5 Ways to Save on Your Pet's Healthcare

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  • There are organizations dedicated to making pet care affordable.
  • The best time to make a plan for your pet's health care is now.

Part of loving a pet is paying for care when they need it.

Most of us consider our pets to be family, and there are few things worse than not being able to pay for care when those furry (or feathered, or scaly) family members are in need. Here, we lay out some of the ways you can provide for your pet's health care without draining your bank account.

You may find some of these methods a little "out there," but hopefully, one or two will work for you.

1. Check online

This suggestion may sound insultingly simple, but when my husband and I were young, in college, and broke we looked around for places that provided low-cost vaccinations for our dog. Fortunately, a pet store not far from our apartment provided just such a service. We regularly got in line with other pet owners to have a vet look our dog over and give her the vaccinations she was due. We held on to her vaccination record like it was a passport and made sure she stayed up to date. She lived a long, healthy life.

To ensure that's still "a thing," I just did a quick online search. Our local animal shelter provides low-cost spay and neuter services, as well as free rabies vaccines. There's also an organization that provides discounted vaccination packages for pets of all ages. SNAP recipients get an even deeper discount.

Do not be discouraged if you don't find something right away. Expand your search parameter to include the entire county or call your local humane society to ask about programs not listed online.

2. Secure a line of credit

No one likes going into debt, but if your pet is sick or injured, applying for a line of credit through a company like Scratchpay or CareCredit can help you cover an emergency situation.

3. Crowdfund

Let's say your pet has a serious condition. CoFund My Pet allows you to upload a picture of your pet and explain why they need veterinary care. When people donate, they know that all funds collected through this crowdfunding site can only be spent at veterinary clinics and won't go to another cause.

4. Sell something

There's a good chance you have something sitting around your house that you have no more use for. Or, clean out your basement or attic and sell a whole bunch of stuff. Whether you host a virtual garage sale online or an old-school tag sale in your front yard, all those things you no longer need or use are sure to be of use to someone else. And the money can go to vet bills, or into a savings account for future care.

5. Consider pet insurance

I suspect that the last thing you want to hear right now is, "You ought to have pet insurance," especially if your pet has an immediate need. However, as someone who has had pets with and without insurance, I need you to know how much it can help. Let's say you have a cat you adore. For less than $10 a month you can buy a policy that will help you pay for whatever may go wrong. It won't cover the entire bill but will pay for 70% to 90% of medical care, depending on the policy you choose.

I have two middle-aged dogs and pay less than $52 per month to cover them both ($26 each). You could easily find a less expensive monthly premium, but this policy pays for everything -- from surgery to chemotherapy, all the way to stem cell replacement. If it sounds excessive, it's because I've made a medical decision on behalf of a dog based, in part, on how much treatment was going to cost and I promised myself (and that dog) I would never do it again.

No matter what, if your pet is suffering, don't give up. If you can't find help locally, contact an organization that specializes in this realm. Some examples include:

Veterinary care is expensive. Fortunately, there are a lot of good people in this world willing to help cover the costs.

If you don't currently have a plan in place to pay for pet healthcare, today is the day to decide what you'll do if your pet is sick or injured. Waiting until your pet is in pain will only add to your stress.

Our Research Expert

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