6 min read

VCA Wellness vs. Wag! Wellness

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By Leslie Ingraham

Published: 12/30/2021, edited: 12/30/2021

Save on pet insurance for your pet

You don't have to choose between your pet and your wallet when it comes to expensive vet visits. Prepare ahead of time for unexpected vet bills by finding the pawfect pet insurance.

Overview

Every pet parent wants their fur baby to live a long, healthy, and happy life. When your pup becomes ill or injured, pet health insurance can help with veterinary expenses. But what about the routine year in and year out wellness visits that keep our pets in good health the rest of the time? 

Vaccinations, wellness exams, routine diagnostic tests and procedures, and other expenses can put a major dent in our budgets. The average cost of preventative care can range from $120 to $650 a year. This is where wellness plans can make a financial difference, as well as create peace of mind.

In this guide, we'll compare two popular wellness plans: VCA and Wag! Wellness. These are not insurance plans – they don’t cover swallowed socks and infections. What they do cover, however, are items such as annual or bi-annual routine vet visits and diagnostic testing, along with fecal exams and more. Read on to see which plan might be best for you and your pet.

black and white border collie puppy - get routine wellness checkups for your dog

Overview of VCA CareClub wellness plans

The VCA CareClub wellness plan is owned and operated by Veterinary Centers of America, Inc. which operates over 1,000 VCA hospitals throughout the country. 


The plan is divided into six categories – three for dogs and three for cats, covering kittens and puppies to senior care. Each level also has a “plus” category that offers more services than the basic plan. In order to be a member of the VCA wellness plan, pet parents must take their furries to a VCA hospital. 

One monthly premium for each level covers a variety of preventative care services. As with all wellness plans, VCA has its pros and cons: 

Pros:

  • Unlimited vet visits including live, 24/7 chats with a vet available through their app

  • Up to a 25% discount on common pet products when you use their wellness plan services

  • No upper age limit and no waiting periods

Cons:

  • The plan will only cover pet care at its own VCA hospitals

  • The plans appear to be more expensive than some other plans

  • The plan requires an annual contract, with consumer reported price increases every year


How much does a VCA wellness plan cost?

In New York City, VCA basic wellness plans carry monthly membership fees of $89.95 for senior dogs, $70.99 for adult dogs, and $94.99 for puppies. In less expensive cities such as Raleigh, NC, the monthly premiums are $87.99 for seniors, $46.99 for adult dogs, $50.99 for puppies. The relatively expensive premiums make the plan most cost-effective for very young pets and seniors who will utilize more of the services covered under the VCA umbrella. There are no discounts offered for multiple pets. To apply for a wellness plan with VCA you must enroll through an individual VCA hospital. Most VCA hospitals offer a $20 discount for first visits.

Plans require an annual contract, and premiums can be paid monthly or annually. There is a penalty for canceling the contract before the annual period has expired. 


What’s covered?

Junior Paws Puppy Wellness (under 12 months)

  • 3 wellness examinations per year

  • Unlimited visits for minor concerns such as skin, coat, and weight 

  • 2 fecal exams per year

  • Up to 3 deworming procedures per year

  • All 7 standard, vet-recommended puppy vaccines

  • Microchip, plus 1-year membership for the Home Again location service

Junior Paws + 

  • All of the above, plus spay/neutering (including surgery, preoperative blood and urine tests, fluids, anesthesia, and post-op pain meds)

Adult Paws (7 months to 6 years)

  • 1 annual and 1 semi-annual wellness exam

  • Unlimited visits to address concerns

  • All 7 doctor-recommended vaccines 

  • Diagnostic blood tests to check for tick-borne illnesses, thyroid disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease, among others.

  • Microchip if needed, plus 1-year membership in Home Again

Adult Paws + 

  • All of the above plus 1 annual dental cleaning and exam

Senior Paws

  • Increased diagnostic testing (including screening x-rays and blood pressure screening)

  • 2 wellness exams a year

  • All doctor-recommended senior vaccines

  • One dental cleaning and exam per year

  • Microchip if needed and 1 year of Home Again membership

Junior Paws Kitten (Up to 12 months old)

  • All 4 required kitten vaccinations

  • 3 wellness exams per year

  • 2 fecal exams per year

  • Up to 3 deworming procedures per year

  • Unlimited exams to address routine concerns

  • Microchip and 1-year membership in Home Again

Junior Paws + Kitten 

All of the above services plus spay/neuter surgery (with pre-op tests, anesthesia, fluids, surgery, post-op care, and pain medications)

Adult Paws Cat (7 months to 6 years)

  • 2 wellness visits per year

  • Diagnostic blood tests

  • Adult vaccines (4)

  • Unlimited exams to address routine concerns

  • Microchip and 1-year membership to Home Again

Adult Paws Cat +

All of the above plus: 

  • Annual dental cleaning and exam

  • Early disease detection for diabetes, infection, anemia, kidney issues, liver disease, and low platelet count

Senior Paws Cat

Includes all services in the Adult Paws plan and:

  • Regular checkups 

  • Increased diagnostic care with extra testing including urinalysis and thyroid screening

Senior Paws Cat +

All services in the Senior Paws plan, plus:

  • Annual dental cleaning and exams


Overview of Wag! Wellness Plan

two goldendoodle puppies playing ball in the grass - get a wellness plan this 2022

Wag! Wellness offers coverage with any veterinarian in any clinic in the U.S., so you can choose who treats your pet. There are 3 tiers of plans, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond, with varying costs and services included so that you, the pet parent, can decide which services are most important to you and your furry.  It’s easy to change plans annually with no added fees, and there aren't fees any or enrollment or reimbursement either.

Pros:

  • You can visit the vet and clinic of your choice

  • Reimbursements for covered services are for 100% of the cost. There are no caps on reimbursement amounts

  • There are no hidden extras and plan enrollments do not carry enrollment fees

Cons

  • Senior health screens are not covered

  • Dental cleaning isn’t included in any plan, but a dental add-on is available for the Platinum and Diamond plans

  • The Gold plan doesn’t cover anal gland expression, deworming, urine, or fecal exams. These services are covered under the Platinum and Diamond plans.


How much does a Wag! Wellness plan cost?

puppy - get a Wag! Wellness plan

The Wag! Wellness plan is charged as a fixed monthly premium with no added fees:

  • Gold: $14.95/month

  • Platinum: $29.95/month

  • Diamond: $59.95/month

Wag! Wellness also offers optional add-on services that allow you to choose the services you need in addition to your chosen plan:

  • Flea, tick, and heartworm meds: $19.95/month

  • Grooming: $19.95/month

  • Dental care: $29.95/month

  • Spay/neuter: $29.95/month


What’s covered?

Gold Plan

  • 1 wellness physical exam per year

  • 1 blood test per year

  • 1 round of diagnostics per year (including heartworm, liver, pancreas, thyroid, muscle, and bone panels)


Platinum Plan

  • 1 wellness physical exam per year

  • 6 vaccinations and boosters per year

  • 1 blood test per year

  • 1 round of diagnostics per year (including heartworm tests and liver, pancreas, thyroid, muscle, and bone panels)

  • Waived booking fees and VIP support for all Wag! services


Diamond Plan
  • 2 wellness physical exams per year

  • 9 vaccinations and boosters per year

  • 1 blood test per year

  • 1 round of diagnostics per year (including heartworm test and liver, pancreas, thyroid, muscle, and bone panels)

  • 2 deworming treatments per year

  • 2 urine and fecal tests per year

  • 2 anal gland expression procedures each year

  • Unlimited access to Wag! Health Vet Chat

  • 10% discount on all pet care services through the Wag! app (including dog walking, dog boarding and sitting, drop-in visits, in-home and virtual dog training, and cat sitting)

  • Waived booking fees and VIP support for all Wag! services


Flea, tick, and heartworm meds add-on

The flea, tick, and heartworm meds add-on covers all brands, including:


Grooming add-on

With the grooming add-on, you'll get $300 of services covered in a 12-month period, including:

  • Blow-dry

  • Haircut

  • Nail trims


Dental care add-on

Wag!’s add-on for dental cleaning covers up to $400 of dental expenses per year, including:


Spay/neuter add-on

The spay/neuter add-on covers up to $400 of spay/neuter expenses per year, including:

  • Pre-anesthesia blood tests and electrocardiogram

  • Anesthesia

  • Surgery

  • Prescribed medications for post-surgery pain management


VCA vs. Wag! – which is the right choice for my pet?

pet parent and dog is staring at each other - get a Wag! Wellness plan for 2022 for doggo

You have many choices of wellness plans, and the decision of which to choose is ultimately yours to make. You will need to think of the factors that will impact your decision, such as your budget and the services your pet needs.

With Wag!, you can take your pet to any veterinarian or clinic you choose – you’re not limited to one hospital system. You’ll pay one flat rate per month for routine preventative care, with no hidden fees or extra costs to surprise you. With the comprehensive, affordable add-on services on offer, you can also select additional coverage based on your pup’s needs.


Use our Wag! Wellness Plans comparison tool to find the right plan for your dog or cat. If you have questions, please leave a comment below!


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