Dental treatment cover for pets

Dental problems can be costly, and not all insurers cover them in the same way. Learn more about the type of cover you need and where to find it.

Dental cover explained

Cover for dental treatment is a key feature of pet insurance policies, but one that many providers treat differently. Whether that be with what types of treatment are covered or restrictions on how much you can claim for dental work. Find out more in a guide to pet dental cover.

Contents of this guide

Why do you need dental cover for your pet?

Dental cover is one of the most searched for – and therefore most important – elements of pet insurance cover required by pet owners.

Similar to us, dog’s and cat’s teeth can suffer the effects of plaque, develop ulcers, cavities and decay. These conditions can also spread to other parts of their body, including things like blood poisoning and complications with their organs.

Equally cats, and particularly dogs, are prone to dental accidents. Some dogs have a habit of eating stones and rocks, which can break or chip teeth, and if ingested, cause many more complications and blockages.

Pet insurance can help to cover the costs of dental treatment, however, understanding the difference between dental injuries caused by accidents versus those caused by illnesses is key to understanding when, and how pet insurance can help.

What is covered by pet dental insurance?

Dental cover for pets is broadly split into two categories:

  • Accident and Injury

This covers you for things such as if your dog suffers a broken tooth from biting a rock for example. This will not cover you against treatment arising from illnesses such as gingivitis, periodontal disease or cosmetic dental treatment. 34 providers in the UK offer this level of dental cover for pets.

  • Accident and Illness

As you might expect this is more comprehensive and covers for you illnesses and accidents, although any cosmetic treatment or regular dental checkups. There are 35 providers in the UK offering this level of pet dental cover.

Does my pet insurance policy cover dental work?

Of the 439 policies that are available to UK pet owners just 12 do not offer any cover for dental. These are:

  • Animal Friends Accident Only
  • Animal Friends Assure
  • Animal Friends Basic Plus
  • Animal Friends Max Extra
  • Animal Friends Max Plus
  • Animal Friends Max Value
  • Animal Friends Prime
  • Animal Friends Prime Plus
  • Animal Friends Super
  • Animal Friends Superior
  • Animal Friends Superior Plus
  • Healthy Pets Accident Only

Every other policy does provide some level of cover for dental treatment, but as you may expect cover differs depending upon which provider and which policy level you choose. Pet dental treatment is split in to two broad categories: Accident and Injury or Accident and Illness. Each of these we explained above, but below you can find which providers offer which type of cover.

35 providers offer at least one policy including the most comprehensive accident and illness cover, these are:

Insurer Product
4Paws Pet Insurance Life, Life Plus, Life Premium, Life30, Life30 Plus, Life30 Premium, Maximum Benefit £2,000 Policy, Maximum Benefit £4,000 Policy, Maximum Benefit £7,000 Policy, Standard Policy
Agria Home Cat Lifetime, Home Cat Lifetime Plus, Lifetime, Lifetime Plus
Argos Lifetime (£7,000), Lifetime (Cat) (£1,000), Lifetime (Cat) (£3,500), Lifetime (Dog) (£2,000), Lifetime (Dog) (£4,500), Max Benefit (£2,000), Max Benefit (£5,000), Time Limited (£2,500), Time Limited (£4,000)
Asda Money Lifetime £10,000, Lifetime £6,000, Lifetime £8,000
Churchill All Policies
Co-op Insurance Services Classic, Select Plus
Direct Line Pet Advanced, Select Premier, Select Premier
Everypaw All Policies
Frank £1,000 – All Options, £2,000 – All Options, £3,000 – All Options, £4,000 – All Options
Itch Insure Lifetime £2k, Lifetime £4k, Lifetime £7k
Lifetime Pet Cover Lifetime £2,000, Lifetime £3,000, Lifetime £4,000, Lifetime £6,000, Lifetime £10,000
LV= Lifetime £3,000, Lifetime £5,000, Lifetime £10,000
M&S Bank Premier, Standard
MiPet Cover 365Flex £2,500, 365Flex £5,000, LifetimeFlex £2,000, LifetimeFlex £4,000, LifetimeFlex £6,000, LifetimeFlex £8,000, LifetimeFlex £10,000, LifetimeFlex £12,000
More Than Premier (£4,000 vets fees), Premier (£12,000 vets fees)
Napo £4k, £8k, £12k
NFU Mutual All Policies
Pet Protect LifeTime Extra, LifeTime Plus
Petguard Accident & Illness (£3,000, £6,000, £12,000)
Petplan Classic, Classic+, Essential, Ultimate
Petsure Lifetime Cover £1,000, Lifetime Cover £3,000, Lifetime Cover £5,000,
Lifetime Cover £7,500, Lifetime Cover £10,000, Lifetime Cover £15,000
PETtrac Accident & Illness (£3,000, £6,000, £12,000)
Petwise All Policies
PuffinInsurance.com All Policies
RSPCA Pet Insurance Gold, Platinum
Sainsbury’s Bank Lifetime (£2,500, £5,000, £7,500, £10,000), Max Benefit (£3,000, £6,000), Time Limited £3,000
Tesco Bank Standard Cover, Extra Cover (£4,000, £7,500), Premier Cover (£2,000, £4,000, £7,500, £10,000)
The Kennel Club Lifetime, Lifetime Plus
VetsMediCover Diamond, Gold, Platinum, Silver
Waggel All Policies

If your chosen policy doesn’t appear on either of the lists above then you can assume that the cover these providers offer is for accidents and injury only, although make sure to double check this in the policy wording.

What doesn’t my pet’s dental insurance cover?

Regardless of whether you have a policy that covers illnesses alongside accidents, there are still some things that won’t be covered. Routine dental checkups and cleaning isn’t something that most insurers will cover as that is deemed as routine and responsible pet ownership – similar to how vaccinations are treated by insurers.

The other element to look out for with dental cover is whether there are alternative lower limits that apply. For example Purely Pets Lifetime Gold policies have a vet fee limit of £15,000, however the dental treatment limit within the policy is set at £1,000. Make sure that you check the policy wording to understand whether there are inner limits on dental treatment that may affect you.

Taking care of your pet’s teeth

Managing your dog or cat’s teeth can not only save you money on expensive vet bills, but it is an important part of being a responsible pet owner.

Regular vet check ups will include an examination of your cat or dog’s teeth and should pick up any signs of gum disease, plaque or broken teeth. As a preventative measure you can brush your pets teeth using a specialist toothbrush and toothpaste for your pet. It’s important not to use human toothpaste as the high flouride content can make your pet unwell if ingested.

There are plenty of dental chews available which can help in reducing plaque, but be mindful that they do contain quite a lot of calories so make sure to keep a close eye on any weight gain.

Signs of pet dental problems

If you notice a change in your pet’s behaviour or temperament it may be the indication of something wrong. Dental issues may result from any of the following signs, and if you do think something may be amiss consult a vet.

Cats

  • Reduced consumption of dry food
  • Slower chewing
  • Dropping food from the mouth while eating
  • Increased drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Hesitancy when having face and mouth touched

Dogs

  • Worsening breath
  • Reduction in eating habits
  • Discolored teeth
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Increased drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth

How much do pet dental treatments cost?

The simplest preventative treatment for a clean and scaling of your pets teeth can range from £150 to £500 depending upon the breed you have and where you live. A similar cost could be expected for treatment to remove a damaged tooth, while treating conditions like gingivitis could range anywhere from £750.

In a 2020 survey by Scratch & Patch they found an owner left with a £450 vet bill caused by their dog swallowing a small rock.

Remember that sometimes your vet may also need to conduct x-rays and/or use anaesthetic for the procedure. Both of these will push up the price of the treatment and in some cases when claiming with your insurer there are different limits which apply to scans and consultations.