Pet Insurance for Older Dogs: Is It Worth It?

Four Minutes
Apr 02, 2024

Dogs bring joy to our homes and enrich our lives. Getting pet insurance to assist with expenses that can help them live a long and healthy life 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 and how they can benefit you and your senior pup.

Why Should I Insure My Senior Dog?

Senior pets tend to experience health issues as they age, just like we do. Your pup may be slowing down, playing less, or acting disoriented at times. Other signs of aging in a dog may include:1

Another unfortunate reality of aging is cancer rates among dogs — with about half of dogs ages 10 and older developing cancer.2

Many senior pets have chronic ailments...[that] can be covered by pet insurance...and save pet parents] thousands of dollars over their pet's lifetime.
Dr. Hunter Finn
Famous Vet on TikTok

Bottom line, enrolling in pet insurance for your older dog can help you plan for and offset the cost of potential health issues and their treatments. The earlier you can enroll your dog, the more likely you’ll receive coverage for things before they become a pre-existing condition. That way, you can worry less about your finances and focus more on caring for your senior companion.

Pet Insurance May Help Cover Senior Dog Care Costs

Find Out More

What’s Considered a Senior Dog?

Knowing what’s considered a “senior dog can be challenging because calculating their “human” age isn’t as simple as taking your dog’s age and multiplying it by seven. A dog’s age depends on their size, breed, and genetics — with smaller dogs typically aging at a slower rate than larger ones.1

You can typically expect your pup to reach “senior” status around the following ages:1

  • Small breeds: 11 – 12 years
  • Medium breeds: 10 years
  • Large breeds: 8 years
  • Giant breeds: 7 years

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

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 related to accidents and illnesses. Our policies typically offer coverage on things like:

You can also add our optional Preventive Care Plan to enhance your standard policy coverage and help keep your senior dog as healthy as possible with routine care. Get reimbursed for things like teeth cleanings, vaccinations, and parasite prevention and treatment.

With MetLife Pet, your senior pup won’t be denied enrollment because of their age. Your benefits will depend on the deductible, reimbursement rate, and level of coverage you choose when you sign up.3,4,5 It’s important to note that while your senior pup won’t be denied enrollment, there may be exclusions to their coverage — especially if they have pre-existing conditions. We’ll go over those below.

How does it work?

With pet insurance, you and your family don’t have to make the difficult decision to skip covered medical care for your faithful companion. Simply pay for the care at any board-certified veterinary clinic, and then submit a claim with the invoice and any relevant vet records. MetLife Pet can reimburse up to 90% of covered veterinary expenses — typically within 5 days — depending on your benefits.4

How much will it cost?

MetLife Pet dog insurance policies start at $15 per month for one dog.6 Your premium depends on your zip code and the coverage you choose, as well as your dog’s age, breed, gender,7 and any pre-existing conditions they may have.

The monthly premium on pet insurance for older dogs may cost more than if they were younger. That cost, however, can seem like a lifeline when faced with paying a large bill or euthanizing your family pet. Economic euthanasia is a sadly common practice in the face of veterinary bills and other economic obligations.8 But being financially prepared with the help of pet insurance can give your pup the best chance at getting the care they need — which means more belly rubs and wagging tails.

A senior couple doing yoga at home with their dog.

Can you get pet insurance for older dogs with pre-existing conditions?

As we mentioned, your dog won’t be denied enrollment because of their age. But if your dog has pre-existing conditions, associated costs may not be covered by a new MetLife Pet Insurance policy.

However, if your senior dog has pre-existing conditions that are already covered under another provider’s insurance policy, MetLife Pet may be able to cover them when you switch to one of our policies.9

See How MetLife Pet Has Helped Senior Dogs

To determine if pet insurance for your older dog is worth it for you, it sometimes helps to see how real-life customers have used their benefits. Take a look at some claims stories to see how much members of the MetLife Pet family have saved:10,11

  • An 11-year-old golden retriever, Jax, from California, needed surgery to remove some bladder stones that were causing blood in his urine. The vet bill was almost $8,000, but MetLife Pet reimbursed Jax’s family for nearly $7,200.
  • Pratt, a 14-year-old pup from Texas, needed some teeth extracted due to advanced periodontal disease. The procedure cost nearly $2,000, but Pratt’s family was reimbursed over $1,500 because of their MetLife Pet policy.
  • A 13-year-old cavalier King Charles spaniel, Lucy, from Arizona went to the vet for her heart murmur’s year-three checkup, and the bill was over $550. With their dog insurance, Lucy’s family was reimbursed more than $500 from MetLife Pet.

Benefits for our pet parents, too

When it comes to caring for a senior dog, it can be an emotional time. The things you used to do together may be more difficult for them, you might see changes in your pup that tug on your heartstrings, or you may realize your time left together is shorter than you’d like. Dogs become some of our closest family members, and when any of them cross the rainbow bridge, it can be a very difficult experience.

Here at MetLife Pet, we’re dog parents, too. We strive to provide supportive care for you and your pup during transitional times. That’s why, in addition to offering coverage for euthanasia and cremation services, we’re one of the only providers to offer grief counseling after the loss of your beloved pet.11,12

Care for Your Aging Dog With the Help of MetLife Pet

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 finances make it difficult. Know that you aren’t alone, and you have options. Our policies can help give you the ability to more easily afford the medical care your precious companion needs, with the ultimate goal of giving you and your family more time with them.

Here’s a review of how MetLife Pet Insurance helped Sharon with this exact situation — so she could get life-saving cancer treatment for her senior shih tzu.

“We had never used my pet insurance, and because my furbabies had always been healthy and they had reached the age the premium was increasing a little more than I was comfortable with, I almost canceled my insurance. I decided to keep it for one final year. My oldest furbaby developed Lymphoma. Because we had MetLife Pet, we were able to get the best treatment possible for her, and as of today she is still in remission. I learned my lesson. We will never be without insurance for them. MetLife Pet has been wonderful through it all: reimbursements, claim processing, and even renewal.” — Sharon,, 01/02/2024 (Star rating = 5)

It’s never too late to see how a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet can benefit you and your pup. Get started with a free, personalized quote today.

Help Protect Your Dog at Any Age


**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.

1 “How Old is Old? Comparing Dog Age to Human Age,” VCA Animal Hospitals

2 “Cancer in Pets,” American Veterinary Medical Association

3 Deductible options range include: $0 – $750 in $50 increments and $1,000, $1,250, $1,500, $2,000 and $2,500.

4 Reimbursement options include: 50%, 70%, 80% and 90%. Pet age restrictions may apply.

5 Annual limit options range from $500 – $25,000 in $1,000 increments. Unlimited benefit option subject to availability.

6 Calculation based upon select plans and coverages. Actual rates may vary based on pet age, breed, location, deductible, reimbursement rate, and annual limits you choose.

7 For IAIC policies only.

8 “What is Economic Euthanasia?” Compassion Animal Project

9 We do not cover all pre-existing conditions; just those covered by the previous provider.

10 All claims paid amounts are based on MetLife Pet internal claims data from October 2022. Story altered for illustrative purposes.

11 These examples are for illustrative purposes only. This is based on a policy with a [$] deductible and [%] reimbursement. The pet policy issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company is the governing document with respect to all matters of insurance. The specific facts of each claim must be evaluated in conjunction with the provisions of the applicable Policy to determine coverage in each individual case.

12 Grief Counseling services are provided through an agreement with TELUS Health, an unaffiliated third-party service provider. Grief counseling services provided by TELUS Health are separate and apart from the insurance provided by MetLife. Not available to NY residents.

13 Based on a January 2024 review of publicly available summary information. Competitors did not furnish copies of their policies for review. If you have questions about a particular competitor's policy or coverage, please contact them or their representative directly.

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886. Availability is subject to regulatory approval. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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