Pet dental insurance: Worth the cost?

You probably know that dental hygiene is important to human health, but did you know the same goes for your furry friends? Dental treatments for pets can add up, though, so is it worth it to invest in a pet dental insurance plan? Here we explore the benefits and drawbacks to pet dental insurance.

What types of dental treatments are covered by pet insurance?

Large black greyhound outside with open mouth
By Lindsay Helms/

Many standard pet accident plans cover dental injuries, but it is important to research the terms of your pet’s plan before making any changes to it. Most accident and injury plans do not cover routine dental work such as cleanings; instead, these services are covered by many pet wellness plans. Accident plans might not cover dental illnesses such as periodontitis, either.

Additionally, some accident plans that do provide routine dental coverage require that any pet needing emergency dental care has had a recent cleaning. Other insurers exclude particular treatments, like tooth extractions. Among the other treatments and conditions that might be covered by various pet dental insurance plans are:

  • Root canal
  • Fractured tooth
  • Tooth abscess
  • Baby (deciduous) tooth retention
  • X-rays
  • Mouth (oral cavity) reconstruction following an accident.

Pet wellness plans cannot always be bought independently and often have to be added onto an existing pet-accident plan. Similar to human insurance, most pet insurance plans including dental insurance have copays and premiums. But unlike insurance for humans, a majority of pet insurers require that you pay for some services like dental work upfront; you will later be reimbursed for those costs after filing a claim. Furthermore, most pet dental insurance will not cover preexisting conditions.

How much does pet dental insurance cost?

If your pet’s insurance plan already covers dental accidents and/or illnesses but not routine dental work, expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $50 more per month to add on a dental wellness plan that would cover such services. Again, wellness insurance is hard to find for purchase as a standalone product.

There is a wide range of costs associated with pet insurance plans based on the health, age, breed, and species of your animal. Older, unhealthier, and larger animals tend to have higher insurance premiums, as do breeds that are susceptible to particular health issues. Premiums also vary in cost according to where you live and are generally more in urban areas.

How much does dental care for pets cost without insurance?

Pet dental work is quite expensive — similar treatments often cost more in pets than in humans! Dental cleanings for dogs can cost upward of $1,000, for instance. Root canals and treatment of gingivitis often both have costs like that of dental cleanings, and repair of broken teeth costs even more. A single X-ray can run more than $500, and one blood test more than $50. Extraction of one dog tooth generally costs about $100. Of course, all costs are dependent on your region, specific animal, and the health problem at hand. Regardless of exactly how much you’re spending, if your pet needs dental care, the bills can add up quickly.

So, is pet dental insurance worth it?

Striped cat meowing

The answer to this question really is unique to your situation. The costs of dental care when uninsured can be quite high, but you could easily spend $500 a year on insurance that might not ever get used. Consider your pet’s health, your budget, the potential costs with and without insurance, what plans are available in your area, what coverage is included under each plan, and what kind of coverage you’re looking for when determining whether or not to buy pet dental insurance.

If your pet’s breed is prone to dental issues, which is true of some cats including Siamese, investing in routine dental insurance may prove to be worth it in the end. Plus, you never know what might come up, and we think it’s better to have coverage and not need it rather than not have it and end up needing it.

Keeping a domestic animal’s teeth sparkly clean should be a priority for any responsible pet owner. How exactly to fund that venture, though, differs from person to person and from pet to pet. Hopefully, we have efficiently given you the basics on pet dental insurance so you can make a more informed decision as to whether to purchase one or not.

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