January is that time year when , for, many of us, the credit card bills from our holidays have arrived and expect to be paid. For those of us that  experience  the true meaning of winter and are struggling to cover utility bills,  we are reminded of the  high cost of heating our homes. Life continues as jobs may slow down or be lost, illnesses occur and can stress a person’s budget, the car needs repair again or your child has outgrown yet another pair of shoes. What do you do if your pet needs basic medical care and you are unable to provide it?  What if the unthinkable happens and your pet becomes severely injured or if they are diagnosed with a serious disease? Where do you turn for help for your pet when you are unable to help them?

When The Unthinkable Happens

My 2 dogs have needed care within the last few months and the cost of their care was significant and proved to be a challenge for me. By juggling a few financial obligations and with my children pitching in, we were able to cover all the tests, lab work and medications for Abbey, my aged Beagle. IMG_0006.2014-10-04_151802

 

Then there was the lump I found on Sofie’s leg. I kept an eye on my Boston Terrier, but when the lump seemed to be increasing in size, my vet agreed with my concerns. The biopsy confirmed that the lump was a malignant tumor. There was no question that she would have the surgery to remove the lump and the biopsy to understand the type of cancer we were up against, but there were many questions as to how it would be paid for. My vet is wonderful in that I can “be billed” for services at a later date if need be, but that tends to be a cycle that is hard to break once it’s begun, as my girls always seem to need something. Luckily, all of Sofie’s tumor was removed, but a reappearance it something I need to be on the lookout for.

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Because of the cost of medical care for my dogs in the last year, I have  asked myself what I would do if I was not able to pay the cost of caring for my pets. No pet owner should  have to choose between providing care for their pet or euthanizing them because they do not have the means to provide for them.  I have searched to see what options exist and have compiled a list of animal agencies that can provide care itself or financial assistance for the care of your pet. Please keep in mind that agencies that exist to help are effected by the economy just as you and I are.  They depend on donations, more so when their services are in high demand. So please think about donating if you are able to as it will help the agency continue to help all pets.

 

This is a good time to remind pet owners that pet insurance may be a good option for you.

 

Mind if we pay your vet bills?

 

Before seeking assistance from any agency, you should:

 

  • Ask you veterinarian if they can provide a payment plan.
  • Check with your local Humane Society to point you in the direction of any local groups that can provide assistance to you.
  • If there is a local university that offers a program in veterinarian medicine, they may be able to provide lost cost services.

 

 Websites For Help

 

 

 

14 comments on “Help For My Pet – What you Need To Know Right Now

  • Thanks so much for these resources, Erin! My wife and I have two cats, and we are on a tight budget. It’s tempting for us to turn the heat really low, to about 60 degrees, in order to keep heating costs down.

    But we recognize that the cats don’t have the same luxury of blankets that we do! And then when I think about what we’d do if something happened to them, I am extra motivated to make sure that we have some assistance. So these resources seem quite helpful!

    • Hi Kiefer,

      Thanks for stopping by and I am glad you found the resouces beneficial! In December I was faced with an unexpected vet bill of about $500 which was extremely difficult considering it was the holiday season. Even though I was able to cover the costs of caring for Abby, it made me wonder about what I would do if I did not have the funds available. I have health issues of my own and know that reducing my work hours, or even stopping work, are real possibilites and is my why for doing this research and writing this post.

      Take Care,

      Erin

  • I love this website!
    I am an animal lover too .I have three dogs a golden retriever 12 year old,a chocolate lab nearly 10 Years old and a St Weiler pup only 4 months old I love them dearly.
    My golden retriever has serious hip problems and finds it very difficult to walk in his back legs so we bought him a cart so he can still go for walks it helps both his physical and mental well being.
    I felt for you after reading one of your dogs has a tumor I hope he gets better soon.
    The cost of vetinary bills can be extremely high so thanks so much for providing such useful resources in this website!

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your encouraging comments! My little Boston Terrier is doing well and I am so glad that you are able to help your Golden Retriever with his mobility issues. It can be so saddening to look at our dogs and know that they are aging – when I look into the eyes of both my dogs I see cataracts. Vet bills can be devastating and I felt that providing some resources would be helpful for all pet parents.

      Take Care,

      Erin

  • Such a helpful post. Thank you for providing the options to contact for help. It breaks my heart to think of someone not being able to keep their special friend due to finances. My cats are so important to me. I spent a ridiculous amount of money on one cat, who had stomach issues. I am so glad I had the resources to do so. It is upsetting to think of others who struggle with that type of situation.

    • Hi Ilyssa,

      It is very important to have resources on hand in the case of an emergency. Both of my dogs are seniors and with age comes the need for additional medical care. My Boston Terrior has an appointment Friday, and since she has had cancer, I am anticipating how I will handle things if there are new concerns. I am ill and will soon apply for Social Security Disability. It was a no – brainer for me to do this research and write this post as I may be in the position to need help for my pets sooner versus later.

      Take Care,

      Erin

  • You know our pets are really like our children. One of my dogs recently got sick and I had to take him in to the vet to be cared for. I cannot afford a high vet bill, or any for that matter. So another suggestion is pet insurance. I signed up for it at the vet’s office and I pay a very small monthly fee that now covers everything. I feel a lot better knowing that I do not need to worry if he gets sick or hurt again. Great post!

    • Hi Matt’s Mom,

      Good point about pet insurance. Our pets are really like our children and it is just as important to know that we have the means to to care for our pets as we do our children. In my case, both of my dogs are now considered seniors. Pet insurance is a safeguard against not only sudden illness and injury but also the maintenance of good health.

      Take Care,

      Erin

  • Nice site and caught my attention. I had to put down my very first cat. It wasn’t because we couldn’t afford it. It was because she was suffering from an incurable disease. One day she looked like she was getting better and the next she went downhill. We spent quite a bit of money in hopes she would get better. It was sad. I have been thinking about pet insurance a lot, but life keeps happening and I just can’t spare that right now. I would if I could.
    Sofia

    • Hi Sofia,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with your cat and I am sorry for your loss. My cat Zoey recently passed away and it is always heartbreaking when we loose a cherished pet. Since pet ownership is a responsibility, we must always look at the financial aspect. Pet insurance can provide not only the care that your pet needs but peace of mind for you that you can provide that care.

      Take Care,

      Erin

  • Hey Erin!

    I know that the blog post is pretty old, but I wanted to comment anyway. I’m not from U.S., but I used to read your blog a lot because I’m really interested in animal rescue and animal shelter support. Since you write about helping animals so much, I thought you might be interested in a certain animal support project. It’s a website http://animalslife.net/ , where you can buy food for animals online AND watch webcams from shelters, to see how the animals are treated. It’s made in Latvia, where I live, but I thought it would still be food for thought for an enthusiast like you!

    Just wanted to give you heads up and urge you not to stop writing!

  • Awesome article! I was worried about my Bella because if something went wrong with her health I would have to find a way to pay for it because she is family. I am unemployed so finances are tight. The fact that there would be a solution available helps me rest easy.

    I had no idea those places existed despite having donated to them in the past. I donate regularly to Red Rover and Hendricks Board who I believe were on your list.

    Thank you so much for your work. You have helped me take a load of stress off!

    • Karl, I am so glad that I was able to provide you some useful information! Whenever finances are tight, I get stressed just thinking about how I can continue to feed my dogs a quality diet, let alone the cost of veterinarian bills if they become ill. I believe that it is important that all pet parents have an arsenal full of options that may help them in an emergency.

      Keep up the good work with your donations Karl!

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