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A Shiatsu for a Shih Tzu? UK pet owners could be missing out on cover for alternative pet therapies that they're entitled to

16 July 2013

A study by Gocompare.com has found that UK dog and cat owners could be missing out on alternative treatment cover included in their pet insurance policy - because they don't know that they have it.

The research found that even though more than half (57%) of cat and dog owners would consider using complementary treatments for their pets, only one in five (21%) believed that their cat insurance or dog insurance would cover it.
However, Gocompare.com looked at 568 pet insurance policies* and found that most (95%) will cover the cost of alternative therapy, including acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, osteopathy and hydrotherapy - with some offering up to £7,500* worth of cover for these sorts of treatments.
In the survey, only 7% of pet owners thought that alternative treatments were covered by most insurers, and around 20% thought cover for complementary therapies were only available on expensive policies, when actually even ‘budget' ones will often pay for these sorts of remedies.
Most popular alternative therapy treatments considered by UK pet owners:


Pet owners that would consider the treatment



Herbal medicine


Massage therapy










The most popular alternative therapy that UK cat and dog owners would consider for their pets was physiotherapy, with over half (52%) claiming that they would consider the treatment. In a similar vein, nearly half (46%) said they would consider massage therapy for their pet.
The least popular treatment was aromatherapy. Though surprisingly, around 1 in 4 (24%) still claimed that they would consider aromatherapy as a form of alternative therapy should their pet become ill.
Ben Wilson, pet insurance expert at Gocompare.com, said: "Our research has highlighted that many people are unaware of the range of expenses their pet insurance policy can help with. Despite the majority of pet owners saying they would be interested in alternative or complementary treatments for their pets, they often assume that to have this sort of cover means taking out an expensive pet insurance policy. However, the reality is most of the policies on the market cover these as standard, though you will usually need a vet referral for alternative medical treatment.
"In our survey, almost two thirds (64%) of 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 pets.
"Not having pet insurance means some pet 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."
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Notes to editors:

Research commissioned by Gocompare.com and carried out by OnePoll on the 3rd of June 2013 with 2,000 UK dog and cat owners aged 18 and over.

*Source: Defaqto Matrix - instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial research company Defaqto (14 June 2013)