It can happen to anyone with a pet: circumstance change and you are suddenly faced with a terrible choice. Do you deny the animal you love the medical care it needs because the cost is beyond your ability to afford it? No pet parent wants an animal to suffer because the cost of medical care is out of reach. Financial help is out there and there are steps you can take and organizations that may be able to help you.
The first thing you should consider is asking your animal hospital or veterinarian if they offer a payment plan for the treatment your pet requires. Many will work with you to make sure the animal gets the necessary medical help. In addition, your local humane organization or animal advocacy group may be able to steer you to other groups and organizations in your area that assist pet owners with veterinary bills.
If you live in an area near a university with degree programs in Veterinary Medicine, contact the school and ask about programs they may offer for low-cost veterinary services.
There are other resources with affordable options for veterinary care. Some are breed or injury-specific, including Corgi Aid, Labrador Lifeline, LabMed RX for Rescued Labs, HandicappedPets.com, Special Needs Dobermans, and Pit Bull Rescue Central. Reach out to your local breed club for information on local, state or national groups involved in breed-specific veterinary care assistance programs.
Some groups provide help for animals with specific canine diseases, like Canine Cancer Awareness, The Riedel and Cody Fund, The Magic Bullet Fund, Helping Harley Fund, and The Big Hearts Fund. There are also special programs with veterinary care financial assistance available for working dogs and service animals. Check out The Assistance Dogs Special Allowance Program and The Gandalf Fund.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) can also be a resource. Check out their website and see “Financial help with my vet bills” found under the Pet Care heading. You’ll find listings for groups that may be able to offer financial assistance and contact information or links to their websites.
Here are some other options when you need financial help to care for your dog:
RedRover Relief program provides financial and emotional support to pet rescuers and pet owners to help them care for animals in life-threatening situations. They also have resources dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence escape abusive environments with their pets, and a program that helps with disaster relief.
Brown Dog Foundation dedicates their resources to helping families that find themselves in a temporary financial crisis at the same time that their pet requires either a life-saving treatment or life-sustaining medications.
IMOM is an all-volunteer 501 C 3 charity that helps people in financial difficulty cover vet bills. They also help with spay and neuter. The staff at IMOM is available to answer questions and can help get pet owners connected with the resources they need to care for their animal.
This registered 501 C 3 nonprofit provides financial assistance to domestic animals that need veterinary care.
For the elderly, disabled, or those whose income does not exceed the current federal poverty guidelines, the Shakespeare Animal Fund is a good resource for emergency pet medical care.
This non-profit corporation dedicates itself to the health and well-being of elderly, disabled, and injured pets. They also donate mobility equipment to needy pets.
A privately run nonprofit organization begun in honor of the founder’s dog, the Onyx and Breezy Foundation provides emergency medical care to animals whose owners are in financial hard times, and also works to get dogs on death row out of high-kill shelters.
Assistance with veterinary expenses for senior dogs, ages 10 and older. Breed is taken into consideration in determining senior status.
This group provides veterinary care assistance, and works to reduce pet hunger through pet food assistance to the homeless population.
This foundation provides services specifically for low-income pet owners, service animals, seniors and pets living in short-term foster care.
No pet owner wants a pet they love to suffer because the cost of medical care is financially out of their reach. To avoid an agonizing choice, consider purchasing pet health insurance such as PetPlan for future medical needs.