They’re cute, they’re cuddly, but when it comes to veterinary care, having a pet can get expensive. Between routine vet costs and emergency care, bills can really add up.
If you’re having trouble affording veterinary care, there are options out there. We’ve rounded up eight ways to get help with vet bills so you can focus more on your four-legged companions and less on how you’re going to pay to keep them healthy.
1. Inquire about paying in monthly installments
If you’ve established a good relationship with your vet and are in good financial standing with them, ask about paying down your bill in monthly installments. You may be surprised at their willingness to work with you.
2. Contact veterinary schools
Veterinary schools are a great, often untapped resource for affordable pet care. Most offer low-cost services, and all procedures are supervised by a licensed veterinarian. It also gives vets-in-training an opportunity to hone their skills before they launch their careers, so you’ll be doing some good as well.
3. Reach out to rescue organizations
If spaying, neutering and/or vaccinations are on your list of pet care needs, many local animal welfare organizations, such as the Humane Society and ASPCA, offer low-cost programs to spay, neuter and/or vaccinate dogs and cats. Sometimes they’re even free. A quick online search should yield organizations near you that will be happy to help.
4. Find a small-town vet
The cost of veterinary care can be higher in large metropolitan areas. If you live in or near a large city, investigate animal clinics in smaller towns. Affordable pet care may be just a few miles away. And you might wind up finding a new vet you and your pet really love.
5. Research charitable organizations
When paying veterinary bills is totally out of reach, a charitable organization may be able to help. The Humane Society of the United States offers a convenient list of national and state-based organizations that provide financial aid to pet owners in need. Some also offer assistance with pet food and other supplies.
6. Start a fundraiser
If your pet recently received emergency vet care, or has been diagnosed with a serious illness that requires expensive treatment, you may be left at a dead end — and likely in a panic. In these cases, consider reaching out to friends and family through an online fundraiser. Also known as crowdfunding, those close to you may be happy to not only donate but also to share your fundraiser on social media.
7. Check your pet insurance policy
If you’ve invested in a good pet insurance plan, you may be surprised what it covers. While preexisting conditions, routine care and office fees typically aren’t covered, many things are, including emergency vet care. So call your insurance provider as soon as possible, and see how they can help.
8. Explore personal loans
If none of these ideas will work, a personal loan may be a viable option, especially if you’re facing an emergency or need to consolidate vet bills that have already added up.
There’s nothing like the love of a pet
And you’d likely do – or pay – anything to keep them well for as long as possible. If you’re facing financial hardship because of vet bills, or are not able to give your pet the veterinary care it needs, a few phone calls, some internet research and some ingenuity may be all you need to keep your fluffy buddy healthy and expensive bills at bay.