My Dog Needs Surgery and I Can’t Afford It

When the worst happens to your dog, you want to be able to help them. Often, emergency cases require surgery, but this is often expensive and the recovery period lasts several weeks.

Many families cannot afford to pay out of pocket for the vet fees that come with surgery, recuperation, medication and check-ups. So, what do you do when you can’t afford the surgery your dog needs?

Charities and organizations that help pay vet bills

You have lots of options available to you as a pet owner when it comes to vet bills. For low-income families or single people claiming state benefits, most animal charities and nonprofit organizations will offer some form of financial support.

Look for local veterinary clinics that offer low-cost, means-tested treatments. If you are on a low income or receiving state support, you will most likely qualify for subsidized or even free treatment

Charities may offer help with funding for emergency care or reduced treatment costs if your dog is registered at one of their clinics.

You can also set up a free fundraising page with sites like Go Fund Me or Free Funder. You simply create a page with your information and write a short explanation of your situation and the treatment your dog needs. Anyone who donates will be able to keep updated with the progress of your page.

Speak to friends and family if you end up in a situation where money is tight. Most people are happy to help with vet bills, even if it is just the offer of a loan.

Saving money for vet bills

It may seem simple, but even cutting down on the number of coffees you purchase will help. Start by putting $10 per week into a piggy bank or savings account with your bank. When you have a little extra, you can add more.

Having that safety nets means you do not need to worry if your dog gets injured or falls sick unexpectedly. Pet insurance is expensive and it is a fairly unregulated industry, so prices tend not to be competitive.

Monthly premiums also increase as your dog gets older. This is because older dogs are more likely to suffer with ill health, so insurance companies increase your premium to cover the money they may need to pay out in the event of a claim.

$10 per week adds up to $520 in a year. That covers flea and worm treatments and several basic care medications for mild conditions such as infections or stomach upsets. Even if your dog’s condition is more serious, you still have a lump sum that you can pay your vet immediately. Most clinics will allow a grace period or some kind of payment plan for trusted clients who have always paid on time in the past.


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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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