My Tips and Advice on where to find
Pet health insurance and dog health insurance. Dog insurance for older dogs too.
I learned the hard way how vet bills can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars if accidents or illness suddenly attacks your pet. Learn from my experience and don’t be unprepared…getting a pet health insurance policy on your older dog will save you money in the long run.
While young pets are easy and affordable to insure, many insurance companies won’t insure older pets. I was insured with a great company for the last 4 years, but her policy is not going to be renewed in 60 days. My current company has offered to switch me over to another company, but my monthly premium will go from what is currently $65 a month, to $140 per month. This is an increase that is not only unacceptable, but one I can’t afford!
I have a 15 year old dog, female Pit Bull, and I have done my research on which companies will insure her. I have listed a comparison chart of companies on this page (see below) and the prices I was given.
I learned about pet health insurance and dog health insurance the hard way…
The purpose of this website is to help people find where to get pet insurance for their dogs, including older dogs too. In mid 2000, before I had even known there was such a thing as health insurance for pets, one of my dogs got very sick with an auto-immune disease. The vet said that this disease was not uncommon for the dogs breed (Schnauzer) and it was also common for this disease to appear around the age of 6 years, which he was. After a 7 day stay at a specialty veterinary clinic where he was receiving intravenous fluids and blood/platelet transfusions, the end result was that there was nothing more that could be done to help reverse or cure him, so we brought him home to spend his last day in comfort with us, and had our longtime vet come to the house to put him to sleep. Needless to say, our dogs stay at the specialty vet clinic cost us around $8,500. The only way I could afford this was to split the bill between 2 cards, and it took many, many months and 1 tax refund to pay it off. I would say that I am in the minority of people that would spend that much on a pet, but I consider my pets as family, like they are my kids, and I was willing to do what I could to save his life.
Summary of companies that offer
Dog health insurance / Dog insurance for older dogs:
|Company name:||Website:||Age when Dog is considered a “Senior” :|
|Trupanion||www.trupanion.com||14 years old (*)||
|Embrace||www.EmbracePetInsurance.com||7 – 8 yrs old (*)|
|24 Pet Watch||www.24petwatch.com|| 6 – 8 yrs old (*)
|PetPlan Pet Insurance||www.gopetplan.com||No age limit|
|Shelter Care||www.sheltercare.com||6 – 8 yrs old (*)|
|VPI Pet Insurance||www.petinsurance.com||10 years old (*)|
|ASPCA Pet Insurance||www.aspcapetinsurance.com||9 years old|
(*) This age is based on your specific dogs breed, age, zip code, and other factors, and the age limit may be different for your dog than it was for mine.
15 Common Illnesses in Older Dogs.
Most aging canines will experience typical symptoms of old age just like people do. They will most likely experience other illnesses as well, which unfortunately is common as we age. Hopefully, with a good diet, exercise, and good genes, your dog will not experience a serious illness. Routine veterinary care is more important for your senior dog now than ever before. A lot of these illnesses, if caught early enough, can be treated to prevent them from getting much worse. Treatments for all of these conditions are also covered by pet insurance if you have the policy in place before you dog is initially diagnosed with the condition or illness. The following are the most common types of illnesses or conditions that older dogs experience:
1) Arthritis and Hip Dysplasia: Also known as degenerative joint disease, the majority of cases of arthritis and hip dysplasia are usually hereditary. Giving supplements to help ease the pain, and keeping your dog’s weight at the correct level, can help alleviate some of the discomfort. There are also prescription anti-inflammatory medications that your vet can prescribe to help with pain.
2) Dental disease and Gingivitis (swelling of the gums): Untreated dental problems can lead to cracked or missing teeth. These areas can hold infection and bacteria, which in turn can lead to infections in other parts of the body. It can serve as a catalyst of many illnesses if left untreated, such as heart, liver and kidney disease.
3) Eye Disorders: Older dogs can develop cataracts, which cause cloudy vision. A condition called “dry eye”, or keratoconjunctivitis, can also develop. This is caused by the tear duct not producing enough lubrication for the surface of the eye.
4) Kidney Disease: One of the most common metabolic diseases for senior dogs. This is one illness that if caught early enough, through a routine blood screening by your veterinarian, can be treated and kept manageable before it spirals out of control.
5) Bladder Stones (Canine Urolithiasis): Older dogs are prone to developing bladder stones. These usually pass through the dog’s urine, but occasionally a large bladder stone can cause a blockage as it gets stuck in the urethra. Vets can usually easily treat these stones.
6) Endocrine System Disorders: The endocrine system is the system of glands, each of which secretes different types of hormone directly into the bloodstream to regulate the body. Cushing’s disease and Hypothyroidism are the 2 most common endocrine system disorders in older dogs. Cushing’s disease is when a large amount of cortisol is released into the dogs body, resulting in the dog being poisoned with too much cortisol. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland is underactive, and this will affect the health of your dog. Both of these conditions are treatable by veterinarians with excellent results if caught early enough.
7) Diabetes: This is another endocrine system disorder that involves the dog’s body not being able to produce the important, necessary hormones it needs to function. If left untreated the outcome can be fatal. Diabetes Insipidus and Diabetes Mellitus are 2 types of diabetes for dogs.
Long term care for all of these illnesses are covered by pet insurance if you have you policy in effect before your dog is initially diagnosed. That is why it’s important to insure your dog while he is healthy, before an illness happens.
8) Brain Tumor: These grow on the inside of the skull and compress the brain. They are usually slow growing, but as it grows larger it will cause inflammation of the brain and lead to nerve damage in the brain. Veterinarians can perform surgery to remove brain tumors.
9) Liver Disease: Your dog’s liver is one of the largest organs in his body. The function of the liver is to clean the blood by removing toxins, regulate chemical levels in the blood, produce enzymes to help digest foods, turn fat into vitamins, and store sugars until they are needed. Liver disease can be caused by many different factors, hereditary being one of them. Over time, if left untreated, the liver will begin to harden, which is called Cirrhosis. Once cirrhosis occurs, this is not reversible or treatable. Canine liver disease is a serious medical condition, but if caught early enough by your vet treatments can be successful.
10) Heart Disease: When heart disease affects our mature canines, it is usually the result of the heart valve thickening. This will lead to irregular and abnormal blood flow through the heart, eventually making the heart enlarged, and then leading to heart failure. This is a very serious condition in older dogs, and there are treatments and medications available to help relieve this condition.
11) Cancer: Just as people in today’s modern time are developing cancer at much higher rates than ever before, the same holds true for our pets too. Fortunately, detecting many cancers in their early stages for our canine pals can lead to good results with successful, early treatment.
12) Prostate problems: If your male dog was never neutered, they can develop prostate cancer at a much higher rate than dogs that have been neutered. Neutered dogs can develop prostate cancer too!
13) Incontinence: This is when the dog cannot control or hold his urine. A physical exam and lab tests can help determine if this is caused by an underlying illness, or if it is simply due to old age. Depending on the diagnosis, the vet will recommend appropriate treatment.
14) Skin Tumors: Growths on the skin are common, resulting in moles, skins tags, bumps and lumps. Most will be benign or fatty deposits, but it’s important to have your vet check these out, especially if they seem to grow quickly. The vet can do some testing to determine if it is cancerous or not. Dogs can get mammary cancer, so if any lumps have developed in this area have them checked out soon.
15) Canine Senility, or Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome: Once your dog is diagnosed with this illness of “senior dementia”, the only treatment is medication that your dog will most likely need to stay on for the rest of his life, as well as a therapeutic diet.