“How much does a cat teeth cleaning cost?”
Cleaning your cat’s teeth is an important part of their overall health, but many pet parents are understandably wary of costly vet visits. So, how much will this procedure run you?
Estimate for Cat Teeth Cleaning: $250-$300
Many pet parents balk at the price tag of teeth cleaning for their pets, but the reason for the price tag is that cleaning a cat or dogs teeth is not quite the same as cleaning a human’s teeth.
For starters, a cat simply does not understand what’s going on in this procedure the way that a human does. For their own safety, the animal needs to be put under anesthesia for the veterinarian to safely clean their teeth.
This obviously adds to the cost since more resources, and typically an assistant, are needed to complete the procedure. The goods news is that this really only needs to happen about once per year, so it’s easy for you to plan ahead for this expense.
While paying $250 to get your cat’s teeth cleaned can seem expensive, it’s much cheaper than the cost you’d pay for an extraction if you fail to take care of your cat’s teeth. The fee for this procedure will likely run you $800 or more, and this expense likely won’t be planned.
How can you save money on teeth cleaning?
If you’re struggling to afford your cat’s teeth cleaning appointments, then there are a few things you can try. Here are some methods you can use to pay less at the vet.
Get a pet insurance policy
The first thing you can do is get a pet insurance policy. Many of these policies not only pay for emergency procedures, like a tooth extraction, but some of them will also pay for routine procedures like micro-chipping, vaccinations, and, of course, dental cleanings!
Embrace offers a plan like this. In addition to their accident and illness plan, you can also get their wellness plan which will cover dental cleanings. While this will be an added cost, the plan covers a lot of stuff, and it will likely pay for itself, even if you don’t have any emergency or illness claims.
How much does it cost to get dental coverage for a cat?
This will depend upon your individual cat, but for a 3 year old, mixed breed cat, this is the quoted price. However, Wellness care works a little differently than the standard pet insurance.
When you sign-up for Wellness care, you choose a “rewards amount”. This means that your insurance plan will reimburse you up to that amount every year for routine wellness care like dental cleanings, micro-chipping, etc.
However, unlike other pet insurance types, wellness is available immediately when you sign-up! That means that you can sign up for a plan, go that day to the vet, and use the benefit. That means getting an automatic discount at the vet, which is a pretty good deal.
Plus, if your cat ever needs an emergency extraction, your accident and illness plan will cover you, saving you a hefty chunk of change that you may not have at the time.
Go to a vet in a different zip code
Believe it or not, going to the next town over could drastically lower your vet bills. If you don’t mind driving a bit, you could end up saving hundreds of dollars!
This is because the cost of vet care is heavily dependent upon the cost of living in an area. If it costs your vet more in rent, utilities, and other expenses, they’ll need to charge more for their services.
If you typically visit a vet in an upscale area, it may be worth your time to shop around in some other locations nearby for a better price.
Visit a veterinary college
Do you have a veterinary college near you? In many cases, you can get procedures for a discounted price if you take your pet in for training sessions.
Don’t worry. These procedures will, of course, be overseen by an experienced veterinarian who is the instructor and will help the students to get hands on experience.
To find programs like this, you can simply google “veterinary colleges” in your area, and then contact them to ask what they charge for a cleaning.
Take advantage of humane society programs
Did you know that the humane society does a lot more than just adopt out dogs and cats? They also often have community clinics which are available at reduced rates.
In some cases, you may have to be under a certain income level to use this one, but their brackets are typically pretty reasonable, so it’s worth checking it out.
If you qualify for WIC, Medicaid, general assistance, or disability, then you will likely be able to get help with your vet bills using these programs.
You’ll need to call up your local humane society to see what they offer, but most of them offer low cost spay and neuter, vaccinations, emergency care, and dental cleanings!
How to care for your cat’s teeth at home
Even if you do get your cat’s teeth cleaned once per year at the vet, this is not enough. After all, what do you think your teeth would look like if you only brushed them once a year!
It’s estimated that 70% of cats shown signs of dental disease by age 3(( https://now.tufts.edu/articles/dental-disease-cats-dogs )). The good news is that much of this is entirely preventable with a good at home oral care routine!
Taking care of your cats teeth will help them to maintain a higher quality of life in their old age, and it will save you from many costly veterinary bills down the line.
In order to care for your cat’s teeth at home, you’ll need to make sure to inspect their mouth regularly. This means checking their teeth for excessive plaque or tartar, or swollen gums, which is often a sign of gingivitis in cats(( https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/feline-dental-disease )).
If you’re serious about maintaining your cat’s oral health though, you need to brush their teeth.
Benefits of brushing your cat’s teeth
- Prevents dental disease
- Prevents gum disease
- Prevents tooth loss and costly extractions
- Your cat’s breath will be better
- Improves your cat’s overall health
While your cat won’t be thrilled with the experience initially, the benefits are worth the few minutes per day that you’ll spend performing this chore. Here’s how to brush your cat’s teeth step-by-step.
How to brush your cat’s teeth
While it’s best to brush your cat’s teeth everyday, it shouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience. It’ll only take you a few minutes, and once your cat gets used to the idea, it should be smooth sailing.
Step 1: Pick Up A Cat Toothbrush and Toothpaste
The first step is, of course, to pick up a cat toothbrush and toothpaste. A cat toothbrush will be smaller than a human brush, making it easier to get it into their mouths.
However, cat toothpaste is non-negotiable! Using human toothpaste on your cat can result in making your cat very ill, or even killing them. So, Just don’t do it! Plus, cat toothpaste comes in flavors like poultry, which are more attractive to cats anyway.
Step 2: Get Your Cat Used To The Toothpaste
If you’ve never brushed your cat’s teeth before, then you shouldn’t just jump into things. It’s important to take things slowly and to make sure that your cat is comfortable with the experience.
Otherwise, they’ll take off and hide every time they see you pick up the brush, and it will make the experience that much more terrible for everyone.
So, start slow by introducing them to the flavor of the toothpaste. Put a bit of it on your finger and try to get them to lick it off, or if that goes well, try to rub a bit of it on their teeth and gums so that they get used to you having your fingers in their mouth.
Step 3: Introduce Them To The Brush
If everything went well with the first step, then it’s time to introduce your cat to the brush. Try putting a bit of cat toothpaste on the toothbrush and try to get them to lick it off.
You can also try to touch their face, teeth, or gums with the brush to see how they react. If your cat allows you to do this, make sure to reward them with a treat to make the experience more pleasant, and hopefully elicit a positive response the next time it happens.
Step 4: Start Brushing Their Teeth
If you feel like your cat has been pretty accepting of you having your hands around their face and in their mouth, you can move on to the brushing portion of the activity.
For those who have cats that aren’t quite so willing, you’ll need to be patient. It may take a couple of weeks before your cat is totally comfortable with this activity, and different cats adjust to things at different speeds.
Begin by brushing your cat’s teeth and gums in a circular motion. You should also try to get under the lips as well, because food can sometimes get stuck up there.
Always remember to be gentle when brushing! You don’t need to be super vigorous, and you don’t want to hurt your cat. This is particularly important for older cats who may already have dental pain.
If your cat associates this first experience with pain, they’ll never let you do it again.
Step 5: Establish A Routine
It’s a good idea to establish a routine for your cat’s dental hygiene plan. Brushing your cat’s teeth once per day is best, and if you can do it at the same time every day, that will be even better, as cats respond well to routines.
You should also use rewards to motivate your cat to participate in the activity. They may even come to enjoy this activity when they find out that there is a treat in it for them if they behave themselves until the end!
While it may take a while for you and your cat to get on the same page about their dental health, this activity is more than worth it. The benefits to your cat are well worth the effort, and they will live a longer and healthier life because of it.