Let’s face it, bringing your dog to a veterinarian is a hit to the wallet. Dog tooth extraction costs can range anywhere from $400 and up. Waaaaaay up. Why do we pay that kind of money? Because we love our dogs. Unfortunately, a lot of us end up going into debt to pay veterinarian bills.
In this post, I’m going to talk about the various costs of dog tooth extraction and the considerations that go into that final bill. By the time you’re finished reading this post, you’ll have some solid tips on how to best afford dog tooth extraction costs.
Preparing for Dog Tooth Extraction Costs
This one is easy to say, but hard to do. Ideally, you’ll want to budget ahead of time for the sudden veterinarian bills that are going to come up. Don’t roll your eyes! I get it. If you’re anything like me, your best efforts of saving money go down the tubes the minutes an appliance breaks, or your college kid needs money.
If you’re one of the smart ones, you can really avoid taking a hit to the credit card by having some money tucked aside. Plus, if you can setup a bank account that pays a high interest, you’ll end up making a little money on top of what you’ve already saved.
TIP! Check out what these UC Davis veterinarians can do for you.
1. Banking on Unexpected Dog Health Care Costs
Most banks offer an average of 0.19% interest, which isn’t a whole lot at the end of the day. Rather than scour the Internet for every bank rate, I found this current article at www.cnbc.com that I think you’ll find helpful. In a nutshell, they’re suggesting that certain smaller online banks might prove to be your best option. For example, Dollar Savings Direct offer a higher interest rate. The downside is that you need $1000 minimum deposit.
2. Pet Insurance Will Help Pay a Portion of Your Dog’s Dental Care
Pet insurance companies are a great option if you sign on BEFORE your dog gets sick or needs a dental procedure. Like any other medical insurance company, they’re not going to sign you up if there’s already a diagnosis on your file. It’s the same with pet insurance companies. The best time to sign up for pet insurance is when you have a puppy.
I realize that if you’re reading this right now, and you don’t already have pet insurance, it’s probably not the best option for you. It’s always worth mentioning for other pets you may have!
3. One Veterinarian Practice is Not Like the Other!
If you’re one of the lucky ones and have a long-time trusted veterinarian, there’s a good chance he/she is going to cut you some slack on the cost of dog tooth extraction costs. Don’t be afraid to ask what the options are and get a break-down of the veterinarian’s typical costs.
Some clinics may charge anywhere from $250 and up BEFORE the extraction. Here’s a sample breakdown of veterinarian costs. Keep in mind that prices vary from place to place.
That’s a lot of money, and from what I understand…the price for dog tooth extraction costs can soar much higher.
4. Voice Your Concerns BEFORE the Dental Procedure!
If you’re worried that you might not be able to afford the bill, talk to the veterinarian before the procedure. In some cases, the veterinarian might tell you to wait until you can afford it. That’s not the best scenario. If that happened to me, I would start shopping around.
I recently spoke to a veterinarian technician who told me that much bigger problems are sometimes found once the procedure has already begun. The reason? Until the dog has been anesthetized and the teeth professionally cleaned, they often discover that more extractions are required than originally thought.
Be Honest About Your Budget
If the veterinarian knows what your dental budget is, the procedure will be stopped and re-booked for a later date, when you have the money. Ideally, you should either agree to the cost up front or arrange a payment plan of some sort. Otherwise, you end up bringing your dog home with a sore mouth and a diet of mush until you can get back into the vet.
5. Care Credit for Dog Dental Care
Although not every clinic offer this, Care Credit is a great option for people who cannot afford the upfront costs of teeth extractions. There’s a minimum charge you must have, but that’s not going to be a problem for you. Once you’ve signed up, you will have a 6 month no interest financing option that you’re going to want to take. The people I’ve talked to rave about the plan. It gives you plenty of time to pay it back long before you incur the high interest rate of 26.99%
6. Wellness Plans are Great if You Can Get ‘Em
Not all veterinarian clinics offer a Wellness Plan but those who do have great things to offer. Banfield Pet Hospital offers an amazing plan with three tiers of coverage to choose from. There’s the Essential Wellness plan, which offers 2 comprehensive physical exams per year, vaccinations, diagnostic tests, 2 fecal exams per year, and deworming. To get into the meaty stuff, you’re going to want to chose the Active Prevention plan (which offers dental cleaning) or Special Care, which includes the kind of tests you might want for a senior dog, like tests for glaucoma and heart issues.
Checkout this link to get an idea of pricing options and where you can find a Banfield Pet Hospital near you.
7. The Fine Art of Bargaining
I know some people who religiously brush their dogs’ teeth every day. I’m not one of those people. There, I said it. Yes, I have gotten in there with a soft toothbrush and a glob of doggy toothpaste (Note: You probably already know this, but don’t use regular people toothpaste for dogs), but for the most part, I don’t get all up in their mouths that much. Probably should. My two dogs are getting older and I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before one of them needs something major…like a root canal. If it comes to that, I have a few tips on knowing where you can bargain on price.
Some clinics will not perform a dental procedure without an IV catheter in place. Others will. If you’re not sure what your veterinarian’s policy is, go ahead and ask. By leaving the catheter out you could save about $100!
Pre-Operative Blood Work
Some veterinarians will do the dental work required without preliminary blood work, provided the dog is in good overall health. If there’s any suspicion that underlying conditions might adversely affect the use of anesthesia in your dog, the veterinarian might insist on the blood work. Otherwise, if you can have the doctor eliminate it from the procedure, you’ll be saving anywhere from $75 to $350!
Here’s the thing with x-rays…they’re great if the veterinarian is able to spot any problems before the procedure. If that happens, you have the benefit of getting a realistic estimate for the surgery. On the other hand, not all x-rays get to the root of the problem (pun intended). In that case, you pay for the x-rays PLUS you’re hit with a higher bill.
You might want to ask about this one. If you can get away without having the x-rays done, you’ll be saving somewhere around $150.
8. One of These Teeth is Not Like the Other
Teeth all serve the same purpose, but they’re certainly not all priced the same. If your dog needs to have a molar removed, you’re looking at roughly $135 per tooth. Smaller (easier) teeth might cost you around $75. Obviously you can’t determine the tooth that needs to come out, but it is worth keeping in mind when you’re setting your budget.
9. Luxury Dental Extractions vs a No-Frills Practice
I’m the kind of person who tends to think that more expensive equals “better”. When it comes to dental practices, however, keep in mind that all veterinarians are obligated to provide the best possible care for your dog. A licensed veterinarian won’t take any chances with your dog. What I’m saying is, a less expensive clinic doesn’t mean your dog’s teeth will be extracted in a van behind Walmart. You might not get the feel-good warm-and-fuzzies from a no-frills clinic, but your dog will get good health care.
That said, some people prefer a more upscale practice. I totally get that. In that case, however, be prepared to spend more money up front. There’s no bargaining here. Your dog will get the full work-up before and after the dental extraction. And that costs $$$
You should have a pretty solid idea of how to save on dog tooth extraction costs now. If you suspect your dog is having problems with his teeth, it’s always better to face it right away than wait until the problem gets worse. Rotting teeth can turn into abscesses (bacterial infections). They can wear down bone in the jaw, create more pain than your dog needs, and will end up costing you even more in the long-term.
I hope you can use some of the tips I’ve left you. Give your dog a big kiss for me, and make sure to come back for more helpful posts like this!
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