout your pet’s lifetime if you don’t have a wellness plan.

According to health care financing company Care Credit, vet exams, core vaccinations, and procedures such as spaying or neutering and microchip implantations can total $2,800 in a puppy’s first year. The first-year cost for a cat is nearly $2,500.

If you paid $55 per month for a pet insurance plan with wellness care, you’d pay $660 over the course of a year for coverage rather than $2,800. That’s $2,140 in savings!

While wellness plans and pet insurance may not suit every pet and pet owner, experts such as Dr. Amy Nichelason, DVM, DABVP, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, still suggest looking into coverage options. 

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Amy NichelasonAmy Nichelason

DVM, DABVP, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine

Pet insurance can help when planning for unexpected medical emergencies and the associated financial burden. I always caution owners to look into each pet insurer to ensure it is meeting the needs they desire — each company will have different pros and cons. For instance, looking to see if a plan covers pre-existing, breed-related or genetic issues may be important depending on the type of pet you have. Additionally, do you want just accident coverage or wellness or illness protection?

Without a wellness plan, pet owners should plan to spend $7,600 to $19,000 in veterinary care over their cat or dog’s lifetime. An add-on wellness plan can help to offset the cost of annual preventive healthcare for your dog or cat through a low monthly fee added to your pet insurance premium. While it will not cover all expenses, it will help spread the cost out over time.


Our Experts

Rod BagleyRod Bagley

DVM, Diplomate ACVIM,  Professor at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine

 What tips would you offer to pet parents planning for medical emergencies?

Medical emergencies are never welcome or occur at the most appropriate time. With different types of “emergencies” there are different needs. So how do you prepare for something so unpredictable and frightening? First, make sure you know who you will turn to for help because you will need help. This includes your veterinarian, veterinary hospital, and/or local emergency facilities. Find out before you need them who will be there, where you need to go, the best ways to get there, hours of operations, and what medical care they can provide.

Equally, find out who your non-veterinary helpers are – people that can travel with you if you need to hold your pet on the journey; people who can watch other pets and who will stay home. Also people you trust to help feed and water other pets and to let your other animals out to go to the bathroom. Second, anticipate the costs of emergency care and know where you will obtain the financial resources (How will you pay for emergency care? What, if any, insurance will you use? Who is your insurance carrier and how do you contact them, especially in non-traditional business hours). Third, prepare for long stays (hours) in waiting rooms – for your pet and yourself. This may include food, water (for both of you), computers, phones (including chargers for you), and prepare for the environment (warm, cold temperatures for both of you). Fourth, have your transport carriers, harnesses, leashes, etc. in a place where you know where these are and can find them quickly and easily. Make sure they are clean and ready to use at a moment’s notice. Finally, who will emotionally support you during this difficult time – who can you call and talk with; to discuss options or just listen.

For individual diseases and injuries, there may be specific first aid that you will need to render, such as trying to stop bleeding or trying to protect you animal from additional injury. Consult reliable sources on basic pet first aid and mentally practice how to provide. Make a list of important supplies to have on available such as bandages. While emergencies are always scary times, being prepared will certainly help with some of the inherent anxiety.

Are there certain breeds more susceptible to health issues?
Yes, there are numerous breed-associated diseases.  All breeds potentially have specific diseases, and equally, there are myriad diseases that are not breed associate/dependent (that is, any breed can be effected with that disease).  You can check on-line data bases or other sources about diseases your dog breed may be have. Use key words such as “disease” and the “breed” of dog you have.  Importantly, just because you find information about a disease in the breed you have doesn’t mean that your dog will actually get that disease.  This is also true in the modern era of genetic testing.  Having a potential genetic predisposition to a disease process does not inherently mean that that disease will be manifested in your pet.  As always, make sure that you rely on important that is credible, veterinarian published/reviewed/endorsed/validated, and evidence-based (that is, supported by scientifically validated studies).
What are some preventative care measures that pet owners can take to help their pets live longer, healthier lives?
Just like with us, there are a number of things that you can do with your pet so that you both can have a longer, healthier life.  Many of these things are “common sense” and relatively simple to grasp in concept, but equally difficult to consistently follow through with.  Fundamentally (physiologically), it involves exercise (movement) and nutrition.  These core health concepts contribute to additional positive effects such as body weight control, good muscle tone (strength), and cardiovascular health.  Feed high quality nutrients and avoid “empty” calories. In essence, eat a nutritionally balanced diet in the appropriate proportions. Actively preforming “simple math” in calculating calories needed compared to calories consumed makes your feeding plan “mindful”. Weight control helps avoid other negative health effects such as excessive force placed on limbs and joints. A healthy weight aids with mobility and flexibility.  Additionally, positive mental motivation is necessary to stick to a healthy lifestyle.  Physical activities such as walking is one of the best forms for exercise, and something you can do with your pet.  Concurrently, mental enrichment during exploring the environment and specifically, smelling the world around, them can help animals focus their attention, experience natural sensations, and keep their brains stimulated.  Smelling is also an important way that animals communicate and understand their world.  Activation of all senses including touch, seeing, hearing, smelling, and tasting can be helpful through a variety of mechanisms. Playing and specifically, chewing, biting, or mouthing safe toys seems to be an enjoyable activity for my dogs. Whatever it is, doing things together enhances the human-animal connection since dogs and us evolved to be together. Think of petting as massage and moving as exercise.  We all tend to sit too much anyway!  So just keep moving!

Dr. Bagley is Professor of Rehabilitative Medicine and Director of Professional Services at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He is the author of over 200 scientific articles, abstracts and book chapters related to neurology, neurosurgery, and internal medicine and has presented over 300 scientific presentations including national meetings and internationally.  He has authored 2 books: “Fundamentals of Veterinary Clinical Neurology” and “Practical Small Animal MRI.”

Sarah ProctorSarah Proctor

DVM, MPH, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of New Hampshire Thompson School of Applied Science Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems

What tips would you offer to pet parents planning for medical emergencies?
#1 tip is to actually have a plan!  Have the number for the closest emergency vet hospital handy and know where it is.  Also have an established relationship with a regular vet.  Sometimes they can help you with medical emergencies.  Pet insurance is also a great idea so that you don’t have to make decisions about your pet’s care due to your budget limitations. It doesn’t take long to rack up several thousand dollars in bills from a single emergency visit.
Are there certain breeds more susceptible to health issues?
Most purebreds are prone to specific health issues.  Mixed breeds generally have fewer predictable health problems.  A few examples – large breed dogs have knee and hip problems.  Dogs with narrow and deep chests are prone to gastric dilatation/volvulus – bloating and twisting of the stomach that is fatal without emergency surgery.  Boxers tend to get cancer.  Bulldogs (English and French) have many respiratory and joint problems.  Small breed dogs have dental problems.  The OFA has a nice site where you can research the most common diseases by breed. 
What are some preventative care measures that pet owners can take to help their pets live longer, healthier lives?
Do research before getting a breed so you know what they are prone to.  Visit your vet at least once a year for a checkup so they can find problems before they become a big deal.  Stay current on vaccines and parasite prevention (fleas, ticks, heartworm, etc).  Keep your pets health body weight!  Overweight pets live shorter lives.  Most pets are overweight and owners underestimate how overweight their dogs really are.  How much to feed?  Use the calorie  calculator from the Pet Nutrition Alliance.

As a veterinarian Sarah has worked with cats, dogs, horses, cows, goats, sheep, llamas, pigs, rabbits, ferrets and other small animals. She coordinates and teaches in the UNH Veterinary Technology program, and has worked with pre-vet students on independent research projects. In addition to teaching, she practices medicine and surgery at the Pope Memorial Humane Society of Cocheco Valley in Dover, NH.

Jessica BellJessica Bell

DVM, Assistant Professor Community Practice at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine 

What tips would you offer to pet parents planning for medical emergencies?

No one can be completely prepared for a pet emergency, however, there a few important steps.

  1. Have a good relationship with your primary care veterinarian.  Having your pet on a good wellness plan and following your veterinarian’s recommendations can help prevent many emergencies.
  2. Be familiar with veterinary emergency facilities/services in your home area and in areas you may be travelling to with your pet.
  3. Educate yourself by discussing what is an emergency with your primary care veterinarian.  When do you need to seek out emergency care?  This information will vary with your pet’s needs and you as an owner, ability to assess your pet’s change in health and pain levels.
  4. Financial preparedness by budgeting for a pet emergency fund and/or pet health insurance can help to alleviate some of the stress associated with these unplanned medical emergencies.
Are there certain breeds more susceptible to health issues?
  1. Some breeds of dogs and cats do carry more health risks, either congenital or acquired.  However, there are many “normal” dogs and cats in these same breed varieties as well.  
  2. Often as pet owners, we choose to love and care for our pets in spite of their medical risks.  The good qualities like personality, size, and ability to fill the need we have, outweighs the medical pros and cons.  When deciding on type of puppy or kitten, it best to research on your own and then make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss any concerns you may have.  Veterinarians see all types of patients and their owners.  They may be able to offer some objective insight to what you are looking for.  Also, if looking for a purebred puppy or kitten, researching the breeder and their management of their animals is very important.
What are some preventative care measures that pet owners can take to help their pets live longer, healthier lives?
  1. Establish a good relationship with a veterinarian and their clinic.
    1. When looking for a new pet, veterinarians are great resources for types/breeds of pets that would work well for the home.
  2. Follow preventative recommendations such as nutrition, vaccines, dental/oral care, and parasite preventatives.
  3. Regular exercise and activity to help prevent obesity and negative behaviors from developing.
  4. Early obedience training to encourage positive behaviors for lasting relationships for pets and their families.

Dr. Jessica Bell has been a member of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Community Practice team since August 2018. Currently acting as the Service Lead where she works with students in a general practice environment. Focusing 4th Year veterinary student learning on canine and feline wellness and preventative medicine and surgery. Dr. Bell also provides instruction in the 1st year student labs for small animal behavior and restraint needed for a clinical environment.

Amy NichelasonAmy Nichelason

DVM, DABVP, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine

What tips would you offer to pet parents planning for medical emergencies?

Plan ahead. If your regular veterinarian doesn’t have afterhours or emergency offerings, make sure you know the local ER clinics near your house and have their phone number or address written down. I generally recommend knowing a few since many ER clinics are very busy right now so wait times can be long. Pet insurance can be helpful when planning for unexpected medical emergencies and the financial burden that may be associated with these. I always caution owners to look into each pet insurance to ensure it is meeting the needs they desire- each will have different pros and cons. For instance, looking to see if they cover pre-existing, breed-related or genetic issues may be important depending on the type of pet you have. Additionally, do you want just accident coverage or wellness or illness protection? It is also valuable to look at reimbursement schedules- in some cases reimbursement doesn’t occur for weeks after the expense which can be challenging for many owners. The other option is to have a savings account where you set aside a certain amount of money each month in case your pet has an emergency. This takes awhile to accrue but can be the most bang for your buck once it has amounted to a decent nest egg.

Are there certain breeds more susceptible to health issues?
Yes, there are certain breeds that are more susceptible to specific health issues either because of their specific breed or because of their size (e.g. giant breed dogs are more predisposed to certain orthopedic ailments). If you are looking into a specific breed, it is helpful to do your research into their specific health issues. In addition, it is helpful to ensure that, when you are purchasing a puppy from a breeder, the breeder is appropriately screening their lines to ensure your puppy will be as healthy as possible without predictable negative breed related traits. You can look at the AKC breed health testing requirements to look at recommended parental testing to ensure the continuation of a healthy line. 
What are some preventative care measures that pet owners can take to help their pets live longer, healthier lives?
I typically breakdown the main preventative measures into nutrition, behavior/socialization, dental care and preventatives/vaccines. Nutrition: feeding pets an AAFCO approved diet that is created under the regulation of a veterinary nutritionist for the animal’s life stage (adult, growth, etc). Additionally, obesity is a major problem in our pets. Making sure your dog has an appropriate body condition score (BCS) can help them lead a healthier and longer life.  Behavior: This is most applicable for puppies for interventional purposes: making sure your puppy is socialized appropriately from a young age (if possible). This means going to puppy classes and engaging with other puppies in a safe, protected environment, but also socializing with humans and adult, vaccinated dogs. Your veterinarian can help create a safe and effective socialization plan for your puppy that minimizes risks while they are undervaccinated. Preventatives: most dogs benefit from monthly, year-round flea, tick and heartworm prevention. This can vary based on geographic location; your vet can help you cater a plan to your specific geographic location. Vaccines: there are number of different core and optional vaccines for dogs. Core vaccines include vaccines for distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus and rabies. Based on geographic location and exposure risk, optional vaccines should also be considered to help prevent certain serious diseases like Lyme disease and leptospirosis. Dental: Dental disease is an incredibly common disease of dogs and cats. Starting an at home dental care regimen early can be very important to maintain dogs’ dental health. Brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush is the best thing you can do, ideally daily. You can also use a dog/cat approved toothpaste to add flavor. You should not use human toothpaste. If brushing is not an option, you can visit the VOHC website for a list of approved treats, additives, etc that can help reduce plaque or tartar.

Amy Nichelason is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine in the Primary Care department. She spent several years in private practice before becoming a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Canine and Feline). Her clinical and teaching interests center around educational strategies that enhance preclinical and clinical veterinary education to create well-adapted and competent day-one ready general practitioners. Her research goals are to help create tools that enhance clinical decision making and to investigate effective veterinary curricular interventions that will matriculate capable life-long learners that are not only competent in the technical aspects but also in the professional and humanistic aspects of being a veterinarian.

Katie KrebsKatie Krebs

Assistant Professor in Clinical Primary Care at the University of Pennsylvania’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital

What tips would you offer to pet parents planning for medical emergencies?
What tips would you offer to pet parents planning for medical emergencies? You can never fully prepare for a medical emergency, but there are things you can do to make them less stressful when they arise. I always recommend pet insurance that covers emergencies and illnesses at a minimum. This takes the stress off of deciding whether you can afford an emergency bill for your pet. Alternatively, setting aside money each month in a savings account so you have some money to draw from can be helpful if pet insurance isn’t an option. In addition, knowing where your local after-hours emergency hospital is, and keeping a list of important medical history for your pet (medications, significant past illnesses, etc.) can help ease stress when emergencies arise.
Are there certain breeds more susceptible to health issues?
In general, brachycephalic breeds (pugs, French bulldogs, English bulldogs, boxers, etc.) have more health issues due to their conformation. Though they have adorable squishy faces, this predisposes them to breathing issues, amongst other things. Other breeds, like dachshunds, are predisposed to back problems, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are likely to have heart disease. Any breed, including mixed breeds, can have health issues though, and routine wellness appointments with your primary care veterinarian can help to catch underlying medical issues early.
What are some preventative care measures that pet owners can take to help their pets live longer, healthier lives?

 Taking your dog or cat to their primary veterinarian at least once a year for an annual physical exam and wellness check can help pets live longer and catch and treat diseases earlier. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight is one of the most important components of helping them live longer, as obesity in dogs and cats has been linked to a shorter lifespan. Other preventative care measures that can help pets stay healthy include brushing teeth regularly, keeping them on flea/tick/heartworm preventatives year-round, and keeping them up to date on vaccinations.

Dr. Katie Krebs is an Assistant Professor in Clinical Primary Care at the University of Pennsylvania’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital. She graduated from the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine with an emphasis in small animal medicine. She completed a small animal rotating internship at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island, Canada before completing a residency in canine/feline practice through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) and MBA at Virginia Tech.


Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Wellness Plans


No, not all pet insurance companies offer wellness plans. However, it is a quite common offering that most companies allow.


Most pet insurers allow you to enroll in a wellness plan by applying online or over the phone. The best time to obtain wellness coverage is when you sign up for pet insurance or renew your policy.


Yes, many pet wellness plans cover neutering. However, the neuter/spay package is often included in a higher tier preventative care plan or one made specifically for kittens or puppies. Be sure to check the coverages of your wellness plan before purchasing.


No, treatments for accidents are not considered preventative care and are not covered under wellness plans. However, you can purchase accident-only pet insurance for this type of coverage.


A wellness package for dogs is an add-on for dog insurance that expands coverage to include preventative care treatments like blood and urine tests, vaccinations and exam fees.


Our System for Ranking Pet Wellness Plans

Many pet insurance providers offer comprehensive insurance options for pet owners, but few companies offer quality wellness plans that will guarantee savings. At MarketWatch Guides, we pride ourselves on providing the most accurate and up-to-date pet insurance cost information by manually gathering over 2,000 sample insurance premiums and comparing pet ownership costs. We used the following factors to help rank our top pet wellness plans:

  • Cost of wellness add-on: We analyzed the average cost to add a wellness plan to base insurance coverage for each provider. Companies with lower wellness care add-on rates ranked higher than those offering expensive preventative care plans.
  • Base plan monthly cost: Since cost is an important factor, pet insurance companies with cheaper monthly premiums ranked higher on our list. Our team analyzed four different types of pets across all 50 U.S. states to determine the average cost of each company. Cost figures are up-to-date as of November 2023.
  • Two or more plan options: Providers that offer more than one wellness plan ranked higher than those with only one option. This allows pet owners who are only looking for pet wellness care coverage to select a plan more suited to their needs.
  • Preventative care coverage: Providers with more comprehensive wellness care coverage, such as covering two versus one vet exam, three or more vaccines, and spay and neutering procedures, ranked higher than those with more limited coverage.
  • Special perks: We ranked companies that offer more perks to pet owners, such as teeth cleaning and microchipping, higher than those with basic routine care coverage.
  • Money-back guarantee: Given that the industry average money-back guarantee is 30 days, any company offering a longer guarantee earned a higher score in this category. 
  • Our rating: Our team reviewed over 35 pet insurance companies using our objective rating methodology. Pet insurance providers that earned higher overall scores ranked higher on this list.

For more information on how we review pet insurance companies, review our editorial guidelines.

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