Dog and cat breeds with the highest vet bills

We spend a lot of money on our pets. Between their favourite toys, treats, food, vet bills and insurance, there are so many costs involved in having a pet.

Anyone who has ever had to take their pet to the vet will know that unless you have insurance, it can mean a huge dent in your pocket. Whether it’s for vaccinations, minor injuries or major surgery, you could be left with a large bill at the end.

Pet insurance is designed so owners don’t have to make the painful choice of not treating their pets just because they can’t afford it.

Some people simply cannot afford the hundreds or thousands of dollars it costs to keep a pet healthy, and this is something Gareth Steel has had to contemplate during his 20 years as a practising vet.

“Two words of advice for pet owners – get insurance,” Dr Steel advises in his memoir, Never Work With Animals, about his life as a vet. The best care is very expensive, he warns. “The problem with veterinary medicine is that pets are worth – prepare for a shock – what we think they are.”

If you’re thinking about getting a new cat or dog, it might pay to know which breeds have the costliest care and possibly more health issues than others. 

Most expensive

A Forbes Advisor analysis has ranked the most expensive dog and cat breeds, based on the cost of pet insurance claims per vet visit.

By looking at claims data filed with state insurance departments from July 2017 to June 2020, Forbes Advisor figured out the average pet insurance claim for many breeds of dogs and cats. The claim amounts reflect how much an insurer paid, which was typically 70 per cent to 100 per cent of the total bill, not including the deductible.

Based on their findings, the following shows which breeds of cats and dogs have the highest and lowest veterinarian bills.

Interestingly, Forbes found that across all breeds, the average pet insurance claim for cats ($355) is higher than the average pet insurance claim for dogs ($306).

The dog breeds with the highest vet bills are the greater Swiss mountain dog ($425), the Rottweiler ($401) and the Dogue de Bordeaux ($395).

The Australian Labradoodle had the least expensive medical bills ($226), followed by the miniature goldendoodle ($230) and Shichon ($241).

Among cat breeds, the Siberian forest cat has the costliest medical care ($457), followed by the Bengal ($404) and mixed-medium hair cats ($403).

How much are Australians willing to spend?

Many Australians would be willing to spend thousands on treatment or surgery before considering whether to euthanise their dog or cat, according to research.

Dog owners would be willing to pay $3532 to save a furry friend, while cat owners would spend almost $1000 less on average at $2618, according to a nationally representative survey of 1011 respondents conducted by comparison website Finder.

That’s the equivalent of more than two weeks of an average Australian’s salary.

But wait, there’s more. The research found 17 per cent of dog owners would pay more than $10,000, while 6 per cent would spend more than $15,000.

In comparison, just 10 per cent of cat owners would pay more than $10,000, with 4 per cent willing to spend more than $15,000.

Do you have pet insurance? Have you ever been hit with a huge vet bill? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: What your family should consider before getting a pet

Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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