Why would you want dog dental insurance?
The state of a dog’s teeth and gums has an effect on their overall health. Neglecting a dog’s dental hygiene can cause severe health problems and shorten his or her life by several years.
If you brush your dog’s teeth daily and feed your dog a raw food diet, you may be able to keep your dog’s mouth healthy without your dog ever needing a professional cleaning.
However, most dog owners opt for the convenience of feeding their dog kibble and neglect to brush their dog’s teeth. One reason is that if the dog is in a household with kids, the parents may be so busy trying to keep up with their own and their kids’ dental needs that dog dental hygiene is neglected.
If your dog falls into that category and isn’t one of those dogs whose mouth stays healthy regardless, an annual visit to the vet that includes a dental cleaning can help keep severe problems at bay.
Since most dogs are not trained to sit still with their jaws open while someone works on their teeth (let alone trained how to rinse and spit!) veterinarians usually opt for general anesthesia for dental cleanings and other kinds of dental work.
Do not avoid taking your dog for dental cleanings because you are afraid of the anesthesia risk. Talk to your vet. He or she will probably confirm that although general anesthesia always carries some risk, veterinary anesthesia has become a lot safer over the years. Before giving anesthesia, a good vet will make sure there are no health problems that put the dog at greater risk, and will often do a checkup, some blood work and perhaps other tests a few days beforehand.
All of these things can add up to quite a bit of money: the checkup, the blood work, the anesthesia, and the actual dental work. Dog dental insurance can help cut down on some of these costs.
Dog dental insurance is not as common as dog health insurance. However, a few pet insurance companies do pay a percentage of dog dental cleaning costs, as part of a “wellness” or “prevention” package attached to a health insurance policy. Others will help you pay for anesthesia and more extensive dental work such as root canals and extractions. These are usually included inside a particular dog health care plan.
As with any insurance policy, you will need to do quite a bit of research to find the right dog dental insurance plan. Try to buy only the coverage you need. Be sure to look for things that are excluded, such as pre-existing conditions, or required waiting periods. Check to see if your dog is too old or not. If you are unsure what a policy will cover, contact the insurance company and make sure you get a satisfactory answer before signing up for anything.
To reduce your premiums, check to see if there is a dog club in your area through which to obtain insurance at a lower group rate. Or perhaps see if your co-workers are willing to form a group with you. You could even check to see if your employer is willing to pay all or part of your pet insurance.
After you have done your research, weigh the costs and benefits. If your dog is generally healthy, and you have a dog accident policy to cover unforeseen events, you may decide that it’s cheaper to just set aside money each month to pay for an annual checkup and cleaning.
Either way, for your dog’s health and your peace of mind, it may be wise to invest in some type of dog dental insurance.