Good oral hygiene is just as important for your dog or cat as it is for humans. Without it, pets can develop some major issues, including but not limited to bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. An even more serious issue? Bacteria from infected gums could travel through the bloodstream to a pet's heart, which could lead to endocarditis, a potentially fatal infection of the heart's inner lining. Bacteria could also potentially affect a pet's kidneys, liver, and lungs.
Unfortunately, it's not always easy to keep a pet's teeth clean and free of plaque and tartar. Many dogs and cats aren't keen on having their teeth brushed and will struggle and fight with their owners. Because of this, it's probably not surprising that a large majority of owners don't brush their pet's teeth. In fact, one survey showed that only 7 percent of dog owners reported that they brushed their canine's teeth.
Without proper care, however, tartar will begin to accumulate on your pet's teeth, which could lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease. When a vet notices a buildup of tartar on your pet's teeth, it’s often recommended to have them cleaned. This is not a cheap procedure. Because pets need to be anesthetized while having their teeth cleaned, it typically costs between $300 and $700.
Does pet insurance cover dental work?
Pet insurance plans cover unexpected issues, such as illnesses and injuries. If your pet breaks a tooth or develops oral cancer, pet insurance can cover the cost of treating those issues.
Teeth cleaning, however, is considered preventive care, and in most cases, maintenance or preventive procedures are not covered by traditional pet insurance policies. However, there are some insurers that do offer wellness plans that will cover routine care. Each plan differs, but there are some that will pay for a portion of a pet's teeth cleaning.
How is pet teeth cleaning performed?
If a veterinarian determines that your pet's teeth need cleaning, he or she will usually order dental x-rays as well as have blood work done to determine if your pet is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. For the procedure itself, your pet will be sedated, and then your vet will remove any plaque and tartar from its teeth. Your veterinarian will also check your pet's mouth for oral issues such as gum disease or damaged teeth.
Keeping a pet's teeth clean is important
While the cost for pet teeth cleaning may seem high, treating dental issues can be even more expensive. Root canals for pets, for example, typically cost between $1,500 and $3,000. Extractions can be $200 for a single tooth to approximately $3,000 to have multiple teeth removed. To learn more about pet insurance and what it covers, please contact us today.
Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.