Even though you’d rather not think about it, your buddy is getting older and wiser through the years. Which also means they’re likely to fall sick due to aging. That’s where pet insurance for older dogs works as a safety net against the sky-high vet bills you might find yourself dealing with. Here’s how it works – and why you should consider it for both your puppies as well as grand-paws.

How does pet insurance for older dogs work?

If your dog needs a complicated surgery or ongoing care for a chronic medical condition, pet insurance can help you cover these costs – without the need to tap into your savings. In fact, it’s similar to the health insurance you carry for yourself.

With pet insurance for older dogs:

  • Your buddy can get the care they need – which, as they age, they’re more likely to need (and which is also likely to cost you)
  • Your insurance policy covers you for specific treatments and conditions – which they’ll reimburse you for

After paying the veterinary bills up front, you submit an itemized receipt to the pet insurance company. Once you pay your excess the pet insurance covers the remaining cost – depending on your policy terms.

A vet examining a dog at a clinic

With pet insurance, you might pay for your premium either as a one-off yearly cost. Else, some insurance companies allow you to split the premium and pay a monthly premium for your pet health insurance. 

💡But with Tractive Pet Cover, you can pay all in one go, or with interest-free monthly payments.

Besides, the entire payment and claims process can be organized directly between the vet and insurance company. This means no large upfront costs for you, only the excess you need to pay.

Another step towards complete peace of mind. 

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Does your dog’s age matter for getting insurance?

Unfortunately, yes. Your dog’s age is an important factor for determining the cost of your pet insurance. For example, some insurers will not cover dogs past a certain age limit (often around eight years old).

If the insurer does cover older dogs, your monthly premiums will be much higher than what you’d pay for a younger dog. That’s because senior pets are more likely to need some type of costly medical care in their later years.

Pre-existing condition coverage

As your dog ages, they are more likely to develop health conditions. When these health conditions arise before you secure an insurance policy for your dog, then it may be difficult to find a pet insurance company that will cover these conditions.

This is because they are pre-existing conditions – conditions that arose before the insurance policy started. Most pet insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions.

For this reason, experts often recommend purchasing pet insurance when your dog is young, when they are likely to have no medical conditions which are subject to exclusion. Your pet will then be covered if chronic medical issues surface later throughout their lifetime, once the policy has already started. 

💡 With Tractive Pet Cover, you can cover your dog with a Lifetime policy. This means that when you renew yours, we will continue to cover conditions that arose during the policy. (In line with policy terms and conditions.)

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What your insurance policy may not cover

Aging dogs experience physical and behavioral changes – many of which lead to health conditions that some pet insurance policies don’t cover. These include:

Which is why it’s so important to understand what type of medical conditions are excluded if you are purchasing insurance for your senior dog.

A vet performing an ultrasound at a clinic
  • Some policies place limits on the amount of money they will pay out for certain treatments.
  • Others may not cover breed-specific conditions, like if your dog is a purebred and vulnerable to specific health problems. (No matter your dog’s age.)

⚠️ So make sure to read your policy carefully, including the fine print – so you won’t be surprised when you submit a claim.

Why it’s so important to work with your vet

As a responsible pet owner, you’re likely taking your dog for regular vet checkups. Unfortunately, most pet insurance companies don’t cover the costs of routine exams or vaccinations – which are vital to your dog’s health, especially the older they grow.

Which is where your vet can help you figure out:

  • What health conditions your dog might be vulnerable to
  • How to spot the signs of aging
  • What preventative steps you can take to keep your buddy health and happy
A woman discussing her options with her vet

💡With Tractive Pet Cover, a free and unlimited 24/7 video vet service is available to all policyholders from experts at FirstVet.

You can make as many appointments as you like – completely for free – and all from the comfort of your couch.

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What types of insurance are available for senior dogs?

It’s definitely more challenging to find affordable pet insurance for your older dog or older cat. If you didn’t buy pet insurance when your pet was young, you have fewer choices as your furry friend ages.

Pet insurance for older dogs may also be more expensive. Some can even include an age limit. Cover levels may vary, but you do have a few options:

Lifetime pet insurance

This type of pet insurance is best purchased when your pet is young. It pays for both illnesses and injuries for as long as you continue to pay the annual premiums.

  • Lifetime cover can be an expensive type of pet insurance cover, but it’ll actually help you save more money in the long run than if you weren’t covered.
  • Even if your pet is older with some pre-existing conditions, a Lifetime policy will cover any other conditions that arise as your dog ages.
A woman and vet at an office with a dog wearing a neck collar

⚠️ Pet insurance companies tend to have different criteria, so make sure to run your policy documents through a fine comb to understand how treatment costs are covered.

Time-limited pet insurance

Time-limited pet insurance can work well for younger animals, but may not be the best option for older pets.

  • For example, if your dog is injured in an accident, you’ll have only 12 months of coverage.
  • If your dog has not recovered after 12 months, you’ll need to pick up the cost of treatment if you have time limited insurance.

Accident-only pet insurance

Accident-only pet insurance cover is the least expensive pet insurance. It covers only treatment costs related to accidents such as broken bones, lacerations, and other traumatic injuries.

Even though it is the cheapest option, it may not be suitable for an older dog. Many of the chronic health conditions common in senior pets are not covered by accident-only policies.

Check your insurance policy documents to see if your cover includes third-party liability cover. This covers the costs if your dog injures a person or destroys property. Remember, each pet insurance company is different, so understand the benefits your policy includes before signing up.

A dog wearing a neck collar playing with a woman

💡Tractive Pet Cover includes Third Party Cover up to £2,000,000 per policy year. 

More tips on how to help your older dog live their healthiest life

Your older dog’s health is a top priority. Pet insurance is important, but regular veterinary care and daily home care can make a huge difference in their quality of life.

Regular check-ups & screenings

Make sure to drop by your vet at least once a year for health screenings and vaccinations. For senior dogs, this should be at least twice a year.

Though if your older dog or cat has trouble traveling to the vet, ask if your vet can conduct video calls to answer your questions about your senior pet. 

A man speaking to a vet over a video call

💡With Tractive Pet Cover, you’ve got a free and unlimited 24/7 video vet service from the experts at FirstVet.

Appointments are available normally within 30 minutes, and you can speak to a registered vet about your dogs health – and figure out if there are any preventative steps you can take right away. (Or if your buddy’s health has worsened to the point of requiring a visit.)

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Dental care

Many insurance policies may not cover your buddy’s dental care – so it’s up to you to stay on top of it at home.

Besides, dental infections may spread to other parts of your dog’s body, including their heart and lungs. Leading to worse health problems down the line.

So make sure to get your buddy over for regular teeth cleanings – ideally at your vet’s. Else, follow your vet’s advice for medically-approved dog dental products and how to switch up their diet for fresher breath and cleaner teeth.

Read more: Dog Dental Care: How To Get Your Dog The Best Smile Ever

A vet examining a dog's teeth at a clinic

💡With Tractive Pet Cover, you’re covered up to £2000 for dental treatments. 

Exercise & nutrition for optimal health

A healthy diet keeps your dog on track and gives them energy to join in daily activities. Make sure to keep them out of your kitchens and monitor every morsel that goes past their mouths. (As a whole bunch of ingredients that are harmless to us may be fatally toxic to dogs!)

Besides, your vet can help you best understand what options may be best for your buddy – and how often you should be feeding them. (To prevent them from gaining too much weight, which can happen with age and a lack of exercise.)

Read more: What Can Dogs Not Eat? 15 Foods Poisonous To Dogs

A woman feeding a dog from a bowl

Besides, don’t skip out on your dog’s daily walks. Even older dogs benefit tremendously from short walks a few times a day – even if they’re a bit slower and cover less distance than they used to.

💡 If you’ve invested in a Tractive device besides our insurance options, you’re in luck.

With its built-in motion detector, yours picks up on your dog’s active minutes – and helps you set goals for their daily exercise. Keeping you both motivated and accountable to your buddy’s health and well-being.

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Be extra consistent with any chronic conditions

If your senior dog has been diagnosed with a chronic condition such as diabetes, joint problems, or dental disease, frequent vet visits can help keep the condition under control.

  • If your vet prescribes you any medication, be sure to administer it on the proper schedule.
  • These chronic conditions and medications could be covered by older dog insurance, depending on the type of policy you purchase.

💡With Tractive Pet Cover, you’re covered up to £1500 for complementary treatments, including hydrotherapy and acupuncture. 

Help your buddy age gracefully – with a solid pet insurance plan

As your dog grows a bit whiter around the whiskers, they’re also more likely to run into age-related health problems. But with a pet insurance policy covering them, you now have the peace of mind knowing you’ll never have to choose between your wallet or their health.

Just watch out: not all insurance policies are 100% built with senior dogs in mind. Which is where it makes sense to:

  • Work with your vet to figure out what kind of health conditions your dog might be at risk for
  • Figure out what kind of policy best suits your dog. For example, a Lifetime policy may be best suited for yours, since it’ll cover any chronic health conditions your dog develops across their lifetime. (And because most insurance policies may not cover any pre-existing conditions.)
  • Run your insurance policy documents through a fine comb to figure out if they cover these health conditions (and what you may need to pay out of pocket instead)

So start the journey, get a quote, and you and your pet can enjoy every moment life offers – with complete peace of mind (and a little help from Tractive Pet Cover.)

Dog, cat and owner sitting on the floor promoting Tractive Pet Cover, a range of pet insurance products

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Read more: Benefits Of Pet Insurance: Is It Worth The Investment?

Frank Speight, Insurance

This post was written by Frank Speight, a veteran of the insurance industry, who’s worked in financial services for more than 30 years across Europe and Asia. Besides negotiating the best possible insurance products for pet parents, he’s also dad to two Golden Retrievers – who have a larger following on Instagram than him!

When he’s not busy with Tractive Pet Cover, you can find him walking his dogs on the beach, managing their social media accounts, or playing the guitar.