Looking after your pet’s teeth is just one of the several health issues you need to stay on top of.
However, just like humans, dental care for animals can be expensive. But having pet insurance in place can help with some emergency vet fees.
Read on to find out how to keep your pet’s teeth healthy and how pet insurance can help.
Why does my pet need dental cover?
From broken teeth to damaged gums, your pet’s daily antics can lead to a variety of problems that require a visit to the veterinary clinic to be fixed.
For example, dogs love to chew, and the things they put in their mouths aren’t always good for their gnashers. It’s not uncommon for pooches to end up with bloody mouths and chipped teeth from biting stones and similarly hard, sharp objects.
If your pet suffers a mouth injury that requires a trip to the animal hospital, it’s reassuring to know that their treatment is covered with a pet insurance policy that includes dental cover.
Gum disease is one of the main dental issues affecting dogs and cats. It’s caused by a build up of plaque that hardens and turns to tartar. Left untreated, it can cause many problems such as infection or loss of teeth.
A bad tooth infection can cause other infections affecting your pet’s heart, lungs or kidneys. In extreme circumstances, gum and tooth disease can lead to blood poisoning and even death.
How much do dental treatments cost?
Vet fees are not standardised in the UK, meaning that treatment costs vary between practices. Your pet’s size, age, and health status also affect dental treatment costs.
However, our data shows costs can be as much as £2,500 as your pet is likely to need additional services like an X-ray, anaesthetic or painkillers.
Does my pet insurance include dental cover?
Not all pet insurance policies include dental cover, so check your policy book as some insurers may have excluded dental treatment.
We cover the cost of dentistry if your animal has an accident or injury involving their teeth or gums.
For example, if your pet were hit by a car which fractured their jaw and did dental damage, that would be covered. You can use your whole annual vet fee limit for dental accident treatments.
On the other hand, if your dog has gum disease, it isn’t covered on any tier except for Lifetime Platinum cover for dogs which covers up to £2,000 as it's a dental illness treatment. This is alongside the full annual vet fee limit for dental accidents.
Does dental cover for pets include cosmetic work?
Your vet may suggest having your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned to tackle the build-up of tartar and diseases associated with poor dental hygiene. However, most pet insurance policies (including Admiral’s) don’t cover dental cleaning costs or cosmetic work.
To make sure that your animal has access to all the care it needs, set some money aside for any treatment not covered by your pet insurance policy.
How to keep your pet’s teeth healthy
Here are some tips to help you keep your pet’s pearly whites clean and healthy without a trip to the vet.
Specially designed toothbrushes and toothpaste for dogs and cats are widely available as human toothpaste isn’t suitable for animals. Ideally, your pets’ teeth should be brushed daily, but if that’s not possible, aim for at least once per week.
Gels and sprays
If brushing your animal’s teeth poses too much of a challenge, dental gels and sprays might be easier for your pet to manage. These help to dissolve plaque and tartar, keeping the teeth and gums clean without the need for brushing.
Choose the right chews
Wild canines and felines keep their teeth healthy by chewing bones and raw meat. While this isn’t necessarily recommended for domesticated dogs and cats, naturally derived products such as jerky and dental chews will help to keep their mouths and teeth healthy between brushes.
Regular check ups
Your vet can check your pet’s teeth and remove any built-up tartar to help prevent dental disease. We recommend you do this once a year to maximise your pet’s dental health and spot any early signs.
Signs of dental problems
Outside of annual vet visits, here are some signs you can look out for to check for dental problems:
- Bad breath
- Swollen, bleeding or red gums
- Excessive drooling
- Chewing slowly or on one side of their mouth
- Discoloured teeth
- Disinterest or becoming fussier with food
- Sneezing or nasal discharge
If you spot any of these, book an appointment with your vet to get it checked out. If you have an Admiral Platinum Pet Insurance policy, you may be covered for this.