Orthodontic braces are a successful option for many human dental conditions that require the movement of teeth.
However, for canines, it is also an option to aid anything from overbite correction to even some cancer treatments with the results being overall very successful.
As with any canine treatments that require regular vet visits, the cost of the treatment is always at the forefront of any owner’s mind.
How much will the treatment itself cost and how much will all of the vet visits be? Hopefully, we will be able to break down the cost of canine braces allowing you to prepare a sensible budget for treatment.
Why do Dogs Need Braces?
Braces for dogs can be used to treat a large variety of dental problems. Many of the ideas for treatments in dogs were actually borrowed from human dental procedures and have been proven very effective in most circumstances.
One condition where a dog could need braces is called “linguoversion”.
This is where the teeth are pushed back towards the dog’s tongue which can cause painful spots on the roof of the dog’s mouth or even very serious recurring sinus infections.
Dog braces are also used to treat overbites which is where the upper jaw comes too far forward over the lower jaw or teeth that stick outwards instead of downwards in the dog’s mouth.
Vets are also able to treat any overcrowding of teeth.
In some cancer treatments where partial jaw removal is required, vets may also choose to pursue canine braces which can help to minimize any tooth drift allowing the dog to enjoy a relatively normal life after treatment.
Vets will not use dog braces for just cosmetic reasons. They must be sure that your dog’s dental issues are causing them discomfort or interfering with the quality of their life before braces will be considered.
Where possible vets will try to use dog braces on a younger animal as the teeth move more easily and the results are more effective. Of course, this is not always possible and there will always be cases where older dogs also require treatment.
What do Vets Consider Before Treatment?
Due to the regular anesthesia required in canine orthodontics, a vet would have to make sure your dog could cope with this kind of treatment.
A physical examination would need to occur before the braces would be placed on your dog’s teeth and you would potentially need to try or at least discuss other treatment options before settling on canine braces.
What are Alternative Treatments to Braces?
Depending on the dental problems you are facing with your dog, your dog’s age and the physical condition of your dog, you may be faced with multiple alternative options.
In some cases, vets may be able to extract or even file down any problem teeth. This is often a painful and complicated surgery with a reasonably long recovering time. It can also need further treatment as your dog ages since its teeth will move a little with age.
If your dog is still a puppy and is reasonably patient to be handled, your dog may be a candidate for ‘rubber ball therapy’. This is where a vet will guide you in daily exercises that require a lacrosse-type ball to be placed in your dog’s mouth whilst you manipulate your dog’s jaw in specific ways.
This, of course, takes a seriously patient dog and a very dedicated owner but sometimes the results can avoid dog braces, therefore, saving a lot of money.
What is the Cost of Dog Braces?
The cost of dog braces will vary tremendously based on how frequently they will need adjusting to how severe the corrections need to be.
For a more simple adjustment, you could be looking at around $1,500 for just the orthodontic procedures. If you are looking at a more complicated treatment this cost could be around $4,500 or even more.
However, these costs are just for the braces. Treating a dog with canine braces can require many check-ups which will also cost the amount of a regular vet visit. If there are complications you may need to pay for extra adjustments which would mean more anesthesia and more time spent with vets.
There is also the potential to need special food whilst your dog’s jaw is sore from treatment or even repairs on the braces if they break.
You also need to consider the aftercare costs. You will need to flush out the areas around the braces and carefully brush your dog’s teeth.
This means you will need to purchase a toothbrush and paste suitable for use with canine orthodontics and the antiseptic solution to flush out your dog’s mouth.
These will seem like smaller costs but they can quickly add up over time.
But do not be put off by the cost of dog braces. For some dogs, this is a very valid treatment option and can end up being more affordable than regular tooth extractions.
The cost is a large downside of dog braces but the results are often much better than other treatment options.
Unlike humans, dogs will not need to use a retainer after having the braces removed and often go on to need no further dental treatment whereas other options usually require additional treatments over time.
Some insurance companies will also cover dog braces depending on which package you have and the dental condition of your dog prior to taking out your policy.
If you are considering dog braces, it is a good idea to speak to somebody at your insurance company to see if your dog is fully or partially covered to receive dog braces.
Your vet may also be able to offer a payment plan for this kind of treatment.
Usually, vets will be able to come up with a way to pay for more expensive treatments in smaller chunks spread out over time which can make dog braces a little more affordable. If your vet has not mentioned this option, don’t be afraid to bring it up on your next visit!