Does pet insurance cover cat dental care?

A cat’s teeth do a lot of work, so they need a lot of looking after. That’s why it’s so important to understand whether your pet insurance covers a trip to the cat dentist. We take a look at common questions around cat insurance and dental cover.

A cat’s teeth do a lot of work, so they need a lot of looking after. That’s why it’s so important to understand whether your pet insurance covers a trip to the cat dentist. We take a look at common questions around cat insurance and dental cover.

Mubina Pirmohamed
Insurance expert
3
minute read
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Posted 8 OCTOBER 2019 Last Updated 4 MARCH 2022

Does pet insurance include dental cover?

Pet insurance policies won’t cover routine dental work like check-ups, cleaning, cosmetic dental treatment or treating preventable conditions.

Some pet insurance policies do offer cover for fixing accidental dental damage, treating broken teeth or abscesses, tooth extraction and damage to teeth and gums resulting from illness. 

There are several types and levels of cover so it’s important to read the policy terms and conditions carefully to check what’s included. Reading the small print can save a lot of heartache if you find that the particular dental problem your cat has isn’t covered.

How much does it cost to take a cat to the vet?

Dental treatment for cats can cost several hundred pounds. This is because in most cases, treatment has to be done under a general anaesthetic, so it’s best to have all the necessary work done in a single visit.

Can cat dental cover be an 'add-on' or be bought as separate policy?

No. Dental cover for cats isn’t usually covered by a separate policy. So if it’s important to you, check the terms and conditions of the policy you’re considering.

How many teeth do cats have?

Cats, like humans, have two sets of teeth in their lifetime. A total of 26 milk teeth develop between four and six weeks and are replaced naturally by 30 permanent teeth by the time they’re six months old.

Older cats usually lose one or two teeth during their lifetime through injury or disease.

What dental conditions do cats suffer from?

The most common dental problems in cats are:

  • A build-up of plaque or tartar
  • Gum disease
  • Fractured or chipped teeth
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Tooth damage from accidents

What are the signs of dental problems in cats? 

Signs that your cat may be suffering from dental problems include: 

  • Bad breath
  • Backing away from food
  • Avoiding biscuits in favour of soft food
  • Excessive dribbling
  • Chattering teeth
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Blood in the food or water bowl
  • Weight loss

Do cats get gum disease?

Yes, cats suffer from gum disease (gingivitis). This can also develop into periodontal disease, which is the most prevalent disease in cats over three years old. It’s only reversible if caught early, so it’s important to look out for it.

Do cats get cavities?

Cavities in cats are similar to those in humans but are much more painful. They’re referred to as neck lesions and are diagnosed using x-rays.

Are some breeds more likely to have dental problems?

Some cat breeds like Abyssinians, Siamese, Maine Coons, Persians and Somalis may be more susceptible but the main causes of dental problems in cats are diet and dental hygiene.

Why do cats need tooth extraction?

Cats might need to have teeth extracted because:

  • A tooth has not grown properly or developed fully
  • Teeth are severely infected
  • Root abscesses
  • Jaw fracture

Can I prevent dental problems in my cat?

You can reduce the chances of needing to make a dental insurance claim if you look after your cat’s teeth. You can try:

  • Regular brushing – charity Cats Protection recommends this, although warns that cats need to be trained to let you do this
  • Dental chews and toys can help keep their teeth healthy
  • Introducing special dry food diets can enhance your cat’s oral health
  • Regular check-ups – it’s a good idea to let your vet check your cat’s mouth at least once a year for gum disease
  • Cleaning away any plaque to prevent dental disease developing

Can I use normal toothpaste on my cat?

No. Human toothpaste includes ingredients that can be toxic to cats if swallowed. Special cat toothpaste is available. Try to find a flavour your cat likes, such as chicken or seafood and introduce it on your finger or on their food before using the brush.

How should I brush my cat’s teeth?

It may take a couple of weeks to train your cat to let you brush its teeth. Get the cat used to its teeth being touched using your finger or a cat toothbrush first. When your cat is used to the flavour of the toothpaste and the feel of the brush, spend about 30 seconds on each side at least three times a week, moving from the back teeth to the front.

What to do if your cat starts to have dental problems?

You should consult your vet as soon as you suspect your cat has dental problems. Make sure the cat’s mouth is kept clean and finish any recommended antibiotics or other drug treatments prescribed by the vet. Provide a balanced diet to boost the cat’s overall health, including soft food and access to plenty of clean water.

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