Australians’ love of pets has grown to such an extent that our pet population(at 24 million) has almost reached our human population[1]. Now, new researchhas found that nearly 1 in 2 pet owners are willing to try allied healthservices or alternative therapies to improve their pet’s health and wellbeing.

The findings come from an independent, nationally representative survey of1003 pet owners[2], commissioned by leading financial comparison sitecomparethemarket.com.au. Respondents were asked whether they have used, orwould use, any of the following nine services to improve their pet’s health:homeopathic remedies, laser therapy, physiotherapy, physical therapy,chiropractic services, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, osteopathy and herbalmedicine.

Interestingly, 44 per cent of pet owners have used, or would use, any of theabove treatments for their pets. Among these, nearly half (45 per cent) haveor would use physiotherapy, almost a third (29 per cent) chose homeopathicremedies in the survey and 28 per cent opted for physical therapy (such asmassage, heat treatment and exercise routines) in the survey.

Twenty-seven (27) per cent nominated hydrotherapy (using water to treatdifferent conditions), a further quarter (25 per cent) selected acupunctureand herbal medicine, and 24 per cent would or have used chiropractic services.

Fifteen (15) per cent would even use, or have used, laser therapy to treatpain, swelling and inflammation and 12 per cent would or have looked toosteopathy.

The survey revealed that the older the pet owner, the less likely they are touse allied health services or alternative therapy for their pet. Across theage groups, 54 per cent of under 35s, 47 per cent of those aged 35-44, 39 percent of 45-64s, and 31 per cent of over-65s stated they have or would consideralternative therapies for their furry friend.

Women pet owners are also more likely than men to consider such treatments –at a ratio of 48 per cent to 39 per cent respectively.

Many pet owners may be surprised to find out that allied health services andalternative therapies are often covered under most comprehensive pet insurancepolicies. When your pet is unwell or injured, most pet owners want to knowthat they have tried everything they can to help them. Occasionally, thismeans trialling different treatments pet owners wouldn’t normally consider.

Many comprehensive pet policies[3] can offer annual benefits when you purchaseextras cover with comprehensive cover. One example is ‘Routine Care’, whichgives you certain benefit amounts for a range of treatments, includingalternative therapies.

When comparing pet policies, it is essential to find cover that not only suitsyour pet’s needs but also your budget. Comparison services such ascomparethemarket.com.au can help individuals looking to find an appropriatelevel of cover that provides pet owners with the maximum benefits and theshortest waiting periods so that their pet can recover quickly.

Consumers have the option to purchase additional routine care treatments too,which may include a wider range of alternative therapies such as physiotherapyand chiropractic services. Make sure you always check the Product DisclosureStatement (PDS) to see what is and isn’t covered within your policy[4].

Types of alternative therapies people would consider for their pets | %of respondents
—|—
Physiotherapy | 45%
Homeopathic remedies | 29%
Physical therapy | 28%
Hydrotherapy | 27%
Acupuncture | 25%
Herbal medicine | 25%
Chiropractic | 24%
Laser therapy | 15%
Osteopathy | 12%

[1] Animal Medicines
Australia, ‘Pet Ownership in Australia’ (2016):http://animalmedicinesaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/AMA_Pet-Ownership-in-Australia-2016-Report_sml.pdf

[2] Survey conducted
by PureProfile.

[3] Based on a
comparison of six pet insurers for a 1 year old labradoodle for Comprehensive
pet insurance (RSCPA, Guide Dogs Australia, Prime Pet Insurance, RealInsurance,
Australian Senior Insurance and Guardian Insurance) on comparethemarket.com.au

[4]Prime Pet
Insurance’s Sovereign Accident & Illness Cover and Real Insurance’s Premium
Accident & Illness policies each covers up to $80 worth of routine care
treatments in a year.


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