What to Do When You Can’t Afford Veterinary Care
Veterinary hospitals and those in the veterinary profession do our best to provide high quality services at an affordable cost. As veterinary medicine advances, it can get expensive, especially for pet emergencies and specialty care. This is a reality and one we at OVRS do not take lightly.
Veterinary care for our four-legged family members is a priority for pet owners, but there are times when the cost of treatment or surgery is not an option due to financial constraints. It is our hope to help bridge the gap with 10 ways that some pet owners have been able to fund their pet’s medical care. Every pet owner should be able to get their pet the care he or she needs.
When You Can’t Afford Veterinary Care
Many Americans are juggling one too many bills already. When a pet becomes ill or is injured, some pet owners are forced to cut corners or hold off on care. We always hate to see a pet parent be forced to make that difficult decision.
The good news is that there are creative and effective ways to save money and reduce costs while providing stellar care for your fur friend. When that is not enough, here is a list of ways a cash-strapped pet owner might raise funds for larger veterinary costs.
- Choose pet insurance. This doesn’t help if the surgery or treatment is already in motion, but insurance plans for pets can cover the cost of emergencies or other major medical treatments. It is important to really research each company in advance, though, as not all providers are appropriate for you and your pet’s medical needs.
- Get a Credit Line. CareCredit is an online credit provider that finances health and beauty expenses including veterinary medical expenses and pet emergencies. Scratchpay also offers payment plans for pet care and has higher approvals.
- Ask for payment options. Some veterinarians, especially independent or small hospitals who you have a long standing relationship with, will consider payments, depending on the procedure. In most cases, it’s hard for clinics to accommodate this, but it never hurts to ask. Many clinics do have annual wellness plans, which are affordable and allow you to pay monthly for basic care needs, like vaccinations and checkups.
- Consider crowdfunding. With the popularity of social media and sites like Go Fund Me, many people are electing to raise funds to help with veterinary bills, upcoming surgeries, and other necessary procedures. Many friends and family are quick to come to the aid of a loved one, and some will be willing to help your pet. A newer crowdfunding site launched exclusively for helping pet-parents afford their vet bills and avoid economic euthanasia. CoFund My Pet funds can ONLY be spent at veterinary clinics anywhere in the U.S., preventing fraud! Donors can feel more confident to help because of the limitations on how the money can be used.
- Host a group yard sale. Community yard sales are good avenues to get rid of clutter and raise funds. Ask neighbors for clothing, furniture, and other items to sell with proceeds going to your pet’s veterinary needs.
- Use free or low cost clinics. This may not always be the ideal, but there are several low cost clinics that will perform spay/neuter surgeries, as well as provide basic care at a reduced fee, such as your local humane society.
- Ask friends or family. Sometimes it is important to reach out to friends, family, members of your church, or other supportive individuals for financial assistance. It’s tough to ask, but most people are willing to help when it comes to helping your pet companion.
- Start a pet savings account. If you have the opportunity, set aside a little each month exclusively for a pet emergency. Given the fact that almost every pet experiences an emergency in their lifetime, saving for a rainy day can be the difference between not being able to get your pet the help they need and being able to get them care.
- Look to nonprofits. There are some wonderful nonprofits and foundations you can source online that will provide emergency assistance for pets with critical needs. Some focus nationwide while others focus in a particular state. A few of these are the Face Foundation, Angels for Animals, Help a Pet, and Pet Fund. Many more are listed online.
- TEAR Grants. Here at OVRS, our non-profit The Emergency Animal Relief Foundation (TEAR) raises funds throughout the year. One of our missions is to assist clients and cases where help is needed to pay for emergency care and cancer care at OVRS.
The unfortunate reality is that, even with the best of care, a veterinary emergency or unexpected critical need will arise with a pet. By using creativity and enlisting the help of compassionate individuals, it can work out. Even in cases of ongoing treatment, like pet cancer, we’ve seen and read about ways that fundraising-for-a-good-cause methods have worked.
If you ever have questions about affording veterinary care for your pet, we are here to help do our best to answer them.