How to Get Affordable Veterinary Care

Three Methods:Looking for Creative Ways to SaveFinding the Right VetPracticing Preventative Care

Your pet is another member of your family. Pets are wonderful companions and add a lot to their owner's lives. If your pet gets sick, it can be very stressful. In addition to the emotional toll, it can also be quite expensive. There are steps you can take to make sure that your pet gets the care he needs at a price you can afford.

Method 1
Looking for Creative Ways to Save

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    Purchase pet insurance. You can buy health insurance for your pet. This is a great option if you have an older animal or one with severe or chronic injury or illness. It's also a great way to be proactive when you adopt a new pet.[1]
    • Look at different plans. Just like health insurance for people, there are a variety of options for animals.
    • You can get a plan that will cover basic emergencies, like a sudden injury. You can also get more comprehensive plans that will cover all types of care.
    • Ask your vet if there is a particular company that is easy to work with. You also want to make sure that your vet accepts the insurance you choose.
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    Contact your local shelter. Maybe your pet has recently become ill or injured. Unplanned vet bills can add up quickly, and be really stressful. Your local animal shelter might have ways to help.[2]
    • Call your shelter and ask about the type of health care they provide. Many shelters have onsite clinics that offer care that is more affordable than the average veterinarian.
    • Your shelter will have a lot of information about local resources. If they don't have a clinic onsite, ask if they have a recommendation for one nearby.
    • Some shelters also have loan or grant programs that can help defray medical costs. Ask for information about these types of options.
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    Seek financial assistance. In addition to your local shelter, you might be able to find other organizations that can help you. There are non-profit and charitable organizations that are dedicated to helping pet owners care for their pet. Do some research to find one that could work for you.[3]
    • The Humane Society is a great place to start. offers a state-by-state listing of affordable vet care.
    • The Humane Society can also help you find the right fit for your particular animal. For example, there are breed-specific foundations such as Corgi Aid and Labrador Lifeline.
    • Head to your local library. The reference librarian can help you search for additional non-profits that might be able to help your pet.
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    Raise additional funds. You might find that you simply need more money to pay for vet bills, and you need it quickly. Take steps to find access to additional funds. Consider getting a line of credit.[4]
    • Care Credit is a credit plan specifically for medical needs, including your pet's. Many vets accept Care Credit.[5]
    • Having some flexible credit is a good way to avoid getting behind on your pet's bills. Just make sure to read all of the terms and conditions.
    • Try fundraising. Use a site such as Give Forward to raise money for your pet's medical needs.[6]

Method 2
Finding the Right Vet

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    Ask about payment plans. If you already have a vet, you may not want to switch. However, you can still find ways to make pet care more affordable. Ask your vet if you can discuss different payment options.[7]
    • Talk to your vet (or office staff) about payment plans. With this option, you would be able to pay the bill in installments.
    • Be specific. Try asking, "Would it be possible for me to make bi-weekly payments over the next 3 months?"
    • Explain your problem to the vet. You can say, "I love how you care for my dog. But if we can't come to a compromise on a payment plan, I will need to look for other care."
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    Offer your services. If a payment plan is not an option, you may be able to find another way to pay for your pet's veterinary care. Ask your vet if the office is willing to accept services in lieu of payment. You can use your skills to deduct money from your bill. [8]
    • Offer to walk dogs. Many of veterinary offices have dogs who are being boarded while receiving treatment. The office might need help walking them during the day or evening.
    • Find out if they need help at the front desk. You don't need medical training to answer calls and make appointments.
    • Be open to compromise. Ask your vet if there are additional ways you can help out around the office.
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    Visit local universities. Check out a nearby veterinary school to see if they have a clinic. Students who are studying veterinary medicine often need to put in a certain amount of practical hours to learn their license. Call the school to get some information. [9]
    • Find out if the clinic takes appointments. If not, ask if there are monthly or weekly "community service" days.
    • Veterinary schools usually offer free or greatly reduced medical care. Visiting a clinic is a great way to get affordable care for your pet.
    • Some of these clinics are for limited income clients. Be prepared to show a recent paycheck.
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    Shop around. Different veterinarians have different prices. Not all doctors are the same. Don't be afraid to do some comparison shopping.[10]
    • If you live in a metropolitan area, try going to the suburbs. Prices are often lower in smaller towns.
    • Look for specials. Vet clinics offer discounts and sales, just like other businesses. Ask about discounts for new clients.
    • Compare prices. If your pet needs a specific procedure, such as a teeth cleaning, phone several offices to find out which doctor offers the best rate.

Method 3
Practicing Preventative Care

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    Be proactive. The healthier your pet is, the less likely it is that he will need expensive medical care. Take steps at home to keep your pet healthy and happy. There are several ways you can be proactive when caring for your pet.[11]
    • Feed him a healthy diet. Take care to feed your pet the right kind of food. For example, dogs do best with a hard kibble full of natural ingredients.
    • Groom your pet. Grooming, such as brushing and bathing, can help keep your pet infection free.
    • Play with your pet. Many pets, such as dogs and cats, enjoy play time. It will also help keep them at a healthy weight.
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    Get regular check-ups. No matter how healthy your pet is, you will need to regularly take them to the vet. All animals need regular check-ups. Wellness exams can help you to avoid major medical issues in the future.[12]
    • Take your pet for an annual check-up. You can make sure they get their necessary shots at this time.
    • Monitor your pet's health. Keep an eye out for symptoms of illness, such as change in behavior or weight loss.[13]
    • Call your vet anytime you notice a change in your pet's appearance or behavior. If may be expensive to go to the vet, but regular checkups will cost less than a major procedure down the road.
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    Brush your dog's teeth. If you have a dog, one of the most important things you can do is to provide him with good oral health care. Many canine health issues are the result of poor oral hygiene. Brush your dog's teeth at home to avoid expensive medical bills down the road.[14]
    • Buy a toothpaste that is specially formulated for canine's. "People" products aren't safe for dogs.
    • Brush your dog's teeth as often as he will allow. Ideally, you will brush his teeth each day.
    • Other animals, such as cats, need good oral hygiene, too. Talk to your vet about how to care for your pet's teeth.
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    Make a budget. All veterinary care can seem expensive if you are unprepared. When you have a pet, you should build pet health care into your monthly budget. Write down how much you expect to spend.[15]
    • Include basic items such as food, grooming tools, and toys. Write down the approximate cost for each item.
    • Factor in the cost of annual wellness exams. This should also include the cost of vaccinations.
    • Set money aside each month for future healthcare needs. For example, putting $20 aside each month can be very helpful if your pet ends up needing a pricey procedure.


  • Keep your pet healthy by feeding it a nutritious diet.
  • Make sure to spay or neuter your animals.

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Categories: Pets and Animals