Two simple steps to help improve dental compliance at your veterinary practice

25 July 2023 5 min read


According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition in cats and dogs.¹

Although periodontal disease is preventable, a recent survey of dog parents published in BMC Veterinary Research found that canine dental care is not top of mind as fewer than 4% brushed their dogs’ teeth daily.²

Dental disease is also the number one health problem among cats.³ Up to 80% of adult cats experience gum disease, with tooth resorption affecting as many as 60% of cats.4 5

These statistics help explain why most pets typically show evidence of early periodontal disease by age three years. Left untreated, dental disease in pets will worsen with age without effective preventive measures.

The Covetrus® Care Plans solution offers the flexibility to improve oral care in pets by:

  1. Offering stand-alone dental plans
  2. Adding dental cleanings and other optional services to an existing veterinary care plan

By providing both options, your practice can help ensure pets receive proper dental care, promoting good dental health year-round. You can also help grow an important source of revenue for your practice.

Stand-alone dental plans
The Care Plans platform provides the flexibility to create stand-alone dental plans to promote dental compliance. For example, if you recommend dental care for a pet patient, but your client declines the treatment recommendation because it is too expensive, then a dental care plan could be beneficial. Our software enables practices to incorporate dental services into a more basic preventive or wellness plan through the addition of optional services such as extractions.

Dental plan example

  • The dental plan consists of a grade two dental procedure
  • The plan outlines what is included and to be expected (e.g., x-rays, dental cleaning, polishing, and treatment for 1-2 diseased teeth)
  • The pet patient is enrolled with a down payment, then monthly payments begin

Covetrus Care Plans separates payment and service terms. For example, your practice might collect four payments from the pet owner but render the dental services over six months, ensuring costs are covered.

Extractions as optional services in dental care plans
Extractions can be a source of anxiety and create undue tension. Your client may not have budgeted for this unexpected expense, and it is unknown whether it will be necessary until the dental procedure is already underway. This can lead to a difficult conversation with your client.

Extractions can be added as options to a dental care plan, allowing you to add the appropriate quantity of extractions at the time of the procedure.

All or part of the extraction cost can then be added to the plan with the cost prorated over the remaining payment period. The system also gives you the ability to charge to fit your preferred method, such as:

  • Increments of time
  • Type of tooth – number of roots

With the dental treatment plan, you can also add the extraction options to the current plan for extra increments of time and the number of extractions by number of roots.

The dental plan renews annually, but the additional options do not. With this smart renewal software capability, your pet patient is set for a stand-alone cleaning, but you can easily add extractions into the plan, as needed – thus avoiding an uncomfortable discussion.

With dental plans, clients may enroll with a down payment, then start making monthly payments (service terms are customizable). For example, an owner may make six monthly payments, but services can be performed anytime within a 12-month period, protecting the practice from risk.

Add veterinary dentistry as an option
Care Plans also offer the freedom to add dentistry options at any time, even for pet parents who had initially opted out. Simply go into the wellness plan and add the dental cleaning. The service cost is then spread across the remaining plan term—it’s that easy.

With the Care Plans platform, the veterinarian can add options to the current plan for a specific number of extractions or additional services. Covetrus technology then prorates the cost, making it easy for the owner to say “yes” to the right oral care for their pet.

Customizable dental plans for healthier smiles
Covetrus Care Plans enables veterinarians to design preventive care that follows their processes and protocols, while adding optional services like dental for their pet patients. Stand-alone dental plans are another option for pet owners who decline enrollment in a care plan.

With two effective care plan options to improve oral health, your practice can promote greater compliance and give your clients the means to budget for dental cleanings and extractions. By doing so, you make it easy for the pet parent to agree to the appropriate oral care for their furry friend.

As a partner, Covetrus provides a complete pet wellness solution that combines software and professional services to make managing a complete care program easy.

Covetrus Care Plans is a flexible program designed to help more pets get oral care, give pet parents choices, and empower veterinarians with robust tools and analytics to propel practice growth.

Visit to learn more about our dental care plans.


1 Pet dental care. American Veterinary Medical Association.; Accessed June 23, 2023.

2 Dental home care in dogs – a questionnaire study among Swedish dog owners, veterinarians and veterinary nurses. BMC Veterinary Research.; Accessed June 23, 2023.

3 Cats, Nutrition, and Periodontal Disease.; Accessed June 23, 2023.

4 Feline Dental Disease. Cornell College of Veterinarian Medicine.; Accessed June 23, 2023.

5 Awake Oral Exam During Physical Examination. AVDC.; Accessed June 23, 2023.