Does Pet Insurance Cover Prescription Food?

While some pet insurance policies offer coverage for prescription pet food, many do not.
Cassidy Horton
By Cassidy Horton 
Edited by Sarah Schlichter

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Nerdy takeaways
  • Prescription pet food is often recommended for specific health conditions.

  • Not all pet insurance policies cover prescription food.

  • There are alternative ways to save on prescription food if your pet insurance plan doesn’t cover it.

When your pet faces a medical issue, your vet may prescribe a special diet to help manage the condition. While prescription pet food can be a critical part of your furry friend's treatment plan, it can also come with a hefty price tag. If you're wondering whether pet insurance covers the cost of prescription pet food, the answer is: It depends on the provider.

What is prescription food for pets?

Prescription diets are formulated to address specific health conditions in pets, ranging from allergies to kidney disease. Unlike regular pet food, these generally require a vet's prescription, ensuring they're fed to pets who genuinely need them.

Why might my pet need prescription food?

Your vet might recommend a prescription diet if your pet has conditions like:

  • Arthritis.

  • Food allergies.

  • Kidney issues.

  • Obesity.

  • Heart problems.

  • Diabetes.

These diets cater to the pet's unique nutritional needs and can help manage or treat their condition. They usually come with a higher price tag than standard pet food.

Does pet insurance cover prescription pet food?

Some pet insurance plans cover prescription food, but it’s important to read the fine print. Your policy might cover prescription diets under certain conditions or up to a specific limit.

Here's a quick overview of where some popular pet insurance companies stand on prescription food coverage.

Pet insurance company

Covers prescription food in standard plan?

Covers prescription food through add-on?
















Pets Best









AKC’s prescription food coverage

AKC won’t cover most pet food, but it makes an exception for prescription diets used as the sole treatment for a covered condition. So if your veterinarian prescribes a special diet to manage your pet's condition, AKC will consider covering the cost.

Embrace’s prescription food coverage

Embrace generally doesn't include prescription food coverage in its standard insurance plans. One exception may be if your vet prescribes a certain type of diet for hyperthyroidism in cats. But if you enroll in the optional Wellness Rewards program, you can get reimbursed for prescription diets purchased through your vet. The Wellness Rewards program also covers other routine expenses like wellness exam fees and vaccines.

Figo’s prescription food coverage

Figo offers optional “Powerups” that you can add to its standard accident and illness plan. One of them reimburses you for vet exam fees and will pay up to $250 per policy term for food prescribed as the sole treatment for a covered illness. So if your dog is diagnosed with an ailment that requires a special diet and your vet prescribes a therapeutic food as the only treatment, this rider can help offset the cost.

MetLife’s prescription food coverage

MetLife covers prescription pet food from a veterinary provider under its standard accident and illness plan in most states.

Nationwide’s prescription food coverage

Nationwide may cover prescription food under certain plans or with an extra rider. If it’s included, the food must be a therapeutic diet prescribed by a veterinarian to treat a covered medical condition. Your vet may need to provide Nationwide with details about the type of food, which condition it’s treating and how much you should feed your pet.

Pets Best’s prescription food coverage

Pets Best doesn’t cover prescription pet food or supplements.

Spot’s prescription food coverage

Spot's core pet insurance plan includes coverage for prescription food and supplements when they’re prescribed by a licensed veterinarian to treat covered conditions. The policy reimburses actual costs for these prescription foods, up to the limits specified in your policy.

However, Spot doesn’t cover prescription food used for general maintenance or weight management, or any food you can buy without a vet’s prescription.

Trupanion’s prescription food coverage

Trupanion covers prescription pet foods for dogs and cats when they’re prescribed by a licensed veterinarian for the treatment of a covered illness or injury. This coverage reimburses 50% of the cost, minus any deductible. But the policy covers only the first two months of the prescribed diet. After that, you’ll pay the full cost out of pocket.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Pet insurance often excludes pre-existing conditions. So if your pet was already on a prescription diet before you bought your policy, it probably won’t be covered.

How does coverage for prescription food work?

First, check your policy details to make sure prescription food is covered and see what restrictions apply. To find this information, look in the fine print and read through your plan's endorsements.

Typically, your vet must prescribe the food for a specific medical condition affecting your pet. It usually can’t be for general health or weight management.

If it's covered, you’ll generally pay upfront for the food and then submit a claim to your insurance company. The insurer would reimburse you according to your plan's terms.

For example, if your dog develops kidney disease, your veterinarian may prescribe a special low-protein diet. After buying the prescribed food, you'd submit the receipt and any other requested documentation to your insurer. Depending on your plan, you might be reimbursed for a percentage or up to a certain limit of the food’s cost. If you haven’t met your deductible, the insurer may subtract that amount from your claim payout.

Other ways to save on prescription food

Prescription pet food can be a game changer for pets with certain health issues. But if your policy doesn't offer coverage, there are other ways to make these diets more affordable. Consider:

  • Buying in bulk or during sales.

  • Joining loyalty programs or subscribing to regular deliveries for discounts.

  • Exploring homemade diet options (with guidance from your vet).

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