Dental Insurance for Dogs: An Unbiased Guide

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.

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

These plans are normally part of a dog’s health insurance plan or are offered as an add-on option.

Read this unbiased guide to learn about dental insurance for dogs, plus learn which companies offer such coverage.

How does dental insurance for dogs work?

Woman vet examining teeth of dog held in man's armsWhen your dog goes to the vet and needs dental care, a dental insurance plan will help cover the cost of certain treatments.

However, these plans are normally not sold as a standalone product.

Rather, pet health insurance companies offer dental coverage as a part of their regular 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 things should I consider when choosing a company offering dental insurance for dogs?

Notebook on desk with words 'Things to consider'Here are some common questions to consider:

  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.

Best Companies For Dog Dental Insurance

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

Some of the best ones include:

1. Embrace Pet Insurance

Dental Coverage: As part of their comprehensive plan, Embrace will cover dental injuries and illnesses/disease, and also offers an add-on wellness plan for routine dental care.

Plan Summary: Embrace Pet Insurance offers a popular comprehensive plan to cover illnesses, accidents and related procedures, plus an add-on wellness plan for more routine procedures. They also offer alternative treatments that normally aren’t covered by other pet insurers.

Cost: For their accident and illness coverage, the cost to insure a dog is normally between $25 to $50 each month depending on your deductible, annual maximum, and your reimbursement percentage. With the wellness plan, it costs between $18.75 to $52.09 depending on the coverage.

Deductible: Embrace offers a deductible of $200, $300, $500, $750 or $1,000. This is the amount that you pay before reimbursement begins.

Reimbursement: You can choose a reimbursement percentage of 70%, 80% or 90%, which is the percentage that Embrace will reimburse you of your vet bills once you have met your deductible.

Annual Maximum: For the maximum annual reimbursement, you will choose $5,000, $8,000, $10,000, $15,000 or $30,000, which is the most that you will be reimbursed after meeting your chosen deductible.

Notable Features:

  • Diminishing deductible of $50 each year with no filed claims
  • Multiple pet discount
  • 95% of their claims are processed in 5 business days with 40% in only 2 business days
  • No dropping of coverage at a certain age
  • A+ rating with Better Business Bureau
  • 30-day free look period
  • 24/7 health line to speak to pet professional

Learn more about Embrace Pet Insurance or read our full review here.

2. Healthy Paws

Dental Coverage: As part of their comprehensive plan, Healthy Paws will cover dental care related to traumatic injury, but not routine care.

Plan Summary: Healthy Paws offers a popular comprehensive plan, with over 500,000 enrolled pets, that covers illnesses, accidents, emergency care, cancer, genetic conditions, and alternative treatments.
Cost: For their policy coverage, the cost to insure a dog starts around $20 per month depending on your deductible and your reimbursement percentage.

Deductible: Embrace offers a deductible of $100, $250, and $500. This is the amount that you pay before reimbursement begins.

Reimbursement: You can choose a reimbursement percentage of 70%, 80% or 90%, which is the percentage that Embrace will reimburse you of your vet bills once you have met your deductible.

Annual Maximum: There is no maximum annual payout or lifetime payouts with their plan.

Notable Features:

  • No maximum annual or lifetime payouts
  • 99% of their claims are processed within 2 days
  • Offer a 30-day free look period
  • Easy to understand policy

3. Petplan

Dental coverage: Petplan covers dental injuries and disease to all teeth, but not routine care.

Plan Summary: Petplan strives to be the most comprehensive pet insurance plan and covers new accidents and illnesses. They also cover exam fees for injury or illness, holistic treatment, non-routine dental treatment, chronic and hereditary conditions and more.

Cost: For their policy coverage, the cost to insure a dog starts around $30-40 per month for a puppy but varies depending on breed, age, and more.

Deductible: Petplan offers a deductible of $100 to $1000. This is the amount that you pay before reimbursement begins.

Reimbursement: You can choose a reimbursement percentage of 70%, 80% or 90%.

Annual Maximum: The maximum annual payout is $2500, $5000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, $25,000, or unlimited.

Notable Features:

  • No sign-up fees
  • You can choose your payment date
  • Online vet visits have no extra charge
  • You can get reimbursed for boarding fees up to $1k if you are hospitalized
  • You can received up to a 30% credit to your premium if your pet stays healthy

4. PetPremium

Dental coverage: PetPremium allows add-on wellness plans covering routine care.

5. ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

Dental coverage: ASPCA 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.

6. Pets Best

Dental coverage: Pets Best covers dental injuries and illnesses, plus add-on wellness plan for $26/month covering routine care such as cleanings, exams, and blood tests.

7. Prudent Pet

Dental coverage: Prudent Pet 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.

8. Progressive

Dental coverage: Progressive is run by Pets Best- see above.

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

Dog getting teeth cleaned due to tartarDogs 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?

Dog on table getting his teeth brushed cleanIf 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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