Methodology & sources

The content for the Nationwide® Pet HealthZone® (“the publication”) was developed and written by Nationwide’s team of veterinarians, data scientists, and breed experts working in collaboration with Nationwide actuaries, analytics experts, and technology partners.

More information on sourcing is included below.


Nationwide’s goal in creating the Pet HealthZone was to provide pet owners, veterinary healthcare teams and veterinary industry members with data-driven information that increases awareness and aids in prevention of diseases for companion animals. We believe that pet families and veterinary healthcare teams can best partner together for informed prevention, early diagnosis, and optimal disease management along a spectrum of care with targeted, personalized education throughout the life of companion animals. The Pet HealthZone delivers that education.

One in a Million

One in a Million results are generated from Nationwide claims data (breeds and names from over 3 million Nationwide-insured dogs, cats, and exotic species collected between 2009 and 2023), as well as the 2022 AVMA Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook.

Breed 101

Breed 101 content was written by Nationwide’s team of breed experts. Breed standards were sourced from the American Kennel Club, the Cat Fanciers’ Association and other relevant animal registries and breed clubs.

My pet’s health planner

The health risks presented in this section were developed by analyzing policy and claims data from nearly 7 million dog years at risk (DYAR) and nearly 1.2 million cat years at risk (CYAR) collected from 2009 to 2022. (“Years at risk” are the number of years, or part thereof, for which Nationwide has provided insurance coverage – a pet insured for five years provides data for five years at risk.)

Using the 2019 American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Canine Life Stage Guidelines and the 2021 AAHA/American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Feline Life Stage Guidelines, species- and breed-specific life stage classifications were applied to these data. Per AAHA, this simplified grouping of puppy/kitten, young adult, mature adult, and senior “is consistent with how pet owners generally perceive their dog’s maturation and aging process and provides a readily understood basis for an evolving, lifelong healthcare strategy.” Combining this volume of high-quality insured pet data with a life stage classification framework allowed Nationwide to make accurate assessments of disease risk across our canine and feline populations and deliver insights that are meaningful and accessible for pet families and veterinary healthcare teams.

For the disease categories used in the analysis, Nationwide’s proprietary individual condition codes were mapped to the disease classifications described in the publication. For example, data for diabetes was derived from claims with conditions codes that include “diabetes mellitus” and “ketoacidosis.”

The three conditions presented for each breed and life stage represent conditions experienced by that breed/life stage at a statistically higher rate compared to all other pets of that species.

For breed/life stages where Nationwide does not have enough claims to cite any conditions with a statistically significant above-average risk, risk conditions for the life stage are presented, with breed taken out of the equation.

Potential costs

This number was calculated by analyzing costs Nationwide pet insurance policyholders reported within the first 30 days after initial diagnosis for a given condition. The 80th percentile cost is presented. In other words, 1 in 5 policyholders reported receiving a bill for that amount or greater than that amount for their pet who was diagnosed with disease classifications mapped within that condition. Costs were analyzed for the period from January 2021 through December 2022.

Cost with pet insurance

This number was calculated to show the amount a policyholder would be reimbursed if they had the following Nationwide pet insurance coverage in place at the time of diagnosis: Nationwide’s Accident & Illness plan with optional Congenital & Hereditary rider, optional Cruciate rider added after the first year of coverage, with unlimited annual limit for each category with 90% reimbursement after the $250 annual deductible has been met. This plan may not be available in all areas. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Veterinary bill amount is based on expenses incurred in the first 30 days after initial diagnosis.

Pet diseases & conditions

Nationwide’s team of veterinarians wrote original content on diseases and conditions, leveraging peer-reviewed medical references, primarily the Merck Veterinary Manual. The Veterinary Information Network (VIN®) Veterinary Partner, written by veterinary specialists, was also referenced for the sections titled “Symptoms to watch for,” “What happens at the vet,” and “Preventative measures.” AI-assisted technology was used to develop first-draft medical copy and extract reference material from the Merck Veterinary Manual and VIN Veterinary Partner, which was then edited and reviewed by multiple veterinarians before finalization.