Say Cheese! Poor pet Dental Hygiene Leaving Pet Owners at Risk of Costly Vet Bills

New claims data from Co-op Insurance shows untreated pet dental diseases can set owners back as much as £962* in vet bills

  • Over two fifths (42%) of dog and cat owners identified dental issues within the Top 10 reasons for taking their pet to the vet and a fifth (19%) put off vet visits during rising cost of living
  • Popular dog breeds such as Cocker Spaniels and Labradors top the list for dental claims

With new claims data from Co-op Insurance revealing some pet dental issues cost owners upwards of £962* in vet bills if left untreated, Co-op is encouraging all dog and cat owners to look after their furry friend’s pearly whites, as well as their own.

New research from Co-op Insurance shows over two fifths (42%) of dog and cat owners identified ‘dental issues’ in the top 10 reasons they would take their pet to the vet.

And with the potential of some vet visits proving very costly, it’s no surprise that the same research also found that almost a fifth (19%) of owners admitted to having put off vet visits on one or more occasion due to the rising cost of living.

As a nation of animal lovers, we want nothing but the best for our furry friends, and almost a third (29%) of dog and cat owners say they would feel guilty if they couldn’t take their pet to the vet.

However, that being said, our pet’s dental hygiene can often be a secondary thought, with the process of trying to clean your dog or cat’s teeth often proving to be quite an unmanageable job for many, whilst many pets can find the process quite distressing.

As a result, poor dental hygiene can lead to bigger issues, with data from Co-op Insurance identifying dental disease, gingivitis, and abscesses as the most common oral issues claimed for by their pet insurance customers. And it is in fact the latter – dental abscesses – that have seen some vet bill claims as high as £962*, highlighting just how costly pet dental hygiene issues can be.

What’s more, the same data from Co-op Insurance shows it’s some of the UK’s more popular dog breeds – such as Cocker Spaniels and Labradors – topping the list for dental claims.

To avoid costly trips to the vets, Co-op Insurance recommend the following dental advice:

  • Incorporate dental chews into your dog’s daily routine – keep your dog entertained whilst supporting healthy teeth and gums
  • When it comes to brushing your dog’s teeth, different breeds have different alignments, so it’s worth checking with your vet to work out the best way
  • Also speak to your vet about the best type of toothbrush to use with your dog – some fit over your finger, while others have different sized brushes
  • Don’t forget – human toothpaste is not suitable for dogs! If you’re unsure, again speak to your vet

Andrew Nevitt, Head of Co-op Pet Insurance, said: “We know owning a pet brings great joy to many, however we shouldn’t underestimate the responsibility it also takes to care for them.

“As with people, dogs and cats come with their own specific health requirements and we know that if these aren’t properly looked after, it can lead to complications further down the line as well as costly vet bills.

“Insurance can provide a safety net for pet owners, however it’s important to properly understand your policy and be aware of what it does and does not cover. As our research has shown, dental issues are a key reason why pet owners would visit the vet, and whilst comprehensive dental cover for accidents and illness is included as standard in all Co-op pet insurance policies, this might not be the case for all providers – always make sure to check the details of your policy.”

Pet insurance can give owners a sense security should they be faced with an unavoidable and costly vet bill. With Co-op pet insurance, dental cover is included as standard – subject to an annual health assessment and necessary actions carried out – and customers can choose from two types of policy – lifetime and time limited – either of which can be paid upfront, or monthly at no additional cost. For more information visit Co-op Insurance | Car, Home, Travel, Pet and Life Insurance from Co-op (

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