Behavioural treatment cover for pets

Training and socialisation goes a long way to avoiding behavioural issues in pets, but behavioural treatment cover is available to help should you need it.

Understanding pet behavioural cover

Behavioural treatment is another section within pet insurance policies which helps with training or support with aggressiveness, anxiety or other conditions which your pet may need support.

Contents of this guide

What is behavioural treatment cover? 

Behavioural treatment cover is support that pet insurers provide to ensure that their happiness and mental wellbeing is looked after as well as the physical side.

If your pet is suffering from anxiety, or showing signs of aggression of destructive behaviour then you can work with specialist pet behaviorists to understand and improve their condition over time. Some of the treatments that may be prescribed could be pet training classes, prescription of pheromone products to help calm pets down or medication to improve pet behaviour.

Do all pet insurers offer cover?

At the time of writing 60% of policies available in the UK offer some form of cover for behavioural treatment. Cover ranges from £100 worth of cover with Scratch & Patch under their Prime cover, up to £15,000 worth of cover offered by Bought By Many on their Complete policy.

How long can I claim behavioural treatment for?

On most policies there is no threshold to say that behavioural treatment lasts for a certain period of time. Having said that check the policy wording as we found with Animal Friends they will only pay for training for a maximum of 6 months.

Equally, depending upon the type of policy that you hold you may find that you can only claim for 12 months or until your policy limit is expired.

If you have time limited pet insurance then you’ll only be able to claim for a period of time – usually 12 months – or until you reach the cover limit for behavioural treatment, whichever comes first. After that, if you pet requires further treatment, then you would need to cover the cost yourself.

If you are a maximum benefit pet insurance holder, then you’ll be able to claim until the cover limit for behavioural treatment is reached. There is no time limit imposed on max benefit policies however once you reach the limit, and further treatment will be covered by you.

Finally, if you have a lifetime pet insurance policy – aka reinstatement – then as long as you keen renewing the policy then you will be able to claim up to the cover limit each year. At the end of each year the full limit is reset.

What exclusions are there and what do I need to show when making a claim?

There don’t tend to be many exclusions around behavioral therapy, the main ones tend to be around behavioural issues that could have been avoided by routine pet care such as spaying, neutering or basic training.

So long as you don’t fall into this category then in order to make a valid claim you’ll want to make sure that the treatment meets certain criteria. Most providers ask for the treatment is recommended by a vet, and carried out by one of the following trained professionals:

Your vet will likely refer you to one of these qualified professionals or you can find your own on the official websites for the organisations above. Often a good first port of call to understand if there is a problem worth further investigation is to speak with a vet through an advice line. If you’re already insured then most insurers will have a 24/7 vet advice line that you can call.

What are typical behavioural issues?

Common behavioural issues that are seen in pets are:

  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Chewing, biting, scratching and destructive behaviour
  • Fear of loud noises
  • Problems going to the toilet
  • Separation anxiety

How to avoid behavioural issues?

Along with accidental damage pet cover is the best way to avoid behavioural treatments being needed is by preventative care.

The key drivers of behavioural issues in pets listed above are ones that pet owners have influence over.

Leaving your pet alone

While vets say that you shouldn’t leave dogs alone for more than 4 hours a day, a staggering 28% of pet owners believe it is acceptable to leave their dog alone in the house for 6-10 hours per day, according to research from PDSA.

Makin sure that your dog has the mental stimulation, love and companionship they need is a key part of being a responsible pet owner. Before you decide to welcome a dog into your home, think carefully about how much time you can realistically spend with them to ensure that they don’t develop behavioural issues.

Providing adequate exercise

Lack of physical exercise is a key driver of behavioural issues, in fact the majority of vets in the UK stated that behavioural issues have caused an increase in pets being put down.

The amount of exercise your dog needs will differ upon their age and their breed, but all dogs benefit from getting out of the house for a while. Regrettably, research shows that nearly half a million dogs are never taken for a walk.

If you don’t have time to take your dog for a walks every day then consider how a professional dog walker or dog sitter may be able to support you in keeping your dog happy and healthy.