If you think low-income families should have access to free vet care, you’re in the right place. This article discusses free vet care options for those who are unable to afford the cost of veterinarian services for their pets.
What do I do if I can’t afford a vet?
Some people have limited finances, while others have lost their jobs. Whatever the reason, if you can’t afford a vet, there are some things you can do to get your pet the treatment it needs.
1. Payment plans
A payment plan is an arrangement with your veterinarian or clinic to pay for your pet’s treatment in installments over time instead of all at once. Payment plans typically involve a small down payment followed by monthly payments for the duration of treatment, often 12 months or more depending on the type of treatment involved. If you can’t afford to make a full payment right away, this might be a good option for you.
2. Local veterinary clinics
Some veterinary clinics offer reduced-fee services and medications for pet owners who qualify based on income or other eligibility criteria. Check with local humane societies, animal shelters, and other resources for low-cost veterinary care. Many communities have clinics offering discounted services for people who cannot afford them.
3. Credit cards
Many people are surprised to discover that pet owners can get credit cards just for their pets. These cards are a great way to make sure that you have the money on hand to pay vet bills when they come up. Some of these cards have rewards programs that can save you money on your pet’s care, but even without those benefits, they are a convenient way to pay for visits to the vet.
Details vary depending on the card and the issuer, but most of these pet credit cards work like any other credit card. You apply for one, often online, and once you’re approved, you can use it just as you would any other credit card.
Most of these cards also offer incentives for regular use, such as cashback or frequent flier miles. And some of them offer special financing options for emergency care or set aside emergency funds specifically to help pet owners who run into financial problems paying for their animals’ needs.
4. Veterinary schools
If you find yourself unable to afford veterinary bills, there may be free or low-cost veterinary care programs in your area. Many veterinary schools offer reduced-fee services to pet owners whose income qualifies them for assistance.
5. Local animal shelters & humane societies
If you don’t know where to start, try calling animal shelters and veterinary offices directly and asking for advice on how to find financial help for veterinary care. You may also want to check with local humane societies, which often offer grants for pet owners facing financial hardship.
6. Assistance programs
The ASPCA offers financial aid through its Animal Relief Fund, which provides grants to assist pet owners in paying for veterinary care when their animals are in need of immediate treatment.
The fund helps pet owners regardless of income, but you must provide documentation of your income level and household expenses. If you do not qualify for free care, but your pet needs immediate attention, you may be able to apply for a grant to help cover your costs.
7. Friends & family
The best solution is often to call friends and family members who may be able to help. Many people have asked for financial help for their pets when they’ve hit hard times, and many people are happy to help out.
If you know people who have pets, ask them if they would be willing to donate unused supplies from their own animals. This can mean everything from old leashes and collars to pet beds and toys; even an old tub could be used as a bed.
This is one of the most popular options when it comes to veterinary finance options because they allow customers to spread out payments over six months or longer depending on what they can afford each month and their financial situation overall.
Carecredit offers payment plans up to 24 months to help you pay for your pet’s care. They also offer a no-interest option if you pay off the balance before the end of the promotional period. You can apply online or over the phone.
Scratchpay is a financing option that allows you to pay off your vet bills in monthly installments. You can choose between six and 24 months of payments, depending on how much you want to spend each month on your pet’s treatment costs.
VetBilling is a third-party company that offers payment plans for veterinary services. VetBilling partners with veterinary practices across the country and vets are able to accept payments on your behalf through VetBilling.com, their website.
11. Crowdfunding campaigns
If you have a pet and are struggling financially, you can use Crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe to help pay for veterinary care. Write your own story about why the funds are needed and how much it will cost for treatment for your pet. Make sure you include photos of your pet as well as yourself so that potential donors can get a better picture of who they are helping out.
Free, discounted, and low cost veterinary services
There are some organizations that provide free vet care or low-cost veterinary services.
- FIRST COAST NO MORE HOMELESS PETS
- 6817 Norwood Avenue Jacksonville, FL 32208
- Hotline & Appointments (904) 425-0005
- PAWS Northeast
- 350 E. Erie Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19134
- 215-426-6300 or Send email
- Providence Animal Center
- Dutton Road Veterinary Clinic
- 10901 Dutton Road, Philadelphia, PA 19154
- 215-331-2968 or Send email
- 575 Adams Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19120
- The Bridge Clinic
- Pet Health Center
- The Spayed Club
- Women’s Humane Society
- 3839 Richlieu Road, Bensalem, PA 19020
- 215-750-5252 or Send email
- VIP PetCare
- 5108 Broadway Oakland CA, 94611
- Animal Welfare Association of New Jersey
Emergency vet bill assistance
If you need assistance paying a veterinary bill right now, don’t despair. There are organizations out there that can help you take care of your pet.
RedRover Relief Urgent Care
RedRover Relief provides financial assistance grants to pet owners with urgent veterinary care needs. To qualify for aid, pets must have a good prognosis for recovery.
CareCredit is accepted at over 200,000 locations nationwide, offers special financing on purchases of $200 or more, and is designed to help you pay for treatments and procedures your insurance doesn’t cover. CareCredit offers low monthly payment plans for healthcare procedures not commonly covered by insurance, including veterinary care.
The ASPCA provides grants to non-profit organizations that serve low-income communities and offer affordable spay/neuter services and preventive veterinary care to dogs and cats belonging to people in need. You can search their database to see if there are any participating vets in your state.
The Humane Society has a comprehensive list of organizations that offer financial aid to pet owners in specific areas of the country who cannot afford the cost of veterinary care.
Conclusion of free veterinary care for low income
Most pet owners know that veterinary care can be expensive. When your pet has an unexpected illness or injury, the cost of treatment can quickly add up. Even with insurance, it can be difficult to cover the costs of planned procedures such as surgery, spaying or neutering, vaccinations and more.
The reality is that most pets will need some type of emergency medical care over the course of their lives. One-third of U.S. households have experienced a veterinary emergency in the past year, according to a recent survey conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital. And more than half of those who encountered an emergency spent $500 or more on treatment.
While there are no national programs specifically designed to help with vet bills, each state may have its own low-cost clinics or programs that can provide aid to those in need. Contact your local humane society or animal shelter for more information.