My 13-year-old cat Beamer needs a tooth pulled.

He’s had bad teeth for a long time. 🙁

This would not surprise you if you only knew the things this cat has eaten—avocados, a whole corn cob, an entire frozen steak

One of Beamer’s top canines is brown and the gum around it is swollen and bright red.

The tooth will most likely be pulled.

I never imagined I would spend this kind of money on a cat’s vet bills – a tooth cleaning and “polishing,” x-rays and an extraction. I normally don’t even bring my cats to the vet unless there’s a problem. It’s just that … they’re cats, and I truly don’t spend much money on them at all, as much as I love them.

Times have changed.

Beamer appears happy and healthy, but if we get his teeth cleaned (and at least one pulled), I expect he’ll continue to live happily for many more years.

My cat needs a tooth pulled

When I brought Beamer in for his wellness exam last week, the vet asked me, “How’s his appetite?”

HA!

How’s his appetite? This cat eats everything in sight!

In fact, he stole a piece of bacon off the counter that very day and ate the whole thing.

Oh Beamer …

How to afford a dog or cat’s dental work

One of the reasons more of us don’t do regular teeth cleanings for our pets is because, well, it’s expensive.

The quote I was given for my cat’s dental work starts at $817. This is for bloodwork, a dental cleaning under anesthesia, x-rays, and a surgical tooth extraction.

I’m going to assume this quote is higher than average. Welcome to living on the beach where everything is more expensive.

I’m lucky I’m able to “afford” my cat’s vet bills mostly by using Care Credit (a health credit card). But I’m aware this is not an option for everyone, depending on what kind of credit you have.

Here are a few tips for saving money on your pet’s dental work:

  • Ask for a discount. It doesn’t hurt. Ask for 10 or 15 percent off.
  • Get a quote from a second or third vet.
  • Ask how urgent the dental work is. Could it wait six months? What are the consequences? Ask if the vet thinks your pet is in pain.
  • Discuss the estimate in details. Perhaps just pulling a tooth is what’s really needed and you could decline the cleaning. Perhaps X-rays are not truly needed. Perhaps bloodwork is not needed if it was recently done for another reason, etc.
  • Ask about anesthesia-free teeth cleaning (probably not for most cats, but an option for a lot of dogs)

And to be honest, had I done more to care for Beamer’s teeth over the last decade—like brushed his teeth regularly and taken him in for dental cleanings—he may not be in this position today of needing a tooth pulled.

In some ways, taking your pet in for regular dental cleanings—even every couple of years—could save you money in the long run.

But the reality is I don’t brush my cats’ teeth and I don’t take them in for dental cleanings … ever. This will be the first.

I’m going to do a much better job with dental care for our new puppy. As for my three senior pets, well … I guess we’re doing what we can.

Have any of you taken a dog or cat in for a dental cleaning recently?

How did it go?

See my post:

But I can’t afford a dental cleaning for my dog!

Also:

Alternatives to brushing a dog’s teeth

Why I don’t vaccinate my indoor cats

My cat needs a tooth pulled

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