How to Get Help Paying for Your Pet’s Health Care

How to Get Help Paying for Your Pet’s Health Care

It happens to the best of us: we provide a safe, loving home to our pets, but then, it happens. A job is lost, or a loved one becomes sick. Whatever the cause, the result is the same. Through no fault of your own, your ability to provide stellar health care for your pet diminishes. You don’t want your pet to suffer. There is help out there, and you do have options. In this post, we’ll cover several of those options, starting with how to appeal directly to your vet for assistance.

Be Proactive

First off, geography matters. If you’re hunting for the best price, the big city isn’t a good place to start. Rural vets generally charge less. Granted, there are certainly exceptions.

If you’re a regular customer in good standing, your vet may let you pay your bill over the course of several months. Moreover, large operations may offer you a payment plan by default if you have good credit. Things become much more unpredictable when you deal with individual vets. Either way, it can’t hurt to ask. Remember that your vet may report to the three major credit boroughs. If you pay late, you will damage your credit.

If you’re working with a vet for the first time, don’t expect them to offer you a payment plan unless you have impeccable credit. Even then, they may not go for it. For small operations, every cent counts. They may not want to take the risk that you will default on the bill—and selling the debt to a collection agency can be a hassle. Remember, they’re a business, and time is money.

If you’re working with a sole proprietor, consider offering to perform a service in exchange for a payment plan. You might offer to clean the kennel, do reception or tidy their office, for instance. When making this pitch, be sure to highlight any previous experience you have. If you’re a writer, Web developer or graphic artist, ask them if they need help creating or updating their website!

Next, look into your local veterinary schools. Most offer low-cost clinics. However, you may have to fall within certain income levels to gain access. Consult the resources section of this article to search for veterinary schools by state.

If all else fails, get a second opinion. You’ll probably have to pay another consultation fee, but the second vet might work with you.

Consider Pet Health Insurance

The cost of pet health care is on the rise because veterinary medicine is becoming more complex. After all, it’s only natural that therapies engineered for people spill over into the veterinary arena. What’s more, therapy R&D for common pets is increasing all the time. To keep up to date, vets have to attend sales pitches, seminars and other events. Then they have to get their staff trained on the new equipment. This contributes to rising costs, which vets must pass on to clients in order to stay in business.

Pet insurance can help offset the vet’s bill. Here a few considerations:

  • The insurance policy should clearly spell out any limitations and exclusions. Additionally, you shouldn’t have any issues finding out how your premiums will change over time—you may pay a higher premium if your pet becomes sick several times within a given time period.
  • Check if the insurer offers add-ons for dental care, traveling and other circumstances.
  • Find out the insurer’s policy regarding pre-existing conditions.
  • Before you sign anything, the insurer should clearly lay out all charges. This includes co-pays, add-on charges and deductibles.
  • Before signing, ask the insurer to go over their claims process as well as the timeframe for reimbursement.
  • A good insurer will allow you to choose your own veterinarian.

Important note: some insurers refuse to insure certain breeds of dog. Common breeds rejected include Boxer, Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Doberman and Pinscher.

Also, note that most pet insurers use the reimbursement model. This means that you will have to pay bills up front and will be reimbursed later by the insurance agency.

Sell Unneeded Items for Quick Cash

It’s never been easier to sell your junk—and remember, that doodad you don’t use any more might be exactly what someone else is looking for. You can sell these items on marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay or sites like Craigslist. Selling on Criagslist is usually the fastest option, but always meet with prospective buyers in a public place. Additionally, be sure to include a photo of the item in the item listing. Posts with images receive up to 10x more clicks.

An old standby that works for many people is the yard sale. With a yard sale, you’ll want to price your items cheaper than if you sold them individually on Craigslist or Ebay. Your goal with a yard sale is to sell every item, and low prices will help you attract many buyers.

Seek Financial Assistance

Several animal welfare organizations help with vet bills on a case-by-case basis. See the resources section below for more info.

Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comment’s section below!


Animal Welfare Organizations

Note: Some of these organizations are breed-specific.


Labrador Harbor


Pyramedic Trust

Special Needs Dobermans

Helping Harley Cancer Treatment Grant

Assistance Dogs Special Allowance Program

Dog Aggression by Breed

Note: research is skewed toward larger dog breeds because many bites from small breeds go unreported.

Breed Differences in Canine Aggression

Breeds of Dogs Involved in Fatal Human Attacks in the United States

Banned Breeds Are No More Aggressive than Others, Study

An Overview of Types of Aggressive Behavior in Dogs and Methods of Treatment

Pet Insurance

Example Policy

Example Brochure

Selling unused Items

How to Buy and Sell on Craigslist

Know Craigslist for Beginners

Quick Guide to Posting an Item for Sale on Craigslist