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Has lockdown made Aussie pets healthier?

Has lockdown made Aussie pets healthier?

Nicola Middlemiss

Stroking dog

A rise in pet insurance claims suggests owners are paying extra attention to their pet’s health.

When restrictions were put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus, there were actually a few positive side-effects that were somewhat unexpected.

Emissions decreased, baking skills flourished, and our houses have never been cleaner. But, for many people, the most enjoyable side effect has been all the spare time they suddenly get to spend with their pets.

According to Finder’s Consumer Sentiment tracker, 41% of Aussies have at least one dog and 29% have at least one cat – that’s millions of happy owners and even happier animals.

But it seems owners aren’t just spending the extra time playing with their pets. In fact, data from Australia’s largest pet insurer shows owners have been using lockdown to focus on their animal’s health – and insurance is helping.

According to PetSure, there’s been a significant rise in pet insurance claims during lockdown as Aussies use the opportunity to schedule vet appointments and arrange procedures.

“Pet owners have taken care of chronic health issues, attended to pet wellbeing and acted swiftly on acute issues,” said PetSure CEO Alexandra Thomas. “Evidence of this is the increase in treatment, claims and pet insurance payments for medical and surgical procedures.”

Finder’s Consumer Sentiment tracker found that 32% of pet owners in Australia have pet insurance and 60% of those think they’re getting good value for money.

In April alone, PetSure paid $17.3 million in benefits – an increase of 34% from the same time last year. The number of claims has also risen by 16% year on year.

One possible reason for the uptick in claims is that many people have been spending more time with their animals, so have been quicker to notice changes in health or behaviour.

PetSure CEO Alexandra Thomas also suggested that Aussies may be lodging more claims as lockdown allows them to provide round-the-clock care for their pets.

“One upside of working from home may well be that pet owners are able to care for their pet in their recovery so have opted to act on health issues rather than delay them,” she said.

So if you’ve been thinking about buying pet insurance, now could be a good time to do it. You can compare benefits from 17 major providers by using the table below.