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Pet Insurance for Older Pets: Why You Should Do It

Older dog with white snout standing in front of sun and blue sky

Pet insurance can be a powerful tool in caring for an older pet. Pets aging is a natural process where cats and dogs experience physical and mental changes that can also affect their behaviour. Once dogs are over eight years of age you can consider them to be in their senior stage of their life. For cats, it’s more like 10 years of age, but some breeds of cats and dogs can start experiencing age-related health conditions much earlier than this. The aging process doesn't create noticeable changes day-to-day, however, as a pet ages their health needs can shift significantly and unexpectedly. 

Caring for older dogs:

Pets can develop many diseases and many of them can negatively impact their behaviour. If you have an older dog, they may become more nervous, fearful, or anxious and feel more vulnerable as they age. They also will not have as much energy and will require more sleep before being fully rested. This does not mean that you don't need to exercise them, and they can still expend energy and have fun. They will also probably experience more health conditions as they age and being ready for these situations emotionally and financially is important.

Caring for older cats:

Older cats tend to be less active and playful, they may sleep more, gain or lose weight, and have trouble reaching their favourite places. Don't chalk up health or behaviour changes to old age, however. Such changes can be signs of common diseases or dental problems that should be addressed by your veterinarian. Similarly to dogs, cats will likely experience more health conditions in old age so planning ahead can be valuable.

How Pet Insurance Can Help Older Pets

The financial uncertainty of taking care of our older pets can be reduced with pet insurance. Older pets can still get insurance, but your insurance premium may be higher compared to what you'd pay with a younger pet. Note that most pet insurance policies won't cover your pet's pre-existing conditions. This is true of PHI Direct and almost all other pet insurance providers in Canada (and the U.S.).

PHI Direct’s policy is a great choice for older pets who might be priced out of pet insurance products with other providers. Our time-limited coverage keeps prices lower for older dogs and cats while ensuring that a pet still has coverage when they need it most - when a new condition first occurs. For thoroughness, pet insurance for an older pet with PHI Direct is almost always more expensive than for a younger pet, but it’s highly likely our monthly premiums will be more affordable than our competitors – and on average we’re over 35% more affordable than the competition. *

Ultimately, the cost of your premium takes into consideration the breed, age, size and health of your pet, plus the personal information like where you and your pet live, which you provide when getting a quote.

Common Conditions For Older Pets

We’ve searched through claims data to assess the most common conditions likely to affect aging cats and dogs. Treating conditions like these can be really costly and they can occur with greater frequency in a senior pet.

  Dogs 5 years old Cats 5 years old 
Common Condition 1 Allergy Urinary Tract Infection
Common Condition 2 Otitis Constipation
Common Condition 3 Lameness and Limping Anemia
Common Condition 4 Seizures Heart Murmur
Common Condition 5 Cruciate Rupture (ACL, CCL) Kidney Disease
  Dogs 7 years old Cats 7 years old
Common Condition 1 Allergy Urinary Tract Infectious Disease
Common Condition 2 Lameness and Limping Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Common Condition 3 Otitis Heart Murmur
Common Condition 4 Mass Allergy
Common Condition 5 Vomiting and Diarrhea Loss of Appetite
  Dogs 10 years old Cats 10 years old
Common Condition 1 Lameness and Limping Diabetes
Common Condition 2 Allergy Mass
Common Condition 3 Arthritis Constipation
Common Condition 4 Mass Vomiting and Diarrhea
Common Condition 5 Cruciate Rupture (ACL,CCL) Urinary Tract Infectious Disease

It’s impossible to guess how your pet’s health will change as they age, but if you know which ailments commonly affect their breed type, seeking advice from your veterinarian about the treatment costs attached to these common conditions can be weighed up with the cost of pet insurance for your pet.

Insuring Senior Pets. Final Thoughts:

At PHI Direct we’re very strong advocates for pet insurance generally. PHI Direct’s pet insurance is designed to be affordable so more Canadian cats and dogs than ever before can be protected – and this includes older pets. Our time-limited coverage means that costs stay manageable as pets age because PHI Direct only covers new accidents and illnesses that may arise.

Insuring an older pet with PHI Direct is generally more expensive than with a younger pet – but our prices for insuring an older pet should stay lower than many of our competitors. Many other providers increase the cost of premiums significantly in a pet’s later life meaning that insurance protection is less affordable right at the moment where it could be needed most.

Insuring an older pet can reduce risk for the larger health conditions (both in quantity and severity) that an older pet may experience. Pet insurance is a great tool for planning ahead for your pet’s health needs - whatever their stage of life.

*Source: 2021 North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) Industry Data Report, Section 3: Average Premiums (Canada) / PHI Direct’s average premium for cats is $19.17/month compared to the industry average of $30.76. PHI Direct’s average premium for dogs is $37.64/month compared to the industry average of $63.95.

Featured Image by Derek Sears on Unsplash