I know that a lot of people on here are vet related in careers or have been, and I want some insight. What are the drawbacks to this program offered by Banfield. It looks pretty good although not at our normal vet. What do you guys think about this?
My babies Taji and Piper (toy poodles) have been on the Puppy Plan since they were about 12 weeks. I initially had reservations about the plan. After incurring out-of-pocket expenses during their first visit to Banfield, I decided it would be a good investment. I also receive a discounted rate for multiple dogs. All visits and services are free when you are on the plan. All of their shots are covered and includes spaying/neutering. The only drawback is that I have to pay for any medication.
From what I understand about the program, it seems good on the surface. For me, I have a veterinarian (one I actually went ot college with) that I trust implicitly. I wouldn't use this because I enjoy my close relationship with my veterinarian. However, if I really didn't feel one way or the other about my veterinarian, or didnt like him/her, I'd be more willing to go with this. I think the most important thing regardless of what type of vet care you get, or where, is that you are satisfied and pleased with the vet's handling of your pet and the care your pet recieves at their hand. They can be the most qualified vet in the world, but if they piss you off or come across as cold and not caring, are you going to trust them with your pet? Trust your instincts.
Even if you aren't on the wellness plan at Petsmart or use another vet, you'd still have to pay for medication. I have my dasch on the wellness plan and it's been great. All visits are free as well as annual vacs. You get discounts on certain procedures if needed. The guys at Banfield are all very qualified and see that there are no drawbacks. It's well worth the $11.95/mo for one dog. I think it goes up to $19.95/mo for two dogs, etc. Good luck and hope you go wherever you're happiest.
Just found this forum and wanted to comment on Banfield... We have three dogs on their plans and would be lost without it. The vets and nurses in our local office are wonderful and they do care! I was afraid that they would be cold and unapproachable since they were part our PetSmart store but it is the exact opposite. You do need to meet with the vets first and make sure that you see eye to eye but after that, it's all gravy! Believe me, I only need to look at the lifetime savings to see how this plan has really helped me out. Instead of getting hit with a huge bill for shots each time they come due, it's already taken care of each month. I don't even notice the withdrawals anymore. :) Good luck with your decision. Tracy - Proud Mother of a Rat Terrier, Miniature Pinscher and Jack Russell in Baltimore, MD
OOPS! Also wanted to add that it is $11.95 per dog regardless of how many are on the plan. If you add while the dog is still a puppy, the rates increase to $19.95 a month which includes spay/neuter and a few other procedures. We just took the $11.95 plans and had the spay/neuters done at another vet that was less expensive (a vet my parents suggested from their own experience). There is an enrollment fee that is discounted each time you add a dog. Even with this fee, my savings are over $2000 for my babies.
I sure wish they had something like that in our area, they're adding it to a petsmart in Montgomery Alabama sometime in the next year but the opening date hasn't been decided yet. And they're building a petsmart for our hometown now. I love my vet and wouldnt' change for the world, but I sure think it'd be a great thing for the college students and others who are on a limited budget.
In all honesty I expected to hear negatively on this topic, but I am pleasantly surprised. This plan sound really good. I've had slight experience with it before vicariously through an ex, but never personally. My cocker had her vet, and my huskies have thiers, but I think my next puppy will definately be there (the sooner the better). Thanks for all the feedback! Gotta go meet that vet sometime soon.
This plan might have been okay had my puppies made it but now it's just upsetting.
This year, two small puppies, starving and worm ridden found their way to my doorstep. We welcomed them with open arms and while calling around, spoke with Banfield on the phone and they told me about the Wellness program, which was $19.95/month per puppy, that we should come in and put down on the first month. So I took them to Petsmart's banfield center. Then I was informed of the $99.95 enrollment fee per puppy, I recieved no discount for two dogs. I paid over $250 dollars total, but was happy to considering the pups were recieving medical attention.
Fast forward a mere three weeks. Our puppies passed away exactly 2 weeks and 4 days after first being treated by Petsmart. I knew it wasn't there fault, but after giving myself a few days to pull myself together (I know we didn't have them long, but I sure loved them) I called Petsmart to sadly discontinue our wellness programs.
No problem, they said. You just have to pay the back-fees of the services you recieved the one time you brought them in, totalling another $200. Nothing you paid the first day counts towards this cost. They do not care that I lost the puppies, and they do not care that it's been less than 3 weeks since our initial appointment - they just want the money.
So 3 days before Christmas, I've lost over $450 for one vet visit, and two beautiful puppies.
I should be wary of programs like these. For most people they probably work but in my case the match wasn't there.
I have both of my dogs on the Optimum Wellness Plan. It's $19.95 a month each dog. You still have to pay for meds but it is discounted a bit. Also you don't pay for the office calls when going in. You get a free heart worm check each year and a comprehensive exam every six months. They check the dog from head to tail for any problems.
It you stop and consider you might as well say you pay around $240 a year in advance per dog to go in for wellness exams. So I think I'm saving a little bit of money and have more of an incentive to take them in for exams.
Also throughout the year if your dog has an ear infection or anal gland problems, needs toe nails clipped, eye infections, abcesses, any of those little problems that pop up, all you pay for is the meds, not the exam or the office call. If I didn't have the wellness plan, I would probably try to fix the problem myself with a home remedy which usually isn't the best thing to do.
OK I am a few years late, and I would have at the time said the same thing. BANFIELD IS TERRIFIC. My sister has them for her dog, and has had them for her dog since she rescued him. I still think they are great for what they provide, which is a easy way to pay for the basic health care for your dog or cat. BUT.... this is the part I hate. When you NEED them, for a really sick animal or special blood tests that are not during the 2 routine exams per year, the plan DOES NOT COVER THEM. My sisters dog had to have his tail removed, they told her it was a emergency and that it was so infected etc etc etc.... the charge? a whopping $800.00!!!! and that was not including the medications they sent him home with, which was also not discounted. Why do I think the surgery was over priced? Because my mothers lab had cancer 3 years previous in her tail and another private vet did the biopsy for $300.00. - because my mother didnt want to remove the tail unless necessary. That cost was the complete surgery, pain meds, antibiotics and the biopsy.... when it came back cancer. The cost to remove the tail? $500.00. Seems strange that Banfield charged the same amount but used half the medications. They only had to put the dog out once, only had to use the sugery suite once, and only had to provide the medications... ONCE. So why was the cost so much more? also My sisters dog is sick once more, and they want to do a complete blood workup and x rays, ultra sound etc. Well he just had his physical 3 months ago, and has been sick since. And the tail was removed about the same time. Why are they saying none of this service would be covered under the plan? oh it will be "discounted" at their inflated rate, just like the tail removal. So my sister is now deciding whether its worth keeping the plan. We both agree that its TERRIFIC for young dogs, low cost neutering, and yearly vaccines. But what happens when your dog gets older?? BTW she has the middle of the road insurance on her dog. And takes him for each and every one of his checkups, gets ALL THE SHOTS, heartworm all year, frontline, etc. She doesnt skimp on his food either.. Anyone else had this problem??
Banfield is a ripoff. Read consumer complaints everywhere on the net. They over vaccinate dogs and cats for disease they are not exposed to risking cancer from the vaccine. American Veterinary association has had it in place for years that paets onlyeed to be vaccinated one every 3 years and even then only for the things it is exposed to. Banfielsd gives way too many c=vaccines. Those vaccines cost $1 each and you are being charged $20 a month not including the $100 fee to join the plan. It adds up to a lot every year and all it covers is too many vaccines. Nothing else. Get a good vet who doesn't charge you for things your dog or cat doesn't need. Also get online and read of the danger of overvaccination. Be fair to your pet.
ok so here's the schpeel on banfield. First off you need to make sure you're going to a good banfield...remember you don't have to take everything they offer (as far as vaccinations go and whatnot, you can limit them on that stuff) but they are a good resource and your go-to-support for advice. I've gone to a few different banfields and they all have great resources. THe Wellness plan is great to an extent but you have to complement it with accident coverage (which, if you get the stripped version is very cheap). All in all to get the kind of coverage you want for your pet, you're going to need to spend about 30-50 dollars depending on the breed and type of coverage. Usually the insurance will cover medication and flea stuff (with some) while Banfield takes care of the preventative stuff. It's good value when you do the math though. Especially with all of the tests that you can get done at Banfield.
I am going through a related dilemma- in the 10 days I have had my pup I have taken him to a local vet twice, once for a check up and then the 2nd time to get some medication for his coccidias. They are so friendly there and small and personable, but they are so highly priced! A good friend takes her dog to Banfield and she praises the Wellness Plan. We have an upcoming appointment at banfield but i'm conflicted now that we have built rapport at this other vet.
i don't want to seem like a bad 'parent' but financially i don't know how much we could pay at this other vet. i'm really leaning towards banfield.
I use to work for Petsmart and this is what I was told about Banfield from one of the trainers. Just so you know she had been with Petsmart for 13 years. She said that Banfield was over priced and that you were much better off taking your pets to an emergency clinic. She said that you may never see the same vet twice. She started using another vet when they advised her to amputate her goldens leg because he had fractured it. Now, I want you all to know that I am only telling you what she told me. I think people have to research their vet. What might work for some may not work for others.