What you need to know about pet insurance and dental care and why looking after your pet’s teeth is vital for their health
Being a pet parent is no easy task, let alone a budget-friendly one! The cost of pet food alone can cause a mild panic. Some paw parents spend thousands of Rands a month on the best pet food money can buy in hopes of improving the health (and teeth) of their pets.
And this line of thinking is not wrong. As with humans – you are what you eat. This means that our pet’s overall wellbeing is largely dependent on the food we feed them.
Food has a significant role to play in the health of our dog’s teeth. If you have ever had to take your pet to the vet to have a tooth removed or have their teeth cleaned, you will know that this can be a costly experience, to say the least.
The case for pet insurance
If you are still on the fence about pet insurance, then let me give you a little background to it – Pet insurance is like medical aid for your pet. For a monthly fee, you are covered for the expected and unexpected costs of pet healthcare.
So, when your precious Spike accidentally gets hit by a car, instead of you having to fork out tens of thousands of Rands, pet insurance has got your back in taking care of some of these costs.
Without pet insurance, many pet parents might be left in debt due to the high costs of vet care. Just a visit to the vet can set you back R400 or more, and this doesn’t include medication!
Why dental care is so important (at home and at the vet)
Many pet parents do not realise the importance of preventative dental care like brushing, scaling, and polishing. The majority of us may only become aware of the obvious need for dental care when the plaque on the surface of our pet’s teeth has turned into tartar (a browny-yellow like buildup of bacteria).
At this point, there is already a degree of periodontal disease and the gums have been affected.
What is gum disease?
Periodontal disease is a painful infection and inflammation between the teeth and the gums. It can result in tooth loss and, if left untreated, the infection can spread to the rest of your pet’s body. This is potentially life-threatening for your pet.
What can I do at home?
By regularly brushing and looking after your pet’s teeth (3 days a week), you can prevent the buildup of tartar. You need to use a special pet toothbrush and toothpaste.
You can also buy special toys and treats designed to help improve oral hygiene.
Dental care at the vet
How does a vet remove tartar buildup and clean my pet’s teeth?
The only way for tartar to be removed is by a vet. Your vet will have to ‘scale’ this off using a special device which emits vibrations and breaks down this rock-like substance from the tooth’s surface.
After scaling, your vet will polish the teeth to smooth the surface. In some cases, tooth extraction is needed due to serve gum disease and inflammation.
How much does dental care cost at the vet?
A basic brush, scale, and polish will cost R550 or more.
But, if your pet needs to have a tooth (or teeth) removed, they will need to be booked in to have this operation performed and it will require an anaesthetic.
This can cost between R1200 and R1500 for anaesthetic and includes the scale and polish. An additional R50 is then charged per tooth removed.
Dental care and pet insurance
If you have done some research on pet insurers out there, you are probably well aware of that fact that every insurer has a different product. I mean, the basis of their insurance is the same – medical cover for your pets – but each one has their own specific benefits and add-on features.
Routine care and vet visits
If you are looking for a pet insurer that offers dental cover, then you should look for one that includes routine care and vet visits.
I did some of my own research and asked the team at Oneplan Pet Insurance.
Basically, if you choose a pet plan that includes routine care and vet visits, then minor dental procedures are covered under vet visits and scaling and polishing are covered under routine care.
So, if you have pet insurance with Oneplan you can breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that your pet’s oral hygiene is looked after!
Until next time,
The petinsurance.co.za Team