Working pets often provide a great service to their owners, and their owners want to protect them as best they can. Unfortunately, treatment for injuries and illnesses related to activities performed by working pets is often excluded from coverage because of the higher probability for them to occur — but Trupanion offers owners of working pets the option to insure their working pet with coverage for these injuries and illnesses.
Law enforcement dogs
Police dogs, or K-9 cops as they are often called, help protect our communities in a variety of ways including general patrol, security and protection, and narcotics and explosives detection. Bomb detection and drug detection teams work to keep our schools, businesses, transit terminals, and other locales safe. These dogs are selectively bred, individually tested, and specifically trained for these activities. Breeds commonly trained as law enforcement dogs include German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Labrador Retrievers. Examples of work-related injuries include toxin ingestion (illegal substances), lacerations, musculoskeletal injuries, and gunshot wounds.
Search and rescue dogs
Search and rescue dogs are a valuable asset in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and locating missing people or objects. These dogs require extensive training and dedicated handlers to be effective. Typically these dogs work in small teams and can be trained specifically for rubble, water, and avalanche searches. The most common search and rescue dog breeds include German Shepherds, Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers, and Bloodhounds. Examples of common injuries sustained by search and rescue dogs include eye irritants, musculoskeletal injuries, and lacerations.
Herding dogs serve one of two functions – either to help keep groups of animals together (called “headers”), or to help move groups of animals from place to place (called “heelers”). Headers move to the front of a group of animals to turn or stop their movements while heelers stay behind the herd to keep them moving forward. Injuries common to herding dogs include being kicked, sprains, strains, and ligament tears. Dog breeds common to this activity include Border Collies, Australian Kelpies, Australian Cattle Dogs, Old English Sheepdogs, and Shetland Sheepdogs.
Any dog used to assist humans in hunting falls into this category. These can include hounds (including sighthounds and scenthounds used to hunt rabbits, raccoons, and coyotes), terriers (used to hunt small mammals), Dachshunds (used to hunt badgers, foxes, and rabbits), and gun dogs (the most common, including retrievers, spaniels, and pointers, used to hunt game). Examples of hunting-related injuries include eye ulcers, punctures from running through brush, lacerations, and gunshot wounds.
Sled dogs are highly trained dogs who pull sleds or sleighs over snow or ice. These sleds are used for hunting, travel, and law enforcement. Great effort is spent selecting these dogs based on endurance, strength, and speed. Common breeds associated with this activity include Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, and Siberian Huskies. Common injuries include musculoskeletal injuries.
Guard dogs are used to guard people or places from intruders. These dogs are trained to bark loudly upon sensing an intruder, to alert their owners to the intruder’s presence and/or scare away the intruder. They may also be trained to attack and restrain the intruder. Common guard dogs include Chow Chows, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers. There is a higher probability that guard dogs will become injured during their altercations with intruders. Examples of injuries include toxin ingestion (illegal substances), lacerations, musculoskeletal injuries, and gunshot wounds.
Breeding cats and dogs*
Dogs and cats in breeding programs are usually purebreds and their offspring are intended to be sold. These pets are usually recorded in a breed registry, which keeps documentation of the dog or cat’s pedigree. Doberman Pinchers, Poodles, Beagles, Persians, Siamese, and Maine Coons are examples of purebred dogs and cats. Sometimes these pets are crossbred with other breeds, with the intention to create a new breed. Ragdolls, Savannahs, Labradoodles, Puggles, and Cookapoos are crossbred cats and dogs. Breeding pets may encounter certain health conditions associated with reproduction which is why Trupanion offers a Breeding Rider. Note, an additional premium factor will apply for breeding pets.
Service pets are any type of assistance dog or cat that is specifically trained to help those with disabilities or medical conditions with their day-to-day activities. There are pets trained specifically to aid the sight-impaired, hearing-impaired, or those suffering from epilepsy or post-traumatic stress disorder, among other conditions. These dogs provide a valuable and highly-regarded service.
Therapy pets differ from service pets in that they typically do not help their owners with day-to-day activities, but instead are trained to provide affection and comfort to people outside of their home, such as in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, and areas affected by natural disasters. Any breed, regardless of size, can become a therapy pet. The most important characteristic of therapy pets is their temperament — friendly, patient, confident, gentle, and at ease in a variety of situations.