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Does your pet need dental care?

Most people visit their dentist once or twice a year. Can the same be said about cats and dogs?

Many of the dental issues that you develop can also happen to your pets, including periodontal disease, cavities and ulcers in the mouth.

As bacteria builds up in your furry friend’s mouth, they may experience swollen or receding gums, bad breath and eventually have trouble chewing properly.

So, what can you do to manage your pet’s dental health? Your cat or dog needs daily brushings, quality food and regular oral X-rays, exams and routine cleanings (between every six months to a year) to keep their gums and teeth healthy.

But those dentist bills can add up, especially if you’re paying out-of-pocket. Finding the right pet dental insurance for your dog or cat can help ease the financial burden and make sure they have a long and healthy life.

How does pet dental insurance work?

With pet insurance, you can prevent small issues from turning into serious and costly procedures down the line.

Choose a preventive care plan to take your cat or dog to the vet for routine checkups and cleanings without huge out-of-pocket expenses. If your pet does need surgery or other more serious procedures, pet insurance can help cover some of the cost.

Pet insurance is more like property insurance than health insurance — you’re the first person to pay for your pet’s services, then you file a claim with your pet insurance provider to receive reimbursement.

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance plans are often broken up into routine coverage plans, and accident or illness treatment plans. Both may offer a range of deductible and reimbursement levels to help you manage the cost of your pet’s health.

Your plan may or may not cover hereditary and congenital conditions, alternative therapies and behavioral training. Dental coverage for your pet may be included in a preventive care plan for your pet, or you may have to purchase it as an additional feature.

If your pet has pre-existing conditions, your policy may not cover them. For instance, if your dog or cat has abdominal pain, some plans may limit coverage on any condition that lists abdominal pain as one of its symptoms.

Be sure to talk to your insurance provider and clarify what constitutes a pre-existing condition for your pet before choosing an insurance plan. You may have to schedule a check-up before your pet receives coverage if they haven’t seen a vet in more than a year.

How much do teeth cleanings for my pet cost?

Costs vary significantly depending on region and degree of dental disease.

For instance, in New Jersey, dental prices range from around $500 up to $1,000. These prices do not include oral radiographs, which could add $150 to $200 more. Some veterinary dental specialists charge anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 for cleanings and extractions.

The most expensive aspects of your pet’s dental health are X-rays and anesthesia. But you shouldn’t overlook them., Dental X-rays can assess periodontal disease and teeth health.

How much does pet insurance cost?

The price of pet insurance varies based on what type of coverage you choose. The cost of monthly premiums for your dog or cat can also include your pet’s breed and age, as well as where you live. Certain cat and dog breeds statistically have higher chances of health issues, which can raise your rates.

As your animal friend ages, they also have a higher risk of developing health issues, which can mean a higher premium. For instance, 85% of cats age three years and older have dental problems.

If you live in an area with a higher cost of living, such as Los Angeles or New York City, your pet services will likely cost more than in other areas of the country, causing your premium to be adjusted accordingly.

How to choose the right pet insurance

When choosing the right health insurance plan for your pet, ask yourself some important questions to figure out which policy will be right for your dog or cat:

  • Will the plan include dental coverage, or do I have to get a separate health and dental insurance plan for my pet?
  • Does my pet have any pre-existing or chronic conditions as defined by my pet policy?
  • Is my pet accident-prone, or do they need behavioral training or alternative medicine?

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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.

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