What is the Best Pet Insurance for Older Dogs?

Providing the best pet insurance for senior dogs allows for continuous and affordable veterinary care during your dog’s Golden years. As your pup ages, you’ll notice that he begins to slow down and may have a hard time getting up and lying down. 

All pets, regardless of age, need routine health care coverage to help pay for regular veterinary visits and individual treatment plans to keep them healthy, pain-free and allow for a high- quality life. It is important that you also chose a veterinarian to work with that makes you feel comfortable.

When you take out a reputable pet insurance health plan like Odie Pet Insurance, you’ll be keeping your dog healthy with regular veterinary office visits. Preventative check-ups are beneficial as your pup ages in that early detection and supportive care plays an important role in your pup living a long and healthy life. In this blog, we’re going to discuss the best pet insurance for older dogs. 

Senior dogs may be prone to an array of health issues from periodontal disease, cataracts, hip dysplasia, glaucoma, and cancer. Your senior pet will have changes in their immune system, and they’ll have a harder time combatting common diseases.

Pet health insurance for senior pets will help you cover treatments for heart and joint disease, diabetes and all the common ailments that old age brings with it.

The North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA)

Finding comprehensive pet insurance for your senior pup may be challenging, but it’s necessary with the rising costs of veterinary care. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association(NAPHIA), pet insurance offers the potential of $7 Billion more in veterinary spending annually. 

NAPHIA explains that “This year’s findings show total premium volume* in the U.S. amounted to $1.56 billion (USD) in 2019, a 24.3% annual increase over 2018. In Canada, total premium volume* totaled $159 million USD ($208.6 million CAD), increasing 16.4% over the previous year.” They go on to add that “Over the past five years, our industry has experienced double-digit increases, with the U.S. average annual growth rate coming in at 22.6%, while Canada’s annual growth rate was 15.4%,” said Rick Faucher, President of NAPHIA’s Board of Directors. “All indicators point to continued growth in our sector even in 2020, despite some of the COVID-related challenges our market and others continue to face.” This shows the increasing popularity of pet insurance in both the US and Canada over the past couple of years.

The  American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) adds in a 2020 study that “this new survey of dog owners shows that owners with coverage spend more annually at their veterinary practice.” The AVMA study concludes with the following:

  • There is an untapped potential for pet health insurance companies as 47% of pet owners would likely purchase pet health insurance if vets made the recommendation.
  • Owners with pet insurance and a higher income bracket are more likely to choose a treatment option over euthanasia.

How does it work?

Your senior dog may have an illness or injury, and you’ll need to work together with your veterinarian to make sure that he gets the right care. Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to understand that older dogs’ pet insurance ensures hospice care until the very end. 

That said, it’s best to get pet insurance early on since some pet insurance companies won’t cover senior pets and the most common ailments. It’s not uncommon for some pet insurers to set the cap between 8 and 12 years of age. To prepare for veterinary emergencies, most pet parents opt to enroll in a pet insurance plan.

Senior pups face numerous physical challenges combined with age-related health conditions like kidney failure, dementia, cancer, and hearing loss. When shopping for senior pet insurance, you’ll need to keep some considerations in mind. Here’s the take on what to look for when purchasing senior pet insurance.

How is it Different Than Insurance for Younger Dogs?

Pet insurance where you mix, match and craft the perfect health plan for your furry best friend is a good option for pet parents of senior pets who are looking to keep veterinary care costs manageable. 

Older pets are more expensive than pups to care for, and even if you haven’t purchased pet insurance for your senior pet yet, it’s important to do so for the future. There cannot be enough said about the importance of purchasing pet insurance early on to cover all conditions with no pre-existing conditions left out. 

With Odie Pet Insurance, enrollees have an array of options for accident, illness, and wellness plans for cats and dogs, as well as 3 additional supplemental plans that you can add to your plans. Best of all, Odie offers the shortest waiting time before claims are approved, and your policy goes into effect.

Shortest Waiting Period

A waiting period is the amount of time you’ll need to wait before your insurance policy goes into effect. Basically, you’ll need to wait until the waiting period is up before you can make a claim.

Odie Pet Insurance offers some of the shortest waiting periods in the industry. Once met, waiting periods are waived for continuous, uninterrupted policy renewals. Here’s the take with Odie Affordable Pet & Health Insurance.

  • 3 days for Accidents
  • 14 days for Illnesses
  • 6 months for Cruciate Ligament Events and any related conditions. 
  • Routine care plans can be used the day after you enroll.

Geriatric Health Challenges

When looking for senior pet health insurance options, you’ll need to be extra curious and really search because many plans will not include cancer treatment or coverage for chronic conditions.

Some pet insurance companies will limit coverage after a certain age, so once again, it’s imperative to take out a pet insurance plan while your furry best friend is still going through puppyhood.

Your furry best friend will generally be considered a senior from around 10 to 12 years old. Larger dog breeds are considered senior pets when they reach six, and smaller breeds by the time they are 7. It’s important to understand that if you purchase pet health insurance during your pup’s geriatric years, the condition may be considered a pre-existing condition and will not get covered. 

This should be done as soon as you bring your furry best friend home so that you can be sure that your dog is covered later on. Dog aids like dog carts, specialized harnesses, wheelchairs, and slings may add up to plenty, most especially if they have to be custom fitted for your pup. Degenerative disc disease is common in senior pets, and by taking out comprehensive pet insurance, you’ll be able to afford all the additional veterinary costs that occur later on.

Cancer

Not all cancers or illnesses can be cured. In the face of any health challenges, your senior dog may also be suffering from pain. Your pup may also need comfort care, most especially during cancer treatment. The ASPCA adds that senior pets may be more likely to get cancer with lymphoma (cancer of the white blood cells), more common in senior years in both cats and dogs. They add that dogs may also be more prone to getting soft tissue, skin, and bone cancer.

The treatment needed for cancer may cause considerable pain and discomfort with significant adverse effects. When this is the case, you’ll need to provide your pup with comfort care in his final days or months to prevent pain and discomfort.

During this stage of your pet’s life, you’ll be focusing on a stress-free environment in familiar surroundings to help your pup live out his final days in the best environment possible. The take with all pet insurance is to get your pet insured from a young age. 

By doing so, you’ll save money since some pet insurance plans cost more for senior pets that have not been insured before. Keep in mind that if your pup is older than fourteen years of age, you may have a hard time finding him complete coverage.

Nutritional Support

All animals need adequate nutrition to live a healthy life. If your senior dog has cancer, he may need different foods together with supplements while undergoing cancer treatment because cancer and cancer treatments will alter your pup’s metabolism. 

Keep in mind that pet insurance may also cover special pet food diets that your pet may need as he gets older. If your vet prescribes a special dog food formula for issues like bladder stones, diabetes, or even cancer or liquid food, pet insurance will also cover that. Long-term health conditions occur frequently, and conditions like diabetes make having long-term pet insurance worth taking out.

Your furry best friend may also lose his appetite while undergoing cancer treatment, and if he doesn’t eat enough while undergoing treatment, tissues may be broken down to create the energy that he’ll need to survive. The same applies to dehydration. 

During cancer, pets may not hydrate enough, and pets can die from dehydration. If your senior pup is diagnosed with cancer or another illness, special nutritional supplements may be needed or even a feeding tube.

Dental Treatments for Senior Pets

Like humans, pets may be prone to more medical issues as they age, and some will be prone to severe progressive dental issues that are painful. Dental cleaning and other surgical procedures can add up over the years.

Gum disease is common in pets. By taking full dental coverage for your pet, you’re not only ensuring regular dental care but also coverage for unexpected dental surgeries that need to be done.

Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid hormones regulate metabolic rates or the speed at which the body processes run. If there is too little hormone, this causes the body to be sluggish. On the other hand, if there is too much hormone, the body tends to run faster.

Hyperthyroidism

This occurs when the body produces too little thyroid hormone and results in a slower metabolic rate. It affects all organ systems’ function with symptoms including lethargy, dry skin, increased shedding, weight gain, and lack of appetite.

With more than 95% of cases in dogs caused by the destruction of the gland itself, it’s important to visit your vet if you suspect that your senior pet is affected. Hyperthyroidism occurs equally in both females and males. The most common breeds affected include the following:

  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Golden Retriever
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Dachshund
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Irish Setter

Hyperthyroidism

This occurs when an excess of the thyroid hormone and symptoms include lethargy, increased appetite, increased heart rate, and weight loss. Hyperthyroidism tends to affect senior cats more often.

Kidney Disease

Kidney failure most often affects senior cats but can be treated with special fluids, special diets, and medications. The kidneys are most important in that they filter waste from the blood. If they don’t function well, waste products can build up to dangerously high blood levels.

Chronic kidney disease may take a few months or years before your pup shows symptoms. Existing damage can’t be reversed, but with proper treatment, dogs with as little as 5% kidney function can survive. 

If your pup has been diagnosed with kidney disease, you’ll need to visit your vet every few months or more frequently. Changes to the diet by supplementing fish oil and lowering phosphorous level intake may help prevent kidney disease from worsening. Special diets made specifically for dogs with kidney disease are usually prescribed.

Cremation

If your senior pet has been suffering from a long term health condition, it may be time to start thinking about the full cost of cremation after your pet passes. Comprehensive pet insurance companies will cover cremation, giving you time to grieve properly without having to worry about the cost of cremation. 

At some point in your dog’s life, you’re going to be faced with a difficult situation. You’ll also need to continue to provide the best veterinary care and maintain your pet’s quality of life. You’re going to have to deal with short–term problems like pain, mobility issues, loss of control over bodily functions, loss of appetite, as well as your own anguish and despair over your dog’s condition. You may need to work together with your vet in deciding when the time is right to say goodbye.

Dog Insurance Plans for Senior Dogs

According to a New York Times article, more than 2 million pets in the US and Canada were insured by the end of 2017, up by 17% from 2016. As your furry best friend ages, so does your ability to purchase pet insurance for the golden years. It may also increase your premium for a pet policy. Older pets have an increased chance of injury, illness, or disease and will need more frequent veterinary care. 

Annual price increases are common once you get coverage due to the potential need for increased veterinary care. That said, you’ll need to maintain health care for your pup so that you can manage veterinary health care for your pet. When choosing a pet health insurance for your senior pet, you’ll need to compare plans and policies and read reviews and insurer information. 

What is the Best Pet Insurance for Older Dogs?

Expenses linked to pet health insurance usually will include premiums and some out of pocket expenses like deductibles. Deductibles are similar to health insurance deductibles and need to be paid upfront before the pet insurance goes into effect.

You can purchase pet insurance through your employer to lower premiums and get more your pet insurance. This will cover less than 100% of veterinary costs after the deductible. Keep in mind that you’ll still need to pay a small portion of your vet bill. The Society of Resource Management (SHRM), according to a 2018 survey, added that up to 11% of employees offered pet health insurance benefits.

Supplemental Benefits 

With some pet insurance companies like Odie Pet Insurance, you can add up to three kinds of supplemental benefits. This helps to ensure that your pup always has the right coverage and covers the following:

  • Office visits & exam fees
  • Take home prescription medications.
  • Rehabilitation, acupuncture, and chiropractic care

While regular office visits are not covered for annual exams or vaccinations, it allows for vet exams and office visits from a suspected injury or illness. If your furry best friend gets ill or injured, you’re covered even if they don’t need treatment. 

Treatment options include an array of options like electro- acupuncture, E-stim therapy, treadmill, laser therapy, gait training, stretching, and more. Adding this supplemental insurance not only covers the cost of rehab services but may be the difference in your pet’s quality of life.

Take-Home Prescription Medications

Take home prescriptions allows for optimal recovery and can be used to cover drugs, medications, or treatments given by your veterinarian for an eligible condition. The coverage includes the following:

  • Supplements
  • Remedies & treatments
  • Over the counter pet meds
  • Prescriptions

Rehabilitation, Acupuncture & Chiropractic Care

This entails coverage for physical therapy and rehabilitative services, which are important throughout your pup’s life and helps with mobility and functional movements. Not only is this important for ensuring pain-free mobility, but an adjustment will also restore motion to a joint, decrease inflammation, and aid in decreasing pain. 

Senior dogs do well with animal chiropractors that help in addressing age-related conditions in senior pets. Many senior pets are diagnosed each year with spinal or disc conditions, organ issues, and other age-related problems. 

Pet health insurance allows for non-invasive treatment and is favored by pet parents today as an adjunct treatment option. Before opting for a pet insurance plan, ask whether they cover alternative care like chiropractic care, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture. Keep in mind that all alternative care needs to be provided by a licensed veterinarian.

If You Don’t Know Talk to an Expert

Senior pet insurance is a wonderful way to show that you care. It’s also important that you show family members that pet insurance is an affordable way to take care of the ever-increasing veterinary costs as your pet ages so that your children will, later on, follow your example.

Pet health insurance for all pets, regardless of whether they’re senior pets or young pups, not only offers you peace of mind, but allows you to afford regular veterinary care regardless of any additional costs. It sure beats taking out a short-term loan with a high-interest rate to cover an emergency veterinary bill. 

Opt for well-respected pet insurance plans like Odie Pet Insurance plans that are straightforward to read and offer customized options for optimal pet health coverage. With the rising popularity of alternative therapies and natural healthcare for pets via supplements like CBD, it’s important to opt for the best pet health insurance for 2021.

References

https://naphia.org/

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/04/your-money/pet-insurance-policies.html

https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/resources/how-to-care-for-senior-pets/

https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Documents/2018%20Employee%20Benefits%20Report.pdf

https://www.avma.org/blog/revised-policy-encourages-proactive-education-about-pet-insurance

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