Get help with vet and pet bills.

Find resources, many of which are free, to get help with pet bills or that may offer other forms of assistance. Some of the programs may provide grants, free check ups or medical care. There is also assistance from the American Animal Hospital Association Helping Pets Fund. These resources exist as most dog, cat, and other owners will eventually be faced with expensive, unexpected veterinary bills.

It is great that veterinary medicine has advanced to a very modern state. It gives caregivers new, but many times more expensive options for the care of their ailing pets. While the cost of veterinary care is very reasonable when you compare it with the much higher cost of human health care, an unexpected medical emergency or bill for your pet may very well present a major financial dilemma for an unprepared owner.

Pet owners have several options to get help with paying their vet bills.

  • If you have a specific type or breed of dog, you can contact the National Club for that breed. In some cases, these clubs offer a veterinary financial assistance fund that you can use to help pay your vet bills. Additionally, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has a list of breed-specific assistance groups. Call 202-452-1100.
  • An owner can purchase a pet health insurance policy, which can help pay for a portion of any medical bill. Pet insurance is very much like insurance for humans. It protects pets against illnesses and accidents. Some companies cover routine/wellness care as well as burial. Some insurance policies will also pay out if the pet dies.
  • You can save 5-10% (or more) on medications (such as Heart Worm pills or Frontline) as well as other forms of pet supplies by doing your shopping at online cash rebate sites.
  • You need to ask your veterinarian if she or he will provide you with a payment plan. Many veterinarians are willing to work out a monthly or weekly payment program to help you with paying your vet bills. These plans will give you the option of not having to pay the entire cost of your veterinary bill up front.




  • Contact your local animal shelter for either referrals or assistance. Some animal shelters will operate or know of veterinary assistance programs or local subsidized veterinary clinics. Use or your local yellow pages can help you find the name and number of the local shelter. It will typically be listed under "animal control," "animal shelter" or "humane society". Or you can always call Information.
  • The HSUS can provide additional help in the form of a list of organizations that provide assistance to ill, disabled, or senior pet owners.
  • You can ask your veterinarian to complete and submit an assistance request to the American Animal Hospital Association's (AAHA) "Helping Pets Fund." In order to qualify for this fund, which can help with paying your pet bills, your animal hospital must be AAHA accredited. You can learn more about the program by visiting the AAHA web site or call 800-883-6301.
  • If you acquired your pet from a reputable dog or cat breeder, you need to check your contract to see if there is a health guarantee that covers your pet's needs or sickness.





  • Check with any veterinary schools in your area. Some schools offer discount services, or even free services, to the public. You can get a list of veterinary schools in the Education section of the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) website.
  • The Human Society has a list of non-profits that may offer free care to all sorts of pets. They focus on dogs, spay/neuter programs, places for medications, vets that offer medical care for cats, and more. Call 202-452-1100, or review their website.
  • Charities such as,, Bestfriends, and others will help put owners into contact with sources of funds for paying all sort of veterinary expenses.

Below is a list of organizations that can help provide financial assistance to any pet owners who are in need.

Be sure to keep in mind that each of these organizations is independent in nature and they have their own set of guidelines and rules. Therefore you will need to investigate each one separately to determine if you qualify for assistance with your vet bills.

  • Help-A-Pet, 630-986-9504
  • IMOM Inc.,
  • The Pet Fund, (916) 443-6007
  • Good Sam Fund,
  • United Animal Nations LifeLine Fund (916) 429-2457
  • Feline Outreach,
  • Angels for Animals, 330-549-1111
  • Brown Dog Foundation,
  • Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Program,
  • Canine Cancer Awareness
  • Cats In Crisis
  • The Perseus Foundation (Cancer specific), 866-990-9777
  • Orthodogs' Silver Lining Foundation (Orthopedic Cases and Service Dogs),
  • Cody's Club (Radiation treatments)
  • Diabetic Pets Fund
  • The Mosby Foundation
  • Find an extensive listing og non-profits and charities that can help at

Also, you need to remember that, depending on the extent of your pet's injury or illness, you could still potentially lose your pet even after paying extensive bills and great expense. Some animals may just be too sick to make a full recovery. Discuss the treatment and prognosis options thoroughly with your vet. Sadly, there are even times in which treatment or surgery would just cause your pet discomfort without preserving a life of good quality.





The following are more general tips that can help with your vet bills, if none of the options above meet you needs.

  • You can use your credit card, and ask for a higher credit limit or a cash advance.
  • Feel free to call your bank. Ask about any options or programs they may have that can help, or ask for loan programs.
  • Approach your employer for a salary advance.
  • Start a crowd funding site that asks for donations from fiends, family, co-workers, and others.
  • Alert friends and family and ask them each for a small loan, say $25 loan.


By Jon McNamara

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