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Alternative therapies for pets

Pet insurance can cover alternative therapies and treatments. Could aromatherapy, physiotherapy, massage therapy or hydrotherapy help your pet?

Updated 12 May 2020  | 3 min read

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Key points

  • Complementary therapies are sometimes used alongside conventional treatment
  • Alternative and complementary therapies can include acupuncture, herbal medicine and hydrotherapy
  • Most providers will cover these treatments, as long as they were recommended by a vet and are carried out by a qualified therapist

Complementary and alternative therapies are not considered part of mainstream medicine. They are often confused with one another.

Complementary therapies are used alongside conventional medicine, whereas alternative therapies are used instead of conventional medicine (sometimes at the same time, but not in connection with).

Integrative treatments combine conventional medicine with complementary therapies that are proven to be safe and effective.

What alternative therapies are available for pets?

Many vets embrace alternative treatments. Alternative and complementary therapies for pets include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic
  • Herbal medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Laser treatment
  • Massage
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Osteopathy
  • Physiotherapy

These treatments can be used to improve the health of your pet, treat behavioural issues, relieve stress, ease depression  and prevent illness.

Guidelines from the BSAVA  state that owners should get advice from their vet before using complementary or alternative therapy for their pets.

Does my pet insurance cover complementary treatment?

Most providers include alternative treatments either as standard or as an add-on. In most cases, complementary and alternative therapies are covered as long as the treatment is carried out by a qualified therapist and has been recommended by your vet.

Different insurance plans will offer cover for different treatments. If you're keen to have alternative therapies covered by insurance, check the policy details before committing. Cover levels - how much an insurer would be willing to pay out for alternative therapies - will vary between insurers.

If you’d consider alternative or complementary therapies for your pet, make sure you have the right pet insurance. Shop around until you find a policy that’s best for you and your pet. Not having insurance means you may not be able to afford essential medical treatment if your pet becomes ill or injured.

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