Dental Insurance for Dogs: Most Popular Questions & Answers

Filed in Dog Insurance on November 1, 2019

Dog holding toothbrush for article on dental insurance for dogsIf you are interested in dental insurance for dogs, then you’ve come to the right place.

Veterinarians estimate that 85% of all dogs over age 4 suffer from some form of periodontal disease.¹

Additionally, pets can have all sorts of dental issues such as tooth fractures resulting in added costs to your budget.

Dental insurance can help with paying for these unexpected dental issues and treatments.

I discuss the most popular questions and answers to help you decide whether your dog really needs a dental insurance plan.

How does dental insurance for dogs work?

When your dog goes to the vet and needs dental care, a dental insurance plan will help cover the cost of certain treatments.

There are many pet insurance companies that offer dental coverage on top of their regular dog insurance plans.

Some plans cover certain dental procedures as part of your underlying plan, while others require an additional premium for certain coverage.

For routine care such as cleanings, most dog insurance plans require you to pay an extra premium for such coverage.

You will have to pay more per month, but it might be worth it overall depending on your dog’s situation.

With most plans, you will need to pay these dental costs upfront and then get reimbursed after you file a claim.

Keep in mind that plans often require co-pays and deductibles just like human plans, and may have maximum payout limits.

What does dog dental insurance cover?

There are several different types of dog dental insurance plans.

They can be broken down into the following:

  • Accident-only plans: these provide coverage for dental accidents or injuries, such as a chipped tooth.
  • Illness plans: these provide coverage for issues like periodontal disease and gingivitis.
  • Wellness plans: these normally offer a reimbursement for routine dental care and cleanings.

Dental insurance for your dog usually will not cover preexisting dental conditions.

Plans may cover such things like:

  • Periodontal disease
  • Fractured or broken teeth
  • Gingivitis
  • Tooth extraction
  • Root canal
  • Retention of baby teeth
  • Dental reconstruction after an accident
  • Tooth abscesses
  • Routine dental cleanings
  • X-rays

Of course, all plans are different so you would need to check each plan carefully to see what is covered.

What factors should I consider when choosing a company offering dental insurance for dogs?

Here are some common questions to ask yourself:

  1. How much can you spend per month on health and dental insurance for your pet?
  2. Can you tolerate the risk of not having a dog dental plan in case of an unexpected need for treatment?
  3. Do you want dental insurance for emergencies only or preventative care as well?
  4. What is the deductible, co-pay, and maximum payout per year of the plan?
  5. Does your vet accept your chosen dental insurance plan?
  6. If they do not accept it, are you willing to change vets?

Preventative care plans often are an add-on package to insurance plans.

Most insurance companies also exclude preexisting conditions.

If your dog already has dental issues,  it may be more difficult to find a dental insurance plan for him.

You also want to check with your vet to see what plans they accept and start your research there.

How much does dog dental insurance cost?

Many dog insurance plans already include coverage for dental injury/illness, so you are looking to pay just the current monthly premium charged by the company.

There are a number of different factors that determine your  monthly premium.

Insurance companies consider such factors as:

  • What type of plan and coverage you choose
  • Your pet’s age and breed
  • Your location
  • The amount of the deductible and copay

You could be looking at a premium as low as $10 for a puppy to over $100 for older dogs or certain breeds susceptible to certain health issues.

If you are looking to add a wellness plan that covers routine dental care such as cleanings, you can expect to pay an additional $10-$40 per month above the current premium.

Additionally, depending on where you live, there may be a higher cost of living resulting in higher rates.

What companies offer dog dental insurance?

Many companies offer dog dental insurance as part of their general insurance plan or allow add-on coverage.

Some of the most popular ones include:

  • Embrace Pet Insurance (pet insurance that covers dental injuries and illnesses/disease, but allows add-on wellness plan for routine dental care)
  • Healthy Paws (pet insurance that covers dental care related to traumatic injury, but not routine care)
  • PetPlan (pet insurance that covers dental injuries and disease to all teeth, but not routine care)
  • PetPremium (pet insurance that allows add-on wellness plans covering routine care)
  • ASPCA Pet Health Insurance (pet insurance that offers accident-only dental coverage or complete coverage that includes dental disease, plus offers add-on wellness plans covering routine care for either $9.95 or $24.95/month)
  • Pets Best (pet insurance that covers dental injuries and illnesses, plus add-on wellness plan for $26/month covering routine care such as cleanings, exams, and blood tests)
  • Prudent Pet (pet insurance that may cover injuries and illness under their comprehensive plan if deemed necessary by a vet, plus a preventative add-on that helps bring down cost of routine dental for $9 for basic plan and $25 for prime plan)
  • Progressive (run by Pets Best- see above)

What are some common dental issues that may arise for dogs?

Dogs can suffer from a wide array of dental issues. Here are some of the most common dental issues²:

  • Plaque and tartar build-up
  • Periodontal disease
  • Toothaches
  • Bad breath
  • Retained baby teeth
  • Gum disease

Here are some common signs your dog has an unhealthy mouth:

  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty eating, in extreme cases, refusal to eat
  • Tender/sensitive mouth
  • Yellow or brown tartar on teeth
  • Bleeding gums
  • Rubbing or pawing at the mouth
  • Loose teeth or tooth loss

What is the approximate cost for dog dental care without insurance?

Dental cleaning is one of the most common needs of your dog.

Dental cleaning with anesthesia, on average, can cost between $500 to $1,000, but can vary depending on location and vet.

These costs can increase depending on whether your dog needs blood work, x-rays, extractions, etc.

Additional services can cost on average:

  • X-rays $500+
  • Radiography $150+
  • Tooth extraction up to $100 per tooth
  • Root canal $1,000+ per tooth
  • Periodontal disease $1,000+
  • Fractured and broken teeth $1,400+
  • Gingivitis $600+
  • Retention of baby teeth $600+
  • Tooth root infection $700+

Some vets offer anesthesia-free dental cleaning, but many vets claim that they cannot get a dog’s teeth as clean without anesthesia.

However, anesthesia-free cleanings might be a better option if your dog has a condition, like heart disease, where putting him under anesthesia would be dangerous.

Anesthesia-free dental cleanings usually cost about $100-$500.

As you can see, these costs can quickly add up making dental insurance for dogs more attractive.

How often do pets need dental care?

If no emergencies or accidents arise, yearly dental cleaning is usually enough for your dog.

If you are using anesthesia-free dental cleaning, you can bring your pet for cleanings every six months if you prefer.

With dental illness or accidents, these can arise at any time, which is why a dental plan may be something worthwhile.

Keep in mind,  I am just discussing dental care that your vet gives to your dog.

The dental care that you provide your dog should be daily such as tooth brushing, appropriate food, and chews. We also like to give our dogs Greenies Dental Treats.

Prevention of dental disease starts at home. If you do not actively engage in preventative dental care, vet expenses can go way up.

This is because dental disease can cause all sorts of other issues such as heart disease, kidney and liver problems.

Summary

Caring for your dog’s dental health can be expensive, especially if you do not invest time and money into prevention.

Depending on your dog’s needs, there are a number of different options for dental insurance for dogs.

You can get coverage for dental accidents, dental illness, or a wellness plan covering cleanings.

With some companies, you will have to pay a little extra to get dental coverage, while others include certain procedures in their regular plan.

Please let me know any of your experiences with these plans.

Sources:

  1. http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/healthy-pets/dental-dog-care-tips-tricks/
  2. https://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/general-health/dental-problems-bad-breath-in-dogs-cats

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