Whole Pet With Wellness: Helping to solve the pet dentistry challenge

The fast take:

  • Thanks to educational efforts, an increasing number of pet-owners are aware that dogs and cats need regular dental care
  • The “solution,” for many pet-owners, is non-anesthetic dental cleanings, despite the advice of much of the veterinary community
  • Nationwide’s new Whole Pet With Wellness can address one of the barriers to getting pets the dental care they need — finances

Every year during February, those of us in the  veterinary community spend a lot of time talking about dental health for pets. National Pet Dental Health Month has been successful by most measures in making pet-owners aware of the health problems involved in neglecting a pet’s teeth and gums. That’s to the good.

IMG_8617 (1)But while we’ve moved the needle on understanding the importance of caring for a pet’s mouth, the response many pet-owners take in doing so has much of the veterinary community grinding its teeth in frustration. That’s because despite the best efforts of our veterinary associations, schools and colleges — not to mention individual practitioners — for many pet-owners so-called “non-anesthetic dentistry” is seen as an equivalent procedure to good veterinary care, and to many, a preferable one.

As a profession, it’s difficult to imagine what more we can do on the education front to help pet-owners understand that modern anesthesia is safe even for older pets, especially when weighed against the suffering of untreated dental disease.  We need to continue to educate, as well, on the differences between a true veterinary dentistry and a cosmetic procedure.

For my part, though, I believe our new Whole Pet With Wellness can help to turn the tide and get pets the dental care they need. That’s because with our simple 90 percent coverage after a low annual deductible, the financial considerations that make the cosmetic procedure seem more appealing are eliminated.  This makes me happy, to think of the good this new plan can do.

This year, I hope that you will discuss Whole Pet With Wellness when you are discussing the importance of veterinary dental care with your clients. When the cost of a proper treatment protocol is taken out of the discussion, you can then then focus on educating pet-owners about anesthesia as well as the importance to a pet’s health, comfort and longevity that good veterinary dental care provides.

This is a true example of how pet health insurance — and Nationwide’s plans in particular — are evolving to meet the challenges of providing pets with the best of care.