Best Pet Dental Insurance in 2023 | Full Step-by-step Guide

Maintaining good dental hygiene is an essential part of caring for your pet and ensuring good health. Just as you feed your pet a healthy, balanced diet to prevent malnutrition, keeping your pet’s teeth clean is important to prevent dental disease.

Just like regular exercise, dental care should be part of your dog or cat’s daily routine. When we think of paying for veterinary care for our pets, we usually think of routine check-ups, vaccinations, and the cost of treatment in the event of a serious illness or accident.

But just like with humans, dental care is an important part of maintaining our pet’s overall health.

Is Dental care for Pets really important?

Dental disease in dogs and cats can be just as serious as any other disease. Left untreated, poor oral hygiene can lead to bad breath, infections, tooth loss, and malnutrition.

Unfortunately, this often happens because dental treatment at the vet can be very expensive.

Many owners choose to defer the expense of routine teeth cleanings and allow the problem to slowly worsen over time, leading to more expensive treatments later.

Some dental procedures can cost upwards of $1,000, so consider dental insurance as part of your pet insurance.

Some, but not all, pet insurance plans cover dental work-related illnesses such as dental infections gum disease, and dental injuries resulting from accidents.

However, no pet insurance covers pre-existing medical conditions, including dental disease, which is known to develop in 80% of dogs and 70% of cats by the age of three.

That’s why it’s important to get pet insurance when your pet is young.

What is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance is a type of liability insurance that covers pet medical expenses related to accidents and illnesses.

Most companies primarily offer dog and cat insurance—some providers extend coverage to include exotic pets like birds and reptiles, but account for less than 1% of U.S. policies, according to NAPHIA (North American Pet Health Insurance Association).

A key difference between pet insurance and your own health insurance is that preventive pet care is sold separately. This includes expenses such as vaccines, parasite prevention, teeth cleanings, and microchipping.

Types of Pet Insurance

If you want to insure your pet, you should first take a good look at your finances – and how much you can and are willing to spend in the event of an emergency.

Pet insurance policies differ in their coverage and, of course, in the premiums. Understanding the different types of policies and their respective offerings is crucial to understanding how to get pet insurance.

  • Accident Only Policies – An accident only policy may be best for you if your primary concern is your cat or dog’s propensity for breakdowns (poisoning, broken bones, gas). They are usually cheaper than plans with more extensive coverage.
  • Accident and Sickness Policies – These are the all-inclusive pet insurance plans that cover both accident and sickness insurance. They can be expanded into a truly comprehensive offering by purchasing wellness insurance, which is usually more of an add-on than an integral part of the plan.
  • Comprehensive Policies – Some insurers offer comprehensive policies that cover everything from accidents to illness to wellness and routine care.

For example, you can cover the cost of dental care, chiropractic care, sterilization, vaccinations, behavioral therapy, and more.

Of course, these plans come at the highest price, but for the security they offer, you might find it worth it.

If you want to assess whether an insurer is right for you, it’s a good idea to download their sample policy, which is usually available on the company’s website.

How does Pet health insurance work?

  • Waiting times – your insurance only pays for the care after a waiting period has expired. Most companies require at least 14 days after registration before they will reimburse you for a vet visit due to illness.
  • Exclusions – The language of pet insurance policies usually excludes some specific conditions. Read the policy carefully before purchasing so you know what is and is not covered.
  • Network Restrictions – Unlike human health insurance, pet insurance generally does not have a restricted or preferred network of providers.

    However, some insurers may limit certain coverages to certain veterinarians. However, there may be geographic restrictions; For example, your pet may not be insured if you travel to Canada or Puerto Rico.

Why do I need dental insurance for my pet?

According to Tufts University, About 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of three will show signs of oral disease by the age of three.

This widespread prevalence at such a young age poses a cost risk for health insurers, which is why they often limit or refuse dental coverage.

For example, they typically set a maximum reimbursement rate, exclude coverage for certain treatments, and deny claims related to pre-existing medical conditions.

What increases and decreases Pet Dental Insurance premium costs?

The average monthly cost of pet insurance with accident and medical coverage is $49.51 for dogs and $28.48 for cats. But the exact amount you spend to insure your pet varies and not just by the insurer you choose.

Pet insurance costs vary widely and depend on several factors, including breed, gender, age, location, and the coverage options and deductible you choose.

  • Pre-existing medical conditions – Pet insurance providers will not reimburse you for medical conditions that your dog, cat or other pet had before you bought pet insurance.
  • Preventive Care Add-Ons – You’ll benefit best from an accident or medical insurance plan, but you can add preventive care coverage. Policies that cover both routine care and accident or illness care are called comprehensive coverage.
  • Pet’s Age – Premiums increase with age, steeply for very old pets. Also, after your dog or cat reaches the age of 10 or 12, your choices with insurers become significantly limited.
  • Excess – With many plans, you set an excess, which is the amount you must pay before your policy applies. But as well as the amount of the deductible, make sure you understand the nature of it.

An annual deductible for all care services is common, but some require a per-incident or per-illness deductible instead (or in addition).

  • Where You Live – Generally, pets living in urban areas – especially coastal ones – have higher pet insurance rates due to higher veterinary care costs, among other socioeconomic factors. States with particularly high veterinary costs – and thus premiums – include New York and California.

How does supplementary dental insurance for dogs and cats work?

Unlike human healthcare, pet dental insurance is not sold separately. Rather, it is included as a feature in most traditional pet insurance plans.

In most cases, owners pay a monthly fee on top of their annual premium and receive reimbursement for a percentage of upfront veterinary expenses paid out of pocket once they meet their deductible.

Note that not all pet insurance plans cover the cost of dental work, nor are all treatments covered. So it’s important to carefully compare the details of each policy to ensure you get the right solution.

Pet insurance policies often cover costs arising from a pet’s dental problems, but not all do. Make sure you consider dental benefits when comparing plans.

What are the most common dental problems in pets?

Below are some of the most common dental diseases in dogs and cats. Some of these can be prevented with proper dental care, including wellness measures like brushing your teeth, using the right toothpaste, and regular vet check-ups.

Gum Disease

Gum disease occurs when bacterial infection of the tissues surrounding teeth causes inflammation of the gums, the ligaments that anchor teeth, and the surrounding bone.

Left untreated, dogs can suffer from tooth loss and deterioration of supporting tissues. Gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in dogs.

Certain races, genetics, age, and diet can all contribute factors to the development of gum disease. There are two forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.


Gingivitis occurs when the gums become inflamed due to bacterial plaque, but ligaments and bones are unaffected. Symptoms include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Red or purple gums
  • Bleeding gums on contact
  • Bad breath

Gingivitis is often diagnosed around the age of two. Fortunately, you can reverse gingivitis with proper teeth cleaning. But, if left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis.


Periodontitis is more serious than gingivitis, including tissue damage to the gums, ligaments, and bones. It typically shows up after years of plaque, tartar, and gingivitis.

Unfortunately, it is irreversible and leads to permanent loss of tooth support.

This is more common in smaller breeds than larger ones. Dogs on a hard kibble diet tend to have fewer problems because chewing the kibble can help clean their teeth.

Back teeth and upper teeth are typically more affected by periodontitis than front teeth and lower teeth.

Periodontal disease is often diagnosed around the age of four to six years. It is treated by professional cleaning and often requires x-rays of the jaws to determine bone support.

Extractions are common, and your vet may recommend special at-home oral hygiene practices, including:

  • Daily brushing of teeth
  • Dietary changes
  • Plaque prevention gel
  • Mouthwashes

Endodontic disease

Endodontic disease, also known as pulpitis, occurs when the tooth’s living tissue, known as the pulp, becomes damaged or infected. The cause is usually an injury, fracture, enamel abnormality, or tooth decay.

Fractures are a common cause of pulpitis in dogs and can result from external trauma such as aggressive play or a car accident, chewing on bones, antlers, hard nylon toys, rocks, fences, etc.

There are two types of endodontic disease: reversible and irreversible. Reversible pulpitis is when the pulp is damaged but able to heal. Irreversible pulpitis is when the pulp is dead and a root canal or extraction is needed to treat it. Symptoms include:

  • Painful teeth that your pet refuses to touch or touch
  • Tooth with a reddish-brown, purple, or gray tint
  • Visible break
  • Red or black hole on a crown
  • facial swelling
  • Decreased appetite

Dogs are good at hiding their pain, which can make it difficult to diagnose. A vet can take x-rays to identify affected teeth. Treatment includes a root canal treatment or a tooth extraction.

Developmental disabilities

These are often inherited genetically. Developmental disabilities that affect your dog’s comfort, health, or function may require treatment. But if it’s just an aesthetic anomaly, it’s okay to leave it untreated.

Teeth not erupted

Smaller breeds tend to have teeth that remain below the gum line (non-erupted teeth). Dogs with shorter and flatter heads (also known as brachycephalic breeds) can have unerupted teeth.

X-rays can help diagnose non-erupted teeth and determine if a cyst is present. Cysts can be dangerous because they can destroy the jaw. It is important to extract teeth that have not erupted to prevent further damage to the mouth.

Wrong bite

The growth and development of the mouth and teeth must occur in the correct order, otherwise, complications may arise. Various problems can arise, including:

  • Overbite (Collies, Shelties and Dachshunds are predisposed)
  • Underbite (Boston Terriers, Pekingese, French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Pugs, Lhasa Apso, Boxers and Shih Tzus are predisposed)
  • Extra teeth
  • Incorrect position of a milk tooth
  • Delayed loss of milk teeth
  • Abnormal positioning or inclination of the teeth (Shih Tzus, Pugs, Bulldogs, Lhasa Apsos, Boston Terriers and Maltese are predisposed)
  • Crowded teeth (Shih Tzus, Pugs, Bulldogs, Lhasa Apso, Boston Terriers and Maltese are predisposed)
  • Twisted teeth (Shih Tzus, Pugs, Bulldogs, Lhasa Apsos, Boston Terriers and Maltese are predisposed)

Enamel Defects

When both baby teeth and permanent teeth develop, fever and chemical buildup in the tooth can cause permanent damage.

The canine distemper virus attacks the enamel-producing cells of the teeth, causing fever. This deteriorates tooth enamel and causes it to thin.

There are also other illnesses with a fever that can cause tooth enamel to fail to develop properly.

Enamel defects can occur in young dogs with severe malnutrition. If there are enamel defects on individual teeth, this is most likely due to trauma or infection.

A common reason for the infection is broken baby teeth that affect the enamel of the permanent teeth. Some breeds are predisposed to tooth enamel defects as they can inherit them from their parents.

Trauma to the face and jaw

Trauma can include falls, aggressive chewing, fights with other animals, car accidents, and more. Jaw fractures can occur due to periodontal disease or cancer.

Depending on the severity of the trauma, your vet can recommend a specific treatment.

Crown placement, root canals, and wound care are among the possible remedial measures.

Various procedures can incur a range of costs, and treating the mouth can cause difficulty eating, resulting in a temporary feeding tube while healing occurs.

What is covered in pet dental insurance?

Dental insurance can be found in pet health insurance plans. Although coverage varies by insurer, there are typically two types of pet dental coverage: dental accidents and dental disease.

Companies like Embrace Pet Insurance and Pets Best cover both dental accidents and dental disease and reimburse costs for dental problems such as:

  • Damaged teeth
  • Root canals
  • Crowns
  • Stomatitis
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Gingivitis
  • Tooth Extraction

However, some pet insurance plans only cover dental accidents or problems resulting from an accident. For example, Lemonade pet insurance covers dental accidents but not a dental disease

What is not covered by dental pet insurance?

Here is some common exclusions:

  • Cosmetic, endodontic or orthodontic services such as caps, implants and fillings
  • Regular dental care such as teeth cleaning
  • Pre-existing medical conditions of pets that occurred before the start of the insurance cover

Best Pet Dental Insurance

Some pet insurance companies are more detailed in their policies than others, so some reviews include more information. Here are examples of pet insurance policies that cover both dental accidents and dental disease:

Pets Best

Pets Best is very detailed about his dental care and has an entire section dedicated to him. It offers an optional preventive plan to cover the cost of cleaning teeth.

It also covers non-routine dental procedures including periodontitis, tooth extractions, and trauma to the teeth, face, jaw, etc.


Trupanion offers a single insurance plan for both cats and dogs. In addition to standard benefits such as diagnostic tests, surgery, hospital stays, and prescription medications, coverage also extends to alternative treatments, dental conditions, dentures, and prescription groceries.

If your vet uses Trupanion’s direct payment software, you don’t need to apply; Trupanion pays the vet direct. So policyholders don’t have to worry about costly upfront payments or filing claims, which is standard for most pet insurance industries.

Trupanion lacks affordability and flexibility – premiums are high and there is only a single policy option.


Embrace is willing to insure pets up to the age of 15 against accident and illness. After that age, you can still get insurance, but only for accidents. This is rather rare as companies generally do not insure pets over the age of 10 in any way.

Embrace does not offer wellness services as a separate policy. Instead, pet owners can enroll in the Wellness Rewards plan and contribute a certain amount to cover preventative care costs.

Embrace is transparent in helping you avoid reporting surprises.

Fetch (formerly Petplan)

Fetch’s sample policy doesn’t address many dental conditions or injuries, which can be good or bad.

We encourage you to inquire specifically about what types of coverage you can expect for your pet regarding teeth and other dental needs.

Healthy Paws

Healthy Paws only offers an accident and illness policy for cats and dogs. There are no per-incident, annual, or lifetime benefit caps, and you can choose a deductible ranging from $100 to $500.

Healthy Paws offers fast claim processing through its mobile app, and most claims are processed in as little as two days. It also offers a direct payment option instead of a refund if you can’t afford the vet bill upfront.

Healthy Paws is best suited for pets that enroll at a young age, as coverage options and reimbursement rates are more limited for older pets.

Healthy Paws says it will cover elements of dental care when caused by an accidental injury. It doesn’t cover routine dental care (this is fairly common with pet insurance providers unless you purchase a wellness plan).

Others include;


The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers accident-only, accident-and-disease, and preventive care for cats and dogs. Riding enthusiasts can also insure their horses, but only in certain federal states.

ASPCA’s premium rates are among the most affordable, and the company is also more flexible than its industry peers on certain contract terms.

While other policies place an age limit on the coverage for hereditary or congenital conditions, ASPCA guarantees coverage regardless of your pet’s age at enrollment, as long as the conditions are not pre-diagnosed. 


With Spot, you can easily maximize your pet’s coverage. It is among the relatively few companies that offer policies with a full (100%) coverage option, meaning you are not responsible for co-paying any bills.

In addition, the company offers a very low ($100) deductible option that further reduces your co-payments for care.

However, choosing one or both of a low co-pay and low deductible results in higher premiums for the policy.

Spot’s prices are already higher than the norm for young pets, although the company doesn’t have an upper age limit for insuring new pets – which can make it a good choice if your furry companions are older.


Pumpkin offers affordable plans with the option to add preventive care packages for kittens and dogs that aren’t included in standard insurance.

For example, the company’s puppy care packages include an annual wellness screening fee, four puppy vaccines, and an annual fecal test.

Pumpkin will also reimburse the cost of up to four vaccines your pup may have received before being insured under the Preventive Package, as well as the cost of lab testing for parasites.

However, these add-ons — known as Pumpkin Preventive Essentials — are not available in all states.


FIGO offers pet owners the opportunity to reduce their co-payment to 0% thanks to the 100% refund option. (With other providers, the lowest co-payment is usually 10%.)

Figo doesn’t enforce annual caps either, but the company does apply a lifetime maximum — that is, how much it reimburses over the life of your pet.

Be prepared to pay above-average premiums for a policy with 0% copay, unlimited payout benefits, or both. Other notable downsides include Figo’s hereditary disease coverage limitations and lack of driver options.

Pet owners can purchase additional coverage for vet exam fees, but not for preventive care or wellness.

Figo’s Pet Cloud app offers extensive mobile support. The app allows you to contact a licensed veterinarian 24/7, manage your pet’s insurance records, and make payments, among other things.

Figo’s Pet Cloud app features comprehensive mobile support. With the app, you can contact a licensed veterinarian 24/7, manage your pet’s insurance documents and make payments, among other transactions.


Lemonade offers comprehensive accident and health insurance, and you can further enhance coverage with a preventive plan for annual checkups, vaccinations, and heartworm and parasite screening.

A separate tab is also available to cover fees for vet exams and alternative treatments such as acupuncture.

Lemonade also donates excess premium payments to charitable organizations chosen by policyholders. Lemonade is currently available in 36 states, but you can sign up for updates on the site.

Nationwide Whole Pet with Wellness

Nationwide is the only pet insurance company of its size to offer a bird and exotic pet plan. Most birds, reptiles, and small mammals can be covered, including goats and pot-bellied pigs.

(However, any animals not specifically listed on the Nationwide website are disqualified, including those listed under venomous or endangered species.)


TrustedPals policies are issued by Zurich, a global insurance company. TrustedPals issues policies to owners of dogs and cats with no age limit and 1% of the company’s profits are donated to pet-related charities.

It offers both accident and illness plans and wellness policies, and several discount programs are available.

In addition to a multiple pet discount, you may also qualify for a discount if you are a military service employee or veteran, first responder, veterinary student, or if your pet is a service animal.

MetLife Pet Insurance

MetLife Pet Insurance, formerly known as Pet First, offers a simple online application and multiple coverage options.

You can choose your maximum benefit amount, which ranges from $2,000 to $10,000. The deductible is only $50, and you can take advantage of one or more of the discount programs MetLife offers:

  • 10% discount for vets and shelter workers
  • $10 Internet Purchase Discount
  • Discount for military service members, veterans and first responders
  • Discount for healthcare workers


PetFirst offers multiple discounts for medical personnel, military, veterans, and first responders. Employers who offer pet insurance are also eligible for a reduced rate, as are affinity groups and those who work in pet care.

Accident and illness insurance for cats and dogs is comprehensive, including benefits for holistic treatments and alternative benefits.

There is also a preventative care add-on that seems to broadly define such treatment. However, the Company specifically excludes standard wellness services such as parasite prevention and treatment, and elective surgery (including spaying and neutering).


24PetWatch offers policies and wellness plans with short waiting periods and low deductibles, but the company hasn’t made the cut due to certain policy limitations.

There is only one (80%) refund option. In addition, dogs’ age at ten years and cats at 12 years of insurance coverage. At this age, it’s difficult to find another company willing to start providing coverage, effectively leaving aging pets uninsured.

Additionally, a lack of discounts makes their plans slightly more expensive than the competition.


Hartville’s policies offer excellent coverage, but they come at a price — expect about $40 a month for a mixed breed puppy and $22 a month for a mixed breed kitten.

Accident insurance seems like an affordable alternative, and even then, premiums start at around $30 for a puppy. Once your dog is over five years old, sickness benefit premiums also increase significantly.

Hartville also advertises an unlimited annual benefit payment, but the option is not available through online enrollment.

How to choose the Best Pet Insurance for you

Pet insurance coverage varies by state and terms and conditions may change annually. Because policies are not one-size-fits-all, NAPHIA’s guidelines for selecting the best policy suggest:

  • Consider what your pet will need throughout its life, whether general or breed specific
  • Choose coverage levels appropriate for common practices and breed-specific conditions
  • Set benefit limits that reflect the average cost of care in your region
  • Pay attention to the shortest waiting times
  • Review contract terms regarding chronic, hereditary and pre-existing conditions
  • Compare costs: premiums, co-payments and reimbursement percentages

How often do I need to have my dog’s teeth cleaned?

The vet recommends professional teeth cleaning for dogs once a year as part of a routine grooming plan. This helps ensure your veterinarian can spot the onset of gum disease early and recommend a treatment plan before it gets significantly worse.

Brushing your dog’s teeth at home is a great idea to prevent plaque and tartar build-up. This helps them maintain good oral hygiene and minimizes the thorough cleaning required during annual dental work, which can be uncomfortable.

Are regular teeth cleaning included in pet insurance?

For the most part, dental cleanings for dogs and cats are viewed as preventive care and are therefore not covered under traditional accident/sickness rates.

However, most pet insurance providers offer additional pet wellness plans that you can add for additional coverage, including the cost of routine cleanings.

How can you save money on pet dental care?

Most veterinarians recommend that dogs and cats have their teeth cleaned as part of their annual check-up.

This will help your veterinarian spot the early signs of health problems and ensure your pet is at a reduced risk of developing the costly dental disease later in life.

You can also take care of your pet’s dental health by brushing their teeth regularly.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, you should brush your dog’s teeth twice a day or at least three times a week. They recommend the same schedule for cats.

Dental hygiene treats and chews can also help maintain your pet’s oral health between cleanings.

How to Find Affordable Pet Dental Care

Pet insurance can help you avoid debt if your furry companion needs medical attention. Along with getting pet insurance with good dental insurance, here are some ways to keep a pet’s dental care costs down.

Practice precaution:  According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, many pets show early signs of the periodontal disease once they reach the age of 3 years.

As you age, it’s important to take preventive measures to keep dental disease from getting worse or affecting kidney or liver function.

Consider a pet insurance wellness plan: Although no pet health insurance will cover routine dental care, you can often add a wellness plan that does.

Adding a wellness plan to your policy increases your pet insurance costs, but can offset the cost of dental cleanings (ranging from a few hundred dollars to over $1,000 on average, depending on your location).

Consider CareCredit: If your pet has an expensive dental emergency that you can’t afford, you can use a financing option like CareCredit — with caution.

With CareCredit, pet owners can apply for short periods of financing, ranging from six months to two years, with no interest on vet bills over $200.

You must use a provider registered in the CareCredit network. So be prepared to pay the balance before interest is charged.

Put savings aside: Every pet insurance plan has a deductible and coinsurance percentage that you must pay. So, putting money aside whenever possible can help make your vet bills more manageable.


Dental insurance can save you thousands of dollars over the course of your pet’s life. But it’s important to remember that not all insurance plans are created equal — and neither are all dental diseases.

Do your homework to find out if the pet insurance you’re considering offers this coverage – and don’t forget to read the fine print!

Next, go one step further and see what specific benefits the plan offers, as well as exclusions, requirements, and limitations that you may need to consider.


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