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Policy guide

This handy guide will give you an idea of the support and help you can expect from us once you've taken out a policy. Plus, helpful tips on keeping your pet safe and healthy, as well as ways to avoid behavioural problems.

If you have any questions about your policy you can call us on 0345 078 7550 – we’re here to help.

For full information about our policy, please refer to the policy document (PDF).

Click here for more information about how to make a claim

Select a heading below to read our tips and advice, or if you'd like to print the whole of this quick guide, click here to open a PDF.


As a pet owner you’ll want to keep your pet fit and healthy. It’s far better to prevent health problems than it is to cure them. Often there are warning signs and it’s important that you’re able to recognise these. It’s best to act on them as soon as you can by seeking help from your vet. Here are some ways to keep your pet healthy.

24 hour vetfone helpline included as part of your policy

We know how important your pet is to you and your family. That's why we offer a free phone pet helpline provided by vetfone that you can call day or night to discuss any pet queries you may have. 

The vetfone service allows you to speak directly to experienced, fully qualified veterinary nurses. If you're not sure whether you need to see a vet or want help with first aid or minor ailments, vetfone will provide expert help and advice. They're also on hand to help with anything from grooming and feeding to dietary tips and health advice.

A recent customer survey showed over 99% of vetfone users were more than satisfied with the service, so you can be confident in the support they provide. 

vetfone is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, providing a convenient and free source of advice that's invaluable at weekends or out of hours.

35% of customers who call vetfone don't actually need to see a vet. vetfone nurses can offer the support and advice you need to treat your pet at home, saving you the time and expense of a vet visit. In addition, a vetfone nurse can help you spot emergencies that may not initially appear serious, ensuring you get to the vet when you need to.

Calls to vetfone won't affect your premium or policy excess, regardless of how many times you call.

Long-term cover

There are different types of pet insurance available. Some cap the total amount you can claim for each condition, others limit you to a year of treatment for a condition.

John Lewis only offers Long Term Cover. This means, if you're insured with us and your premiums are paid, you could claim for a one-off mishap such as a cut paw or an illness such as diabetes which needs treatment every year, or both.

We offer three levels of cover so you can choose the level of veterinary fees you'll have to use for the treatment your pet needs. If your policy is renewed every year, we won't put a time limit on how long treatment can last and we'll pay up to your chosen vet fee limit each year that you need it.

Visiting the vet

When you first get your pet, your vet may carry out a health check which will include looking at your pet's eyes, ears and mouth. They might also have a feel of your pet and listen to its heart. They can advise you on your pet's ideal weight and the vaccinations and parasite control they will need. 

Good Health

If you examine your pet regularly you can usually learn to spot potential health issues before they become a problem.

  • Eyes – should look bright, with no discharge.
  • Ears – should look clean, with no discharge or unpleasant smell. 
  • Mouth – should smell clean. Teeth should be checked regularly for plaque build-up.
  • Body and limbs – you should not be able to feel any lumps or swellings.
  • Coat – should look clean, with no bald patches.
  • Claws – may need regular clipping, with particular attention given to the dew claws.
  • Weight – a vet can advise your pet's ideal weight. You should seek advice if your pet appears to be losing or gaining excessive weight.


Grooming your pet on a regular basis gives you an opportunity to look for skin conditions or parasites. It’s also a great way to bond with your pet.

  • Start grooming your pet from a young age so that they get used to it. You can then build a routine so that it becomes an enjoyable experience for you and your pet.
  • Most pet shops stock a wide range of brushes and combs and they’ll be able to tell you what’s best for your breed.

Preventing parasites

External parasites:

  • Fleas and lice – live on the surface of the skin and feed on your pet's blood. Often the first sign of fleas or lice is your pet scratching. You may also find live fleas or flea dirt in your pet's coat.
    Treatment - is best applied with a "spot-on" drop to the back of the neck. Heavy infestations can be prevented by treating regularly before the problem occurs and regularly washing your pet's bedding and vaccuuming all your rooms in your home.
  • Ticks – can be seen attached to any part of your pet's body, but are commonly seen on the head.
    Treatment - ticks can be removed with a special tick hook, which can be bought cheaply from a pet shop. Many "spot-on" flea and lice products will also kill ticks. These are available at pet shops or from your vet.

Internal parasites:

  • Worms – owners are often unaware their pet has worms until they cough them up or pass them in their faeces. Follow a regular worming regime to help prevent worms.
    Treatment: worms are easily treated with medicines available from your vet. Preventative treatment is usually given as a tablet every three months.


Getting your pet’s diet right is essential to their health and well-being, and can even impact on their behaviour.

  • There are many types of pet food – dry, canned and fresh – vetfone can help you decide on the right food for your pet at each stage of its life. It’s important to not overfeed them.
  • Always ensure your pet has an unlimited supply of fresh water.
  • There are many treats that can aid oral hygiene. vetfone can provide help and advice.


All pets need to be exercised regularly, however, the amount depends on their size, age and breed.

  • Your dog should have a collar and you should have them micro-chipped from an early age, especially if you're going to let them off the lead. Make sure the details you give to your microchip database are kept up to date.
  • Throwing a ball or Frisbee for your dog is a good form of exercise.
  • You must keep your dogs on a lead in public spaces, alongside roads or in fields with sheep and livestock. Teach your dog basic commands such as ‘come’ and ‘sit’ from an early age. Local socialisation classes can help you find the best approach to training.
  • Don't forget that cats also like to play. Chasing balls of paper or playing "fishing" games can keep them occupied and happy.
  • Putting a small bell on your cat's collar will make it harder for them to catch birds and other wildlife.


There are a few simple ways to keep your pet safe, not only for their safety but for yours and that of the general public.

  • Pets are often looking for things to chew on, climb in and jump up on. Always check the house before you leave to make sure there are no hidden dangers and don't forget to close windows. 
  • Regularly check your pet’s collar – it should be in good condition and fit properly. Remember pets grow and leather collars can become looser over time – you should always be able to fit two fingers underneath the collar.
  • It’s important to tag or microchip your pets, in case they get lost or even stolen. Your vet or local pet charity can microchip for a reasonable price or even free.

If your pet goes missing, we can help cover the costs of local advertising, offering a reward or if you wish to make your own posters.

For full information about our policy, please refer to the policy document.


Instilling good behaviour should start from an early age so that your pet knows the boundaries. You, your visitors and members of the public should never feel intimidated by your pet’s behaviour.

  • You have to set the boundaries – your pet needs to know that you are the boss.
  • Reward good behaviour from the start and gradually your pet will learn right from wrong.
  • Don't reinforce bad behaviour by drawing attention to it through punishment. Never smack or shout at your dog for bad behaviour and never use a "choke" collar.
  • Don’t allow your dog to jump up at people, bark excessively, beg for or steal food, pull on the lead or chase cyclists.
  • Puppy and dog training or socialisation classes are essential if you have not owned a dog before. Your veterinary practice will be able to recommend local classes to you.
  • You should start toilet training your pet as soon as you bring them home. Puppies will need to be taken outside every few hours to relieve themselves. Regular toilet breaks help to discourage them from urinating inside to mark their territory. Placing training pads near the door can also help to prevent accidents.
  • Cats will naturally use a litter tray if it is placed in a quiet area.
  • Cats naturally rub against objects to mark their territory, this usually doesn't cause any damage to household furnishings.  Providing cats with scratch posts will stop them scratching your furniture.

If your pet requires complementary treatments such as physiotherapy or therapy for behavioural problems, we could help to cover the cost of the treatment as long as it’s carried out by your vet or a specialist on the recommendation of a vet.

If your dog causes an accident or an injury, you could be covered if you become legally liable to pay compensation as a result.

For full information about our policy, please refer to the policy document.

Pet care information verified by vetfone™, September 2014.

We have carefully selected Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc to underwrite John Lewis Pet Insurance.

Terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and eligibility criteria apply. 

John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (No. 233462). John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. John Lewis Pet Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202323). Calls may be recorded and monitored.

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