Pet insurance is a risk management policy that provides an avenue for your pet’s medical expenses to get covered in case of an accidental injury or a severe illness. Our pets are cherished members of the family and require the best medical care available at any moment. When the desired care is somewhat more expensive than you can afford, pet insurance coverage is appreciated and embraced. It covers the cost of all previously unknown and unexpected medical expenses your pet will need during its lifetime.
In choosing a pet insurance policy, you consider the type of pet you have, the medical challenges they are liable to endure, the age, most likely accidents, and the size of your pocket. It grants you peace of mind that your pet will have the care it needs in emergencies and get the treatment necessary to stay healthy.
There are different types of pet insurance policy coverage, and these vary from one company to another. Most pet insurance policies do not cover (and when they do, have some limitations) specific problems such as pre-existing conditions and hereditary ones. Another option not often covered is dental care.
Understanding Dental Care Pet Insurance
Generally, dental care pet insurance covers vet costs, such as fixing the damage done to your pet’s teeth due to accidents and untreatable tooth extraction. It also covers gingivitis, retained deciduous teeth, cavities, tooth fractures, treatment for dental illnesses/diseases that have an effect on your pet’s gums or teeth, or/and treating abscesses. Some companies may include all of the above and more, while others may not offer some options.
To protect your pet against dental challenges, you may have to take up additional coverage unavailable in the standard or basic policy. You have to be deliberate when searching for dental care coverage. It rarely covers routine dental care like teeth cleaning, its associated requirements, or preventable ailments like gum disease for your pets.
Pre-existing conditions relating to dental diseases are also a no-no when it comes to pet insurance policies. To decide on the best dental insurance coverage for your pet, you can check the different cover limits or levels for the companies that offer the package, compare quotes, and choose based on your budget.
Why Do Pets Need Dental Care?
Oral care is critical in pets, most especially your cats and dogs. It helps prevent oral and dental diseases that may arise. These dental diseases can affect your pet’s organs, as bacteria can travel through their bloodstream, causing severe ill-health or death. Regardless of this importance, very few pet owners pay attention to proper oral care of their pets. Since dental care can be expensive, pet insurance coverage can save you the heartache and reduce unplanned treatment costs down the road.
Signs of Dental Disease in Pets
The most common dental disease in pets, especially cats and dogs, is periodontal (gum) disease. This disease is preventable and is a result of poor oral hygiene. A sticky film, widely known as plaque, forms over the teeth after eating. This plaque contains bacteria which the pet’s body recognizes as foreign and fights it.
Initially, there are no apparent signs and symptoms from the plaque and accompanying bacteria. After a while, if left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss, eroded gums, all of which cause chronic pain to your pets. And it is a risk factor for other life-threatening diseases. Significant signs that your pet has gum disease include:
- Broken teeth
- Retained baby teeth
- Abnormal chewing or dropping of food from the mouth
- Refusal to eat
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Bumps in the mouth
- Reddened or inflamed gums
- Bloody saliva
- Unusual Swelling in areas around the mouth
- Bad breath
- Sneezing or nasal discharge (in advanced cases)
- Jaw fracture (especially in a small dog)
Prevention of Dental Disease in Pets
According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), annual oral check-up and deep cleaning can help you discover and treat problems like gum disease in its early stage. The check-up should include a thorough examination of the pet’s teeth and gums. A retained baby tooth can also get extracted and broken ones fixed.
Teeth cleaning services by professionals are suitable if you do not want to clean your pet’s teeth yourself. If you intend to do this on your own, you could train your pet early enough to accept teeth cleaning using flavored toothpaste based on their cravings. Create a regular teeth brushing schedule such as twice daily for the pet.
Also, specially formulated foods or treats designed to remove plaque from your pet’s teeth can be obtained and introduced. Some of these meals, especially those containing bones, help scrub the teeth as the pet chews. There are others containing additives that prevent the formation and hardening of plaque. Avoid sugary foods as they are bad for the teeth.
Pet Insurers that Cover Dental Care
The list below includes five pet insurance policies that cover dental treatment for cats and dogs. They cover dental treatment related to accidents.
Trupanion: Treats all new dental illness and injury, including removing retained baby teeth (if your pet is covered before six months of age), teeth extraction, orthodontics, and root canal (endodontic) treatment. Trupanion has a term that requires the pet owner to perform an annual dental check-up for their pet before they can be liable to pay for dental care. The pet owner will also have to agree with the dental care proffered by the vet. Trupanion does not cover the cost of pet emergencies outside the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
PetPlan: In the Covered for Life pet insurance policy, PetPlan offers a dental cover with the condition that dental examination gets done a year or less before a dental injury is noticed. Petplan has an age limit.
Bought By Many: Bought By Many is one of the most trusted pet insurance providers. This pet insurer has a Complete policy with a dental cover for accidents and illness. However, the pet owner must ensure that his/her pet undergoes an annual dental exam with a vet. The Complete insurance offers up to 15000euros of vet fee cover in a lifetime.
LV: This insurer offers policies that determine the dental treatment covered. Its Time-Limited policy covers removing a retained tooth of pets insured at less than four months old and dental work caused by accidents. The Lifetime policy covers all dental treatment for your pet, including those under the Time Limited policy, if regular check-ups and preventative measures are in place.
Nationwide: This pet insurer covers costs for removing retained deciduous teeth, gingivitis, dental cleaning, tooth abscesses, root canals, and periodontal disease treatment under its Whole Pet with Wellness coverage level.
Dental cover is obtainable in comprehensive policies such as Lifetime covers of most pet insurance companies. If they do not appear in the basic policy, they may be available as an add-on. For dental care coverage, it is often necessary that the pet owner performs an annual dental examination of his/her pet and ensures that preventative measures are in place. Do not hesitate to seek your vet’s opinion whenever an ailment you do not recognize is troubling your pet.