Win a Pet First Aid Kit and Collapsible Water Bowl! CLOSED

**This giveaway, held in conjunction with, is closed. Congratulations to Tara L., Lisa D., Murphy’s Momma, Dara N., and Rachel, our winners out of 133 total entries!**

We’ve got a really unique giveaway to offer you: we have 5 pet first aid kits and 5 collapsible pet water bowls for our readers from VPI Pet Insurance and ALL YOU magazine!

We all know that the cost of health care is rising…and that includes our pets’ health care costs, too. We were reminded of that just last week when our cat Felix woke up feeling poorly (with no hint of problems the night before). We suspected urinary tract blockage and it was; he spent three days at the vet’s office and, with his stay and his medication, the cost came to almost $600.

While we’re all familiar with the routine costs of immunizations and annual wellness visits, it’s hard to know just how much to budget for those kinds of unexpected health problem in your dogs and cats. We have pet insurance on our dogs and our younger cats (Felix and Linus, our older cats, are 11 and too old for most pet insurance policies). We know that many people instead “self-insure” by putting away money each month in a savings account to use just in case of veterinary emergencies…but how much would you need to set aside for common problems?

VPI Pet Insurance has now created a handy online tool that’s free to use (you don’t even have to give it an email address to use it). Just go to and enter your pet’s name, species (dog or cat), breed (there’s a mixed breed option, too), age, and your zip code. It comes back with a customized estimate of the most common problems your pet might have based on his species, breed, and age. Here’s the calculator that we ran for our dog Tiki:

If you click on any of the links in your calculator results, it will tell you more about the particular illness or emergency. It was very interesting to see the results and their costs (and, judging from our recent expenditures on Felix’s urinary tract blockage and our cat Linus’s tooth extraction, the costs even seem a little bit low!)

How to Enter

To enter to win one of the five sets of pet first aid kits and collapsible water bowls, just visit and check the cost of care for a dog of your dog’s breed and age. Leave a comment below (using either the FB or the WordPress comment box below) with what it says is the most common problem and its cost for your dog’s breed and age and you’ll be entered to win! (If you have a cat, pop over to our CatTipper giveaway and enter to win a first aid kit and bowl for your cat by leaving a comment on your cat’s most common problem and cost on that post!)

We have a total of five sets to be given away; they’ll be selected at random using from all entries on both DogTipper and CatTipper. This giveaway is open to readers in the US and Canada. You can enter once per pet. The giveaway ends July 13, 2011.

Disclosure: We received the prizes of the first aid kits and bowls from VPI Pet Insurance and ALL YOU magazine. We were not paid for our review or giveaway and all opinions are entirely our own.


FUREVER YOURS Bracelet - 3 finishes

Wear this reminder on your wrist of the commitment you have made to your dogs, and they have made to you. Whether they live at your side or in your heart, your pets will be FUREVER YOURS. Use coupon code PAWS and save 15%. Free US shipping!

About Paris Permenter & John Bigley

Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the award-winning authors of over 30 pet and travel books as well as the founders and publishers of CatTipper and DogTipper.

  • Heather Fetter

    Benign Skin Growth $460 for my 4YO Boxer

  • Lara Braddy

    Jake is a 3-year old German Short-hair Pointer. The most problem is a Laceration or Bite Wound.

  • Tara Landers

    Allergy-Related Skin Problems – $180, for my 3YO mixed breed

  • sara

    Allergy-Related Skin Problems

    sara (at) theniffs (dot) com

    • sara

      Sorry this is for a 2 year old mix breed

  • JC

    Slipped Spinal Disc Surgery – Yorkie $3946

  • I received this message when I tried to check on my my 16 year old lab’s cost of care. “Unfortunately, the Cost of Care Planner is not available for pets older than 10. To view the Cost of Care for a 9-year-old Labrador Retriever”

    For a 9 year old Labrador Retriever – Benign Skin Growth $510.

  • Anne Maria Tafoya

    It says for dog the age and breed of Sophia the number one problem is:
    Upset Stomach/Vomiting $300

  • Sharon

    I have 2 viszlas and skin growth at $400.00 followed by upset stomach/vomiting $370.00 and bladder infection $310.00 Schooner is 21 months and Skipper is 14 months old.

  • Mami2jcn

    The number one problem for our new poodle puppy is Ear Infection

  • Denise

    Tooth extraction from infection – $450.00 for my 4.5 year old long haired chihuahua.

  • My first dog didn’t even quality to have a quote – she’s a 12 year old Chow.

    My second dog has skin-related problems as her #1 problem for $180. And I know we’ve already exceeded that amount for her dry skin and hair loss issues!

  • Linda Kish

    For my almost 10 y/o min pin the most common problem is Allergy-Related Skin Problems at $200.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  • cate

    9 year old mixed breed, Scout, benign skin growth at $480, which he already has!

  • Adriana

    My mixed breed’s number one problem would be an ear infection-$150!

  • Jess

    8/9 month old Pit Bull (mix): Allergy-Related Skin Problems @ $150
    1 1/2 year old German Shepherd (we think) (mix): Slipped Spinal Disc Surgery @ $4236

    Well … our “GSD” is a mixed breed so I hope that doesn’t end up being a problem! My bf doesn’t have him insured currently, though I constantly try to convince him it’s a good idea. Maybe this will help!!

  • Teresa

    9 year old Corgi (mix): Benign Skin Growth – $400. Actually just had 7 growths removed on him last week. With teeth cleaning and biopsy of 2, everything came to $625.

  • Sharon

    The most common problem for my husky is Allergy-Related Skin Problems, with a cost of 210.

  • Michelle Waldron

    $370.00 for a benign skin growth for my 3 1/2 yr old Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier girl Snickers.

  • Marisa

    The most common problem for my 6 year-old mix is Urinary Urethra Cancer. I hope she doesn’t get it, it sounds so painful! 🙁

  • Kelly

    Ear Infection $170 – Newfoundland

  • They did not have my specific breed of dog which is a Shiloh Shepard so closet relative is German Shepard. Harley is 2 years 5 months and weighs 130lbs a lean machine. Check out my website at if you are not sure what a Shiloh Shepard is…

    Allergy-Related Skin Problems


  • Danielle E.

    for a cocker spaniel Ear Infection $180

  • Most common was “allergy related skin problem” at $180.00 Kirby eats Honest Kitchen and Addiction so we have bypassed this one. Notice #4 was “Bitewound” at $300.00. Kirby was bitten by a large dog a year ago and it cost way more than that! Fortunately the owner paid all the medical bills. That same week I purchased pet insurance knowing I would have to get a loan if necessary to pay his medical bills if something happened.

  • Joann

    Quorra is a 5 month old Pomeranian, and the calculation concluded that the number 1 common problem was upset stomach/vomiting which would cost $300.00!

  • Redo because apparently I can’t follow instructions!

    Kirby is my 2 years 5 months 3 weeks and 6 days old as of today Dorkie (Dachshund/Yorkie). His most common illness is “allergy related skin problem” at $180.00. Kirby eats Honest Kitchen and Addiction so we have bypassed this one.

    Noticed #4 was “Bitewound” at $300.00. Kirby was bitten by a large dog a year ago and it cost way more than that! Fortunately the owner paid all the medical bills. That same week I purchased pet insurance knowing I would have to get a loan if necessary to pay his medical bills if something happened.

  • Michelle

    Allergy related skin problem will be $180, kennel cough is $150, and bladder infection is $290.

  • Kelly Ann T.

    My dog is 12 so I used the year 2001 and it told me arthritis is the number one problem in Alaskan Malamutes. Milele is doing very well but a high quality food and suppliments have helped her stay in shape.

  • Nita

    I have a Cavachon & so far she’s healthy.

  • Ashley C

    The most common problem for my 8 month old boxer is allergy related skin problems which costs $180…

    The truth is we got her from a breeder that kept her in unclean conditions and she had coccidia when we get her… unfortunately we didn’t know until much later after several tests and failed medicines. She is much better now and I’m hoping our next vet visit is just for her yearly shots!

  • Christie

    Most common problem for my 5 year old pug, Rascal, is an ear infection which can cost $160.

  • Christy W.

    Cocker – $180 ear infection – Yuck!

  • Lora G

    Storm – 7 year old Labrador retriever – Benign skin Growth $510

  • Amy

    I have Meli, a 13-month-old Goldendoodle puppy. Since that breed isn’t on the list, I looked at them both and the most common problem is an ear infection (both for Golden Retreivers and Poodles) for $180.00

  • Pam Fuesz

    Most common problem is allergy related skin problems. The cost is $190. Holly has so many allergies, this is not a surprise.

  • Mariela

    My 6 year old Shih tzu is most susceptible to common skin allergies ($200) and the breed commonly suffers from a slipped spinal disc (3439).

  • Hmmmm …don’t see my post again. 🙁

  • My Boxer boy is almost 9 … getting up there for a Boxer. We lost one of our girls at Christmas time due to DM complications … she was almost 12. Still makes my heart ache when I think of it … miss her every day. 🙁

    Calculator results say – #1 Benign Skin Growth $510

    Hug your doggies,

    Sheba’s tribute >>>

  • Mine says, “benign skin growth $370”

  • My dog Dunkin (Bernese Mountain Dog) His worst problem would be
    Upset Stomach/Vomiting
    $330 he is almost 2 years old 🙂 hope I win for my Dunkin 🙂

  • My other dog Tobey (a German Shepherd) is 1 years old his worst problem would be
    Slipped Spinal Disc Surgery

  • I visited their site and I have 2 bichon frise’s and a lab retriever and 3 cats. It would cost me a small fortune for insurance. I wish I would have gotten insurance for my bichons when i first got them. They have cost me a fortune. They had to have both back legs operated on from knee dislocation and had to have metal plates put in. It was hereditary and each surgery cost 6000.00 or more x 4. One had a bladder stone and now they have new growths that need to be removed and teeth cleaned. Insurance would have been totally worth it!!!! Rita Spratlen

  • carol lopez

    Holly was our first Boxer, we lost her to cancer a few years ago, I still miss her. Chemo treatments were very expensive, but thank God for VPI insurance which helped alot. We got another Boxer Maggie a few months after we lost Holly, and when she was 9 months old she had to have a tumor removed that was cancer. Again thank God for VPI. Hopefully we do not have to go through it again, so far so good with Maggie!

  • We have two 8-month-old miniature dachshund puppies. Not completely surprising since they sample and/or eat anything and everything in sight, their most common problem at this age is upset stomach/vomiting at a cost of $300 each.

  • Murphy’s momma

    For my 6 yr old collie Murphy, the most common problem would be Allery-Related Skin Problems with an estimated cost of $210.

  • Matt P

    Our Yellow Lab’s most common health issue is an ear infection @ $180.

  • Neal Trautloff

    Tooth Extraction from Infection $390 for Killer she’s a Chichuchua age 6
    (good thing is she has great teeth and we take very good care of them =])

  • Cynthia

    Allergy-Related Skin Problems, $190

  • Veronica

    For my three and a half year old Chihuahua, the most common problem is Allergy-Related Skin Problems, costing $160. Unfortunately, it’s pretty accurate. My poor itchy pup. 🙁

  • Lanae

    For my 13 year old golden retriever and lab mix it made me put in 9 years old instead. It said
    Benign Skin Growth: $510.

  • Lanae

    For my 9 year old corgi and pomeranian mix it said Allergy-Related Skin Problems: $180.

  • Tali

    For my 5-month old Boxer, it says allergy-related skin problems, $180.