Older Pet Care
For most aging pets, the cost of veterinary care can rise substantially. “We’ve noticed that as pets age their need for specialised vet care can also increase,” states Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia. “Our data indicates that for pets over the age of eight, veterinary care for a variety of different conditions escalates.”
With many pet insurers not offering Comprehensive Cover for dogs over the age of nine, thinking ahead is helping many pet owners keep on top of the rising vet costs associated with having an elderly pet. “With pet insurance we advise people to start during puppy-hood,” says Crighton. “This way your pet can be comprehensively insured throughout their lives and into their senior years.”
The most commonly associated costs with older pets include cancer treatments, arthritis diagnosis, medications, and kidney disease. “Keeping older pets comfortable is very important, as well as taking them to regular vet visits to ensure that they are kept in the very best of health during all stages of old age.”
Top tips to keep your aging pet comfortable:
- Consider low rise, firm but snuggly bedding to support aging joints. Specially designed orthopaedic beds are a wonderful addition to the home of an aging pet.
- Keep track of any unusual symptoms such as excessive drinking, licking joints and pungent breath.
- Groom your pet weekly – this is a wonderful way to check for unusual lumps or bumps.
- Warmth – keep older pets warm and even consider coats and jumpers for short coat dog breeds.
- Reduce the amount of strenuous exercise and replace it with gentle daily walks.
- Avoid high jumps or build ramps to help older pets reach high areas.
- Senior check-ups. These are vital to keep your pet healthy and pain-free.
“The number of pets over the age of eight has substantially increased over the past five years,” states Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia. “When we look at the total number of claims for 2010 until 2015 from the total book count from PetSure, who is the administrator for more than 80% of the companion pet insurance policies in Australia, you can really start to understand the enormity of the costs associated with our golden oldies and their care.”
PetSure has seen total claim amounts for a range of conditions for both dogs and cats over the age of eight increase more than 400% from 2010 to 2015. Claims for older pets now run into the tens of millions of dollars each year.
“For PIA, the increase in total claim amounts for cats and dogs in this age group has been ever greater – more than 700% increase over the same period from 2010 to 2015,” Crighton says. “This really illustrates the importance pet insurance can have to a family of an aging pet. Allowing our older pets to enter their senior years in comfort takes planning. From a pet insurance perspective, ensuring your pet is adequately covered during their younger years can really benefit them later in life.”
For PetSure, these figures are partly attributable to the massive uptake in pet insurance during the last five or six years, and for PIA it’s partly attributable to its market position as a pet insurer of choice across Australia.
“In both cases, the extraordinary advances in vet health, which have improved the treatments that keep our pets healthier and happier for longer, have had a tremendous impact,” concludes Crighton.