Breed-Specific Conditions and Pet Insurance for Basset Hounds


Ru Chen

- Updated February 29, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Basset Hounds are prone to obesity, GDV, ear infections, and spinal conditions
  • Treatment costs can be expensive
  • Pet insurance helps offset high costs of treatment
Breed-Specific Conditions and Pet Insurance for Basset Hounds

Basset Hounds are a distinctive, endearing dog breed known for their droopy ears, long bodies, and soulful eyes. Due to their unique appearance and needs, it’s important for dog owners to beware the breed-specific conditions that Basset Hounds can suffer.

In this guide, we will go over what you should know about Basset Hounds’ breed-specific conditions, how to manage them, and how pet insurance can help.

Common Health Conditions in Basset Hounds

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

The long backs and short legs of Basset Hounds make them susceptible to intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). If the cushion between one or more vertebrae ruptures or falls out of place, the disc can end up pressing on the spinal cord. Symptoms of IVDD often include:

  • Inability to jump or go up stairs
  • Limited mobility
  • Severe back pain
  • Hunched back
  • Paralysis

IVDD is considered a medical emergency for dogs. If your Basset Hound presents with the symptoms of IVDD, it is critical to bring them quickly to a veterinary clinic. Severe cases can result in paralysis that requires surgery to handle. Other treatment options include anti-inflammatory medications, pain management, and physical therapy.

Some precautions can be taken to reduce the chances of your Basset Hound suffering from IVDD. Try buying ramps and steps for your dog to use in order to reduce the stress on their back as they move up and down furniture. Your vet can give expert recommendations on how you can keep your Basset Hound safe and sound, whether at home or traveling.

Ear Infections

Unfortuntaely, Basset Hounds’ signature, adorable ears are prone to infections. These long, droopy ears create a warm and moist environment that is ideal for bacterial growth. Wax and dirt buildup also contribute to ear infections.

Ear infections can come with the following symptoms in Basset Hounds:

  • Persistent pawing and scratching at the ears
  • Foul odor from the ears
  • Redness and swellness in the ear
  • Ear pain and sensitivity when touched

Treatment options include medications and professional ear cleanings. In case of severe ear infections, oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications may also be necessary.

To prevent ear infections in Basset Hounds, it is important to follow best ear care practices. Vets will typically make the following types of recommendations when it comes to caring for a Basset Hound’s ears:

  • Routine checkups of the ears
  • Dietary and lifestyle modifications
  • Maintain good ear hygiene

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) is also known as bloat. It is a life-threatening condition in dogs, characterized by the stomach twisting and getting filled with air, food, or fluid. GDV is a highly dangerous condition that can develop without warning and progress quickly. If you suspect your Basset Hound has bloat, it is critical to head to the vet immediately since this is an emergency.

GDV symptoms in a Basset Hound can include:

  • Stomach distension
  • Retching
  • Stomach pain
  • Salivation
  • Shock
  • Slow pulse

To treat GDV, the veterinarian will likely first address the shock that the Basset Hound is going through. After handling the shock, the vet will perform emergency treatment, which involves surgery.

The exact causes for bloat in a Basset Hound are often difficult to pin down. However, preventive measures can still be taken to decrease the chances of a dog suffering from bloat. Here are some precautions you might want to take:

  • Break up your dog’s meals
  • Limit water after food
  • Ensure food is not eaten too quickly
  • Avoid exercising after eating


Basset Hounds are large, lovable dogs, but they are also low-energy with short legs. They don’t move around as much as other large dogs. Now, add on the propensity of Basset Hounds to overeat, and they have naturally become prone to obesity.

Obesity in dogs is associated with numerous health risks that can cause long lasting issues throughout a Basset Hound’s life. Here are the health risks commonly associated with obesity in dogs:

  • Decreased mobility
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Hypothyroidism

To avoid obesity in your Basset Hound, avoid giving them human food or scraps from the table. Diet restrictions and regular exercise can also help them prevent excessive weight gain. Bring your Basset Hound to the veterinarian for routine checkups and professional advice regarding your dog’s diet and exercise plan. A vet can determine what weight loss strategies and diet management plans are best suited for your beloved Basset Hound.

Hip and elbow dysplasia

The short legs of Basset Hounds lead them to be vulnerable to hip and elbow dysplasia. Dysplasia involves an abnormal development of a joint. In this case, both a Basset Hound’s hip and elbow are prone to dysplasia, with the ball and socket of the joints not fitting tightly together. Over time, dysplasia can lead to arthritis and muscle atrophy, causing significant pain.

There is no cure for hip dysplasia in dogs. However, treatments exist to reduce the negative impact of dysplasia. To deal with hip and elbow dysplasia, a vet may prescribe joint supplements and painkillers. Since obesity is a common problem in Basset Hounds as well, which can worsen the effects of dysplasia, a vet may also recommend a weight loss and rehabilitation program. If your Basset Hound’s dysplasia is debilitating, surgery may also be necessary.


Importance of Pet Insurance for Basset Hounds

Pet insurance is important for any dog owner to have. Here are the main reasons you should obtain pet insurance if you have or plan to get a Basset Hound.

Financial Protection Against Veterinary Expenses

Having pet insurance can help cover the costs of treating your Basset Hound’s breed-specific health conditions. Basset Hounds typically live between 10 to 12 years, costing pet owners up to $10,000 over their lifespan. Even if a pet owner is prepared to pay these costs, unexpected medical expenses can make them difficult. Emergency veterinary bills for conditions such as bloat and IVDD can result in financial trouble for pet owners. Without pet insurance, urgent vet bills can be too expensive upfront, resulting in the need for loans or high credit usage.

That’s where pet insurance comes in. If you have active coverage, you can file a claim after receiving your vet invoice. The pet insurance company will review your claim and reimburse you according to your coverage terms. A good pet insurance policy can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars across your Basset Hound’s lifetime.

Coverage for Breed-Specific Conditions

Since there are many breed-specific conditions that affect Basset Hounds, make sure you select a pet insurance plan that offers coverage for issues, such as:

  • Bloat
  • Ear infections
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease
  • Obesity

Peace of mind

Taking care of a pet is a big responsibility. Knowing you have financial protection in the form of an insurance safety net can reduce the stress of looking after a pet, especially a sick one. If you need to take your Basset Hound to the vet often for a chronic condition such as obesity, pet insurance can make a real difference in offsetting the expenses and stress of the frequent visits.


How to Find Pet Insurance for Basset Hounds

Research Pet Insurance Providers

It can be tricky to find a reputable pet insurance company that offers affordable coverage that is suitable for a Basset Hound.

If you are shopping for pet insurance, check out our expertly chosen top insurance companies. These insurance companies provide some of the best coverage options for pet owners, along with perks and customization options that allow you to tailor the policy according to your Basset Hound’s needs. Our favorite pet insurance companies include:

Consider Coverage Type

There are three main types of pet insurance coverage: accident-only coverage, accident and illness coverage, and wellness plans. Each type has its own pros and cons, so it is important to weigh them carefully before choosing what aligns best with you and your Basset Hound’s needs. Let’s go over what each type of coverage offers.

Accident-only pet insurance: As the name suggests, accident-only pet insurance only covers vet expenses related to accidents. Broken bones, swallowed toys, and bite wounds are some common accidents that are conveniently covered by accident-only pet insurance.

Accident and illness pet insurance: This type of pet insurance is also known as comprehensive coverage. On top of accident coverage, it also covers treatments for both major and minor illnesses. However, note that most pet insurance providers do not cover pre-existing conditions.

Wellness plan: This type of coverage is not technically a pet insurance product. It is instead sold as an add-on, and it provides financial reimbursements for routine checkups and preventive care. Wellness plans can be an excellent way to help you offset the costs of the routine exams for Basset Hounds that are necessary for obesity and other breed-specific health conditions.

Review Policy Coverage

While each insurance policy’s coverage details depends on the provider, the standard factors to review when it comes to pet insurance remain the same. Here are the main considerations to keep in mind when buying an insurance policy for your Basset Hound.

Premium: The pet insurance premium is how much you will need to pay every month for active insurance coverage. A higher premium usually means more comprehensive coverage, but make sure you choose a policy that falls within your budget.

Deductible: The pet insurance deductible is the dollar amount you need to reach before insurance kicks in to cover the rest.

Company reputation: It’s important to find a pet insurance provider with a good reputation. Look at online reviews from dog owners, and Basset Hound owners in particular. That way, you can get a good idea of whether the company is trustworthy and offers an easy claims process.

Limitations and exclusions: Pet insurance policies have various expenses that are excluded from coverage. For example, most policies deny coverage for treatment costs for pre-existing conditions. You also need to see if your Basset Hound meets the age and breed requirements for the insurance policy.

Waiting period: Most pet insurers implement a waiting period after you purchase insurance. This can be a few days or a month. Any expenses or conditions diagnosed during this period will not be covered by your pet insurance policy until your coverage is officially activated.

Look at Add-Ons and Riders

Pet insurance add-ons, riders, and endorsements allow pet owners to add specific enhancements to their policies. The versatility of add-ons and their low costs often make them beneficial for pet owners. Here are some common pet insurance add-ons for Basset Hounds:

  • Hereditary condition coverage
  • Alternative therapy coverage
  • Preventive care coverage

See if there are extra policyholder perks

Many pet insurance providers understand how important it is for pets to get the medical attention they need, especially when they suddenly fall sick or get into an accident. When choosing a pet insurance company, take a look at whether they offer deals, loyalty programs, or pet health support hotlines. Ideally, you want to choose a pet insurance provider that can help you and your dog in the long term.



Basset Hounds are vulnerable to certain breed-specific conditions, including ear infections, dysplasia, obesity, bloat, and IVDD. Treatment can be expensive, creating financial difficulties for many pet owners. That is why it is important for Basset Hound owners to obtain pet insurance, which mitigate the high upfront costs of treating breed-specific conditions.

When choosing a pet insurance plan for your Basset Hound, make sure the coverage is adequate for you and your dog’s needs. If you want the most comprehensive coverage, consider an accident and illness plan, along with a preventive care add-on. If you want cheaper pet insurance, consider a wellness plan that covers routine care and checkups, which are great for the ear infection and obesity-prone Basset Hound.

About The Author

Ru Chen

Ru Chen

Content Writer

Ru Chen is a content writer with several years of experience in creating engaging and well-researched articles. She mostly writes about insurance, business, digital marketing, and law. In her free time, she can be found watching horror movies and playing board games with her partner in Brooklyn.

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