If your pet is sick or injured and requires immediate veterinary care, it can be frustrating to look at the high vet bills and wonder where exactly you will find the money to pay for them. Pets are considered family members in many people’s hearts, and we would do anything we could to help them if they were sick – but there is a limit as far as what we can afford.
A vet visit and any needed treatment or surgery may very well take priority over our mortgage payments, food bills, and other living expenses simply because your pet means that much to you.
Is it okay to Finance Vet Bills?
That depends. Is your credit card maxed out already? And is the balance on that card more than what you can afford to pay off in one month? If yes, then no, it’s generally not a good idea to finance the cost of veterinary care for your pet. But lots of people do, regardless.
Taking out loans was never meant to be an emergency solution for owners who could not afford their pets’ medical expenses either. According to Now Loan UK, 13% of their clients have had to apply for high-interest loans to pay for vet bills due to poor credit history. Medicine isn’t cheap, nor should it be. Pets require lifelong care and treatment, whether they’re healthy or sickly.
Unfortunately, many pet owners are forced into this financial bind because they love their pets so much yet aren’t aware of just easy it is to take preventative steps from the start to avoid these kinds of situations.
- Spay and neuter your pets before they hit sexual maturity.
- Buy a policy/insurance covering hereditary conditions your breed is prone to.
- Establish a savings account for future vet bills.
This may seem overwhelming at first, but taking action early will save you money in the long run.
Plan Ahead for Emergencies
You cannot anticipate all emergencies or accidents, so you should expect some visits to the veterinarian whenever you have a pet. If something does happen, call around and ask different vets about their price for an exam fee and any other fees associated with treatment options.
Once this number is established from each clinic near you, compare them side-by-side to see what’s best for your budget.
For example, ask about the cost of a faecal exam, and then ask about deworming medication. Establishing how much each treatment costs without insurance can help people figure out which option they should opt for at their discretion.
What are the best ways to finance Vet Bills?
If you have a pet, there’s a good chance that at some point, your beloved dog or cat will need veterinary care. And while most people who love their pets would readily do anything to protect them, the costs of veterinary care can quickly become overwhelming and simply unaffordable if not dealt with properly.
Considering Pets as Family Members
Pets provide companionship and emotional support for many individuals. It only makes sense that their human family members would treat them as family members, providing them with the same level of care as any other loved one.
It’s estimated that over half of American households own pets – meaning that there are now almost 70 million dogs and 74 million cats in U.S. homes. These numbers are only expected to rise as our population ages, and more people seek out pets for companionship rather than children.
As a result, veterinary medicine has grown substantially along with this trend, so it’s not surprising that the average price of veterinary services is continually on the rise (as you’ll often hear veterinarians lament).
Pets do become part of the family, which means paying $2000 for their emergency surgery should be no different than paying $2000 for your spouse’s emergency surgery.
Is there a negotiable Installment Plan?
Veterinary clinics have the best interest of their patients at heart, just as you want to do what is in your pet’s best interest. That being said, a veterinary clinic may be willing to provide a payment plan for a procedure or treatment if they see that it will not put undue hardship on you financially.
This payment plan could prevent you from relinquishing ownership of your pet because you can’t afford treatment. There are no guarantees here, so be sure to discuss all options with your veterinarian before concluding that the only other option is relinquishment.
A payment plan should always include a down payment of around 20% initially, but if you can’t afford that, make sure your veterinarian knows this.
Should I go for a Second Opinion?
Sometimes veterinarians are too far away from you, making it difficult to transport your pet for treatment at their clinic. If they’re likely to be able to give you an estimate closer to what you can afford than other places in town might be able to do, that is considerable.
If they have access to better technology than other nearby facilities, this might also justify paying more. Remember that just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it’s worth the price, so don’t let cost be the only factor in your decision.
Can I seek help from a Charitable Organisation?
If you own a pet that has been diagnosed with cancer, then there’s a good chance that Petco’s Rescue Bank will be able to help you pay for treatment.
The ASPCA and PETA may also be able to provide financial assistance. Still, typically this applies only if there is no other option than euthanasia because of the expense involved with treating your pet’s medical conditions.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking these organisations reach out only after you’ve already made the difficult decision to put your pet down because they can help financially before it comes to that point. Your veterinarian’s office or local humane society should also be able to provide information about financial assistance from charitable programs.
People with lower incomes and pets diagnosed with a severe condition will have a much more difficult time affording necessary treatment without some help.
Organisations like the ASPCA and Petco’s Rescue Bank exist for this very reason, so remember to check out what they can offer you if it becomes clear that your pet needs life-saving treatment, but you don’t have the money to pay for it on your own.
It would be best if you didn’t have to put down your pet simply because you can’t afford their medical care, no matter how expensive it may be.