Is Paying Your Vet Bills a Problem? Here's How to Find Help

Vet costs can quickly add up. If you’re having trouble paying your vet bill, fear not. Here are suggestions for getting money if you need help paying for a vet visit.

Vet care can be hard on your budget. From your puppy’s or kitten’s first veterinary visit, which might cost you $100 to $300, to annual wellness visits, which can range from $50 (for just the physical) to $400 (for services such as blood work and urinalysis), even routine care costs can add up. Then, along the way, there may be costly surprises like dental work, emergency room visits, or a battle with a long-term illness.

A 2015 study done by the ASPCA found that 26 percent of pet owners said they could not afford medical care for their pet's health problems. What’s a pet owner to do when the costs of pet healthcare threaten to outstrip your resources?

Ask Your Vet for Options

“First, do your research,” says Sharon Albright, DVM, manager of communications and veterinary outreach for the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. As best you can, “Plan ahead, compare vet prices, establish a rainy-day fund, and explore pet insurance.”

Still, surprises happen. “Talk with your vet about payment options that might be available,” says Michael San Filippo, spokesperson for the American Veterinary Medical Association. “This could include long-term payment options, credit programs, or access to programs and services that help cover the costs of veterinary care.”

veterinarian holding small dog
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Alternative Routes to Help with Vet Bills

These options don’t work for everyone. Many pet owners have gone online to ask for aid via GoFundMe and Waggle, where they can post their pet’s story and seek donations.

Albright suggests checking out Speaking for Spot. This website shares information and links to nearly 90 different organizations that can help find funding for everything from the cost of vet visits to emergency vet services and long-term treatments for diseases. The list includes regionally based organizations; those offering grants for specific illnesses such as cancer; those requiring proof of income eligibility; groups that help pet owners who are facing domestic abuse situations; those for senior or disabled pet owners; breed-specific groups; and those offering spay/neuter resources, among others.

Organizations that Help with Vet Costs

The Pet Fund

According to their website, The Pet Fund mainly focuses “on the care category of non-basic, non-emergency care. For example, […] cancer treatment, heart disease, endocrine disorders, kidney disease, cataract surgery, and chronic conditions.”

Live Like Roo

Live Like Roo, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, can help with financial assistance for those whose pet faces a cancer diagnosis.

RedRover Relief

According to the website, RedRover Relief provides financial assistance, resources, and support to low-income individuals, survivors of domestic violence, and their pets, so families can escape together and stay together. They also have access to emergency boarding grants for those affected by COVID-19 and financial assistance for urgent care.

Pet owners want to do everything they can to help their pets live happy and healthy lives. There are resources available to help pay for veterinary care so every pet can receive the medical attention they need. Learning about all the available options and accessing these resources can help ensure a better, healthier life for your pet.

Bow Wow Buddies Foundation

The Bow Wow Buddies Foundation provides grants to families who are unable to afford necessary veterinary care and to rescue groups and shelters with a dog who needs urgent medical care before they can be made available for adoption.

Brown Dog Foundation

The Brown Dog Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides funding to families who have a sick pet that would likely respond to treatment but the families do not have enough money immediately available to pay for the life-saving treatment.

Handicapped Pets Foundation

The Handicapped Pets Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the health and well-being of elderly, disabled, and injured pets. The organization donates new or reconditioned wheelchairs to pets in need, helping them stay active to live a longer, happier life.

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