My dog Anya is precious to me, so when she got sick last year, I was terrified. She was lethargic and couldn’t stop vomiting. I rushed her to the emergency clinic, and after hours of treatment, she recovered.
Although I was relieved, my trouble wasn’t over. I was left with a $1,500 veterinary bill. Getting emergency vet care when you don’t have money can be a tremendous strain.
It was a big drain on my finances, and I’m lucky it wasn’t worse. According to Petplan, a pet parent is faced with a $3,000 vet bill every six seconds, which is more than many people can afford. But there are ways to get your pet the care it needs without going broke.
5 ways to pay for emergency vet care when you don’t have money
Enrolling in a pet insurance policy can be a huge help when you’re facing an unexpected emergency. If you haven’t signed up by the time your pet needs urgent care, however, it’s probably too late to get a policy. But before you refuse care, skip treatments, or empty your retirement fund, explore the following options to get your pet the help it needs.
1. Nonprofit aid
Not being able to afford veterinary care is a common problem. But there are nonprofit organizations all over the country that provide pet owners with financial assistance, and some clinics offer low-cost care.
The Humane Society of the United States maintains a database of national and regional nonprofit organizations that provide pet owners with financial assistance.
2. Vet payment plans
Although you might feel shy or embarrassed, consider talking to your vet to see if you can work out a payment plan for your pet’s treatment.
Not all veterinarians offer payment plans, but some do. And some vets are willing to negotiate payment plans on a case-by-case basis, depending on the client’s need. If you’re eligible, you might be able to spread out your payments over several months.
If your vet doesn’t offer payment plans, ask if they accept CareCredit. CareCredit is a financing program for medical expenses for people and pets. It often offers a no-interest period, during which you can make payments without owing interest, helping make payments more manageable.
3. Credit cards
You also could use a credit card, which is what I did. For Anya’s care, I relied on a low-interest credit card to pay her veterinarian.
It wasn’t ideal, as I did have to pay some interest charges, but I was able to pay off the balance within three months. It was a necessary tool to get her the care she needed because her vet didn’t offer payment plans or other financing options.
If you’re thinking of using a credit card to pay your veterinarian, make sure you compare credit card offers beforehand. Depending on your credit history and income, you could qualify for a low-interest card or a card with a 0% interest promotional offer. Those deals can help reduce how much you’ll owe over time.
4. Personal loans
If you don’t have access to a low-interest credit card, applying for a personal loan might be a better way to pay for veterinary care. With a personal loan, you work with a lender to borrow money for your needs.
Loan periods typically range from two to five years, and your payments stay the same each month. Since a personal loan spreads out the payments over several years, rather than a few months, it might be the most affordable option. The longer the loan term, the more you’ll pay in interest, but it can be worthwhile to reduce your monthly bill.
If you have good credit, you could qualify for a low-interest personal loan. Some lenders offer rates as low as 4.99%. With such a low rate, you won’t pay much in interest charges. For example, if you took out a $1,500 personal loan at 4.99% interest and repaid it over three years, you’d pay back a total of just $1,618. Having the luxury of paying your vet bill over the course of three years would cost you only $118 in interest fees.
If you’ve exhausted all your other options and still need money to pay for your pet’s treatment, crowdfunding could be a solution. With crowdfunding, you post your pet’s story on a site like GoFundMe and share it on social media and with friends and family. Hopefully, people will be moved by the story and donate money toward your pet’s care.
There’s no guarantee you’ll meet your funding goal, so it’s a good idea to use crowdfunding only as a last resort.
Preparing for an emergency
Trying to figure out how to pay for emergency vet care when you don’t have money can be overwhelming, exhausting, and devastating. However, it’s important that you don’t give up hope. By talking to your vet and reaching out for help, you can find a way to pay for your pet’s care.
Interested in a personal loan?Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Rates (APR)||Loan Amount|
|1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.
Upgrade Bank Disclosures
|7.73% – 29.99%||$1,000 - $50,000|
|6.28% – 14.87%1||$5,000 - $100,000|
|6.87% – 35.97%*||$1,000 - $50,000||Visit Upgrade|
|8.00% – 25.00%||$5,000 - $35,000|
|4.99% – 29.99%||$10,000 - $35,000||Visit FreedomPlus|
|5.99% – 18.99%2||$5,000 - $50,000||Visit Citizens|
|15.49% – 34.49%||$2,000 - $25,000||Visit LendingPoint|
|5.99% – 35.89%||$1,000 - $40,000||Visit LendingClub|
|5.49% – 18.24%||$5,000 - $75,000||Visit Earnest|
|9.95% – 35.99%||$2,000 - $35,000||Visit Avant|