While out and about the other day, an acquaintance asked me about pet insurance for their newly adopted senior dog.
Initially, they had assumed that pet insurance for old dogs wasn’t something that existed.
So when they brought it up, it was more of a joke until I told them that several pet insurance groups were willing to insure seniors.
Many dog parents consider pet insurance for puppies, but most people don’t know that pet insurance is available for older dogs.
Without too many pre-existing conditions, older dogs won’t have any issues finding a suitable pet insurance plan at a reasonable cost.
Some of the best pet insurance for older dogs include accident and illness plans; however, many include wellness plans too.
Most pet insurance companies allow people to customize their policy’s limits to ensure it fits within their budget.
Why Should You Get Health Insurance for Your Older Dog?
Having had pet insurance for all of my dogs, I can say that I have gotten the most use out of it after my dogs hit their senior years.
Seniors are just as prone as adult dogs to have accidents, sometimes even more so with declined senses such as sight and hearing.
Plus, senior illnesses are relatively common if not expected, which pet insurance can help lower the overall cost.
Benefits of Pet Insurance
The number one reason why pet insurance is beneficial is that it helps offset unexpected vet bills.
Surprise vet bills for illness, disease, or injuries can add up and force many pet parents to make some pretty unfavorable decisions, like economic euthanasia.
Economic euthanasia is far more common than we would like to think, but when it comes down to paying your bills or getting treatment for your pet, vet care is sometimes outside the budget.
Accidents can happen, and when they do, it is not always when it’s financially convenient.
For example, in just six weeks, we had four emergency clinic visits that cost more than $5,000, but because of insurance, approximately 40+% of that was covered, which was a huge financial relief.
Focusing on What is Important
Finances are without a doubt important, but if you are already dealing with the stress of your dog being sick or hurt, you don’t need to have the added worry of how or if you can pay for their care.
Peace of mind is frequently overlooked when dog owners are considering pet insurance.
However, knowing you don’t have to worry about how you will pay for treatment is truly priceless.
Speaking from personal experience, when my dog Daisy was a senior, she had a major stroke and needed an MRI plus round the clock care.
Needless to say, my stress levels were through the roof, but not having to deal with financial stress on top of that really allowed me to stay focused on taking care of Daisy.
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Expanding Healthcare Options
If your care options are limited due to finances, you may be unable to provide the care your dog needs.
But if you know insurance will help cover the expenses associated with the testing and treatment, you will have far more options to choose from.
Not all pet insurance companies offer wellness plans, and for some, it isn’t necessary.
But for those who opt to add a wellness and preventative care add-on to their policy, you can receive reimbursements for wellness care and treatments.
Though each of the companies has different plans, some will help with grooming costs, monthly preventatives like flea and tick medicine, and vaccines.
Related: How to Give a Dog Liquid Medicine
Common Health Issues for Older Dogs
Numerous health issues can impact older dogs. Below are some of the most common issues seen in our seniors.
Here are some of the average costs for testing and treatments, though pricing may vary based on the dog’s size, where you live, and the severity of the disease:
- Cardiomyopathy – Testing: $500-$600 and Treatment: Medication cost is minimal
- Chronic Kidney Disease – Testing: $200-$750 and Treatment: $100 – $500 per month
- Arthritis – Testing: $150 – $250 and Treatment: $324 per year
- Diabetes – Testing: $100 – $200 and Treatment: $40-$200 per month
- Lymphoma[6,7] – Testing: $500 and Treatment: $5000-$10,000+
- Dental Disease – Overall cost for Treatment: $1,942
- Vestibular Syndrome: $508.68 per visit
- Dementia/Cognitive Dysfunction: Monthly Treatment: $60+
How Much Does Pet Insurance for Older Dogs Cost?
There is no one answer to that question.
Prices are based on several factors, such as:
- Dog’s breed
- Where you live
- Coverage limits like deductible, reimbursement percentage, and reimbursement limits
- Type of coverage like accident only, accident and illness, and wellness add-ons
- Insurance company
Below in the Best Pet Insurance Plans for Older Dogs section, the average monthly deductible ranges are listed so you can have a fair idea of what to expect.
Is Pet Insurance Worth It for an Older Dog?
If you have an older dog with several pre-existing conditions like Sophie, who has allergies, chronic pancreatitis, urinary incontinence, mild cognitive dysfunction, arthritis, and Cushings disease, then the answer might be no.
However, if you have a healthy older dog, with no or few pre-existing conditions, then considering a pet care plan may be best.
Spoiler Alert: There is a pet care plan below that is an excellent option for dogs with pre-existing medical conditions.
Best Pet Insurance Plans for Older Dogs
Here are some of the best pet insurance companies for older dogs, including various options such as pricing, coverage, and exclusions.
All of the pricing listed below is based on a 9-year-old Goldendoodle living in Minnesota.
And the deductible range is based on the lowest to the highest customizable policy reimbursement options.
Wellness and preventative add on coverage are not included in the price ranges below.
- Age Limit: None
- Policy Options: Accident and Illness Plan, Wellness Rewards for Routine Care
- Premium Range: $26.25 – $102.01 per month
- Medical Exam Required: Must be done within 14 days or the last 12 months of the start date
- Healthy pet deductible – The annual deductible is lowered each year you don’t submit a claim
- Multi-pet discount
- Military discount
- Employee discount – This is not just with Embrace; check with your company’s HR department to see if you qualify
- Routine care (unless you carry the wellness policy)
- Breeding, whelping, and pregnancy
- Injury caused deliberately by you or any other person residing in your home, cruelty, neglect, or dog fighting
- DNA testing or cloning
- Cosmetic procedures
- 14-day waiting period for illnesses
- 48 hours for accidents
- 6 months for orthopedic conditions unless you choose to have an orthopedic exam done
Embrace’s plans are comprehensive and will cover your senior minus any of their exclusions, at an affordable price.
Plus, if your older dog stays healthy all year, you can expect to see a discount on your deductible.
- Age Limit: None
- Policy Options: There is only one plan which covers accidents, injuries, illness, and disease. It covers diagnostics, exams, surgeries, medication, holistic therapies, and more.
- Premium Range: $85.99 – $323.04 per month
- Medical Exam Required: Must be done 6 months before or 30 days after the effective policy date
- Registered medical service pets
- Active military personnel
- 30% savings for healthy pets
- Cosmetic procedures
- Liability coverage
- Pre-existing conditions
- Preventative and wellness care
- Routine dental care
- 15 days for illness or injury
- Six months for hip dysplasia and cruciate and patellas – This can be shortened if you have an orthopedic exam completed within 14 days of the start of your policy
Petplan offers a lot of discounts and would be an excellent choice for, say, a service animal with no pre-existing conditions.
- Age Limit: None
- Policy Options: Accident, Accident and Illness, and Wellness
- Premium Range: Insurance for seniors start as low as $9/month for accident only coverage
- Medical Exam Required: Not required
- Pet services and products
- Multi-pet households
- Dogs adopted from shelters.
- Shelter staff, including volunteers
- 3 days for accidents
- 14 days for illnesses
- 6 months for Cruciate ligament conditions
- Elective or preventative procedures
- Non-vet expenses like food, vitamins, and supplements
- Herbal, holistic, and experimental therapies and medications
Pets Best is an economic option, especially for those looking for an accident-only plan.
- Age Limit: None
- Policy Options: Accident and Illness, Routine Care Coverage
- Premium Range: $32.37 – $152.39 per month
- Medical Exam Required: PetFirst asks for the previous 12-months of vet records when you submit your first claim.
- Animal caretakers such as vets and shelter staff
- Internet discount
- Accident coverage starts at midnight EST the day of enrollment
- 14 days for Illness coverage
- 6 months for orthopedic conditions
- Pre-existing conditions
- Grooming costs and bathing, including medicated baths
- Elective procedures
- Expression or removal of anal glands or anal sacculitis
- Breeding or conditions related to breeding
- Pet food, special diet, vitamins, mineral supplements
- Routine wellness and preventative care, behavior training
- Parasite prevention and parasite treatment
- Illness or injury which arises out of racing, coursing, commercial guarding, or organized fighting of your pet
- Organ transplants
PetFirst is a flexible and economical pet insurance company.
Their wait time for accidents is one of the shortest on the list, and the accident and illness coverage for older dogs starts at less than $40 a month.
- Age Limit: None
- Policy Options: One policy that covers all accidents, illness, and wellness care. This plan covers surgeries, hospitalization, screening, vaccines, and more.
- Premium Range: $8.25 – $11.95 per month – price varies based on how you pay
- Medical Exam Required: None
- Discounted rate if you pay for 12 months at a time
- None – Pet Assure even covers all pre-existing conditions
There is a reason Pet Assure is one of the nation’s top pet care plan companies. They offer significantly reduced rates with no limitations on your dog’s health, breed, or age.
They have vet clinics in their network all over the country, including some mobile vet hospitals too.
And all veterinary costs are discounted at a flat 25% regardless of the type of medical care needed.
For example, if your dog needs x-rays and it costs $120, you will automatically receive $30 off and only pay the clinic $90.
So, when you sign up with Pet Assure, you never have to guess how much they will cover.
If you are looking for a plan for seniors with pre-existing conditions, this is the plan for you.
I think that pet insurance is one of the best things pet parents can do to help ensure they can provide the care their dog needs at any age.
Some may think that pet insurance for older dogs is a waste or would be cost-prohibitive, I can assure you that is far from the truth.
Every imaginable plan is available, including one that covers pre-existing conditions for as low as $8.25 a month, and anyone who has a dog could afford that monthly fee.
Today’s dogs receive some of the best care in the history of pets.
We have supplements, specialty foods, daycares, and more, all of which help extend their lives.
With dogs living longer, it is all the more essential we are financially able to provide them with the proper medical care during their golden years.