Best Pet Insurance Plans For Shih Tzus In April, 2024

In my professional opinion, Healthy Paws offers the best pet insurance for Shih Tzus.

min read
Updated: 04 January 2024
Written by
Bob Phillips
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Shih Tzus, celebrated for their endearing charm and distinct appearance, hold a special place among toy breeds. Originating from Tibet and cherished by Chinese royalty, they are known for their delightful personalities and elegant, flowing coats.

With their small stature and a wide array of coat colors, including gold, black, and white, Shih Tzus capture hearts with their unique and captivating looks.

Despite their petite size, Shih Tzus possess a lively and sociable nature. They thrive in the company of loving families and relish indoor activities. Known for their sweet and affectionate disposition, they form strong bonds with their owners, often making them cherished lap dogs.

If you own a Shih Tzu Retriever, you’re undoubtedly concerned about its health and well-being. As a pure breed, a Shih Tzu is more likely to suffer from genetic health issues than mixed-breed dogs. Unfortunately, 4 out of 5 pet parents can’t pay for an unexpected $500 veterinary bill out-of-pocket. However, pet insurance will help you reduce your financial risk.

In this review, we’ll look at some of the top pet insurers for Shih Tzus and help you pick the policy that best meets your needs. You’ll find that pet insurance is much like personal health insurance; it provides better treatment options and limits out-of-pocket costs. But unlike private health insurance, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Common Health Issues For Shih Tzus

Purebred canines, like Shih Tzus, often grapple with health challenges. Over time, certain breeders have not given enough attention to genetics when breeding Shih Tzus, leading to problems that impact the entire Shih Tzu community. Generally, Shih Tzus are more prone to genetic health issues compared to other breeds.

Here are some prevalent health concerns for Shih Tzus:

  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome (due to their flat faces)
  • Dental problems (due to their small mouths)
  • Eye issues (including cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy)
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Ear infections (due to their floppy ears)
  • Allergies (including skin allergies)
  • Patellar luxation (knee joint dislocation)

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (Due To Their Flat Faces)

Brachycephalic airway syndrome is a common health concern for dogs with flat faces, such as bulldogs, pugs, and French bulldogs. These breeds often have shortened air passages, leading to breathing difficulties. Symptoms may include snoring, snorting, and labored breathing, especially in hot weather. Surgical intervention may be required in severe cases to alleviate airway obstruction and improve a dog’s quality of life.

According to the search results, the cost of surgical treatment for brachycephalic airway syndrome typically ranges from $1,500 to $4,000

Dental Problems (Due To Their Small Mouths)

Dental problems are prevalent among small dog breeds due to their tiny mouths and overcrowded teeth. This can result in issues like dental decay, gum disease, and tooth misalignment. Regular dental care, including brushing and professional cleanings, is essential to prevent dental problems and maintain a dog’s oral health.

According to the search results, the cost of dog teeth cleaning typically ranges from $250 to $700

Eye Issues (Including Cataracts And Progressive Retinal Atrophy)

Eye issues can affect dogs of all breeds, but certain small breeds are more susceptible to conditions like cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Cataracts involve the clouding of the eye’s lens, while PRA is a genetic disorder causing gradual vision loss. Regular eye exams by a veterinary ophthalmologist are crucial to detect and manage these conditions early, preserving a dog’s vision.

The cost of treatment for eye conditions in dogs can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per year

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a common orthopedic issue in dogs, affecting both large and small breeds. It occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to instability and eventual degeneration. Small dog breeds can also be affected, leading to pain, lameness, and reduced mobility. Treatment options, including medication and surgery, depend on the severity of the condition and aim to improve a dog’s comfort and mobility.

Surgery can cost anywhere from $1,700 to $6,000+ per hip

Ear Infections (Due To Their Floppy Ears)

Ear infections are a recurring problem for some small dog breeds with floppy ears, like Cocker Spaniels and Shih Tzus. Their ears provide a warm, moist environment ideal for bacterial or yeast overgrowth. Regular ear cleaning and maintenance are essential to prevent infections. If an infection does occur, prompt treatment with prescribed medications is necessary to avoid complications.

The cost of treatment for ear infections in dogs can range from $100 to $500

Allergies (Including Skin Allergies)

Allergies, including skin allergies, are relatively common in dogs of all sizes, but certain small breeds may be more predisposed. Allergies can manifest as itching, skin rashes, ear infections, and gastrointestinal upset. Identifying and managing allergens through dietary changes, medications, or allergen-specific immunotherapy can help improve a dog’s quality of life.

The cost of treatment for allergies in dogs can range from $500 to $1,500 per year

Patellar Luxation (Knee Joint Dislocation)

Patellar luxation, or knee joint dislocation, is another orthopedic concern that can affect small dog breeds. It occurs when the kneecap (patella) dislocates from its normal position. This condition can cause intermittent lameness and discomfort. Treatment options range from rest and physical therapy to corrective surgery, depending on the severity of the patellar luxation and the dog’s overall health. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor and manage these potential health issues in small breed dogs.

Unfortunately, dog luxating patella surgery costs can reach $5,000 per leg

Best Pet Insurance Companies For Shih Tzus, 2024

Different pet insurance companies for Shih Tzus are the same in many ways in that they will help ensure your pet is cared for and that your financial risk is limited, but they’re also different in some ways. So while one company may be best for your neighbor’s pet, another may be better for yours.

Here’s our breakdown of the best pet insurance companies for Shih Tzus:

Best Pet Insurance, Shih Tzus 2024

Comparison Of The Best Pet Insurance Companies For Shih Tzus

As you can see from our breakdown of the best pet insurance companies for Shih Tzus shown above, many high-quality companies are vying for the top spots. You can also see that each has its own particular strengths. Here’s a snapshot to give you a glance into each insurer:

Overall Rating Best For Waiting Period Reimbursement % Benefit Limit Get A Quote
Healthy Paws
4.9

Overall

15 days accident/illness

70%, 80%, 90%

Unlimited annual and lifetime

Instant Quote
Lemonade
4.8

Cheap

2 days accident, 14 days illness

70%, 80%, 90%

$5,000 to $100,000 annually

Instant Quote
ManyPets
4.8

Puppies

15 days accidents/illness

70% or 80%
(most states)

Unlimited annual and lifetime

Instant Quote
Pumpkin
4.7

Older Dogs

14 days accidents/illness

90%

$10,000, $20,000 or unlimited

Instant Quote
Spot
4.7

Multiple Pets

14 days accidents/illness

70%, 80%, 90%

$2,500 to unlimited

Instant Quote
Scroll to see comparisons

Our Methodology

Opinions and subsequent ratings were based on reviewing each insurer's website, customer reviews, other review sites, and personal experience having purchased and used pet insurance in the past.

47

Quotes Analyzed

15+

Years Of Industry Experience

22

Brands Reviewed

28+

Research Hours

Detailed Reviews Of The Best Shih Tzu Insurance Companies


Best Overall

Overall Rating
4.9

Key Statistics

9/10 Affordability
9/10 Customer Satisfaction
10/10 Claims
10/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

Healthy Paws is the best pet insurance because it has no maximum on claim payouts, per-incident maximum, or caps. This means paying more, but it’s worth it to avoid putting pets down due to policy limits. Healthy Paws has one easy-to-understand policy, no costly add-ons, and allows you to use any licensed veterinarian. Submitting claims is simple through their mobile app or website, with most claims processed within two days.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • No maximum annual or lifetime payouts
  • Most claims processed within two days
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Direct vet payments may be possible
Drawbacks
  • No routine wellness option

Runner-Up For Best Overall

Overall Rating
4.8

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
9/10 Customer Satisfaction
9/10 Claims
8/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

We found Lemonade to be the cheapest pet insurance for Shih Tzus. While the limits are comparable to those of other companies we reviewed, they are not unlimited like those of Healthy Paws. Lemonade’s coverage limits range from $ 5,000 to $ 100,000 per year, with the premium increasing along with the limit you select.

Lemonade’s standard policy covers accidents and illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, skin conditions, broken bones, and hip dysplasia, a common ailment among older Shih Tzus. Like most insurers, Lemonade doesn’t pay for medical costs for preexisting conditions, dental illnesses, behavioral issues, or elective procedures.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Optional wellness plan available
  • Accident waiting coverage period of only two days
  • You get a 10% discount by bundling pet insurance with home, renters, or car insurance you have with Lemonade
Drawbacks
  • No 24/7 pet telehealth line
  • Coverage for vet exam fees has to be added for an extra cost
  • No coverage for prescription food or microchipping

Best For Puppies

Overall Rating
4.8

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
9/10 Customer Satisfaction
9/10 Claims
8/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

ManyPets has the most favorable coverage for puppies. Pre-existing coverages don’t affect the rates, cured conditions may be covered after 18 months, and unrelated conditions are still eligible for coverage.

Like all pups, young Shih Tzus can suffer from illnesses like poisoning, ingesting foreign bodies, and accidents stemming from their youthful energy. Covering them when they’re younger makes it far less likely that you’ll ever run into exclusions for pre-existing conditions when they’re older.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Available in more than 40 states
  • Covers vet exam fees for illness and accident visits
  • Offers optional wellness plans
Drawbacks
  • No 24/7 pet telehealth line
  • Doesn’t cover pet behavioral therapy
  • No coverage for alternative therapies

Best For Older Dogs

Overall Rating
4.7

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
9/10 Customer Satisfaction
9/10 Claims
8/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

As Shih Tzus age, they are prone to genetic illnesses that can lead to costly treatments, namely cruciate ligament issues and hip dysplasia. Pumpkin has no special waiting period for these conditions and covers veterinarian exam fees if you have to take your older Shih Tzu in for treatment.

Pumpkin has a good selection of coverage options for a wide range of problems Shih Tzus can experience, including surgeries and dental illnesses. You get a choice of three different deductibles and 90% reimbursement is standard.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Optional wellness plan available
  • Discounts for insuring multiple pets
  • 90% reimbursement for dogs and cats 8 weeks and older
Drawbacks
  • No 24/7 pet telehealth line
  • No accident-only plan is available

Best For Multiple Pets

Overall Rating
4.7

Key Statistics

9/10 Affordability
9/10 Customer Satisfaction
8/10 Claims
10/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

Many Shih Tzu owners have multiple pets since Shih Tzus have such an amiable disposition. Spot provides a 10% discount for insuring more than one pet with them, which can add up to a lot of savings.

Spot’s optional preventive care plan provides coverage for wellness care, such as one annual visit to the vet, one fecal test, and one teeth cleaning. Some vaccinations are also covered.

Spot offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied with the coverage or service. Spot also reimburses up to 90% on eligible vet bills, in addition to a 24/7 vet helpline. In addition, you can visit any U.S.-licensed veterinarian or specialist.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Covers microchipping
  • Low $100 deductible is available
  • Has a 24/7 pet telehealth line
Drawbacks
  • Accidents have a 14-day waiting period, compared to 2 days with some top competitors

Average Cost Of Pet Insurance For Shih Tzus

Company Deductible Annual Reimbursement % Monthly Price Age of Dog
Healthy Paws $500 70% $70.30 5 year old
Lemonade $500 70% $40.00 5 year old
Spot $500 70% $73.34 5 year old
Healthy Paws $500 80% $36.52 1 year old
Lemonade $500 80% $20.67 1 year old
Spot $500 80% $53.80 1 year old
Healthy Paws $500 70% $37.64 3 month old
Lemonade $500 70% $29.13 3 month old
Spot $500 70% $83.12 3 month old

Average Cost Of Typical Vet Procedures

Typical Vet Procedure Average Cost Of Procedure
Puppy vaccinations $75-100
Flea & tick prevention $40-200
Heartworm prevention $24-120
Spay or neuter surgery $200-800
Annual exam $240-600
Teeth cleaning $200-500
Microchip $40

Average Cost Of Emergency Vet Procedures

Emergency Pet Procedure Average Cost Of Procedure
General consultation/exam $100-$150
General bloodwork $80-200
X-rays $150-$250
Ultrasound $300-$600
1-2 day hospitalization $600-$1,700
3-5 day hospitalization $1,500-$3,500
Wound treatment & repair $800-$1,500
Emergency surgery $800-$2,500
Oxygen therapy $500

Is Pet Insurance Worth It For Shih Tzus?

Pet insurance protects against unexpected veterinary bills. Many pet owners pay out-of-pocket for their pet’s medical expenses, but most Americans can’t afford a $1500 emergency vet bill. The right pet insurance can literally be a lifesaver. Having coverage will give you the freedom to make medical decisions for your furry family member based on the quality of life, not finances.

The value of pet insurance is largely based on your expectations. If your pet is currently undergoing treatment for a chronic condition and you would like help with the cost of the treatment, you will likely be disappointed as no company in our review covers preexisting conditions.

But, if you understand your policy and what it does and doesn’t cover and have a policy that fits your budget and needs, you are far more likely to consider the policy worth it.

How To Find The Best Pet Insurance Company For You

The costs and types of pet insurance plans available on the market vary by company, making choosing one over the others challenging. To find the best plan for your pet, consider these tips before applying for coverage:

Check Whether Your Pet Is Eligible

Puppies and kittens often must be a minimum of 6 to 10 weeks old to be insured, depending on the company. Senior pets may not be eligible for first-time enrollment with some companies, or they may qualify for accident coverage only. Once the pet is enrolled, though, most plans will offer coverage for life as long as you continue paying the premiums.

Research What’s Covered

Pet insurance plans typically cover expenses like surgery, hospitalization and medication if your pet gets sick or hurt. However, there are certain things that some companies charge extra for or won’t cover at all. Here are a few examples:

  • Exam fees. Say your dog breaks her leg. Some plans will reimburse expenses like X-rays,  surgery and pain medication, but not the vet’s exam fee.
  • Alternative treatments and rehabilitation. Some companies include coverage for things like acupuncture and physical therapy in their standard plans. Others charge extra.
  • Behavioral therapies. Not all policies cover veterinary treatment for aggression or other behavioral issues.
  • Prescription food. Certain plans won’t cover food or supplements at all, even if your vet prescribes them for a covered condition.·
  • Dental care. Pet insurance plans vary widely when it comes to caring for your pet’s teeth. For example, your policy may not cover dental illnesses such as gingivitis or periodontal disease. Alternatively, it may cover them only if your pet has had a recent tooth cleaning. Some add-on wellness plans pay for cleanings.

Note that pet insurance policies usually won’t cover pre-existing conditions, cosmetic procedures, or breeding expenses.

Decide How Much Coverage You Want

Most pet insurance plans cap the amount they pay out per year, although some have no annual limit. Only you can decide the amount that gives you reasonable peace of mind for paying vet bills.

If your dog or cat is relatively healthy, you might go years without paying for anything but routine care. But an unexpected surgery or serious illness could add up to thousands of dollars in expenses.

Understand Reimbursements And Deductibles

Most pet insurance plans reimburse you for a percentage of your vet bill. You can generally choose a reimbursement level — such as 70%, 80% or 90% — when you buy the plan.

Other plans pay what the insurance company deems a standard fee for a given treatment, which might be less than what your vet charges. You’d be responsible for the remainder.

Most plans also have a deductible — the dollar amount you pay out of pocket before the policy pays. You can usually choose from a range of deductibles, such as $100, $250, or more. Some plans apply deductibles to each injury or illness that’s treated. Most have you pay the deductible every year.

Generally, the lower your out-of-pocket costs are, the more you’ll pay for coverage. Alower deductible and higher reimbursement rate can lead to a higher premium, while a higher deductible and lower reimbursement rate can mean a lower premium.

Check Waiting Periods

Most plans include short waiting periods after you purchase the policy for general accident and illness coverage, such as 14 days. Your plan won’t pay for any treatment during the waiting period.

Some plans include longer waiting periods for coverage of certain conditions, such as cruciate ligament injuries — a common orthopedic problem for dogs. The cruciate ligaments help stabilize the knee; when injured, it can make it difficult for a dog to walk.

Examine Extra Costs

Some pet insurance companies offer coverage for routine services such as well visits and vaccinations. While this may sound tempting, do the math to determine whether it’s worth the extra cost. Compare the annual price of the wellness insurance plan with the amount you’d pay each year on your own for services the plan covers. Read the details because the items covered for “wellness” vary by pet insurance company.

Compare Quotes

The cost of insurance varies by carrier and the amount of coverage. Some pet insurers offer discounts; you might be able to save money by insuring more than one pet, for example. But a discount doesn’t guarantee the plan is the best deal.

The only way to find the best insurance for your pet is to dig into the details and get quotes for several plans. Make sure you’re making a fair comparison with similar coverage amounts, deductibles, and reimbursement limits.

Factors That Impact Cost Of Your Pet Insurance Policy

Similar to your health insurance plan, your pet insurance price is going to vary depending on certain factors, such as:

  • Where you live. Pet insurance companies take the cost of vet care in your area into account when pricing your policy.
  • Your pet’s age. Because older animals are more likely to have health problems, their premiums are generally higher.
  • Your pet’s breed. Certain breeds are more prone to health issues. For example, bulldogs and Boston terriers often develop breathing problems, while German Shepherds and other large breeds are more likely than others to get hip dysplasia. These potential problems may be reflected in the cost of your pet insurance plan.
  • Your deductibles, coinsurance and coverage limits. The less you’re willing to pay out of pocket for your pet’s care, the higher your pet insurance premium will be. For instance, choosing a $100 deductible instead of a $500 one means your plan will start reimbursing you sooner for your pet’s care — but it’ll cost you more in premiums.

FAQs

Is pet insurance cheaper for purebred dogs?  

Because purebreds are more likely to have a genetic predisposition to costly diseases and conditions, they are likely to cost more to insure than mixed-breed dogs.

What is the average cost of owning a Shih Tzu?  

First-year costs are about $3,000 for vaccinations, food, grooming, and insurance, but the price drops to around $1,900 for each year after.

What insurance do you need for a dog?  

A dog should have some level of pet insurance so the owner can pay vet bills that will keep their dog healthy and secure.

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