Alternative therapies and pet insurance

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Alternative therapies could help keep your pet healthy and give them a better standard of life. Find out whether your pet insurance offers cover for them


When your pet falls ill or needs more health care due to old age, your vet is the first place you’ll visit. 

But they may not need invasive treatments or an operation in order to keep them healthy – alternative therapies such as hydrotherapy or laser treatment can offer your pet a new lease of life. 

Read on to find out more about alternative therapies and whether they could help your pet.

What are alternative therapies/complementary medicine for pets? 

Alternative therapies are treatments which are typically outside the range of conventional medical treatment. 

There are a broad range of treatments under this bracket, and different insurance plans will offer cover for different treatments.

Pets can benefit from acupuncture, hydrotherapy, osteopathy and herbal medicine. Your vet will recommend these to you in an effort to improve the health of your pet. 

Many vets offer alternative therapy within their practices, but some can be sceptical about how useful they are. It’s essential that you consult your vet if you think that your pet needs or would benefit from alternative therapies. 

Our Pet Insurance Ambassador, Monty, has hydrotherapy. His owners noticed an increase in his strength and stamina after just a few sessions. Hydrotherapy is particularly effective for dachshunds, as it strengthens the muscles in their back and helps prevent IVDD, a common condition in this breed. It’s also useful to help recovery after surgery.

Monty loves swimming, and it’s great exercise for him when combined with walks. It’s thought that 20 minutes of swimming is roughly equivalent to spending an hour running around in the park.

Here’s a snippet of my third trip to HYDROTHERAPY! This time I got to show off my swimming skills! A healthy spine is super important for… | Instagram

Pet insurance and complementary medicine

There are lots of options to choose from when it comes to pet insurance, and the level of cover varies depending on the policy that you buy. It’s important to read the small print to ensure you’re picking the right plan for you and your pet.

All insurers will include veterinary treatment as part of their pet insurance, but this can mean different things. 

For example, while the treatments included under the cover may be the same across many policies the amount of cover that you have for each may differ. This may mean that your pet could benefit from a certain number of alternative therapy sessions covered by the cost of insurance, but any further treatments will have to be paid for by you. 

Choosing a higher level of pet insurance which covers a broader range of treatments at a higher cost can ensure that every eventuality is catered for. 

Which alternative therapies does Admiral cover? 

Under an Admiral Pet Insurance policy alternative therapies include physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic, homeopathic, herbal medicines or laser treatment. 

In order for these treatments to be covered by insurance, they must be administered by a suitably qualified practitioner following a recommendation from a vet. 

Additionally, treatments must be administered by a practitioner who is a member of one of the following associations: 

  • Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy/National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists 
  • The International Association of Animal Therapists
  • Canine Hydrotherapy Association
  • The Society of Osteopaths in Animal Practice (SOAP)
  • International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS)
  • Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists (ABVA)
  • British Veterinary Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Association (BVRSMA).

All levels of Admiral Pet Insurance cover the same complementary treatments. Depending on the policy you have, however, there is a maximum benefit limit which can be paid out. These are also subject to an excess payment. These are:

  • Accident Only: £300
  • Value: £350
  • Standard: £400
  • Classic: £350 
  • Premier: £500
  • Premier Plus: £1,000

Top tips for a healthy pet

While you should always make sure your pet is covered with the appropriate levels of insurance, there are things you can do to make sure that medical treatment is the last option:

Ensure your pet is getting regular exercise

This doesn’t just apply to dogs, either – all animals require a certain level of physical activity! If you have a house cat, encourage it to move around by initiating playtime and making sure it has enough space.

Make sure they are up-to-date with all their vaccinations

This can be expensive, but if your pet is fully protected you can avoid having to spend money on treatment later on. 

It is your responsibility to ensure that your pet has clean drinking water and a well-balanced, healthy diet. This is a legal requirement under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The amount that they should be eating will depend on their size, age, and amount of physical activity. Speak to your vet if you’re unsure how much your pet should be eating. 

For more tips, check out our guides on looking after an older dog and making sure your pet is a healthy weight

Give your cat or dog the cover they deserve