Here Are 3 Tips to Help Afford an Emergency Vet Visit

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.


  • The cost of emergency pet care can be enormous.
  • You can mitigate your costs by having pet insurance and negotiating with your vet.
  • You should also have emergency savings to tap in the event that your pet gets hurt or falls ill.

Don't let a single incident ruin your finances.

Owning a pet can be an unbelievably rewarding experience. But it can also be an expensive one -- especially when your pet gets sick or hurt.

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance reports that a single growth or tumor in a dog costs an average of $300 to $1,600 to treat. Meanwhile, the average cat infection costs $300 to $2,000 to treat.

Even if you do a good job of trying to keep your pet healthy, you unfortunately never know when they might get sick or end up getting injured. So it's important to know how to cope with a major medical expense. Here are three tips for swinging the cost of an emergency vet visit.

1. Have a pet insurance policy in place

Pet insurance won't necessarily pick up the entire tab when your animal is injured or gets sick. But it might cover the bulk of your emergency vet bill, or at least a sizable chunk of it.

Now, you might ask, "Why don't I just save the money I'd spend on pet insurance and use it to pay for my animal's care?"

You could go that route, but consider this. You might spend $50 a month on pet insurance for your dog, or $600 a year. But 12 months after adopting your dog, you might end up at the vet with a $2,000 medical bill, the bulk of which an insurance policy would've covered. Suddenly, you're in a financial jam.

2. Have a fully loaded pet emergency fund

Even if you have pet insurance, it's still important to have money in your savings account earmarked for pet emergencies. For one thing, there are certain medical expenses your pet insurance policy may not cover, such as the cost of treating a pre-existing condition.

Also, even with insurance, you're generally looking at picking up a portion of the tab yourself. So you'll need money in the bank to ensure you don't wind up with credit card debt.

Finally, many pet insurance policies require you to pay your vet bill in full when your pet receives care and then submit a claim for reimbursement. In some cases, you'll get your money back fairly quickly, but you don't want to land in a situation where you're forced to carry a credit card balance forward for a couple of months, thereby racking up interest on it.

3. Don't be afraid to negotiate

You may be in a situation where you don't have pet insurance, or your policy won't cover the issue at hand. If that's the case, be frank with your vet and try to negotiate. Your vet might agree to give you a reduced rate for the service they're providing, or otherwise allow you to spread out your payments over multiple months so the cost isn't as much of an immediate burden.

When you own a pet, you have to accept the fact that you might end up with a medical emergency on your hands. Buying pet insurance is a great way to mitigate that risk, but it's also important to have savings and be prepared to put your negotiating skills to good use.

Our Research Expert

Related Articles

View All Articles Learn More Link Arrow