The Dog Tale is reader-supported. We may earn a commission if you buy something through our site; this doesn’t change our recommendations.
It happens to every pet owner—your dog eats something they aren’t supposed to. Or you discover a concerning rash. Or you notice them limping. And most often these issues occur at night long after the vet has gone home.
It presents a frustrating dilemma. Do you take your dog to the expensive 24-hour emergency vet clinic? Do you wait until morning and risk the problem getting worse?
Fortunately, now you don’t have to choose. Pawp offers an affordable telehealth subscription that will allow you to chat with a real veterinarian at any time of the day, so you can get the answers you need when you need them. Plus, you’ll get access to emergency cash if you find out your pet’s ailment is critical and going to require expensive treatment. We’ll break down how it all works in this Pawp review.
In this review:
- What is Pawp?
- Our Pawp pet insurance review
- Is Pawp expensive?
- What does Pawp cover?
- What’s available in the Pawp pharmacy?
- Where is Pawp available?
- How does Pawp compare to other pet insurance options?
- Other Pawp reviews
What is Pawp?
Pawp is not technically pet insurance, but it can still help you pay for emergency vet bills. There are three things you get as a Pawp subscriber.
First, you get access to a $3,000 emergency fund for your pet. It works differently than insurance in both positive and negative ways, which we’ll explain more below. But the important thing to know is that you can get financial protection through Pawp.
The second element is a 24/7 telehealth app, so a vet’s advice is always just a tap away. You can use the vet chat as often as you like, and there are no fees to use it other than your monthly subscription. If you’re the type of pet owner who finds themself visiting the vet often for basic inquiries and ailments, or if you’re ever unsure whether you need to visit the vet, access to a service like Pawp’s could get you answers faster and save you money.
The third element is access to a member-exclusive online pharmacy with both OTC and Rx products at competitive prices. This may be a way for you to save on your pet’s medications moving forward.
Pawp pet insurance review
Compared to other pet insurance alternatives, we think Pawp is a really strong option. It joins two increasingly popular pet service industries into one app.
Pawp gives you some of the financial protection provided by insurance without all of the complicated hoops like deductibles and pre-existing conditions. Although you do receive more limited coverage through Pawp than a comprehensive insurance policy would offer, it could be a cost-effective option for pet owners who just want to know they’ll have help if they experience a life-threatening pet emergency.
The telehealth service is another extremely useful service. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fretted over whether I needed to visit the vet after my dog ate something he wasn’t supposed to, or after we noticed concerning symptoms of physical issues. Pawp removes the guesswork by putting you in touch with a team of licensed veterinarians in minutes.
They’ll be able to field questions like “My dog just at X, should I visit the vet?” or “My cat has thrown up three times in two days, how concerned should I be?”
The peace of mind that comes from qualified answers to these questions is worth the subscription price alone, and it will save you from hours of searching the internet for inconsistent information.
Our opinions on the general pros and cons of the service are below. But on the whole, we think Pawp is an affordable option worth checking out if you often find yourself wishing you could ask your vet a simple question without paying to visit the clinic, or if you want a little financial protection in case of a medical emergency with your dog or cat.
- Text or call, anywhere, anytime: Get unlimited consultations via text, phone, or video chat, so you never have to wonder how serious an issue is.
- Pre-existing conditions welcome: Pawp’s emergency fund can be used to pay for qualified vet emergency treatment, even if it’s related to a pre-existing condition. The pet insurance industry usually excludes this.
- No deductibles: You don’t have to worry about any co-pays, co-insurance, or deductibles before your coverage kicks in.
- You choose the vet: You can use Pawp’s emergency fund at any licensed vet office or emergency clinic.
- Pawp pays the vet directly: You send Pawp your invoice while you’re still at the clinic and they’ll review the claim and pay it within 30 minutes, so you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket.
- Six pets, one price: Your Pawp subscription covers up to six pets, so you’ll only need one subscription per household.
- Affordable: Pawp charges one flat rate of $24/month. This is cheaper than most pet insurance companies.
- Try it for free: The Dog Tale readers can try Pawp free for 7 days (just click the button in the price section below to get this offer).
- No Rx prescriptions: Pawp’s vets can’t write a prescription for issues that legally require in-person exams.
- Emergencies only: Pawp’s emergency fund can only be used for unexpected life-threatening emergencies. You can’t use it to pay for planned surgeries, preventative care, or the costs of rehabilitative treatment after a covered emergency. More substantial coverage can be purchased from a traditional insurance policy (learn more below).
- Only once per year: You can only access Pawp’s $3,000 emergency fund once per year, regardless of how much the claim is for. So if you experience a smaller claim early in the year, you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth paying out-of-pocket or seeking reimbursement.
- Waiting period: Just like with pet insurance, you’ll have to wait 14 days before you can use Pawp’s emergency fund coverage.
- Cats & dogs: Pawp’s emergency fund only applies to cats and dogs—no exotic animals.
How does Pawp work?
Using Pawp is as simple as opening the app on your phone.
Chatting with a vet
Chatting with a vet on Pawp is super easy. Just open the app on your phone or go to pawp.com to get started. You’ll log into your membership portal and then click “Talk To A Pro” to start a text chat or video call. If you opt for a text chat, you can still upload pictures or videos to help illustrate to the vet what your pet is experiencing.
Accessing the vet emergency fund
Accessing your emergency fund is also pretty straightforward. Follow the same steps above and click “Talk To A Pro.” Then select the red button that says “Having an emergency” to request a call.
Important: In order to activate the emergency fund, you have to complete a video call with one of Pawp’s representatives before taking your pet to the vet. Your pet must be present at the time of the call, and the Pawp expert will need verify that your pet is experiencing a qualified emergency. We’ll go into further detail about what qualifies as an emergency in the coverage section, below. For now, just note that if you have your pet admitted to the vet first, then try to access the emergency fund, you won’t be approved.
Pawp’s vet will quickly assess your pet’s situation and instruct you to go to the vet if necessary. Once your emergency fund is activated, you must have your pet seen by an in-person veterinarian within four hours or your claim won’t be covered. Pawp’s vets only approve claims in urgent emergencies, so delaying treatment by more than four hours could increase the risk of harm to your pet.
If your vet requires a deposit before providing treatment, you’ll need to pay that initially. Then, after they provide you with an itemized invoice, you’ll upload a picture of it to Pawp for their team to review. They will review it within 30 minutes and, if approved, they’ll call your vet to pay the bill with their company credit card. If you had to pay a deposit, they’ll cover that portion (as long as the total balance is less than $3,000), and you can receive reimbursement for your deposit from the vet.
Pawp always pays the vet directly to minimize your out-of-pocket costs. This is unlike most pet insurance providers, which require you to pay first then seek reimbursement.
Note: Pawp’s emergency fund only covers one emergency per year. This is one of the negative aspects of the service compared to pet insurance. If you experience a less severe emergency, you’ll have to decide for yourself whether you want to use your one annual claim then or save it for later. Regardless, you can always contact Pawp’s team to seek guidance on the type of care your pet needs. Fortunately, it would be fairly easy to recoup an entire year’s subscription fees with a single qualifying claim.
Is Pawp expensive?
No! Pawp costs just $24 per month. This is substantially less than most pet insurance policies (although it’s also less substantial coverage than most pet insurance companies offer).
That one fee will cover up to six pets in your household. When you consider the fact that you get both a 24/7 vet chat service and emergency fund coverage, and you don’t have to make any long-term commitments, we think this is a reasonable price to pay.
However, if you’re still unsure, we have a special offer. The Dog Tale readers can try Pawp free for seven days through the button below, so there’s no risk to see if Pawp is right for you.
What does Pawp cover?
Pawp covers emergencies. These are defined as life-threatening situations (as confirmed by a Pawp veterinary professional), based on the signs and symptoms they see your pet exhibiting when you conduct your approval call.
A few examples of emergencies are:
- Severe intestinal blockages
- Choking or difficulty breathing
- Ingestion of toxic substances
- Severe external injuries
Note that Pawp does cover emergencies stemming from pre-existing conditions. This is in contrast to traditional pet insurance, which always excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions.
For example, let’s say your pet has a known heart health condition. If that issue creates an urgent situation where your pet requires medical attention to save their life, Pawp would likely cover that scenario.
What’s not covered?
Pawp does not cover:
- Pre-planned surgeries
- Routine checkups or vaccinations
- Parasite prevention
- Grooming expenses
- Spaying or neutering
- Non-emergency visits (such as if your dog has a non-life-threatening rash)
- Emergencies that occur before or during the 14-day waiting period after you join
- Emergencies not first cleared with Pawp’s team
- Care that takes place more than 4 hours after Pawp’s team has activated your emergency fund
- Follow-up appointments that occur after a covered emergency
- Emergencies that stem from your own neglect
- Emergency care for pets other than dogs or cats
You can review Pawp’s Emergency Fund Policy for an exhaustive list of scenarios that may not be covered.
What’s available in the Pawp pharmacy?
Pawp’s online pharmacy has both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription (Rx) products. Some of these are Pawp’s own products and some are from other trusted brands, such as Heartgard.
You can get competitive, member-exclusive prices on a wide range of medications, including:
- Flea & tick
- Heartworm & dewormers
- Eye & ear care
- Allergies, skin, & itching
- Oral care
- Pain relief & arthritis
- Additional miscellaneous health conditions
To visit the Pawp pharmacy, you need to login at Pawp.com, then click on “Pharmacy” on the left navigation pane. If you order an Rx product, you’ll need to upload your prescription during the checkout process to complete your purchase. If you don’t have one, Pawp will cancel and refund your order.
Can I get a prescription for my pet through Pawp?
You can’t get a prescription through Pawp. Due to legal regulations on the telehealth industry, Pawp’s vets are not allowed to write you a new Rx prescription without a physical examination. However, they will be able to help you decide if it’s necessary to visit your local vet for one, and they also offer access to an online pharmacy with exclusive prices on Rx medicines you do have a prescription for.
Where is Pawp available?
Pawp is available in all 50 states, and you can take your pet to any licensed vet or emergency pet clinic in the U.S.
How does Pawp compare to other pet insurance options?
When comparing Pawp with other options, you should consider both traditional insurance companies as well as other pet insurance alternatives.
Pawp vs pet insurance
While it offers some similar benefits, Pawp is different from pet insurance in many ways.
For example, pet insurance typically requires you to pay a deductible before your coverage kicks in. Pet insurance also excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions. Pawp doesn’t do either of those things.
However, a pet insurance plan will also typically offer coverage with a higher annual limit than $3,000, you can make multiple claims in a year, and coverage isn’t just limited to emergencies. It typically covers most accidents and illnesses, regardless of whether they’re considered an emergency.
Some pet insurance companies even offer policy add-ons that can qualify you for limited reimbursement for things like spay/neuter procedures, grooming, and dental cleanings. Our favorite option that does so is Lemonade Pet.
Lemonade’s pet insurance policies start at just $9.99 per month (although most pets will cost more). You can get accident and illness coverage for up to $100,000 per year as well as optional wellness coverage for routine care, vaccinations, and even grooming. Plus, wellness subscribers get access to online medical chat, similar to Pawp. You can learn more about it in our Lemonade Pet Insurance review.
Wagmo is another traditional pet insurance brand. The company offers coverage for up to $10,000 per incident and $100,000 over a pet’s lifetime for covered accidents and illnesses. It also offers up to 100% reimbursement rates and three tiers of wellness coverage, if you want reimbursement for routine pet care, vaccinations, and dental cleanings. You can learn more in our Wagmo Pet Insurance review.
Pumpkin is a final option. This traditional pet insurance company offers both accident and illness coverage as well as some wellness add-on options. In our experience, though, it may be more expensive than Lemonade, above. You can learn more in our Pumpkin Pet Insurance review.
It may be worth getting a quote from each insurance company to see what you’d pay for your desired coverage, and to compare it with Pawp.
Pawp vs other pet insurance alternatives
Eusoh is a community-based pet health sharing plan, where you help pay for your neighbor’s vet expenses, and they help you pay for yours. It works similarly to pet insurance, but it may be a cheaper option for some pet owners. However, Eusoh will cost more than Pawp.
PetAssure is a veterinary discount program, not insurance. By joining and paying a very low monthly cost, you can score an automatic 25% discount at the vet. However, you have to take your pet to a vet in PetAssure’s network. If your current vet is a part of that network, joining PetAssure is a no-brainer. However, it’s not really a replacement for Pawp, since it doesn’t offer any online chat feature or very robust financial protection.
If your primary interest in Pawp is the veterinary chat feature, there are a few other digital clinics to consider.
FirstVet is the first option you should check out. While FirstVet doesn’t offer any emergency coverage element, it allows you to choose between two tiers of vet chat support: $35 for a single consultation, or $90 for unlimited annual chats. This is cheaper than Pawp for those who don’t care about the financial protection element. And you can get $5 off your first consultation.
FirstVet also offers prescriptions in select states, and it’s available in a few other countries as well: Sweden, Finland, Germany, the United States, Norway, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.
Vetster and AskVet are two more telehealth options, but they don’t offer much that makes them stand out from FirstVet or Pawp.
Like Pawp, Vetster also offers vet video chat and an online pharmacy, so you can have your pet’s Rx prescriptions sent directly to your door. Vetster is also free to sign up for, but you’ll pay a fee each time you book a digital appointment with a vet. Knowing how often our dog gets into mischief, we like the unlimited chat options from Pawp and FirstVet. Vetster doesn’t offer any financial protection element.
AskVet does offer both a chat service and an emergency fund feature for things like toxic ingestion and blockages. However, their emergency fund is lower (only $1,000), and you have to accrue it over time rather than gain access to it all immediately. We think Pawp is a better option in this sense.
Other Pawp reviews
“We talk to Pawp vets daily. Being able to ask a vet a question 24/7 is such a blessing. So many costly things that would be “day of” vet visits were solved with a 5-minute conversation at home. They also completely covered our dog’s emergency surgery!”
“I’ve used Pawp twice when I wasn’t sure if it was an emergency and I was facetiming a vet in less than a minute. It’s saved me spending on things that don’t need an urgent visit. When I did have a real emergency, I was able to go to the vet of my choice.”
“My boy had an emergency at 5am and I contacted Pawp to ask for advice and see if I should take him in. The vet saw my dog’s symptoms and suggested to take him in. Once he was evaluated, Pawp did not hesitate to pay the bill. Pawp is truly a lifesaver.”