Does Pet Insurance Cover Dental Cleaning?
When you take out pet insurance for your dog or cat, you may be looking to cover them for emergencies, accidents, and infections.
While it’s important to be covered for these, there are also several routine treatments that your pet may need, such as worming, de-sexing, vaccinations, and annual check-ups. Whether or not these are covered or available to be purchased as additional cover can differ from policy to policy.
One thing you may not have considered when looking for pet insurance is cover for dental cleaning and care.
Not all pet insurance providers offer this type of cover, so it’s important to look for it specifically when you’re shopping around. Some providers include it as part of their policies, while others can offer it as an add-on.
Dental cover as part of your pet insurance policy
It may be well worth it to pay the extra pet insurance premiums for dental care. According to the Australian Veterinary Association, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of three have some level of dental disease1.
If you’re looking for dental care insurance for your cat or dog, then you may find it in the provider’s routine care cover package. You may receive an annual benefit payment that can go towards cleaning treatments.
You likely won’t find dental cleaning and treatment included in a standard or accident-only insurance policy. That’s because these policies tend not to include routine procedures and treatments.
Yes these policies are usually cheaper, but once you factor in the cost of annual vaccinations, check-ups, teeth cleaning and so on, it may make sense for you to pay a few dollars extra each month, and have the peace of mind that your pet is getting the treatment it needs to stay healthy.
The importance of dental cleaning for dogs and cats
Dogs and cats are prone to the same sort of dental diseases and problems as humans are, and they can cause just as much pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, your pet can’t tell you that their teeth are hurting, so decay, gum inflammation, and even abscesses can go unnoticed until the pain is unbearable, and your pet finally stops eating.
An annual dental check-up and clean is as important for your dog or cat as it is for you. It can pick up minor problems, such as early-stage gingivitis or a tartar build-up, and deal with them before they worsen and become uncomfortable.
If there’s a broken tooth, you can decide whether to have it extracted or rebuilt to prevent further degradation. Some policies may help with this sort of treatment as well, but usually under accident coverage, rather than routine care coverage.
It’s not just the teeth and mouth that can be affected by tooth decay and gingivitis. Just as in humans with dental disease, the toxins from these infections can travel into the bloodstream and affect internal organs such as the liver, and even the heart and brain2.
This can lead to more illnesses and poor general health for your pet – and ultimately to higher expenses for you. That said, even if you do all the right things, unexpected medical issues can occur. This is where pet insurance can provide both financial cover, and peace of mind.
To find the right policy for your pet, you can compare pet insurance policies side by side with iSelect.
Signs of dental disease in your pets
The Australian Veterinary Association has published a guide to dental disease in dogs and cats. It outlines how to spot the signs in your pet, as well as how to prevent it occurring in the first place3.
The symptoms to watch out for include bad breath, as healthy canine or feline mouths shouldn’t smell. Also, you may notice unusual drooling, evidence of pus or blood around the teeth or gums, dropping food out of the mouth while eating, and a reluctance to eat at all.
You should also watch out for reddened or inflamed gums, unusual staining on the teeth, a build-up of tartar and unusual swellings. Sadly, your pet can’t tell you they’re in pain and they won’t stop eating until it really is too painful, so by the time you see a reluctance to eat, your cat or dog is in severe pain and needs help as soon as possible.
How to keep your pet’s teeth healthy
Keeping your pet’s teeth clean and healthy is similar to the way humans maintain good dental hygiene.
For example, you should avoid giving your pet sugary foods, as they’re bad for your pet’s teeth just as they are for your own.
You also want to clean your dog or cat’s teeth yourself, as often as you can. Both dogs and cats can be trained to accept a brushing if you start early enough, and there are chicken or fish-flavoured toothpastes on the market to help with the process.
That said, while routine care is great, your pet still needs their annual check-up and deep clean. This will ensure you keep on top of tartar build-up, and identify any lurking problems early on.
Cats in particular can suffer from gum disease for years before it becomes obvious, so that yearly examination can provide peace of mind for you, as well as comfort for your pet.
You may be inclined to give your dog a leftover bone from dinner to clean their teeth. However, this practice isn’t as effective as brushing their teeth, and could actually cause more problems. For example, hard bones can break teeth, and softer splinters could become embedded in your dog’s gums and lead to painful abscesses.
Looking for the right insurance for your pet?
With iSelect you can compare pet insurance policies side by side. See if you can find a better policy for your needs and budget by comparing online today, or calling us on 13 19 20.
iSelect does not compare all providers or policies in the market. Not all policies are available at all times.
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