The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) says that good oral hygiene for your pets is necessary to prevent oral and dental diseases. If left untreated, oral diseases are not only painful, they can also contribute to further health problems and diseases in pets down the track.
What type of pet insurance covers dental treatment?
While things like accidents and injuries are generally covered, not all pet insurance policies include cover for dental cleaning and care. Some pet insurers offer cover for dental treatment and dental illnesses through optional add-ons available for basic or premium insurance packages, while others require you to take out a dental care policy separately. If dental care is something you are looking for in a policy, you may want to double check the fine print and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before you purchase a pet insurance product.
The table below displays a snapshot of the accident, illness and routine care pet insurance policies on Canstar’s database with links to providers’ websites, sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), then provider name (alphabetically). These results are based on cover for a 2-3 year old medium-sized dog.
What is covered by a pet dental insurance policy?
When selecting an insurance policy, some common inclusions in a pet dental plan may be:
- Tooth removal
- Dental diseases resulting from infection
- Retained deciduous teeth
- Tooth fracture
Pet dental insurance does not generally cover cosmetic dental procedures, orthodontics, root canals and a range of other specialist oral treatments.
What are the signs of dental disease in pets?
A common form of dental disease in pets is gum disease, or periodontal disease, which affects both dogs and cats and is caused by a buildup of plaque, according to the AVA. Periodontal disease may cause irreversible damage to a pet’s gums and the supportive structure of their teeth, so it could be worth keeping an eye out for symptoms to ensure you can treat it before any permanent damage is caused.
According to Greencross Vets, the following signs may be an indication that your pet has gum disease:
- Bad Breath
- Discoloured or loose teeth
- Excessive drooling
- Dropping of food from the mouth when eating, or reluctant to chew or eat at all, especially hard food
- Pain when handled around the head
- Facial swelling
- Behavioural changes (e.g. lethargy, increased aggression)
- Pawing at the mouth
- Receding, blood-stained or inflamed gums
How can you prevent dental disease in pets?
Similarly to people, maintaining your pet’s oral hygiene is one of the most reliable ways to prevent gum disease and other dental illnesses. Greencross Vets recommends the inclusion of bones in the diets of your pets to promote healthy gums, however giving bones to your pets may require some supervision. Raw marrow bones, such as lamb shanks for dogs and chicken wings for cats, combined with biscuits and chew toys are effective for preventing the buildup of plaque and infection.
Vet West suggests if your pet doesn’t enjoy chewing, brushing their teeth daily with pet friendly tooth-brushes and toothpaste or giving them specially formulated cleaning chews and treats may be an effective solution. Consult your vet to find out the best options to suit your pet’s particular needs.
Some other preventative health care options that may be worth considering for your beloved dog (or cat) include:
- Vaccination – this may decrease the chance of your pet getting a serious illness.
- Regular check-ups – Scheduling regular check-ups may contribute to the long-term health of your pets.
- Exercise – regular walks and activity may improve the longevity and overall health of your pet.
- Healthy weight – maintaining your pet in a healthy weight range may help to avoid conditions like joint and heart problems and diabetes.
This article was originally published by TJ Ryan on 19 December, 2017.
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Image source: Rasulov, Shutterstock.