Costs and Benefits of Dental Services and Cleanings for Pets
Pets, such as cats and dogs, need dental care like human beings. When problems, such as periodontal disease, appear, they could experience “pain, tooth loss and bone loss. In addition, long-standing infected teeth and gums are known to lead to stress on vital organs and can definitely shorten life” (“Pet Dental Care” 2017; Richter 2018). Humans should not only take care of their pets’ oral health by brushing their teeth, but also take them to the clinics, where they can be treated by veterinarians, board-certified veterinary dentists, or, depending on “state or provincial regulation,” veterinary technicians with veterinarian’s supervision (“Pet Dental Care” 2017). These vets are able to detect for pets’ dental problems since “[most] pets do not exhibit clinical signs of dental pain and symptoms may be difficult to interpret unless the pet is drooling excessively, has oral bleeding, dropping food, or having difficulty eating. When owners refuse diagnostic tools, diseases cannot always be managed and may lead to decreased eating, behavioral issues, halitosis, loss of teeth, and systemic disease, including toxemia and death” (Viger 2018). While dental care for pets is important, some owners may find it expensive.
Despite its high costs for pet owners, it improves the pet’s oral health in the long run. According to Debra Viger, “past director of outreach for Little City Foundation,” “Veterinary dental fees include blood work, general anesthesia, medications, IV fluids, full-mouth radiographs, prophylaxis, fluoride treatment, anesthesia monitoring, postoperative pain medications and antibiotics, and even a nail trim” (2018). Furthermore, although radiographs may be optional depending on the clinic, they “uncover clinically significant findings in what would appear to be superficially normal looking teeth” and costs about “10-20% of the total cost of the procedure…” (Heath 2016). Regarding dental cleanings for pets, their prices “can vary widely and fluctuate largely depending on location, age of pet, size of pet, use of anesthesia, number of teeth extractions, cost of dental exam and x-rays” (Forsyth 2018). For instance, for people who own dogs, their cleanings may cost around $300 to $400 along with additional charges, such as door fees, additives, and more (McKay). Cat owners may have to pay around $400 to $800 for their cat’s cleaning because the cost “will depend on whether the cat will have to be put under an anesthetic to remain calm, if they are undergoing any testing or another procedure while there, etc.” (McKay). It may even cost more depending on how long the “cat’s teeth have not been cleaned,” the extent of discoloration in the teeth, the amount of damage to the teeth, etc. (McKay).
Despite these expenses, owners should take care of their pets’ dental health at home as well as bring them to the veterinarian in order to maintain their oral health and prevent problems further developing in their pets’ teeth (“Pet Dental Care”). Preventative care could also prevent worse conditions that may require more expensive treatments, helping owners save money (Ingram 2017). As pet owners, they are responsible for their pets’ oral health.