pet dental insurance

Pet Dental Insurance: What’s Covered?


Recent Blog:

When you ponder pet insurance you usually think about getting cover for treating medical emergencies like serious accidents and illnesses, yes? But what about pet dental insurance? It’s something we hear is very much appreciated by vets and customers alike. So how does pet insurance that covers dental work, exactly?

Firstly, different insurance providers manage their pet dental insurance differently – if they offer it at all.

It’s important to understand if it’s included in a provider’s regular plan or as an add-on, or if it’s simply not part of their offering. Sometimes you’ll need to pay extra to get pet dental insurance cover with your policy. Either way, you’ll need to properly understand how much is covered.

It might very well be worth paying that little bit extra now to save in the long run. Why? According to research reported on by pet retail store Animates, 80% of dogs and cats in New Zealand over the age of three years have some form of dental disease. That’s four in five pets that will require dental treatment.

pet dental insurance

Common dental problems

Apart from breaking their tooth on something hard they’ve decided to chomp on, there are other potential pet dental issues. Luckily the PD Insurance Deluxe dog insurance and Deluxe cat insurance covers a range of dental treatments for your pet, capped at an annual limit. We think it’s important because getting your pet proper dental work can give them a happier, longer life.

Ongoing dental care really should be a part of your routine pet care alongside other important things like their pet vaccinations. It will help prevent conditions occurring that need intervention from a vet.

If 4 in 5 dogs or cats in New Zealand are going to suffer from pet dental issues, what are these fairly common problems you’re likely to find in your fur kid? Let’s explore…


A very common gum disease that can cause irritation, redness and swelling around the base of the teeth. If untreated, it can progress into periodontal disease. Read more in our Gingivitis in Cats And Dogs article.

Periodontal disease

This is infection and inflammation of the periodontium (the tissues surrounding the tooth). Periodontal disease starts as gingivitis and then gets a whole lot worse.

Abscesses and tooth infection

This is where infected, pus-filled pockets are found in the mouth or the root of the teeth. They can be caused by infection, bite wounds, and more. Read: What to Do if Your Dog has a Tooth Abscess.

Smiling cute happy pet Irish Setter dog showing his teeth

Oral tumours (benign or malignant)

Benign and malignant tumours of the oral cavity account for 3% to 12% of all tumours in cats and 6% of all tumours in dogs, so these masses are relatively common in pets.

Retained deciduous (milk) teeth

This is when one or more milk teeth (aka baby teeth) remain even after the adult teeth have come through. Read our Teething Puppy Survival Guide for more on baby tooth business.

Feline tooth resorption

Feline tooth resorption is a condition where the cat’s body begins breaking down teeth and absorbing them. It affects over 50% of cats eventually.

Feline ulcerative stomatitis

Although quite rare, this is a very severe and painful inflammatory condition that causes ulcers in the cat’s mouth and gums.

Causes of dental problems

Why is it that dogs seem to have fewer dental problems than we do considering they don’t brush twice daily (and hardly ever floss!) One reason is that our teeth are outwardly curved at the top, which makes food more prone to getting stuck. Dogs on the other hand have canonical-shaped teeth, which is harder for food to accumulate on.

Nevertheless, your pup may still get cavities or some of the issues listed above.

Veterinary examining cat's teeth and mouth in a vet clinic

Here are some of the causes:

Plaque and tartar

Plaque is a sticky film that forms on the teeth when bacteria combine with saliva and food particles. If not removed through regular brushing or chewing on appropriate dental toys, plaque can harden and turn into tartar. Tartar provides a rough surface for bacteria to stick to, which speeds up the process of tooth decay.

Bacterial infection

The bacteria present in plaque produce acids as they feed on food particles and sugars in your pup’s mouth. These acids gradually erode the tooth enamel, which is the protective outer layer of the teeth. Over time, this erosion leads to cavities or holes in the teeth.

Poor oral hygiene

Dogs that don’t receive proper oral hygiene maintenance are more likely to get tooth problems, that’s why proper dog teeth cleaning is so important.


A diet high in sugary or starchy foods can increase the risk of your pup getting dental issues. When the bacteria in your dog’s mouth mixes with sugars it produces acids. This can wear down tooth enamel and cause decay. Additionally, sticky or chewy treats that cling to the teeth for prolonged periods can also contribute to dental issues.

Breed and genetics

Certain dog breeds are more prone to dental problems than others due to variations in tooth alignment, enamel structure, and saliva composition. These include small toy breed like Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas, brachycephalic breeds, Greyhounds, Dachshunds, and Poodles.


Older dogs are more likely to get dental decay as plaque and tartar build-up over time. Ageing may also lead to weakened enamel, making the teeth more vulnerable to decay.

How to know if your pet has dental issues

You might be wondering how to check if your pooch or kitty is affected by dental disease. Here are some signs to check for:

pet dental insurance

Having a pet dental insurance plan in place will help give you a soft landing when the vet bill comes. And if you haven’t figured it out yet, pet healthcare can become expensive really quick.

So now the all-important question, if you were to get pet dental insurance, what does it cover?

What exactly does pet dental insurance cover?

There are many different kinds of pet insurance policies available. Different policies are there to give you benefit options – to give you the flexibility to be able to choose what works for your pet’s needs and your budget. 

What’s important here is that it’s usually the more costly policies that will include pet dental insurance. The more comprehensive an insurance policy’s coverage is, the higher the likely pricing per month or year.

However, you might find there are optional add-ons for lower-rung policies that will allow you to choose pet dental insurance as an extra. This will be a conversation between you and your insurance provider. We can, however, speak about what we cover.

What we cover

PD Insurance’s Deluxe dog insurance and cat insurance includes cover (up to the defined benefit limit) for:

  • Abscesses,
  • Gingivitis, and
  • Tooth removal where medically required for:

– Cavities
– Tooth fracture
– Dental disease as a result of infection
– Retained deciduous teeth

All these things have one thing in common in that they’re not cosmetic.

Hands of a veterinarian checking the health of a dog's teeth in an exam room

Keep those pearlies clean

Pet dental insurance usually won’t cover cosmetic procedures or routine checks and cleaning. That’s why it’s a good idea to learn about teeth cleaning to try to prevent having to pay for these expenses out of pocket. If you want to give your pet a proper tooth cleaning regime, read our tips for looking after cat teeth and all about dog teeth cleaning.

Like we mentioned before, there are always plenty of options on the table for you to choose the policy that works best for you. The best thing you can do is find and read your insurance policy wording. This document outlines exactly what’s covered and not covered by the insurance policy so you don’t get a surprise down the road. 

And on the topic of sparkly whites, read how dog braces can benefit dog dental health.

Insurance to put a smile on their dial

PD Insurance loves cats and dogs of all ages just as much as you do! We offer every new customer one or more months of pet insurance cover for free. Plus, there are no lock-in contracts for our award-winning monthly plans.

It’s also important for you to know that the younger they are when you start the cover the less likely they’ll have any pre-existing conditions – which means you’ll enjoy broader coverage. That’s a win-win too. Why not take two minutes now for a quick quote?

Share on :