Alternative therapies for pets

Did you know your pet insurance may cover alternative therapies and treatments such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy?

Most policies on the market offer alternative therapy cover as a standard feature
Ben Wilson, Gocompare.com

When your pet is poorly, the vet is usually the first port of call.

But in some circumstances a spot of aromatherapy or a nice massage could do the trick nicely - and it might be available on your pet insurance!

If you're amongst the 57% of owners in the UK who would consider complementary therapy for your animal, read on...[1]

Is my pet already covered?

A study by Gocompare.com found that more than half of owners would think about alternative types of treatments for their dogs and cats - yet many were missing out because they didn't realise it was already part of their policy.[1]Dog and cat

Just 21% realised that their insurance policy included complementary therapy and only 7% knew that it was widely available.

To compare their beliefs against the facts, on 17 August, 2015, Gocompare.com analysed the 313 pet insurance policies listed on the matrix of independent financial researcher Defaqto.

It was found that 96% of policies included alternative options and that some paid up to £10,000 towards costs, with the cover level ranging between £200 and £10,000.

The number of alternative medicine treatments covered also varied, with some policies covering the cost of one treatment, but most covering up to seven.

Our research highlighted that many people are unaware of the range of expenses their policy can help with
Ben Wilson

Our survey found that about 20% of owners thought alternative remedies were only available on expensive policies, when actually some budget policies included the cover as well.

The most popular alternative treatment considered by owners was physiotherapy, which would have been an option for 52% of those surveyed.

And 51% of owners would think about giving their pooch or puss herbal medicine, whilst 46% would consider massage therapy.

Just 24% would consider aromatherapy for their animal and 36% said they might go for acupuncture.Life_critical_illness_Pig_teaser

What alternative therapies are available for pets?

A wide range of alternative treatments for cats and dogs are available, including acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, osteopathy and hydrotherapy.

Some people tend to be sceptical of complementary therapies - whether practised on humans or animals.

Yet many vets embrace alternative treatments, which can be used instead of, or in conjunction with, medicine or surgery.

And they're not just useful when your animal already has an ailment.

Alternative therapies are used for all sorts of issues, such as behavioural problems, stress and to prevent illness from happening in the first place.

We're often accused of pampering our pets with presents, but the best gift we can give our animals is the right cover for their health
Ben Wilson

In Gocompare.com's August 2015 study, of the 299 policies that did offer alternative medical treatment for cats and dogs it was found that:

  • 96% covered the cost of acupuncture
  • 90% covered homeopathy
  • 96% covered herbal medicine
  • 100% covered physiotherapy
  • 97% covered hydrotherapy
  • 93% covered osteopathy
  • 98% covered chiropractic

Vet referral

"Our research highlighted that many people are unaware of the range of expenses their policy can help with," said Gocompare.com's Ben Wilson.

"Despite the majority of owners saying they would be interested in alternative or complementary treatments for their pets, they often assume that to have this means taking out expensive cover.

"The reality is that most of the policies on the market cover these as standard, though you will usually need a vet referral for alternative medical treatment.

"Dog and cat owners said they would consider alternative treatments as they 'would do anything to make their pets better' but, worryingly, we found that less than half - 48% - actually had insurance for at least one of their animals.

"Not having insurance means some owners may not be able to afford essential medical treatment if their animal was to have an accident or become ill.

"As a nation, we're often accused of pampering our pets with presents, but the best gift we can give to our animals is the right cover for their health."

By Rebecca Lees