Skip to main content

Pet dental insurance: What you need to know

Veterinarian studies have shown that by age 3, up to 70% of cats and 80% of dogs show signs of dental disease. However, only 8% of those cats and 16% of dogs receive proper dental care at their vet. So, what’s not adding up?

Unfortunately, dental procedures can be stressful for pets and expensive for their owners. This has led many owners to opt out of finding dental care for their animals until absolutely necessary. This, however, isn’t ideal for the health and well-being of your pet. A dental insurance for your pet can help you pay for a lot of procedures and treatments, so it’s a helpful path in a lot of cases. Each plan is different, though, so it’s important to find an insurance plan that covers specifics that will benefit  you. Read on to find out what you need to know about pet dental insurance and how to find the right plan for you.

Related Videos

How does pet insurance work?

While coverage varies from plan to plan, a few details are the same no matter where you look. Using pet dental insurance at your vet will work the same way whether you have the most basic plan or the most advanced. When your pet has treatment your insurance will cover, you’ll pay up front at the vet. Later, your insurance company will run through the costs and reimburse you the decided amount.

a long-haired white and tan cat yawns, showing teeth
Serena Koi/Pexels

Just as with human insurance, you’ll have to keep track of your copays and deductibles (which will change plan by plan, of course). You might be able to add dental coverage on top of a preexisting insurance plan by paying an additional monthly premium, but this isn’t always an option, even if you already have pet insurance (via DogEndorsed). Checking in with your existing insurance companies might reveal options you never knew you had, so it’s a good place to start if you’re exploring your options. Asking your vet’s office about their favorite insurance companies and plans is another great resource, especially because you’ll already know your plan is accepted where you’ll need to use it.

Does pet insurance cover dental?

The short answer is: somewhat! Even though each plan is different, most dental plans (whether you add them to an existing plan or purchase them separately) cover accidents only. This does not include illnesses and periodontal disease, which most pets face at some point in their lives. If you’re looking for more than the bare minimum, you can find plans that cover both injury and illness, including gum disease and root canals (via DogEndorsed). Most imaging would also be covered under this type of plan, but routine X-rays and dental cleanings would still be out-of-pocket payments.

Whether you add an extension to your pet dental insurance plan or the plan itself includes it, a wellness plan would also offer reimbursements for routine dental appointments in addition to all benefits mentioned above (via PetsBest). Even these top-of-the-line plans don’t cover preexisting conditions, however, so it makes sense to enroll your pet in dental insurance as soon as possible, before any issues develop.

How to pick a plan for pet dental insurance

Different animals have different needs, so it’s important to know what kind of insurance you’re looking for. A dental plan for a dog will look very different from a dental plan for a guinea pig. Pets who are at risk for dental disease and who need more frequent cleanings might benefit from wellness coverage in addition to illness and injury coverage — so it’s not just about species! Unfortunately, you will probably pay more to insure an exotic pet than you would a dog or cat, but it’s a small price to pay to keep your pet healthy.

a black and white dog smiles at the camera, close up
Kat Jayne/Pexels

With so many options out there, you should take some time to consider the pros and cons of each plan you’re looking at. You’ll definitely pay more out of pocket without dental insurance for your pet, but with it, you’ll need to budget for that monthly premium. Although it’s hard to predict what kind of plan you might need, a little thought and research will shed a lot of light on your pet’s dental insurance needs.

Whatever level of coverage is right for your home, your vet’s office is a great place to start your search. Hopefully, now you have an idea of what to look out for as you begin to browse, but if need be, the internet has all the tools you need to find the right dental insurance for your pet. Happy shopping!

Editors' Recommendations

3 scientific benefits of being a cat person – you’ll be surprised with what we found
Here's the scoop on what we know about cat health benefits
A dark-haired woman wearing a green sweater holds a tabby cat on her lap

Cats are our best friends, our constant companions, and our furry, purring lap warmers. While the debate between cat people and dog people seems endless, one fact remains: Pet parents are happier and healthier than those who don't have pets.

We love cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, and reptiles equally here at PawTracks, but did you know that there are scientific benefits to being a cat person? We're here to share the top three cat health benefits and why sharing your home with a feline companion is the best thing you do for yourself. We'll also recommend some of our favorite beginner-friendly cat breeds.

Read more
Is getting a puppy for Christmas a good idea? You can’t return them like a sweater
Here's what to know before you bring home a puppy for Christmas
Woman snuggling Samoyed puppy in front of the Christmas tree

Of all the viral holiday videos to make their way around the internet, there’s nothing quite as heartwarming (and adorable) as seeing a new puppy jump out of a box on Christmas. It’s easy to see why many families feel inspired to get this surprise present for their loved ones and show up with a new furry friend during the holidays.
Getting a puppy for Christmas can seem like a special, even life-changing gift, but the cleaning and work that accompany them aren’t as cute. Many families aren’t prepared for the effort and expense that raising a dog requires, which unfortunately leads to pets being dropped off at shelters not long after the holidays.
If you’re considering gifting a puppy to your family this Christmas, make sure you do the research and consider the obligations that pet parenthood entails. Here’s what to know.

Why getting a puppy for Christmas isn’t always smart
Although getting a dog can be a rewarding and joyful experience, it also requires work, patience, and responsibility. Is your family ready to take this on?
According to the shelter staff at the Marion County Humane Society in West Virginia, the end of January tends to see a rise in shelter admissions. Unfortunately, many of these pets are Christmas gifts that families weren’t ready to care for. “People that got a new puppy or a new kitten, and they expect their young child to take care of them,” one shelter tech told WDTV. "Of course, if the kid doesn't do it, the parent doesn't want to take care of them either.”
A lack of research is also a large factor in unsuccessful pet adoptions. Not all dog breeds will do well in all homes, so consulting an expert or doing some reading is vital before taking action. And remember — a cute, tiny puppy can still grow into a huge, rambunctious dog (depending on their breed) so you’ll need to be prepared.
It’s also important to consider where you’re adopting your new pup from because not all breeders are reliable. As awful as it is to acknowledge, there are people who sell sick and injured dogs for a quick buck. Needless to say, a dog with health concerns can be as loving of a companion as any other — after treatment, of course — but you have a right to be informed about the condition of your new friend, including information about the puppy's parents.
Shelters can help you get to know your pup a bit before bringing him home, but rescued dogs may need some extra time to adjust to their surroundings. The honeymoon phase may not be as happy-go-lucky as you expect, especially if there has been any past trauma.

Read more
9 Boston terrier facts to know before you bring one into your life
Important facts about the adorable Boston terrier breed
Boston terrier on a pink leash in grass

Boston terriers are always dressed for a black-tie affair. The breed’s tuxedo coat is one of many features that have endeared. Their short muzzles, compact bodies, and oversized eyes make this terrier breed absolutely adorable. Come winter, you can find Bostons strutting their stuff in cute sweaters to keep them warm underneath their short coats.

Of course, looks aren’t everything. Boston terriers are also known for their curious and loving personalities, among other common traits. Though no two dogs are exactly alike — even ones in the same breed or litter — understanding common breed characteristics is a great launching point to researching what pup is best for your home and lifestyle. If a Boston terrier is on your list, look no further. We dog up the details on this lovable breed.

Read more