If you’re on a limited income, living paycheck to paycheck, and have never considered financial assistance for your pet, it is time to start thinking about it. Will you be able to provide food and medical care to your beloved companion? If the answer is not likely then you need to start searching for “Pet Assistance for Low-Income Families” or “Free Vet Care for Low-Income Families”.
What is a pet assistance program?
A pet assistance program provides financial assistance to owners of domestic animals who need veterinary care.
An unexpected illness or injury can be financially devastating to families struggling to make ends meet. For those who love their pets, the idea of having to put them down because they can’t afford medical treatment is unthinkable.
Most pet assistance programs have eligibility requirements, such as income and residence, which vary by program. Most programs also have specific guidelines for health conditions for which they will provide funding.
Pet financial assistance programs
The economy is back on track but many families are still struggling financially. Many families are forced to make difficult decisions like putting food on the table before they can afford their pet’s medical needs. Thankfully, there’s help out there for people in need. Several organizations offer financial assistance programs to help low-income families pay for veterinary care.
- Assistance Dog Partners: www.iaadp.org
- Brown Dog Foundation: www.browndogfoundation.org
- Dylan’s Heart: www.dylanshearts.com
- Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Programs: www.fveap.org
- Friends & Vets Helping Pets: www.friendsandvetshelpingpets.org
- The Magic Bullet Fund: www.themagicbulletfund.org
- The Mosby Fund: www.themosbyfoundation.org
- Onyx and Breezy Fund: www.onyxandbreezy.org
- Paws 4 a Cure: www.paws4acure.org
- Pet Assistance Inc: www.petassistanceinc.org
- The Pet Fund: www.thepetfund.com
- Pets of the Homeless: www.petsofthehomeless.org
- Prince Chunk Foundation: www.princechunkfoundation.org
- Red Rover: www.redrover.org
- The Reidel & Cody Fund: riedelcody.org
- Rose’s Fund for Animals: www.rosesfund.com
- The Shakespeare Animal Fund: www.shakespeareanimalfund.org
- Voice for the Animals Foundation: www.vftafoundation.org
Low-cost or free vet care for low-income families
- 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
Can I get help paying my vet bill?
For many families, money can be tight and there is a constant worry of your pet falling ill. How will you pay for the vet fees? Depending on where you live, there is financial help available for low-income families or those claiming state benefits.
The claim procedure is different in each state and country to country. You can get advice from your veterinarian on where to find application forms and other financial information.
Do you have to pay vet bills upfront?
This is dependant on your vet and you as a client. If you are new to the surgery or have a history of not paying bills, you will be required to pay the bill in full or give your pet insurance details.
Vet clinics may offer a grace period for regular clients who have always paid without issue and are due for several required appointments.
Do Vets for Pets offer payment plans?
Vets for pets have several health care plans for pets, such as Vac4Life and Complete Care Health. Plans like these can be a lifeline if your pet is ever ill or injured unexpectedly.
Plans cover things such as:
- Flea, tick and worm treatment
- Vet consultation
- Annual vaccinations
Other benefits may be offered depending on the plan you choose.
Do vets charge to write a prescription?
Charging for prescriptions is not a well-regulated area of animal care. The charge must be ‘reasonable’ and the animal must be considered as ‘under veterinary care’. Each vet surgery will decide their own charges for a written prescription.
Many pet owners find that they can order their pet’s medication online for cheaper than it is sold at the vet surgery, however, you need a written prescription to order medication online.
The charge is generally based on the time taken for the vet to go through your pet’s history and calculate the correct dosage for the medication. Some vets charge as little as $5, but some can be as much as $30.
What happens if you can’t afford a vet?
It is not uncommon for pet owners to run into unexpected trouble when it comes to paying for their animal’s medical care. If you can’t afford a vet, here are some options that might help you and your pet get the care they need:
Many clinics work with clients on an individual basis to find ways to make payments more manageable in cases where an owner needs financial assistance.
Another option is to call up local low-cost clinics, such as Humane Societies and SPCAs, and ask them whether or not they offer any forms of payment plans or discounted services for animals in need.
Some organizations offer assistance with veterinary bills for senior citizens, disabled individuals, and those who simply cannot pay for treatment on their own.
You may also want to contact organizations like PetCo and PetSmart, which offer financial assistance through their PetCare.
You could ask friends and family for help, or try to find a grant or other aid.
Some credit card companies offer special cards designed for pet care expenses that can be paid off over time. These cards may also have special low early payment options, like 0% financing for 12 months with no annual fee, so you don’t have to pay the full amount at once if you don’t have the money on hand.
But taking out one of these cards isn’t a decision to make lightly. Even though you are paying for your pet’s health care over time, if you don’t pay the bill in full, interest fees will begin to add up quickly.
Care credit for pets
Like a normal credit card, care credit can be used to pay for pet care for people who have only basic insurance or have to cover the up-front costs. There are options to pay the card in monthly installments, just like a credit or store card. Cards like these can be a huge help for low-income families.