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Five bizarre pet insurance claims

Fido’s insurance bill could take a big bite out of your wallet.

During the summertime, insurers report seeing more unusual insurance claims for dogs. Some pets can get into mischief while owners are away on vacation, or when joining their owners on vacation. Some get in trouble during outdoor activities and even yard work. 

“In the summertime, pets have a lot more problems than they do in the wintertime.”” says Dr. Jack Stephens, founder and president of Pets Best Insurance, a Boise, Idaho-based pet insurance agency. He says this is because “pets are more active and out with their family in the summertime.”

Typically, larger, more active dogs, especially animals that are younger, experience more odd accidents, according to Pets Best. Younger animals, for example, are more likely than older dogs to chew on objects and manipulate objects with their mouth when playing with items.

Here are the top five bizarre and expensive pet insurance claims includes these odd – but costly – summertime scenarios including Pets Best’s furry clients. The pet owners in the scenarios all had the company’s BestBenefit plans, which are its most comprehensive plans covering pet accidents and illnesses.

Note: The photos are not of the actual dogs in the stories, but are the types of dogs represented in each of the scenarios.

5 bizarre pet insurance claims

1. Not your typical dog food

Bizarre Pet Insurance ClaimsKeeping a close eye on your pets includes making sure they’re eating only what they should be ingesting, especially when it comes to fresh summer fruits. When Bailey, a Labrador retriever from California, devoured some nectarine pits, two trips to the vet were needed to remove to the pits. Bailey also needed to have surgery.

The first vet trip cost Bailey’s owners $103. The second bill cost them $665. Without pet insurance, Bailey’s owners would’ve paid a total of $3174 out of pocket.  

However, if your dog eats a plum pit, it’s not always cause for concern. Sometimes smaller items eaten by dogs, particularly larger dogs such as a Labrador, will pass through the dog’s system on their own, Stephens says.

2. Chewing on danger

Bizarre Pet Insurance ClaimsExuberant pets often chew on indoor items such as shoes and cushions. Another Pets Best client, Tango, a German shorthaired pointer in Missouri, liked to gobble household objects. But Tango got in trouble when he started to eat a beach towel.

When dogs are chewing on items such as towels, there is a potential for the dog to swallow the material, which could get stuck in the stomach and intestine. If the pet starts vomiting, owners need to take the animal to the veterinary emergency clinic, Stephens says. Tango threw up some parts of the towel, but the remaining portion had to be surgically removed.

3. Hole-in-two

Bizarre Pet Insurance ClaimsGolf-loving pet owners should be aware of the potential for pets to find golf equipment and get injured. A Labrador retriever in California named Copper swallowed two golf balls when his owners were away from home. The golf balls had to be surgically removed.

Stephens notes that the situation could have been worse and more costly if the golf balls passed through the stomach and were lodged in the dog’s intestine.

4. Unexpected beach picnic

Bizarre Pet Insurance ClaimsTaking a dog to the beach is a common summertime activity for families. However in rare cases, even sand can present a potential danger to pets. Dogs normally won’t eat sand by itself, but sometimes when dogs are playing Frisbee and other activities, sand can get in their mouth and they can chew 
up the grainy substance, Stephens says. And if dogs ingest too much sand, it can cause problems.

When Zoie, an energetic Maltese from California, swallowed some sand, she began to vomit and lose her appetite. The owners had to take her to the vet’s office to be treated with intravenous fluids and monitored. The vet bill for her illness totaled $1,991, but pet insurance covered $1,394 of the total.

5. Putting down roots

Bizarre Pet Insurance ClaimsWhen doing yard work, it can be difficult to keep curious pets away. Yard chemicals and fertilizers can improve your landscaping, but pets can experience serious health issues. If pets ingest fertilizer from the bag or by licking it off their paws, they can become ill, Stephens says. After a Weimaraner named Max from California ingested some fertilizer, he had to be taken to the vet to be monitored and treated with intravenous fluids. The veterinary bill ended up costing Max’s owners $1,618.

“Pet owners should always keep an eye on their pets when yard chemicals and fertilizers are being used,” Stephens says.

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