How to keep your pet’s dental costs down

Posted: 25 November 2020 5:20 pm
News

Veterinarian

A whopping 80% of cats and dogs have dental problems over the age of 3 - but it's not so hard to keep them healthy.

Most pet owners know the pain of a big and unexpected vet's bill. But while some costs are completely unavoidable, there are ways to keep certain expenses down - without sacrificing the health of your pet.

According to the Australian Veterinary Association, 80% of Aussie pets over the age of 3 have dental issues. It's a worrying statistic considering the potential health complications that can come from dental disease.

Bacteria under the gums doesn't just stay in the mouth - it can travel to your pet's heart, kidneys and liver if left untreated. Suddenly, that simple dental issue has become a major problem.

Despite this, research commissioned by Purina Dentalife revealed that Aussies aren't taking dental health seriously when it comes to our animals. In fact, 1 in 4 pet owners admitted that they don't clean their pet's teeth.

Speaking to Finder, vet and dental registrar Kirsten Hailstone said the lack of dental hygiene was not only having an impact on animals' health, but also on owners pockets - but there are ways to get back on track.

Brush your pet's teeth

"Daily toothbrushing remains the most effective way of removing plaque and thus preventing periodontal disease," said Hailstone.

While daily brushing might seem excessive, studies show it has a significant positive impact on oral health, compared to brushing every week - and it's hardly time consuming either.

According to the University of Pennsylvania study, just 30 seconds of brushing a day can control 85% of periodontal disease.

Hailstone also warned that neglecting a pet's oral hygiene is likely to have a knock-on impact on an owner's wallet too.

"If you offer no homecare to control dental disease in your dog or cat, then you can be confident that you will likely need professional intervention to manage your pet's dental disease on a regular basis," she told Finder.

According to Hailsone, homecare is best managed with a combination of brushing and applying gels or food additives. You can also use a functional treat but should check whether they are scientifically tested to reduce tartar build-up or other oral issues.

"Ultimately, the more you do at home, the more you can reduce the need for costly professional intervention," she said.

Don't avoid the vet

While vet bills are often on the bigger end of the scale, Hailsone says owners should never put off getting professional help - as they're only delaying the inevitable and possibly making things worse in the long run.

"Should signs of dental disease appear, it is really important to have your pet examined immediately," she told Finder. "Bad breath is not normal in pets and so should be your first indication to seek a professional opinion for your pet's dental health."

Blood on the brush when brushing, rubbing or pawing at the face, facial swelling or difficulty eating are also signs of dental disease. Pet's who are reluctant to allow brushing may also be struggling, although this may ease with a little extra training.

Hailstone also urged owners to get a comprehensive mouth examination for their pet, and a quick follow-up whenever they visit the vet.

"Following dental assessment, you should receive a comprehensive dental chart which enables you and your practitioner to work together to manage your pet's dentition into the future," she said. "The chart is the key to predicting what treatment your pet will need to help maintain a healthy smile."

Consider insurance

Standard pet insurance won't offer any help towards dental issues - but pet insurance which includes routine care will.

Routine care pet insurance helps towards the cost of regular healthcare treatments for your pet, including general health checks, teeth cleaning.

Of course, always remember to ready the PDS so you know exactly what you're covered for.

"Some companies will offer an annual benefit for routine dental care, this is only of value to you if your pet requires regular intervention as would be determined by the result of the dental charting at age two to three," said Hailstone.

Compare pet insurance with routine care

Routine care cover doesn't just help towards teeth cleaning - you also be able to claim money back for vaccinations, microchipping, dew claw removal, and much more.

Name Product Accidental Injury Illness Paralysis Tick Benefit Maximum yearly benefit Reimbursement rate Reimbursement Rate
Budget Direct Pet Insurance
$1,500
$12,000
80%
80%
⭐Finder Exclusive: Receive a $55 eGift card after your 21-day cooling off period. Apply by 31 December 2021. T&C’s apply.
Kogan Pet Luxury Cover
$2,000
$15,000
80% up to age 8 & 65% over age 8
80% up to age 8 & 65% over age 8
Sign up and get $75 Kogan.com credit with a $10 ongoing monthly credit. T&Cs apply.
Medibank Ultimate Pet Care
$1,200
$15,000
80%
80%
Get a sweet 16% off your first year. Sign up and use promo code SAVE16 by 2 Feb 2022. T&Cs apply.
PD Deluxe Plan
$15,000
$15,000
100%
100%
Apply online and get your first 1 month free. T&Cs apply.
Knose Pet Insurance
$25,000
$25,000
70%, 80% or 90%
70%, 80% or 90%
⭐Finder Exclusive: Get 10% off your first year's premium. Lower prices for lower risk pets. T&C's apply.
Vets Choice Elite Cover
$2,500
$15,000
80% or 100%
80% or 100%
Get a 5% discount when you insure more than one pet.
PIA Major Medical Cover
$1,200
$15,145
80%
80%
Covers specified accidents and illnesses, with Routine Care Cover included. Get 2 months free when you sign up.
Petsy Dog Accidental Injury and Illness Cover (Vet Select)
$1,500
$25,000
100%
100%
Enjoy 2 months free and personalised pet tag with promo code: PETSYPET. Petsy members enjoy free personalised gifts, exclusive pet discounts and perks for humans.
Coles Premium Cover
$2,500
$15,000
80% or 100%
80% or 100%
Get 10% off your new Coles pet policy till 31 Jan 2022. Plus, earn 10x Flybuys points per $1 spent on pet food at Coles Supermarkets. T&Cs apply.
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