Does pet insurance include dental treatments?
Pet dental cover is not something that every insurer will provide, but it can be an invaluable support to keep your pet happy and healthy at any age. Here we’ve provided some important information to keep in mind about your pet’s dental health and your pet insurance options.
Our pets experience the world with their teeth. Both cats and dogs love to chew, nibble and gnaw. That’s why keeping their teeth and gums in top condition is just as important as all other aspects of their health.
Dental health problems can be devastating for animals, causing pain and discomfort that may prevent them from living their best life. It is so important that we don’t forget to care for our pet’s dental health. By making healthy changes to your pet’s daily routine and putting in place some safety nets, you can stay on top of your pet’s oral health and keep them happily chomping away.
Why do I need Pet Dental Cover?
As your pets get older, they may begin to experience more frequent dental health problems. Teeth get damaged and worn from all the activity our pets put them through, and some breeds of cat and dog are naturally more inclined to experience issues with their teeth and gums. So, while daily care will give your pet’s teeth the best fighting chance, some health problems are simply unavoidable.
With a comprehensive pet insurance policy, you don’t have to worry about the cost of emergency dental care for your pet. Emergency treatments for broken teeth and oral infections can come as a costly surprise, and no one likes to be caught off-guard by a hefty vet bill. Pet insurance with dental cover will contribute to the cost of your pet’s emergency dental treatments, making care more affordable. With this support on your side, you may find it easier and less stressful to keep on top of your pet’s dental health.
Do all pet insurance policies include dental cover as standard
Not all vet bills are covered by pet insurance. While cover can vary depending on your provider and policy, there are some bills that just aren’t covered as standard by most insurance policies.
There are some providers that offer pet insurance that covers dental; however, most pet insurance policies will not cover dental treatments as part of a standard policy. Many providers that offer pet dental insurance will usually offer it as an optional add-on that costs extra.
To ensure that your pet is covered for important dental treatments, make sure you read the fine print before agreeing to your policy to find out exactly what it covers.
What types of dental treatment does pet insurance cover
The types of treatments your policy covers will be dependent on the type of policy you own. Policies like accident only pet insurance will only cover dental treatments as the result of an accident. Meanwhile, lifetime pet insurance policies may cover most dental treatments your vet deems necessary, including those that are chronic or related to an illness.
What dental treatment isn’t covered by pet insurance
Most pet dental insurance policies, even those with comprehensive coverage, are unlikely to cover preventative, elective, or routine dental procedures. This includes regular cleaning or cosmetic dental treatments.
Certain dental treatments will also not usually be covered if they are linked to a pre-existing condition or conditions resulting from a lack of care, such as general tooth decay.
Accident only policies will exclude illnesses or chronic dental conditions as well, only covering dental problems as the result of an accident, such as a cracked tooth.
What dental health problems can pets have?
The following are some of the most common and serious oral health problems that your cat or dog may encounter:
Plaque and tartar build-up
The build-up of plaque and tartar is linked to a long list of painful and destructive oral health issues. Out of control plaque and tartar can create pockets under the gum that collect debris and bacteria, leading to infection.
Periodontal disease/ gingivitis/ gum disease
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition with different stages varying in severity. Without treatment, it can cause gums to recede and the soft tissue and bone around the teeth to become eroded. Inevitably, it can cause tooth loss.
Worn, fractured, cracked, or broken teeth
For pets that are enthusiastic about play and chewing, trauma to the teeth can be quite common. Fractures, cracks, and the gradual wearing down of teeth can cause pain when the sensitive nerves inside the teeth are exposed.
Feline chronic gingivostomatitis
Gingivostomatitis is a dental disease that is specific to cats. It is a painful condition that can cause your cat’s mouth to become inflamed, making it difficult for them to eat or drink.
Tooth resorption, also known as feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions, is one of the most common dental issues that effects cats. It occurs when a type of cells called odontoclasts – which are responsible for the absorption of the roots of baby teeth – begin attacking and eroding the adult teeth.
A dental abscess is an infection that takes the form of pus that collects inside or around your pet’s teeth. It is caused by bacteria getting into vulnerable areas, usually by getting under the gumline or getting inside a damaged tooth. Dental abscesses can be very serious and very painful for your pet, and usually require immediate treatment.
How do I know if my pet has a dental problem?
Our pets can’t always communicate to us when something is wrong, so it’s up to us to spot the signs. Look out for the following symptoms in your pet which may indicate that they have a dental health problem.
Discoloured teeth/ gums
Pain or difficulty eating
Weight loss/ loss of appetite
Red, inflamed, or bleeding gums
Loose, missing, or broken teeth
Swelling in the face
Pawing at/rubbing the mouth/face[SM1]
Blood in saliva
Do dogs’ teeth really need to be cleaned?
Most of the worst dental health problems that your dog can be diagnosed with are the result of poor oral hygiene. Build-ups of plaque, tartar, and bacteria can lead to all different types of infections and long-term damage. Bacterial build up in the mouth can even enter the blood stream, if left unchecked, and infect other organs. In severe cases this could even lead to organ failure.
The same principal applies to cats as well, which is why it is so important to regularly clean your pet’s teeth. To prevent serious oral health problems in your pet, you should aim to brush your cat’s or dog’s teeth a minimum of three times a week and ideally once a day.
You should also start regularly brushing your pet’s teeth when they’re young. This will help them get used to having their teeth cleaned and establish a routine of regular cleaning for both you and your furry friend.
How often should cats get dental cleaning?
Both cats and dogs should have their dental health inspected by a professional and undergo a proper dental cleaning once per year. Having your pet’s teeth properly cleaned also gives you the opportunity to speak to your vet about your pet’s specific oral health needs.
Different breeds will have different requirements when it comes to oral health, and some breeds are more prone to dental health problems. Because of this, it is important that you check with your vet to confirm how often you should clean your pet’s teeth and the right techniques/ products to use.
How to prevent dental issues in dogs and cats
Prevention is the most important step to managing your pet’s health. The more focus you give to prevention in your pet’s day-to-day life, the fewer health issues you may need to address in future. To keep on top of your pet’s oral health, here are a few things you can do:
Brush their teeth regularly and start young
Regular teeth cleaning is the number one recommended method to combat dental issues. Brushing regularly and effectively can prevent tartar from forming, remove plaque and lingering bacteria, and even protect your pet’s teeth during the day.
The sooner you start to establish a routine of brushing your pet’s teeth, the better chance you have of avoiding dental health problems as your pet gets older.
Using proper pet dental products
Human toothpaste contains ingredients that can be toxic to animals, so it is important that you use dental products designed specifically for pets. Most animal toothpastes are also given appealing flavours to make teeth-cleaning more enjoyable for them.
The toothbrush you use is also an important product to consider. A good toothbrush should be the right size for your pet and meet their unique needs. For example, if your pet has a habit of chewing on toothbrushes, you should find one that is sturdy and doesn’t have small bristles or components that may break off and be ingested.
Good quality pet food
Certain foods contain ingredients that aren’t healthy for your pet’s teeth. Sugars and carbohydrates in particular can feed the oral bacteria that lead to infections and decay. If you are concerned about your pet’s dental health, there are certain brands that offer pet food that is specially formulated to protect your pet’s teeth and gums.
Dental chews and treats
Dental chews come in tasty flavours, making them a real treat for your pet, while at the same time offering oral health benefits.
Chews and dental treats aren’t a replacement for proper teeth cleaning but, when used in addition to brushing, they can help to remove plaque and freshen breath.
How much does pet dental treatment cost?
If your dog or cat is suffering from a serious dental health problem that requires regular check-ups and treatment, vet costs can add up quickly. This can be a devastating financial burden if the condition is long-term or chronic.
In comparison to these sudden, large expenses, pet insurance including dental cover is paid with manageable monthly premiums. When put into perspective, the cost of a pet insurance that covers dental may be more manageable for you than the sudden and substantial cost of dental health treatment if your pet insurance doesn’t cover dental.
IN some cases, pet insurance can work out to be cheaper than paying for treatment up front. The cost of your insurance policy can be affected by several factors, including your excess, the health of your pet when you take out the policy, and the breed of your pet. You can also save extra on pet insurance by taking out your policy when your pet is young.
For more information, you can check out our guide ‘How Much is Pet Insurance?’
Find great deals on pet insurance that includes dental
The key to finding a pet insurance that covers dental is reading the fine print of your cover options, which can be a lot of hard work. But, lucky for you, we’re here to help.
At MoneySuperMarket, we compare pet insurance policies on your behalf, giving you the best value policies to browse and choose from at your leisure. With a range of cover options to choose from, we’ll help you find the perfect policy for you and your pet.