Pet Insurance for Older Dogs: Is It Worth It?

Four Minutes
Jul 27, 2022

Dogs are often considered members of the family. They bring joy to our homes and enrich our lives. That’s why insuring their health is an investment that can prove invaluable. But what if your dog’s muzzle is turning gray and they have impending health concerns? Is pet insurance worth it for older dogs? Read on to learn what your options are.

What’s Considered a Senior Dog?

Knowing what’s considered a “senior dog” can be challenging. You probably heard of simply taking a dog's age and then multiplying it by seven to determine their “human” age. However, it's not that easy. The fact is that a dog’s age depends on their size, breed, and genetics. According to the Veterinary Clinic Association, smaller dogs tend to age at a slower rate than larger dogs.³

For example, your neighbor’s energetic toy poodle is less likely to show signs of aging than your laid-back schnauzer even if you both adopted them around the same time at a year old. Large breeds like Bernese mountain dogs and Great Danes have shorter lifespans of around 6-10 years, making them “senior” dogs at around 4-6 years old. Dogs like Chihuahuas, however, are considered seniors at around 10 years old and can live up to 20 years.

Consider your dog’s breed, what you know about their genetics, and their lifestyle. You may have a senior pooch on your hands that will need special care!

Why should I insure my dog?

Pet insurance can assist with the ever-increasing cost of health care. The average annual cost for a surgical vet visit is $426 for a dog. To complicate matters further, the cost of veterinary services varies depending on where you live in the country. This may be part of the reason why over half of Americans don’t visit their veterinarian regularly–because they simply cannot afford to do so.⁵

Unfortunately, pet insurance is uncommon for every pet parent to have. Less than 3 out of 100 dogs in the United States are insured by their families, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.⁴ It’s unclear how much of that number is insured senior pets, but the good news is that it’s not too late to get a policy!

Senior pets experience health issues as they age, just like we do. Your pup may be slowing down or playing less. Other signs of aging in a dog may include³:

●      Loss of vision, hearing, teeth, or hair

●      Weight gain

●      Arthritis and other joint problems

●      Decreased muscle tone or skin elasticity

●      Poor organ function (heart, liver, kidneys, lungs)

●      Poor immune health

●      Neurological issues

Another unfortunate reality of aging is cancer rates among dogs. With one in four dogs developing cancer at some point in their lifetime, and half of dogs over 10 experiencing cancer due to aging,⁶ pet insurance can help pet parents plan for and offset the cost of those potential cancer treatments. That way you worry less about you finances and focus more on caring for your dog.

A senior couple doing yoga at home with their dog.

Can You Get Pet Insurance for Older Dogs?

Yes, you can! MetLife Pet Insurance policies can cover senior dogs’ annual veterinary visits and other relevant medical expenses.¹ Our policies offer coverage options like:

●      Biannual senior wellness checks

●      Specialized diet food

●      Medications and vaccinations

●      Emergency Care

●      Surgical costs

●      Cancer treatments

●      Alternative treatments and rehabilitation

How does it work?

With pet insurance, you and your family don’t have to make the difficult decision to skip covered critical medical care for your faithful companion. Simply pay for the care at any board-certified veterinary clinic then send us the bill. MetLife Pet’s policies can reimburse up to 100% of covered veterinary expenses within 10 days of your initial visit to the vet.²

How much will it cost?

Pet insurance monthly premiums for an older dog may cost more than if they were younger. It’s not uncommon to hear about pet insurance policies that cost at least $100 a month. That cost, however, can seem like a lifeline when faced with paying a $7,000 bill or euthanizing your family pet.⁷ Economic euthanization is a sadly common practice in the face of veterinary bills and other economic obligations, but being prepared allows your pup the best chance at a long life.

A pet insurance plan can help you and your pup stay healthy. A quote is free and your policy is customizable. As an additional benefit, MetLife Pet will automatically decrease your deductible by $25 or $50 if you do not file a claim for a year from opening your policy.⁸

What if my dog has preexisting conditions?

If your dog has pre-existing conditions, they may not be eligible for insurance. There are some other coverage exclusions for pet insurance policies, like:

●      Elective procedures

●      Expression or removal of anal glands or anal sacculitis

●      Breeding or conditions related to breeding

●      Vitamins and mineral supplements

●      Grooming costs and bathing (including medicated baths)

●      Illness or injury which arises out of racing, coursing, commercial guarding, or organized fighting of your pet

●      Organ transplants

Don’t count yourself out! MetLife Pet’s team prepares policy quotes and coverage with care by considering each pet’s individual needs. We can prepare a policy quote at no cost and answer any questions you may have.

MetLife Pet Insurance Could Save You Money and Add Years to Your Senior Dog’s Life

We understand that managing your finances can be stressful. The last thing you want is for your senior pet’s care to fall by the wayside because you can’t afford it. Know that you aren’t alone. Millions of Americans have made painful decisions to euthanize their pets due to not being able to pay vet bills. You have options and we’re here to help. Our policies can help give you and your family more time with your precious friend. Contact us for a quote.

Protect your Dog

Coverage in 3 Easy Steps

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

³ “How Old is Old? Comparing Dog Age to Human Age,” Veterinary Clinic Association, Last Accessed 7/25/2022

⁴ “2.8% of U.S. dogs carry health insurance,” Today’s Veterinary Business, Last Accessed 7/26/2022

“Pricing strategy for veterinary practices,” American Veterinary Medical Association, Last Accessed 7/25/2022

“Cancer in Pets,” American Veterinary Medical Association, Last Accessed 7/27/2022

“Economic Euthanasia: Causes and Resolutions,” Regional Animal Protection Society, Last Accessed 7/27/2022

⁸ Your pet’s deductible automatically decreases by $25 (for IAIC underwritten policies) or $50 (for MetGen underwritten policies) each policy year that you don’t receive a claim reimbursement. May not be available in all states.

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