You CAN Afford High Vet Bills With These Tips!
Forget food and toys – a pet owner’s biggest expense is often their vet bills.
However, watching your pet suffer an injury or disease is torturous when you’re unable to afford the vet treatment your pet needs.
Don’t let your furry companion suffer. Consider these methods when you’re looking for ways to afford high vet bills.
Shop Around for a Veterinarian
The first step to saving money on vet bills is to do your due shopping diligence. Savings won’t necessarily be huge, but chances are a few extra minutes of browsing around could find you a more inexpensive vet close by.
Vet shopping is best done before your pet suffers disease or injury. If you wait until then, you’ll be in a scramble and might end up paying more than you could’ve paid by doing your research.
Of course, any pet care is better than no pet care. But being proactive helps you find the best vet at a price that’s more affordable for both regular checkups and injuries/disease.
Vet clinics understand that treatments for your pets can prove to be a financial burden. Many clinics offer payment plans for expensive treatments such as surgery, allowing you to pay your vet bills in more affordable installments.
Make sure to ask about payment plans; vets don’t always advertise them openly, but requesting a payment plan might get you one.
Pet insurance is an excellent alternative to paying full price for expensive pet care, especially if you anticipate more frequent vet visits.
However, the dark reality to pet insurance is that some pets are much more expensive; these pets tend to be the ones you’d want to insure the most, such as
- Older pets – Higher risk of dying or getting disease
- Specific breeds – Some dog breeds are at high risk of health issues. Dachshunds (wiener dogs), for example, often suffer damage to spinal discs (similar to a “slipped disc” in a human spine) due to their body structure
That being said, you can insure your pet while they’re young and lock in a fixed lifetime rate so you won’t pay a fortune in premiums when your furry friend has aged.
As for where to find pet insurance…
You can find pet insurance at almost every insurance carrier. Shop around for the best coverage at the best rates.
Some employers offer pet insurance for very cheap. Check with your HR/Benefits department and see if they have a pet insurance policy worth buying in to.
Pets are basically a family member, or in other words, a dependent. When you create an emergency fund, you budget for 3-6 months of living expenses for not just you, but your dependents as well.
Therefore, you should account for your pet in your emergency fund.
For better organization, consider keeping your vet emergency fund in a separate savings account if you have other dependents, such as a spouse and/or kids.
As for amounts, you could keep it about the same as you would for a human at max: 3-6 months of “living expenses” (pet food and vet bills) should be plenty, but you can probably get away with less than that.
If you find yourself in a money pinch when you’re paying your vet bills, consider taking out a loan.
You could take out a general personal loan from a company like Prosper if you’re fine with paying back interest. Getting a loan doesn’t take longer than a few days, so these are great if money’s tight but you can wait a short time.
Interest-bearing loans aren’t your only option. Some companies out there lend loans at zero interest specifically for vet bills.
One last loan option you have is pawn shops. You can either sell items for quick cash, or you can “pawn” an item, which means taking a loan from the pawn shop and putting your items down as collateral. No applications, no credit checks, none of that.
All you have to do is pay the loan back within the term length (usually 30 days) and you get your items back.
Even if you don’t pay it back, the worst that happens is they take your item. Your credit score remains intact.
Worried about safety? Pawn shops are a lot safer than they’re made out to be, as they’re regulated by several federal and state laws and maintaining working relationships with local law enforcement.
There exist many animal welfare charities who will reward grants to certain people so they can afford their treatment. However, you usually have to fall below a certain income threshold or meet extraordinary circumstances.
Seek out charitable help, but only after using other options; the likelihood of winning these grants is lower than getting a payment plan from the vet or a personal loan.
Keep Your Pet Healthy For Less
Spending money at the vet is inevitable. You can’t 100% guarantee your pet won’t be injured or get sick at some point in it’s life.
That being said, you can always take a preventative approach by ensuring your pet has a healthy lifestyle, similar to how humans might cultivate a healthy lifestyle to save on healthcare.
For example, you visit the doctor for a regular checkup to assess your health and address issues before they become problematic. You should be bringing your pet to the vet once a year, perhaps twice a year if the pet is older.
And then there’s exercise and diet. Healthy diet and regular exercise benefit humans just as much as they benefit your pets. Playing with your pet, taking it for a walk (if it’s a dog), feeding it the right food, and similar activities keep your pet at optimal health, reducing the chance you’ll need to pay the vet a visit.