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Guide to caring for an older pet

Why pet insurance is so important for older pets

A old Golden Retriever dog sitting in the sun

Caring for a pet is a long-term commitment, but sadly they don't stay young forever. Like us, our pets are affected by age and need a little more TLC as they get older.

Caring for older pets

As they get older, your pet may need more sleep, lose muscle tone and their hearing or sight may deteriorate.

Cats and dogs are more prone to health and dental problems as they age and consequently may need to visit the vet more often.

This can lead to increased pet costs and more expensive vet bills, so make sure you have pet insurance in place throughout their life.

Cats and dogs are more prone to health and dental problems as they age.

What should I look out for as my pet ages?

Diet. As your pet gets older, their dietary requirements will change. Keep an eye on their weight and if they seem to be putting weight on or losing it, take them to the vet. Also speak to your vet about introducing a special senior diet for your older pet.

Grooming. Regular grooming is important for your older pet, especially cats. If your cat is not grooming itself properly, it may be a sign of illness, so get it checked out. Grooming also allows you to give your older pet a feel over for any suspicious lumps and bumps.

Sleep. Older pets are likely to sleep more, so make sure your cat or dog has somewhere comfortable and draught-free to curl up. They may also need to go to the toilet more often. At some stage you might need to put a litter tray in the house for your older cat.

Exercise. Older dogs still need to be walked, but will probably prefer short walks more often, rather than a long walk once a day. Both cats and dogs will benefit from mental stimulation so still make time to play for short periods.

How old is an 'older' pet?

Dogs live for about 12 years on average and cats for a few years longer. Dogs are generally considered 'older' when they get to eight or nine and cats when they reach ten or eleven.

Can I still find pet insurance for an older pet?

The age of your pet is particularly important when looking for pet insurance. It's one of the main factors that insurers use when working out how much to charge for the insurance or even if they will insure your pet at all.

Some insurers have an upper age limit for pet insurance. Once you have a policy with LV= we have no upper age limits, so you can continue to insure an older pet with us. As long as you continue to pay your pet insurance premium, we will continue to insure your pet.

We can also insure your pet if it has a pre-existing condition. But please note that any treatment for the condition won't be covered by your pet's insurance.

Why does older pet insurance cost more?

As older pets are likely to need more treatment from the vet as they age, the cost of their pet insurance often increases.

It's a good idea to check the level of cover you have in place for your older pet. Frequent trips to the vet can soon add up and some pet insurance may not provide enough cover, especially if your pet is diagnosed with an ongoing illness, such as diabetes.

Make sure you have the right type of cover in place too. Our Lifetime pet insurance provides a high level of cover not only for vet fees, but cover for dental treatment and complementary therapies, such as hydrotherapy, which your pet may need as they get older.

Don't let your policy lapse

It can sometimes be difficult to find a provider that will insure an older pet. Or you may find that although the cost of pet insurance with another provider is cheaper than if you stay with your current insurer, any pre-existing conditions won't normally be covered.

If you're looking to reduce the cost of your pet's insurance as it gets older, one option may be to increase the excess you pay. This means you'll pay more in the event of a claim, but your pet will still get the same level of cover.

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